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How to manage and repair your Android apps

Marco Chiappetta | April 22, 2013
Simple tips to help you manage misbehaving apps and keep your Android device in fighting shape.

The list of Downloaded apps will show all of the apps you've downloaded from the Google Play store, as well as many of the stand-alone apps that your carrier or device manufacturer installed. The Running apps and All apps lists are self-explanatory. At the bottom of the Download and All columns, you'll see the amount of storage space that the app is using; and at the bottom of the Running column, the cumulative amount of memory that all of the apps are using appears.

Tapping an app in the Downloaded or All column will reveal a menu with various options, including choices to force-stop an app (basically, killing it to free up memory), to uninstall it, or to clear cache and app data. If you want to remove an app, simply tap the Uninstall button. If you're trying to rehabilitate an app that's no longer running properly, however, the 'Clear cache' and 'Clear data' buttons may resolve the issues. Tapping the 'Clear cache' button will wipe out any cached data or files associated with the app, and force recaching of fresh copies. Tapping the 'Clear data' button will delete all personal data associated with an app, including login data and high scores for various games. The app should return to its freshly downloaded condition. If an app malfunctions, first tap Clear cache. If that doesn't help, tap Clear data. If that, too, fails to solve the problem, try uninstalling the app (by tapping Uninstall), restarting your device, and reinstalling the app.

Removing and relocating apps and data

As I've mentioned, uninstalling an app is as easy as opening Android's Application Manager, tapping the app in the All apps list, and then tapping Uninstall.

Unfortunately, some apps that the manufacturer preinstalled on your device may be embedded in such a way that you can't uninstall them unless you have root access to the phone or custom firmware.

In lieu of uninstalling apps to free up internal storage space on your device, you can move apps to a MicroSD card.  Newer devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) or Jelly Bean (JB) may not let you install apps on an SD Card, but older versions of Android have the SD Card installation feature built-in.

Before you move any apps, though, be aware that any app that has an associated home-screen widget or that requires access to certain Android system files won't function properly when installed on an SD Card.  If you're unsure about which apps you can safely move, you might want to download an app from the Google Play store called App 2 SD. This simple tool scans the apps installed on your device and lists the ones that you can transfer to SD Card without hazard.

 

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