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Give Your Smartphone a Boost

Every day, avid smartphone users push their devices to the limit with downloads, Web browsing, and multitasking in various apps. All of that activity can lead to frustratingly sluggish phone performance. Smartphone slowness is mainly related to two things--limited memory and a drained battery--though other factors are involved, too. With some routine phone maintenance and the help of apps and accessories, you'll have your smartphone running as fast as it did on the day you bought it.

Clear Your Call Log and Old Texts

Your smartphone's valuable, nonexpandable memory is easily consumed.
When was the last time you deleted your call log? It doesn't take up a ton of memory, but it does still eat up precious space. Old text messages, too, consume space, so unless you're holding on to them for sentimental reasons, delete as many as possible. Clear your call log and older texts about every ten days; set a calendar reminder if you're the forgetful type.

Clean Your Apps and Photos

Deleting unused items from your phone is a great way to get a performance boost.
If you're like most smartphone users, you've downloaded apps and games, and then eventually ignored most of them. Vampire games, apps that change the color of your BlackBerry trackball, and even old pictures you took all tend to lose their novelty with time. iPhone and Android phone owners are especially prone to this problem, as the App Store and Android Marketplace both have a universe of cool (and completely useless) apps. Look through your apps and downloads occasionally, and delete any that you don't use. You could see an immediate speed boost.

Keep Your Battery Happy and Healthy

All of the wonderful things you can do on a smartphone (running multiple apps, taking photos, playing multimedia) take a toll on battery life, and a nearly drained battery significantly slows down smartphone performance. Consider investing in a battery pack to keep your phone running faster and longer. The Phonesuit MiLi Power Pack for the iPhone is slim enough to double as a protective case for your phone, and it provides an additional 6.5 hours of talk time. Also think about downloading a battery utility app. APNdroid (free at the Android Marketplace) selectively turns off your draining data connection while still allowing you to receive calls.

Use Wi-Fi When Possible

A no-brainer, but a sometimes forgotten tip: If Wi-Fi is available and your phone supports it, use it. Web browsing will be faster over Wi-Fi than over a 3G network. You can find some great apps for judging Wi-Fi signal strength. For the iPhone, we like WiFiFoFum, which scans for 802.11 wireless networks and displays their location in relation to you. A slightly different app, Free WiFi Café Spots, does exactly what the name implies and is very useful if you're searching for Wi-Fi on the go. This particular app is available for the iPhone and for BlackBerry OS, but you can find similar apps for other platforms.

Download Opera Mini 4.2

Tired of your smartphone's clunky browser? If you have an Android, BlackBerry (recent model), Symbian, or Windows Mobile handset, give the Opera Mini browser a try. Available in most app stores for free, it renders pages on a server and then compresses them by 90 percent. It uses relatively little of the phone's resources, resulting in a quicker Web surfing experience. It also helps you save time: When you first open a page, Opera Mini shows you an overview and suggests where you should start reading. And if you're entering an address, Opera Mini will recognize it and suggest completions based on your history and Bookmarks. Best of all, you can also search for text within a page to find exactly what you want, faster.

Delete Your Browser Cookies and Cache

If you use your mobile browser frequently, this is a good step to take to keep your phone running smoothly. The browser stores the content of pages so that they open faster the next time you visit them, but these temporary files take up memory. Clear your cache every 5 to 7 hours you spend surfing the Web.

Use the Most Recent Firmware

Firmware updates not only add new features to your OS, but they also fix bugs and other issues that might be slowing down your phone. Most firmware updates come over the air from either your carrier or your phone's manufacturer. Some handsets, such as the iPhone, require you to connect your phone to your PC to receive the update.

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