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How to speed up your creaky old smartphone

If your mobile phone is stuttering and slowing down in its golden years, don’t retire the old boy just yet. First, try these quick and easy tips to get your iPhone/Android/Windows Phone handset running faster.

1. Get a helping hand from an app

One really quick way to get better performance with minimal effort (that’s what we like) is downloading an app such as Clean Master for iOS or Android. Once you’ve installed and opened Clean Master, just tap the ‘Phone Boost’ tab and then tap ‘boost’ to automatically free up some memory. Pipsqueak.

2. Close apps after using them

You might think that your apps are closing when you back out of them, but most of the time they’re still ticking away in the background, using up valuable memory. Here’s how to close those suckers for real.

If you’re on an iPhone, just double-click the home button and you’ll see a scrollable list of open apps pop up. On iOS 7 or 8, just flick each app upwards to get rid of it. On iOS 6, tap the little red minus icon to ditch each app in turn.

If you’re on an Android phone, go to your settings and scroll to the Apps section. Flick to the ‘running’ tab and you’ll see exactly what’s hogging your memory right now. Just tap any you don’t need running and hit the ‘stop’ button and then ‘OK’.

If you’ve got a Windows Phone handset, then press and hold the back button and you’ll see a carousel of open apps. Just tap the X in the top right corner to get rid of each app you don’t need.

3. Disable auto sync

Chances are, your phone automatically syncs things like emails, which is a background process that can easily slow down an older device. You can knock this off by going into your phone’s settings.

On iOS, go to Settings, then General, then Background App Refresh. If the Background App refresh option at the top of the menu has a green switch beside it, that means that it’s on. Tap or flick it and that’s the bugger turned off.

On Android, go to Settings and then Accounts & Sync. If you have a recent version of Android, just tap the Auto Sync switch to disable it. If you’re on an older version, you’ll need to go into each account and disable each auto sync separately.

Now your emails etc will only update when you open the app and manually fetch your messages, rather than continuously.

4. Turn down those whizzy iOS graphics

If your beloved iPhone started suffering when you updated to iOS 7, then turn off those unnecessary posh graphical effects such as the icon zooming.

Go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility. First, hit the Reduce Motion option and turn this on. Then go back to the Accessibility menu and tap Increase Contrast. Set this to on as well.

5. Reset your phone

This one’s kind of a last ditch effort, a desperate measure that you should only resort to if the other steps here have failed. Resetting your phone to the original factory setting will hopefully clear it up and get it working at an acceptable pace again.

First, make sure you back up all of your photos, videos and anything else you want to keep! Easiest way is to hook up to a PC and copy your valuable files straight over, although some phones have their own backup features which save your files to the cloud.

When you’re ready to take the plunge, go to Settings and then Backup & reset (Android) or Reset (iOS) or About > Reset your phone (Windows Phone). It might take a little while, but you’ll have a fresh, clean device again at the end of it.

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