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5 simple ways to save your good old Android

Picture taken by flick user khamtram, used under CC BY 2.0 license
Photo by flickr user khamtram, used on CC BY 2.0 license

This post is for you non-geeks. We promise. There are a number of things you can do before giving up on an old Android. We see these problems all of the time at Restart Parties. (And some of this we have learned through personal, frustrating experience!)

    1. Does your device display some really scary stuff on the screen, or simply not start up?
      Before you bin it, check the SD and SIM cards. Take them out, check the ports for dirt or corrosion (clean if necessary), and put them back in. A corrupted SIM card can also cause you to lose data and other services. It may seem insane – and inane – but check SD cards and SIM cards before giving up.


    1. Are you having trouble with your headphone jack?
      Mobiles tend to get loads of “gunk” in them through use. Clean a headphone jack thoroughly using an ear bud and/or rubbing alcohol, and you might want to carefully use tweezers or a needle to extract the gunk. Wait until the alcohol dries to use your phone. Similarly, if the internal microphone no longer works, it might simply be blocked.


    1. Do you have a dead physical home button, or navigation button?
      Download an app like Back Button that gives you a new navigation menu that replaces the buttons, or Villa button if all you need is an alternative home button. You will even wonder why you needed those buttons at all, and it’s much easier than disassembling your phone trying to fix the hardware problem.


    1. Is your device running insanely slow?
      Google Androids come with tons of apps which you do not need, which often run in the background and sap your device. You can test how much faster your device runs with minimum apps running by starting it up in safe mode. If you are running Android 4.0 or later, you can “disable” apps that usually run in the background, by going to the Applications menu. If you do not have this luxury, you may need to go for a “clean slate” approach.  Back up your contacts and copy your data (photos etc), then perform a “factory reset”. The option is hidden somewhere in the settings. If you can’t find it, search online. Only reinstall the apps you really want to use.


  1. Does your battery hold little charge and/or die unexpectedly?
    Getting rid of unused apps, reducing the brightness of your screen, turning off bluetooth/wifi/data connections whenever you don’t use them are all remedies. Also, you can experiment with an app like Deep Sleep Battery Saver which drastically reduces your phone’s energy consumption when the screen is off. However, if you’ve been using your phone for two years or so, you should look into replacing the battery. If possible, try to get a ‘genuine’ replacement when shopping around online. And beware of batteries that are too cheap compared to the competition.

This is by no means a complete list of non-geek Android CPR. Please share your simple tips below!

One response

  1. And once it’s saved but you want to re-purpose it for something other than a phone:

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