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8 Simple Ways to Speed Up Your Smartphone

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Much like computers, smartphones can start to slow down after years, or even months, of use. However, there are some ways to keep your iOS and Android devices running as good as new until you have to upgrade. Here are eight simple ways to speed up your smartphone.

1. UPDATE YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM.

If your smartphone is running slower than usual, then your operating system (or OS) might not be up-to-date. Having the latest version of iOS or Android on your phone is the best way to ensure it works at its zippiest. Just make sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and backed up before you update your phone’s software, and make sure that your phone can handle it. Newer operating systems might not be optimized for older or lower-cost phones.

iPhone: Go to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Software Update.”

Android: Go to “Settings,” and then “About Phone.” Tap “System Updates” or "Software Updates" at the top of the screen to check if you have any Android updates.

2. REDUCE MOTION AND ANIMATION.

Animations might look cool when transitioning from one app to another, but they can really slow down your phone, as they use up space and resources. Disabling animations on both Androids and iPhones can be tricky, but it’s worth it to make your device run faster.

iPhone: On iPhones, there is a setting to reduce motion by going to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Accessibility.” If you have yet to update to iOS 9.3.2 (there are probably a few of you out there) there is a convoluted way of disabling all animations, but that bug was patched in later updates.

Android: Your phone has to be in developer mode to disable animations. To do so, go to “Settings,” then “About Phone.” Find  “Build Number” and continuously tap the option until you’re granted “Developer Mode.” Go back to “Settings” and “Developer Options” to find “Window Animation Scale,” “Transition Animation Scale,” and “Animator Duration Scale.” Set all three options to “Off.” Then you might need to restart your phone (although this has been known to create glitches, so be careful).

3. GET RID OF WIDGETS.

If you’re an Android user, stop using widgets on your home screens. While widgets are useful for quickly giving you info at a glance, they are serious data hogs. Many widgets constantly refresh in the background to find new information and updates, so if you don’t need it, you should probably delete it.

4. STOP USING LIVE WALLPAPER.

Live wallpaper is a fun feature to show off your new smartphone, but much like widgets, they eat up a lot of memory and battery life. Over time, live wallpaper will slow down your phone and kill its efficiency. If you have a high-end Android with an AMOLED display and want to speed up your phone and save some battery life at the same time, use solid color wallpaper, preferably all-black, to reduce pixel activity and divert resources elsewhere.

5. AUTOMATICALLY CLEAR MESSAGES AFTER 30 DAYS.

One place few people ever think of clearing space is in iMessage and other text messaging apps. If you have more than 1GB of text messages slowing down your phone, it’s probably a good time to clear them out to make your device run faster. Luckily for iPhone users, you can set iMessage to clear old messages every 30 days. It’s recommended that you archive your text messages to iCloud if you still want to keep them.

Go to “Settings,” then “Messages,” and finally “Keep Messages” to pick the 30 days option.

Unfortunately, there is no such option for Android devices, so you’re going to have to delete messages in bulk manually (although there is an option under "Settings" to delete old messages when storage gets low).

6. ENABLE WI-FI ASSIST.

When you’re using a spotty Wi-Fi signal, Wi-Fi Assist for iPhone can help you transition to data without missing a beat. It’s built into iOS 9 and higher (for most devices) and it’s pretty useful when you can’t keep a strong enough Wi-Fi connection. It also helps your iPhone’s performance and battery life, so it doesn’t constantly look for a good signal when you’re out of range.

Go to “Setting,” and then “Cellular,” and toggle “Wi-Fi Assist” to on. It’s smart enough to not turn on for big downloads, but it’s still a good idea to keep track of your data usage as some users have complained of unexpected overages.

7. ADJUST BACKGROUND APP REFRESH SETTINGS.

A lot of email, weather, and location apps work in the background, even if you’re not using them—and they’re constantly and automatically refreshing without you even noticing. However, you can adjust and tweak all of your apps so that they only refresh to get new information when you choose.

iPhone: First it’s a good idea to turn off "Find My iPhone" by going to “Settings,” then “iCloud,” and turn off "Find My iPhone." Then go back to “Settings,” and then “General.” Pick “Background App Refresh” and turn off any app that you don’t need to speed up your iPhone.

Android: Go to “Settings,” and then “Data Usage.” Tap the menu icon and find “Restrict Background Data.” Now your Android device will only refresh its apps when you think it’s necessary.

