What causes Android smartphone lag? (and how to fix them)

What causes Android smartphone lag? (and how to fix them)

Lags are some of the common and perennial issues plaguing Android devices. Those occasional slow performances, app freezes, and delays in touch responsiveness exhibited by your device do decrease overall productivity. We take a look at five of the reasons why it does, and give your our own take on solutions to solve them.


Too many running apps that hog your memory


It may be possible that there are too many background apps that are consuming much of your memory. This can be really felt if you have a lot of apps installed and your phone is equipped with low-end specs. There will also be instances that your smartphone will slow down after a day or two of operation without turning your device off.

Solution: Restrict apps from running in the background. To prevent them from running behind the scenes, go to Settings > Apps then swipe two times to Running, and select an app. From each individual app’s menu, you may force close or stop the app from running to free up space. If you’re not keen on trying this out and crash your app permanently in the process, you may opt to restart your phone instead.

If that didn’t work, you can try a couple of apps that can freeze (Titanium Backup Pro) or hibernate (Greenify) other memory-hogging apps to permanently free up your RAM. You may also check out alternative apps to replace the feature-filled heavyweights. Some already introduced watered-down versions (such as Facebook Lite), and there are some that offer alternatives to official apps.

Low internal storage


If you like to install a lot of apps or hooked on social media, and you’ve got little space left, the dreaded ‘Low on Space’ notification might have appeared on your notifications a few times. From that point onward, several of your smartphone’s essential functions such as email have been disabled until you are able to maximize your free space.

Solution: Clear cache from applications. The biggest culprit of low internal storage is the prolonged used of applications that take up too much storage cache such as Facebook and Instagram. To clear it, go to Settings > Apps, click on the application from the list of downloaded apps, and select Clear Cache. Like our recommendation above, you can also get more efficient apps that are available on the market to reduce storage footprint.

If it’s not enough, you can move the apps to your microSD card if your phone supports it. At the same location, you can choose to move the app data to your card. You may use utility apps such as App2SD to move them, too. Some pre-installed apps on your devices might not have this function, and you may see that the option has been grayed out.


Outdated software


A probable cause of lag is outdated software. This happens when the system itself suffers from bugs and glitches, or in some cases, comes from sideloaded applications into our devices. Since these sideloaded apps are not downloaded from the Google Play Store, they get looped out of the future update cycles, making them susceptible to error messages.

Solution: Upgrade your system and/or application to the latest version. New updates, other than introducing new features, often provide bug fixes and improvements to issues plaguing the software.

Playing games for long hours


Playing graphic-intense games on our smartphones harnesses the maximum processing potential of your phone’s hardware, and that’s the reason why our phones heat up a lot. This also causes moderate to severe lag especially after playing.

Solution: Rest your device for a few minutes after playing to cool down. If it still lags after that, you may restart the phone to automatically free up RAM space.

Presence of a malware or virus


Did you ever encounter any slowdowns even when you’re using your phone properly? You might have been a victim of malware or viruses plaguing Android devices, which can enter your phone when you ae clicking on suspicious links in websites or mobile advertisements.

Solution: Scan your device to eradicate any abnormalities. Using a mobile scanner app such as AVG or CM. you can search for  files on your system and eradicate them in the process.

Note that these are just five typical causes of lag on your Android smartphone, there are other factors that may affect the performance of your smartphone that are not on this guide. Thus, if you’ve experience lag on your device and you were able to identify what caused it and eventually solved it, let us know in the comments field below.

Get in touch with Carl at @lamielcarl on Twitter or visit his website for more updates!

You may also like...

55 Responses

  1. owwell says:

    ma-try nga

  2. Easy E says:

    Many apps has a special permission to run when the phone starts. Pero di mo naman kailangan palagi yung app. Sa windows OS (desktop – di ko alam kung may ganun sa phones) may built in tool para idisable ang mga apps na nagra-run pag start pa lang ng phone.

    Sa Android kailangan pa ng 3rd party app at yung iba kailangan rooted and phone.

