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Android How-To: General Care & Maintenance

How do Android updates work? What do you do if you run out of space? How do you maintain the device physically? Android by Google, is now the number one portable electronics operating system. At WorldStart, we always keep our readers updated on the latest and most popular tech, so we’ll be doing a multi-week series on how to use Android. If you don’t own an Android device yet, it’s still worth reading. Google gives away the source code to Android. That means it’s showing up on more devices every day.

Part 10: General Care & Maintenance

Android devices require some unique care and maintenance tips to make sure they stay in optimal condition and perform at peak ability. The physical maintenance of an Android device is pretty simple and doesn’t require too many tools. 

You’ll want to stock your Android cleaning with these items:

The microfiber cloth and canned air are going to do most of the work for you. Use the canned air to spray off any loose debris and particles that may be on the device or have gotten into the ports. Short pulses of air work best to dislodge anything. After you’ve sprayed it down, wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Most microfiber cloths are machine washable, so you can wash them when they get too dirty.

When you’ve got a bit of dirt lodged on the device or screen, it’s time to use the cleaning solution. Make sure to use only a monitor or eyeglass cleaning solution, as other solutions may damage the device. Spray a small section of the microfiber cloth lightly with the solution and wipe the affected area off. Use the dry area of the microfiber cloth to remove any remaining solution.

Updating the internal software and apps is the other critical step to maintaining your Android device. Updating Apps is simple: Tap on the Google Play Store from the Apps list, then tap on My Apps icon (The down arrow with a line under it). You will see a list of installed apps with options to either update all apps or you can choose to update individual apps.  Select the All tab to see a list of all the applications purchased from your Google Play account or to re-download an App you’ve already paid for.

 Updates to the core Android operating system are handled differently. Due to the Android operating system being customized and set up differently to run on each device, the device manufacturer must build and release updates for each device. This means that most Android devices will not be updated unless the manufacturer feels there is a bug or reason to update the product. You can check to see if there is an update available by tapping on Settings, then tapping , then choosing System update.

In the System update screen, you’ll see options to enable automatic checking for updates and to choose Wi-Fi as the only network used to perform this check. It’s a good idea to make sure both options are checked, as update checks for the Android operating system can use up a lot of bandwidth if your device has a 3g/4g connection. You can select the frequency of the update check or perform a manual check by tapping Check now.

The final bit of maintenance you should do with your tablet involves your battery. This is a topic of great confusion since battery technology has changed over the years, but let’s be clear: do not discharge your battery fully to reset it. Modern batteries in Android devices do not have a memory effect and you can even damage your battery by running it completely down or keeping it at very low levels for long periods of time. A good practice is to plug your device in each night and use a quality surge protector.


P.S. Don’t be sad if your Android device does not receive an update to the latest Android operating system. The device still does everything it did when you bought it and device manufacturers need to decide if resources are better spent supporting legacy devices or coming up with new ones. If you want a device with promised updates, look into the Google  Nexus series which runs stock Android and is updated by Google directly.