Spring cleaning tips for your Android device

Learn how to do some spring cleaning on your Android device and improve your user experience.

Nicole Cozma
Nicole Cozma has an affinity for Android apps and devices, but loves technology in general. Based out of the Tampa Bay Area, she enjoys being a spectator to both sunsets and lightning storms.
Nicole Cozma
4 min read

Spring is here! Photo by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Spring cleaning is about more than actual cleaning -- it's about getting a fresh start. The latter of these can simply mean changing things around so that the experience feels new. Here are some of the cleaning basics for your Android device, and also some tips on how to make other parts you can't change feel a bit of that spring rejuvenation.

Clean out space for new stuff


We all have too much "stuff," as the famous comedian George Carlin told us, and chances are that you can afford to get rid of some of it.

  • Remember that app you tried and didn't like? Or the game your friend suggested that you couldn't get into? Start removing Android apps and games you haven't used or played in quite a while. If you change your mind later, just redownload them!
  • Often, an app will create a folder and configuration file with user data that gets left behind after an uninstall. Grab a file explorer app like Astro File Manager, which will let you explore the data folders created by apps, to get rid of these.
  • You may not realize it, but your Call Log and SMS history can eat up a more than healthy portion of memory. Cleaning them out will not only make these apps run more efficiently, but other apps will, too.History Eraser for Android can do the work for you, if you're not sure how.
  • If data consumption isn't an issue, or you often find yourself on a Wi-Fi connection, there's no reason you can't move some of your files off your device to the cloud. Get your data migration started with apps like Dropbox and Google Music.
  • The previous suggestions not enough to make your Android feel faster? There's always the option of performing a Master reset on your device, which will erase ALL apps and data.

Boost your battery life

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

The best place to start saving battery life is within the device's settings area -- but there are also other options to help you out.

  • Maximum screen brightness is only needed in direct light. Therefore, it makes sense to set your brightness level to auto, so the screen can adjust with your current lighting situation.
  • Leaving unnecessary wireless services on in the background is just another way to kiss your battery juice goodbye. Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS when you're not using them. There's even an app that can remind you when you're too far to take advantage of a wireless network called WiFi Status.
  • The cloud apps mentioned above are great for storing your data, but sometimes they can run syncing services in the background without alerting you. Disable auto-uploading when you're on mobile networks to help circumvent this issue.
  • If you don't need to see new messages every 5 minutes, then an app doesn't need to check for them every 5 minutes. Adjust sync intervals on apps like your Twitter client to something more reasonable like 15 or even 30 minutes.
  • Widgets you're not using are polling your device and possibly the Internet for information. Get rid of these unused power thieves to reclaim some battery life.
  • As a last resort, try an app that gives you recommended settings for saving your battery, like Juice Defender.

Make your Android experience feel new

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tired of seeing the same clock, calendar, or wallpaper? Do your ringtones or notifications make you cringe because you've been hearing the same ones for soooo long? Time to fix that.

  • Download some new widgets to change the style of your clock, weather, or date displays. If you're not sure where to start, try Beautiful Widgets because it offers a huge collection of skin styles that are sure to impress.
  • Wallpaper is the backdrop for all of your app icons and widgets, so it should be something you love to look at. If it's not, grab a wallpaper app like Best Wallpapers HD to pick out something new.
  • Ringtones and notifications are what keep you connected to other people by alerting you of new messages. You can use Zedge or a similar app to find some new sounds that won't make you want to smother your device every time it rings. Or, if you want to keep your current sounds, learn how to automatically adjust the volume based on surroundings.
  • If you're looking for a complete overhaul of your Android's interface, try a launcher to replicate other versions of Android or to apply a new color scheme. ICS Launcher and Go Launcher are good picks with lots of theme options to get you started.

And if you're seeking tips on how to take care of the physical cleaning of your device, check out Ed Rhee's post on How to clean your smartphone or tablet.

Editors' note: As part of our spring cleaning series, we focused on one topic each day this week to get your computing life in order. Here are links to our advice for reviving your PC, speeding up and cleaning up your Mac, sprucing up your iPhone or iPad, taking control of your digital music and movie libraries, and freshening up your Facebook profile.