How to Manage Memory on an Android Phone


Full or nearly full memory invariably leads to slow performance, crashes and errors within any system. With their vast computing power, today's smartphones are certainly not immune from the issues associated with memory overload. Good memory management begins with understanding how your phone works and what would make it perform below expectations. Learn how to properly maintain the storage space on your phone so you can avert future problems. While no smartphone can be immune from the occasional glitch or freeze, a phone with lots of memory to spare will always run more smoothly.

View Memory Usage

  • Power on your phone and navigate to the home screen.

  • Open the tab for "Applications," then tap "Settings."

  • Tap "SD Card & phone storage." You see a readout of the phone's available memory as well as the available memory of any applicable memory cards.

Optimize Memory Use

  • Restart your Android phone at least once a day to ensure peak performance. Hold the power key to turn the phone off, wait a few moments, then press the power key again to reactivate the phone. Restarting is the quickest and easiest way to shut down unneeded processes running in the background.

  • Clear your search history, browser cache and temporary Internet files on a regular basis. If you use your phone primarily for browsing the Web, then cleaning up these areas will definitely sharpen the phone's performance.

  • Move pictures and videos to an external device via an SD card. Video files are large and can clutter up any phone's memory.

  • Change the settings for automatic deletion of text and picture messages. The default is 200 text and 20 picture messages, but you can reduce this number at your discretion.

  • Uninstall programs that you no longer use. Delete any unwanted wallpapers, widgets or songs. If you've recently installed a new app and you notice a sudden drop in the phone's performance, consider uninstalling the app.

  • Check your available memory on a regular basis and clean out the device's storage whenever it's close to full. Don't let memory usage issues sneak up on you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Storage is a nonvolatile form of memory, meaning that the data persists even when the device is powered off. When speaking about handheld devices like smartphones, the terms "memory" and "storage" are often used interchangeably. However, when speaking about personal computers, the term "memory" is usually reserved for the volatile memory -- like RAM -- that is erased when you shut it off.
  • Be wary of third-party software applications. Look for evidence that the download source is trustworthy. A malicious bit of software can hijack your phone and lead to major headaches.
  • Sometimes a corrupted memory card can lead to symptoms of memory overload, such as freezing or crashing. To test for this problem, move your data to another storage device and then reformat the memory card. If the same problems reappear, then the memory card may be to blame.

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