  3. Tony says:

    First is delete or disable unnecessary preloaded apps. The only important google app for me is the google play and play services and the rest can be done with a browser. For important apps, gumagamit na lang ako ng alternative. Like facebook, I prefer the lite version. Though not that fluid but it is faster. Based on my experience, kung wala ka naman problem sa app or sa os mo, better na wag ka munang mag update, magbasa muna ng feedbacks kasi usually puro beta ang mga latest versions that leads to lag, crashing and a lot of issues.

  4. Raphiduz says:

    That’s the problem with Android devices. Lag, freeze and restart of the unit are most common even with higher RAM. The main reason is this, the device and OS came from different companies. Meaning most of the apps are not tested to the units with different Andorid versions from Samsung, Alcatel, Sony, HTC, Cherry Mobile, O+, etc. Unlike with Apple, apps are being tested first to Apple devices before being approved and posted to the Apps Store. Thats why Apple users are very satisfied with the smoothness and without lag apps from their units. Mas sulit ang binayad mo sa Apple devices.

    • BlackBerry Fan says:

      I have never experienced any lag with my Blackberry z30. The problem with android phones is the OS itself, its resource hog. It runs on virtual machine, the Dalvic system. It virtualizes the graphical interface so that its easy for Google to port android across different hardwares, it short its not optimize for specific hardware thats why it needs HUGE Ram to run lag-free. Compare it to BlackBerry OS which is based on QNX kernel, the true REAL TIME OS. It doesn’t need virtualization whatsoever. Its so stable and you don’t need to reboot it from tme to time, I’m running my phone for almost a month now and i hvent rebooted it yet. To top it all, its the most secured OS to date.

  5. June says:

    Their are some tools naman to prevent lagging on ram and free up some memory from phone internal memory.
    E.G Clean Master or CCleaner. So far for my experience The CM is good and complete too from mobile security up to cleaning junk memory

  6. cnongnanaimo says:

    For low internal storage, (rooted devices) delete files in folders /data/core and /data/logs or data/log_other_mode. I already tried this on my phone and it works fine. No issues whatsoever.

  7. dothackjhe says:

    Meron na bang identified na virus sa Android? May notion kasi na virus-free pa yung Android (hence di na kailangan ng anti-virus installed) since Linux-based yung OS.

    • accel says:

      No Operating System is malware-proof. As long as an operating system allows running code does not belong to it, it will always be vulnerable to malware.

      So much for the Linux fanboys out there who endlessly claim that their beloved OS is malware-proof and bashing Windows like they’re being enslaved by their master Linus Torvalds.

  8. RaGe says:

    antivirus apps are somewhat not useful enough since Android is “sandboxed”

    for me Google Play Services’ internal “services” causes tremendous wakelocks, CPU usage and battery drains

    I root them, use Xposed Framework, install Amplify and Greenify for wakelocks then the Disable Service app for disabling unnecessary “services” within your apps.

  9. cnongnanaimo says:

    I use Clean Master to get rid of junk files, free up memory and therefore boost my phone’s performance. It also has a function to manage autostarting apps.
    Di ako bayad diyan ha. There are other similar apps naman.

  10. What some people don’t understand is that the Android OS is built with no specific hardware in mind. Whereas Apple programmed iOS to be exclusively used by their proprietary hardware. This would mean that for Android to run on multiple hardware configurations, certain program checks will be incorporated before executing a program instruction. Aside from that, 3rd party vendors modify the open-source code and install bloatwares which further slows down the OS. Also, most of them install their own launcher or UI, which gives a pleasant eye-candy look upon launching the phone, but performs terribly at that, replacing the fast-bare-bone UI of stock Android. The lag is most noticeable in 3rd party launchers which makes most people declares that Android is slow and lags a lot.

  11. _montz says:

    dont use ram cLeaners, it will cause to Load your apps more Laggy .. as the ram is mostLy consumed, android will automatically kill some processes to gain space for others .. so there is no need for shitty ram cleaners .. most specially if u are just using free versions of it .. u’ll then be flooded with annoying advertisements that consumes ur mobile data abnormally and drastically make ur phone more Laggy

  12. ram says:

    memory cleaners tsk tsk. linux/unix and similar OSes use memory differently than windows.


