4 years ago

Android 201: How (and when) to clear app cache or data in Android


Apps sometimes can misbehave. Before you go reaching for that task killer (and we can't stress this enough — don't do it!) here's something else to try.

Every Android smartphone has an application manager that you can get to through the settings menu. It's usually in the top level somewhere, though it can vary a little by phone. (Samsung, for instance, has started splitting its app settings into different sections, showing feature settings for its own apps at the top level and requiring you to tap through to get to the actual application manager.) But once you get to it, you're at the heart of the matter. This is where you can see every application that's installed on your phone. And it's a handy place to clean things up a bit should they go wonky. Here's what's up:

Clearing the app cache

As you use applications, they start storing files for reference later. These files are stored in an app "cache." For instance: When you're using the Android Central app, it'll save images and other pieces of the stories you've read so that they don't have to be downloaded each and every single time the app needs them. This saves you time and data.

But maybe you want to clear an app's cached data, either to regain some used space, or to try to fix a misbehaving app. This is where you can do it. Just tap into the app, and then tap the "Clear cache" button.

Clear app data — or resetting an app

Clearing app data is a little more drastic. You're wiping the cache, but also clearing any and all settings that go along with that app. You're basically starting that app over, from scratch, and it'll behave as it did the first time you installed it. This is generally a last resort type of thing. If you clear app data on, say, the Facebook app, you'll need to log back in. If you clear data on a game you've been playing, you'll be back at the beginning, as if you'd never played it. (And let's hope that game is properly saving your place to the cloud.)

When to clear cache or data ...

So when should you clear an app's cache manually? Chances are you'll never need to. But should an app start to "feel" sluggish or otherwise start misbehaving, this is where I'd start. Clear the cache.

And should an app really go haywire — or if you just want to start it from scratch — you can go all out and clear its data and start over from the beginning. Just tap the "clear data" button. You'll get a warning asking if that's really what you want to do. Confirm that, and you've reset the app to scratch.

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4 years ago

Android 101: How to restrict certain apps from being downloaded from the Android Market

4 years ago

RAM: What it is, how it's used, and why you shouldn't care


Recently, a wise man holding a new Samsung Galaxy S II made a great observation --

Why, in the name of all things holy, does the fastest, most powerful phone on the market have a widget warning me how many apps are open?

Many of you guys know me, and how I am (if you don't, imagine some godless mash-up of anal retentiveness and OCD), so you know this is something that just had to be addressed or I would never sleep well at night again.  Which leads us to here and now.  The answer to the question is pretty easy -- user madness and FUD forced manufacturers to add some sort of RAM-cleaning, task-killing, and problem-causing widget to current builds of their software.  For most of us, the system running on our Android phones, and the way it handles RAM usage, is very different than what we are used to on our computers.  If we take a few minutes to understand the way RAM is managed on our phones, we'll not only be able to better interpret what that widget is telling us, but also understand why it doesn't really matter.  Let's do that, after the break.

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4 years ago

Android 101: How to clear your browser info


Hey, we don't judge. From time to time you might "accidentally" visit a website your wife would leave you over you didn't mean to visit and get caught sneaking a peek see something you didn't want to see. It happens.

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4 years ago

Android 101: How to mark spam in gmail

4 years ago

Android 101: How to pair a Bluetooth headset

4 years ago

Samsung's new Touchwiz makes adding items to the home screen a breeze


Youtube link for mobile viewing

A big complaint I've had about Android for some time now regards adding items to the home screen. The basic way of doing things is you scroll through a text list, pick something from that list and plop it onto whatever home screen you're currently on. That requires your brain to remember what's already on the home screen, and to know what the new item actually looks like. If it's an icon, that's easy enough. If it's a widget, well, you get what size it is (1x1, 2x2, etc.), but that's it.

Samsung's done us a solid in the latest version of Touchwiz, as seen on the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch. It's basically taken the Honeycomb way of doing things and scalled it down for the smaller screen. You can see the full home screen (and even flip though them) as well as see the widget or shortcut you're looking to add.

It's a small but ingenious change. Kudos, Samsung.

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4 years ago

Android 101: Keep your Picasa account synced with your Android device

4 years ago

Android 101: Manage your battery life by setting your screen timeout and brightness

4 years ago

How to turn off LTE on the Motorola Droid Bionic


Read our Droid Bionic Review

Finally the Motorola Droid Bionic is available, and knowing you, Mr. Excited, you were first in line to grab one at the local Verizon store, huh? Well, you may have been in shock when you noticed how much LTE can affect your battery, or you are a conservative type with the battery and would rather turn it off when not in use, and luckily doing so can be quite simple. A few quick clicks and your LTE can be turned on and off, let's check out how.

  1. Open settings
  2. Scroll to wireless and networks
  3. Select mobile network
  4. Click on network mode and select CDMA Only

Want LTE back, do the same and select CDMA/LTE instead of CDMA only and you are all set. 

More: Droid Bionic forums

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4 years ago

Android 101: Favoriting (and un-favoriting) contacts

4 years ago

Android 101: How to forward or reply all in gmail

4 years ago

Android 101: Save battery by keeping Wifi alive

4 years ago

Android 101: Force Gmail to always show pictures from a sender

4 years ago

Android 201: Using Labs in Google Maps

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