I’ve seen it before with a number of devices; Android
tablets starting to bog down to the point of not being responsive at all. What
do you do? Is it time to reset that tablet to factory defaults? Probably not.
Instead of scrapping the current state of your tablet, try these four quick tips to regain control of your wayward Android tablet.

Since every Android tablet is not created equally, some of
these tips will either not work or their steps might vary. I’ll be demonstrating
on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Note with Android version 4.1.2. Let’s begin with the most obvious tip and work our way down.

1. Restart

Sometimes, a restart is the fastest means of getting your
tablet resources back. Of course, this is also (depending upon your device) the
slowest method. Plus, if you’re in the middle of working on a file or cloud
resource, you could lose your work. However, if it’s the only route to success, it
must be done.

To restart your tablet, follow these steps:

  1. Press
    and hold the power button
  2. When
    prompted, tap Restart
  3. Tap
    OK when prompted
  4. Allow
    the device to restart

I would never say this is the best method of getting your
resources back — or controlling a wayward application. For that, I would use
the built-in task manager. Let’s now work through using that tool to manage
your running tasks.

2. Task manager

Although you might not be currently using an app, said
application could still be residing in your tablet’s memory. Fortunately, task managers are always at the ready to help you close apps that currently
reside in memory. Android has a very handy built-in Task manager that’s quick to access
and easy to use. It also attempts to close applications that haven’t been used in a while. Most of the time, it
does a good job — but sometimes, an application will prove too stubborn for
the Task manager to close. When that happens, it’s time to go manual mode on
that rogue app.

To access the Task manager, tap the multi-task button on the
device panel (third from the left on Samsung Galaxy tablets). From the running
app list, you can tap Close all (to close all running
applications) or Task manager (to open the task manager tool).

Once you have the Task manager open (Figure A), you
can tap End all (to close all running applications) or the End button
associated with a particular application.

Figure A

The Task manager on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Note tablet.

Be aware that the more applications you have in memory, the
less memory will be available — at least until either the Task manager starts
closing some apps or you do it manually.

3. Watchdog

If the built-in Task manager doesn’t seem to be catching
rogue apps, there’s a third-party application that does a great job of doing
just that. The application is called Watchdog.
This application monitors running apps so you can easily
see if any have gotten out of hand and are eating up your CPU.
There is a free version called Watchdog Task Manager Lite and a full version that costs $3.49 (USD) called Watchdog Task Manager. The paid app removes advertisements and includes a blacklist, which allows you to choose an
app, assign a CPU threshold to it, and have Watchdog automatically kill the
app should it exceed the set threshold.

The free version gives you quick access to what apps are
using the CPU (and how much of the CPU they are using, as shown in Figure B).

Figure B

The Watchdog CPU listing shows a pretty smoothly running system.

What isn’t obvious about Watchdog is that from the CPU listing,
you can kill, Whitelist, or launch an application. To do that, tap on the app
listing and slide it to the right. A new popup will appear (Figure C) that
allows you to take those actions.

Figure C

How to act on a running application in Watchdog.

The Watchdog Alerts tab will show any application that is
misbehaving. If anything pops up in this window, be sure to kill it (from the CPU tab).

4. Read reviews

Finally, I would like to say this: The Google Play Store
doesn’t have the Big Brother-like vetting system that the Apple App Store
enjoys. Because of this, questionable apps can make their way into the Play
Store — and then onto your device. Make sure you read reviews of apps before you install them. Many times, when an app is questionable, it will be
mentioned by at least one reviewer. If you see mention of malware in a review,
avoid that app completely. 

The Android platform makes for a smooth running tablet
experience. There are times, however, when you’ll need to know what to do
should an app go rogue. Whether you use the built-in Task manager, a
third-party tool, or simply reboot your device, it’s pretty easy to get control
of your apps and speed up the processing power of your Android tablet.