Smartphones

Five apps to help you clean up your Android device

Keeping your Android devices clean will help free up space, prevent slowdowns, and ensure that you have enough system resources for smooth operation.

The Android platform is growing exponentially. Whether you're using it on a smartphone or a tablet (or even indirectly, with the Chrome OS), Android is an outstanding operating system. It offers the flexibility of Linux and the user-friendliness of iOS. But like any platform, it can get to the point where it requires cleaning up. My personal phone recently enjoyed a complete system reformatting. It had become so bogged down with files and apps (mostly from testing and reviewing) that I was noticing a significant slowdown on all levels.

But even if you don't have the time or the inclination to perform a full system restore, you can do some regular upkeep to make sure your system is clean. Here are five tools to help you do jus that.

1: Startup Manager

Startup Manager will intelligently monitor and analyze all system startup entries and help you safely disable undesirable applications or resources from starting. It shows you exactly what applications and processes are configured to run during system startup or login. Disabling is as simple as unchecking an item on the entry list. Startup Manager also provides details on an entry, which helps if you're not sure what should be enabled or disabled. If you want a particular application to start at login, simply enable it from the Startup Manger tool and you'll be good to go.

2: 1-Click Cleaner

1-Click Cleaner does exactly what the name says. With a single click, you can instantly rid your phone of cache files, SMS, browsing history, calling records, and SD card files. Although you might not realize it, that precious space being used by temporary files can really put a hit on your system performance. Keeping temp files out of your system will go a long way toward keep your device running smoothly and responsively. 1-Click Cleaner is probably one of the easiest tools to use for cleaning up temp files on the Android platform. You can put an icon on the home screen or even set up 1-Click Cleaner to clean upon shaking the phone.

3: Contacts Cleanup

Contacts Cleanup will help you format your contacts how you want them. I don't know about you, but I have a LOT of contacts on my Android phone, and they've come from various sources. As a result, many of my contacts are formatted differently. One really helpful thing this tool does is convert all phone numbers to the +X.XXX.XXX.XXXX format so they are clickable using the Google Voice extension in Chrome. Just remember: Back up your contacts to an SD card before you use this tool. The only thing Contacts Cleanup is missing is the ability to auto remove duplicate entries.

4: App Cache Cleaner

App Cache Cleaner is a handy tool that, with one touch, will clean up the application cache of all your applications. It features one-tap clearing of all cached files, auto clear when it's opened, auto clear at a specified interval, auto exit when you've cleaned all cached files, clear cache for a specified application only, and filter applications by either cache size or app name. This tool is especially handy for those power users who browse the Web a lot and use other networking tools that require a good deal of system memory for caching files. If you get the dreaded "low system resources" notification, App Cache Cleaner can help.

5: History Eraser Pro

History Eraser Pro is the pro (ad-free) version of History Eraser. This tool is more powerful than you might think. It will clear out your browser history, as well as the call log, text messages, Market search history, Google Map search history, Gmail search history, Clipboard data, YouTube search history, Google search history (Android >= 1.6), all app cache files,  and Frequently Called history. History Eraser Pro has a simple-to-use UI that anyone can master immediately. It does have a widget, but that does nothing but open the main window. Couple this tool with App Cache Cleaner and you will enjoy a powerful one-two punch to keep your phone perfectly clean and clear.

Keep it clean

Android is a powerful platform. But even the most powerful of operating systems needs a bit of tidying up sometimes. With the limited space of mobile devices, it's highly recommended you make use of one (or more) of the above tools to keep your system from running low on resources -- which would, in turn, seriously effect your device's performance.

Other handy apps?

Have you come across some other tools that help you optimize your Android devices? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

5 comments
SensibleSupport
SensibleSupport

Thinking more about smart 'phones for this one. Again, a free and paid version are available. It lets you kill off all those apps. that have started in the background.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The free and $3.49 versions of Watchdog Task Manager will show you which apps are hogging your CPU, alert you when an app is using a lot of CPU, notify you which apps can most likely be moved to your sd card - and move them for you.

datadorklv
datadorklv

Not a Free app, but the monitoring capabilities on the paid version are worth the price. The monitoring doesn't eat much as far as resources, but gives you a look at system/app performance over time. Nice for tracking the rouge app that freaks out on occasion and drains every resource in site

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