How to Overclock your Android Phone!

Regardless of the specifications of your phone, you can always find some use for that extra juice, anything you can squeeze out of your device will help. With these simple hints and tips, you could gain up to 30% more processing power than you currently have, allowing you to play games with even less lag and watch videos without so much as a buffer.

How to Overclock your Android Phone!

Before we begin it’s important to note that overclocking your device does have some risks after all the manufacturer has set the CPU the way they have for a reason, your device can get extra hot, or even break all together (rare, but possible), it will also drain additional power lowering your battery life, so we suggest a trial and error period where you incrementally increase the CPU clock speed, testing the stability of your device before moving to the next clock speed.

With this in mind, let’s begin. Mwaha-haha-haha-haaa (evil scientist laugh).

First, off the bat, you’ll need to root your device and install a custom kernel, easy right? Ensure you record your device model and Android version in your settings > about. Once you’ve done this, head over to XDA developers to search for a suitable kernel candidate for your device, what you should be looking for in a kernel is support for overclocking, compatible with your device model, that it works on your current version of Android and has a decent enough following to suggest it’s relatively stable.

  1. Backup your Android data, a quick guide on how to do this can be found here, it’s a guide on how to move from one android device to another, but the concepts are the same.
  2. Once you’ve chosen the kernel you want to use, download it onto your Android. You can also download the kernel to your computer and copy the zip file to the root directory of your phone if you prefer, but it’s just as easy to just do it on your phone through recovery.
  3. Turn off your phone and enter fastboot. This is usually achieved by pressing Power and Volume Down but some manufacturers have a different button combination.
  4. On the fastboot screen, use the volume buttons to highlight Recovery mode and press the power button to select it.
  5. You will now enter your custom recovery. I suggest using TWRP.
  6. Tap the Install button (or ‘Install zip’ in CWM recovery) and navigate to the location where you saved the kernel zip file.
  7. Flash the kernel zip file and wait for a success message. Some kernels (like Elemental X in our example) will run you through a series of screens like the Install Wizard on your computer. Some kernels will allow you to set the CPU clock speed during installation. You can make changes then and there or later through the CPU manager app you installed.
  8. Wipe the cache once the kernel has been flashed successfully.
  9. Go to the Advanced settings in recovery and tap ‘Fix Permissions’.
  10. Reboot your system.

If you didn’t change the CPU settings during installation of your custom kernel you can now launch your CPU manager or kernel app. If you haven’t already installed compatible software for your kernel you’ll need to find an app in the Play Store.

There are plenty that works well, but I’m using a free app called Kernel Adiutor. You’ll need to grant your kernel app root permission and you might be required to install BusyBox as well (which will also require root privileges).

Look for the settings that control CPU clock speed. Depending on the app you’re using, you can choose a max CPU speed from a drop-down menu or use a slider. Remember, take it slowly and try each clock speed out for a while to see how it affects stability, battery life and heat. Start at around 10 percent more than your current clock speed and work your way upwards.

Don’t be surprised if your CPU speed doesn’t instantly jump up to that new setting. What you’re doing when you overclock is changing the CPU’s maximum speed, so it will be able to deliver higher performance when necessary.

While you can also change the minimum clock speed, that just puts unnecessary strain on your processor and battery. After all, there’s no need to be maxing out your CPU just to read emails.

If you encounter any instability with your new settings just go back and drop your max clock speed a little and see how you go.

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