How To Guide: Overclocking And Underclocking Your Android Phone
If you have never heard the two terms before, you may be surprised to learn that neither of them has anything to do with clocks.
The two terms, and overclocking specifically, used to be associated mostly with PCs, but there are no reasons why the same idea can not be used on, say, your Android phone.
In simple terms, overclocking is increasing the default speed of your processor (the one “recommended” by the manufacturer) to improve your phone’s performance (for gaming, hefty apps, etc.).
While underclocking – is the reverse process of downgrading your device’s speed – the biggest advantage of that being increased battery life.
“Great – you might think – where do I start?” The thought of upgrading your 800Mhz processor to 1 GHz with just a few steps, certainly seems like a wonderful idea. However, before you go ahead with pressing buttons, it’s wise to consider the risks.
The procedures required to overclock or underclock your phone are virtually the same and can lead to the same complications.
Overclocking (or underclocking) will require going into the guts of your device’s operating system and installing additional software. And if something goes wrong, you could potentially mess up the system or even break your device.
What makes it worse – is the fact that by overclocking your device (as well as rooting it in order to overclock), you are giving up your warranty rights. So if something bad does happen, you will be left with a not functioning device and no way to return it.
Overclocking your phone may also cause battery drain, as by increasing your device’s CPU speed, you will also increase your battery usage. So it is generally recommended to stay within 10-20% of your stock speed.
In turn, underclocking may result in significantly slowing down the speed of your device or even sending it into sleep mode (in which case you will have to reboot)
With all that said, overclocking and underclocking can also breathe new life into your phone and we suggest you try the process on an old device that you were planning to replace. It just may give it more time of better functionality and buy you more time before you shop for an upgrade.
So, how do you overclock/underclock your rusty Android?
First, make sure you have the basics covered:
- your device must be rooted (for more information on rooting, click here)
- back up all your data before proceeding with any feature installations
- your device must have a kernel that supports overclocking and underclocking features
(a kernel is responsible for managing the system’s hardware to best serve the installed applications and is the core of your device’s operating system).
Note, that some ROMs already come with a kernel that supports these features. If this is not your case, you can head over to XDA Developers Forums and look for the right kernel for your device model and the type of operating system you are running.
Once the basics are covered, you will need to get an app that will help you manage your CPU speed. Some of the most popular apps for the purpose are SetCPU or No-Frills CPU.
You can then follow the app’s instructions and set the maximum and minimum CPU speeds. At this stage, hold your horses and fight the desire to max the speed all the way up (or bring it significantly down). You can try making moderate changes first to see how your device responds to them and if you experience and freezing or crashing, you will know you have gone too far.
Here it is. As we have mentioned, it is better if you try overclocking or underclocking on an old device and visit a few forums to see how your specific phone model would react to the changes. Having the power to alter the inner workings of your phone is surely exciting, but such power should not be taken lightly.