8. INITIATE A FULL RESET AND FACTORY RESET.

When all else fails and all the tips above didn’t make your smartphone work any faster, then your only choice is to initiate a full or factory reset. This will restore your phone to the first day you bought it with a clean OS, but with all the current firmware updates. But be warned: a factory reset will wipe out all of your photos, music, text messages, apps, and any important files you might have on your smartphone. It will also get rid of all the junk that’s bogging your phone down too, but you’re going to have to start over again. It’s highly recommended that you backup and encrypt all of your data before you choose to reset your iPhone or Android device.

iPhone: Go to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Reset.” Tap “Erase All Content and Settings” and confirm with your password. You can also perform a Factory Reset with iTunes under the “Restore Phone” tab when you plug your iPhone into your computer.

Android: Go to “Settings,” then “Backup and Reset,” and tap “Factory Data Reset.” Tap “Reset Phone” and confirm with your password. Finally, tap “Erase Everything” and your Android device will reboot to the condition when you first took it out of its box.

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A Rare Apple Lisa 1 Computer Is Up for Auction on eBay
Dave Jones, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Dave Jones, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

For superfans of vintage Apple products, a working Apple Lisa 1 is the holy grail of collector's items. First released in 1983, the pioneering computer (the first to feature a graphic interface and a mouse) was a commercial failure and only sold 100,000 units, very few of which survived to the present day. But an eBay seller is offering up the super-rare opportunity to own one, as DesignTAXI reports.

The computer in question, selling for more than $55,000 as of January 8, is in mint condition. According to the listing, it has only been turned on a few times.

A Lisa 1 computer
professorinschubert, eBay

As you can see in the video below, everything seems to be in working order.

The seller estimates that there are only 20 to 100 Lisa 1s left in the world. And even for a Lisa 1, this one is a rare machine. Lisa computers, reportedly named after Steve Jobs’s daughter (though there have been some other theories about the name), were the only machines Apple released with its doomed Twiggy disk drives—a faulty format that turned out to be incredibly unreliable, leading to the product’s downfall. Apple then released the Lisa 2 with standard 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, offering customers free upgrades for their Lisa 1 Twiggy drives.

Since most customers jumped at the chance to make their $10,000 computer ($24,700 in today's dollars) run properly, Lisas that still have their original Twiggy drives are incredibly hard to find. The Lisa 1 on sale still has its twin Twiggy drives though, and they work, at least as well as the drives ever worked.

Whether the seller will actually get his $55,000 is questionable. In 2010, a similar Lisa 1 sold for just $15,000. But the model seems to have gained a lot of value since then, since one sold for $50,000 in November 2017.

[h/t DesignTAXI]

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Big Questions
Why Do Honeycrisp Apples Cost So Much?
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Apples to apples is no longer a valid comparison. As gastronomic writer Sarah Jampel at Food52 has observed, shoppers who prefer a premium fruit experience by opting for Honeycrisp apples can pay up to four times as much as they would for other varieties. When did Granny Smiths become the RC Cola to Honeycrisp’s Coke?

According to Jampel, the answer invokes the old law of supply and demand. There’s plenty of demand for the apple, but prices get engorged when there isn't enough to go around.

The scarcity is a result of the Honeycrisp’s eccentric nature. Introduced commercially in 1991 after being invented by University of Minnesota scientist David Bedford, who cross-pollinated seeds to create a more durable and winter-resistant apple, the Honeycrisp tree demands very specific soil and maintenance requirements. The fruit can ripen at various times, necessitating more frequent harvests; the skin is thin and delicate, so they must be trimmed off by hand. Many of the trees are so delicate they require a trellis [PDF] to support their branches.

All the extra labor means more time and money—the latter of which is passed along to the consumer.

Growers who didn’t anticipate the surging popularity of Honeycrisps were also caught off-guard. As trees can take up to six years to bear enough fruit for commercial purposes, the number of trees currently producing isn’t really proportionate to the level of demand.

That will change as more are planted, although it might be a little while before the Honeycrisp proves to be on the same economic footing as its Red Delicious counterpart. Before you celebrate a cheaper version, remember that growers looking to feed the market might opt to grow the apple in less-than-perfect conditions that could affect its famously crunchy taste. Enjoy it while you can.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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