  13. someguy says:

    Hindi niyo na kailangan gawin lahat yan…



    I-set niyo lahat sa off or lowest possible settings. Nasa developer options ito sa settings. Kung meron yung app na animation, i-off niyo din.

    Hindi ko naiintindihan kung bakit may pa memory memory pa ang mga ibang tao. Eh eto lang naman ang nagpapa lag. Wag na mag install pa ng mga cleaner at mag add lang kayo ng another resource.

  14. abuzalzal says:

    In Samsung Android devices, there’s only one thing that causes lag – it doesn’t matter whether you have a flagship device or an entry-level one. It’s called TouchWiz.

  15. marc says:

    Android phones aren’t SMART phones. All this work for something that should be handled automatically by the OS?

  16. iOS forever says:


  17. Androidlag says:

    Need pa talaga ng android na soooobrang taas ng specs na hardware bago di mag lag. Hahahahha…

  18. justsaying says:

    isa lang naman solution dyan! DON’T BUY ANDROID PHONES!

  19. lol says:

    its sad that a tech blog like yugatech is advocating the use of ram cleaners and antivirus apps, which often provide unnecessary strain to devices than do good.

    there is little chance malware can affect your device if you only download apps from the play store.

    and why would you even dignify the browser prompt in no.5? it misleads people into thinking their phone actually has a virus, when the browser prompt is most likely only a link for adware. so they download an antivirus app which further slows their device. very disappointing.

    • It’s always up to the readers’ discretion if they want to follow our solutions; that’s the reason why we laid out the comments as a channel to provide additional input.

      1. Greenify is a great tool to hibernate your apps. Really helped my phone’s performance when I was still using my old phone. We’re not advocating RAM cleaners, we laid out steps in manually stopping your apps.
      2. The image in #5 is only used to visualize the scenario. You can tweak the antivirus settings to prevent it from hogging too much RAM, or you may uninstall it after scanning. There are still apps in the play store that actually provide malware once you download and use them.

    • .|. says:

      @Carl – really? like what app from Playstore are you referring to that includes malware? can you name some?

    • Lloyd Dunamis says:

      @.|.: http://www.yugatech.com/mobile/two-play-store-apps-secretly-mine-cryptocurrency/
      Of course, there were more malwares that successfully got in to Google Play that doesn’t exist in the store now, however there can be another one coming, if malware writers happened to find a hole in their security.

  20. kohol says:

    The best way for your phone not to lag is for the user to be smarter that their smart phone!

  21. abuzalzal says:

    The fact that this article recommends us to use RAM cleaners for Android is a dead giveaway that the author does not even know how Android works. The author shouldn’t even deserve to own an Android phone.

    • asterisk says:

      doesnt deserve to own an android agad? so sino lang pwede? mga chosen few lang? gilitan kita dyan.

  22. victor says:

    As long as Google allows manufacturer to modify (or bastardize) stock Android, Android will always be a fragmented and laggy OS. Google should be punishing those manufacturers who fill Android with their own useless crap *cough* Samsung *cough*.

  23. awts says:

    kabibili ko lang ng microsoft lumia 535 last week, sulit pera ko dahil walang lag

  24. Miriam S says:

    Cheap items have more buyers !


  25. iOS_basher says:

    Dear iCrapUsers,

    It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

    Please refrain from being a Pharisee, err a d!ck, you might hurt yourselves..

  26. dyimmy says:

    This is so 2011 during which time Gingerbread pa ang latest OS from Google. If you actually make a quick search re android lags, there are quite a handful of studies na that say that Android has significantly lessened its lags and curiously enough mas nagfifreeze na ang apps when in iOS. That study was quite recent (May 2014). Search niyo na lang.

