Speeding up your Rooted Android phone

I know, it’s been a long time since this blog was updated, but I’ve found something so juicy and newsworthy I found a reason to add a new blogpost.

So here goes, answer the following simple questions:

  • Do you have an Android-based phone?
  • Have you rooted your phone?
  • Does it lag when starting or switching between apps?

If you answered no to either of the first two questions, move along, nothing to see here. However, if you answered yes then this post is for you!

I was browsing my RSS feed, which among other topics, includes the Phandroid site feed and I spotted an interesting article about an app the claims to remove the lag on all Android phones.

Now, with most apps that claim to do miracles, you need to take them with a pinch of salt, and even more so, if you have to pay for said app. However, Google’s app store policy of 15 minutes after purchase for refunds made me less hesitant to try this out, as well as the R12 (ZAR) app cost.

It’s a small app, with only one permission (run at boot) so nothing scary there. The reviews so far have pretty much all been glowing. Good start.

So I purchased the app and had it download and install on my phone. It’s not very complicated. Once you open the app, you enable the entropy seeder and check the start automatically on boot option. That’s it, you’re good to go.

Seeder - Screenshot

So I switched back to my home screen and started firing up some apps. My phone has been on all day, I’ve been using it (no reboot) so some might say well apps are cached in RAM. But even so, they were quicker to switch to as well as being much more responsive. The notoriously laggy Facebook application (which is now native, in parts) was quicker to switch to and use. Okay, I thought – good start.

Now, how about a cold boot? So I rebooted the phone and immediately noticed that the pin and lock-screens were quicker to appear, and were responsive even during at-boot applications which were loading in memory (of which is Onavo for 3G traffic monitoring, Go Launcher EX to replace the standard launcher, Usage Timelines for showing CPU usage and Lookout for malware scanning and lost phone detection).

The usual lag during boot waiting for the launcher to become responsive wasn’t there. I could quickly fire up Facebook, Whatsapp, UberSocial, the default Camera app, the photo gallery browser and Astro’s file explorer were quick on the draw. Even switching back to the home screen and opening up GO SMS to view my SMS/MMS (which, while feature rich, is much laggier than the stock-standard SMS viewer) was near instant.

I had some app updates pending that I still wanted to install and during their install (which, again is notoriously laggy on this phone, not only because of the installing, but also post install scanning by Lookout and AVG are usually blocking processes), the phone was responsive during the install and post-install process and was usable, which it most certainly wasn’t before. Two thumbs up for that.

Some might say it’s the placebo effect. I dare you try it yourself and prove me wrong. I use my phone often enough to know when there’s a distinct difference in load/lag times of the various apps I use.

The team at LCIS that did the research and testing within the Android OS to figure this out and build this app deserve the props.

Seeder app – recommended.

In case anyone is wondering – my phone is a rooted HTC Desire running Cyanogen Mod’s CM7.2.0.1 (built on Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread)

If you go through the comments on the app in the Play store as well as on the XDA forum post you’ll see this performance improvement is more noticeable in older versions of the Android OS (i.e pre Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean). So if you’re running the latest stock Android OS (or a custom ROM built on top of the latest AOSP) you probably won’t see much, if any, improvement.

UPDATE: I’ve tried this on my wife’s HTC Wildfire (which is unbelievably painful to use because of how slow it is, but somehow she manages) and it has made a noticeable improvement almost eliminating all lag between switching applications, back to the desktop and opening new apps.