Troubleshooting Android bugs
ANDROID IS A FANTASTIC OPERATING SYSTEM, BUT ITS NUMEROUS VERSIONS AND THOUSANDS OF HARDWARE VARIATIONS MEAN THAT FRUSTRATING BUGS DO POP UP FROM TIME TO TIME.
MOST OF THESE nasty bugs can be fixed quite easily, but the more stubborn ones can take a little digging to find and rectify the root problem. To help get you started on troubleshooting, we’ve put together a guide to the most common potential issues and how to fix them. We tested with a Nexus 6P running Android 7, so your phone’s menu layouts and options may vary somewhat.
DO THE RESEARCH
Before anything else, try turning your phone off and on again. It might not be a permanent fix, but can often get a stubborn phone working long enough to try some other fixes. For a phone that won’t turn off, press and hold the power button for at least 10 seconds.
Also, take the opportunity to make sure your phone is fully backed up.
While we have covered the key points to get you started on troubleshooting, Google is your friend. Chances are someone else has experienced your same problem or something similar, and information can be found online to help narrow down the cause. Try to be as specific as possible when searching, including specific phone model and make, and Android version. Find the latter under ‘Settings > About phone’.
Your device’s manufacturer or the developer of a specific buggy app can often provide useful support as well. And, of course, make sure everything is up to date, as small hotfixes are rolled out all the time.
Nothing is more frustrating than an app that doesn’t work as intended. Make sure you have the latest version — otherwise, clearing an app’s stored temporary files can often help. Head to ‘Settings > Apps’, then select your problematic app, then ‘Storage > Clear cache’ — this does not affect any personal data or settings. Under the same menu, clearing the App Data will wipe any custom settings and return the app to a fresh state.
If your app is still misbehaving, try fully uninstalling and reinstalling it. If you’re still experiencing problems, many app developers provide great support — get in contact via their links at the bottom their Google Play page.
Having a misbehaving app or process drain your smartphone battery is quite annoying, and also fairly common. It’s usually a bug that
CHANCES ARE SOMEONE ELSE HAS EXPERIENCED YOUR SAME PROBLEM OR SOMETHING SIMILAR, AND INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND ONLINE TO HELP NARROW DOWN THE CAUSE.
is keeping the phone ‘awake’, or keep the GPS on when not needed. Fortunately, it’s easy to spot the culprits — navigate to ‘Settings > Battery’ where the usage is broken down. If it’s a specific app causing the drain, then focus on that. Often unexpected battery drain can be for other reasons, such as poor cellular signal.
For very troublesome apps, there are thirdparty management options that can help force them to sleep and avoid background battery drain, such as Greenify ( goo.gl/weo88).
Some bugs can consume extra resources and cause performance issues, such as lag. Checking the battery drain is a good way to spot errant apps, but using a performance testing app can be helpful at identifying issues. The free app DiscoMark ( goo.gl/rRJU30) can be used to create a baseline performance benchmark for comparisons. Run it a few times to check it gives consistent results, then uninstall any suspect apps and run it again to check for performance difference. Apps such as Facebook can give a small but noticeable performance hit.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections suffer from their own share of bugs, but can be very hard to pinpoint. First, check your Wi-Fi connection or Bluetooth device is working correctly with another phone or tablet, as issues are often external to your device. Sometimes enabling then disabling aeroplane mode can help reset the connections without a reboot. When testing Wi-Fi issues, make sure to have Bluetooth turned off and vice versa. Try swapping Wi-Fi networks or moving closer to the router — especially with dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz setups.
If nothing else works, try telling your device to forget the settings (touch and hold the network entry) for the problem networks, then reconnect.
A software bug that is easily fixed is the best case, but often an underlying problem can be hardware related. It might just be an incompatibility with an app and your specific device, and not a lot can be done to fix it.
Touchscreen issues are often caused by a faulty connection in the phone, or physical damage. While some phones work fine with even a broken screen, others can have entire sections of the touch screen stop working because of hard-to-see tiny chip or crack.
Smartphones will throttle back (and cause performance problems) if too hot, so make sure your device is cool and out of a case when testing.
Charging issues are most often the cable itself or charger, so make sure to try on a known working one. Occasionally, Android can mess up the battery calibration, giving inaccurate percentage readings. Try letting the phone drain until dead, then fully charging it before turning it back on, to recalibrate.
Uninstalling and reinstalling problem apps is best, but it’s also possible to fix some bugs by clearing their cache.
Use Android’s excellent battery monitor to identify problem apps using too much power.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections can be buggy — try telling your phone to forget the connections and set them up again.
DiscoMark is a great benchmark tool that can be used to help compare performance and find apps causing system slowdowns.
Greenify is a handy app that allows you to limit what apps can do in the background, countering certain bugs such as battery drain.
Sometimes the only solution is a full reset — just make sure to back up your data first.