12 fast fixes for common Android problems

Confession time: I know embarrassingly little about car repair, and I couldn’t fix a misbehaving house appliance if my life depended on it (which, on at least a couple occasions, it almost has). Heck, I can barely hang a piece of wall art without screwing something up along the way. When it comes to Android phones, though, well — I’m practically a modern-day mechanic.

Now, hang on a sec: It isn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds. I don’t have any fancy power tools or even a pair of cool-looking coveralls with my name on ’em (not yet, anyway). I’ve mostly just been using and studying Android for a long time now — since somewhere in the mid-1800s, give or take — and when you pay close enough attention to something for a long enough period, you start to see the same basic patterns popping up time and time again.

The truth is that for as “magical” as they may occasionally appear, our sleek and shiny smartphones are ultimately just appliances. And more often than not, the issues most folks have with their phones are pretty darn consistent. That means whether you’re troubleshooting your own device or trying to come to a struggling co-worker’s rescue, the odds are good that your problem can be addressed without too much trouble.

Consider this your guide — a collection of some of the most common complaints I hear about Android phones and the simplest solutions I suggest in those scenarios. Apply the knowledge to your own ailing device or pass it on to someone else who needs it, and you, too, can experience the joy of feeling like a mobile-tech mechanic (with or without the coveralls).

Android problem #1: Low storage

Ah, yes — the age-old problem of finite space. When you see a phone’s storage starting to run low, just remember this catchy little adage: “Stop hoarding stuff, you unruly digital packrat.” (Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quite as catchy as I had hoped.)

In all seriousness, though, most of us really don’t need much stored locally on our smartphones these days — especially on Android, where cloud syncing is simple and automated management is easy. Start by installing the Google Photos app and setting it up to back up all photos and videos as they’re taken. That’ll let you delete the local copies (as well as have a great way to get to all your memories from any device, anytime, even if you lose or break your current Android phone), and that alone is bound to free up tons of room.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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