Are Widgets Slowing Down Your Phone?

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Widgets aren’t all rainbows and lollipops. Just like something can go wrong with a full Android app, sometimes can go wrong with a widget. Let’s look at some of the most common problems and how you can troubleshoot them:

If your home screen is lagging, if you’re using one of the live wallpapers disable it as they can quickly use up your precious resources and they are of far less value than a widget.

If that resolve your problem, begin to disable your widgets one by one beginning with the least useful widgets. Yes, we told you to add them, but every device has its limits. If you reach your limit, which you can determine when you notice swiping to another screen causes a lag, then it is time to remove some widgets.

Is your phone too slow?

Android home screen bug

Phones may better handle widgets now than in the past, but widgets still eat up resources. If your entire phone starts running slow after you add a bunch of widgets it might be easy to figure out the widget is a problem. But sometimes you have to take the time to narrow things down and figure out which one is slowing down your phone starting with your apps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Open up Apps.
  • View all running apps.
  • If available, select “Show Cached Processes.”
  • Close each app one at a time and see if your performance improves.

The advantage to doing it this way is that an app is causing your problem rather than a widget, you’ll figure it out. Also you can check the cache of each individual app. A well-written app should not use up a ton of space unless there is a good reason, but occasionally you find that eats up memory for no good reason.

Do you have poor battery life?

Android battery life

Technically, we have said that widgets have the ability to improve battery life; however, a widget that is written poorly, or one checking for updates frequently can actually cause problems for your battery. Luckily, there are ways for you to check. To begin with you have to figure out which one is causing the problem. Got to Settings app and tap on “Battery” to see a list of what’s using up your valuable power.

With a little bit of luck, this will point you in the right direction. Once you determine the widget that is eating up your battery, you have a few options: check that widget’s settings and see if you can turn down how often it queries for new data, or uninstall it completely, but this isn’t ideal. RSS or social widgets are especially bad and being huge drains on the battery. If the widget checks for updates every 30 second change that to every 10 minutes and that should help.

Widgets aren’t really all that different from regular apps on Android. You have ones written poorly, ones written very well, one written somewhere in-between, but overall when done right they’re extremely helpful. This is especially true in Android 4.0 and higher, where they are much smoother than they were in the past. If you have not yet done any playing with the ones on your phone or available in the Play Store, this is a good time to do so.