  27. top kek says:

    #6: buying a shitty $20 chinese froyo phone from the convenience store

    • fce says:

      Love those *shitty* $20 chinese froyo phones. Great for phone and messaging and no issue about ‘bending’. Fifty of those will last a lifetime

  28. isheep says:

    What causes Android smartphone lag?
    Answer: Android itself…

  29. mark says:

    totoo nman ah android itself ang dahilan nang lag most of the hardware na ginagamit or software is not fully optimized for the said os. Unlike sa IOS from hardware to software naka optimized na lahat kaya kahit low specs kaya parin nya mag run nang khit na anung application. set nyo nlng example 2k14 on android 512 ram 1ghz dual core pag nilaro nyo yan force close 2k14 or lag. Pero sa iphone na 3gs khit 256ram 600mhz cortex a8 cpu smooth parin yan pag nilaro ang nba2k14

  30. asterisk says:

    pagalingan na.

  31. Wala says:

    I’ve been using android and ios. It’s true that android lags from time to time but I also experience freeze on ios.

    Point is, wala pa ring perpektong OS ngayon. :)

  32. yoOSOo says:

    I was taught that all android base device’s is virus free and you dont need a anti virus anymore a lot’s of blogs saying that android os of google is virus free.. Can anybody explain??

  33. LAWL says:

    Better go for Windows Phone. safe and no lags :)

  34. XTN says:

    I will not advise some of these solutions unless its last resort. I will tell you why.

    1. If you do this you will face a common error in the apps that” blah.blah.blah(not the real service name) has stopped” this may also cause a domino effect on other app’s services.

    2. This will be useful if your device has lower than 4gb of internal storage. This will also delete all the supposedy offline stored msgs like you can re read your history in facebook messenger even without internet connection. All of those will be gone. Also some game data might be lost in the process.

    What I could give to you guys as an alternative is rooting your droid phone. I just rooted my tablet Samsung Tab Pro 8.4 (SM-T320) for 2 weeks and I was able to free up around 4gb of samsung’s bloatware. I was able to delete it. I would not recommend rooting to all as it requires a certain level of software comprehension and thus require common sense. If you can read instruction and follow them properly you could root ur device in under 10 secs(It took me meybe less for my tablet) It was my first time to root and was worrying if it will brick my device but I went with it anyway. Rooting will give you unrestricted access to your device.

    If you have any questions email me at [email protected]

    • Lloyd Dunamis says:

      1) Greenify is a nice solution for that, as it does not close apps but just hibernate them. However, I do agree to discouraging force-closing apps to clear memory, since Android / mobile OSes has their quite an already-effective memory management, and will kill the oldest user app to free memory for newer-run apps.

      2) Clearing App cache was being talked about here, not App data. App Data should be where the (game) progress & other important user configurations are saved. It should not affect game saves at all…unless the game was designed to include game saves or downloaded game data as a cache, in which case yikes, just avoid clearing cache for it.
      I agree with apps like Facebook having nothing to show you offline if you did clear its cache though.

  35. joms says:

    Yes, it’s true that alot of android phones are laggy. What people do not realize is the presence of nexus phones or its android one alternatives which have unadulterated, stock, and vanilla android experience. The said OS have very minimal to no lags and even trumps ios for that matter. I develop apps and very faniliar with both OSes. So far, vanilla android takes the cake for me anytime, anywhere. #JustMyTwoCentavos

  36. alexx says:

    Pinag lumaan na tips. Even the last screenshot maling mali.

    • Lloyd Dunamis says:

      Yung last screenshot, as in yung “Samsung android is infected”? Pano siya maling mali? May case kaya talaga na may ganyang popup sa Android device. -x-

      Bali, popup yan sa mga infected website, or somewhere else. Hindi ka pa infected ng ganyang oras, however kung pinindot mo na yung confirm button or “Remove virus now” button in this case, may magpapa-confirm sa iyo kung gusto mong i-install yung app na ibibigay niya sa iyo. If you agree, that’s the time ma mai-infect ka,
      This is just one of the possibilities on popups like that. Phishing popups.

  37. SunCell Subscriber says:

    The only solution is to switch to iOS. Without strict control on the OS and device environment, Android will continue to experience UI lags.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *