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.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ LINDSAY HANDMER ]

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.

MISBEHAVING APPS

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.

BAT­TERY DRAIN

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).

PER­FOR­MANCE LOSSES

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.

CON­NEC­TIV­ITY BLUES

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.

HARD­WARE IS­SUES

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.

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