If your Nexus or Pixel device is starting to lockup, freeze, lag, or randomly reboot and you’re running Android 8.1 Oreo, we have a few remedies to try before getting in contact with Google customer service.
We’ve heard about widespread Bluetooth issues, battery drain, and problems with various first and third-party applications. We’ve also seen users complain about various performance issues.
Performance problems like random reboots, freezes, and UI lag are extremely common Android problems. They popup after every Android release. Fortunately, Nexus and Pixel users should be able to avoid having to send the device in for repair or a replacement.
You should be able to fix your Android 8.0 Oreo or Android 8.1 performance issues from your home or office. Often times, these issues can be fixed in a matter of minutes.
This guide outlines some potential fixes for poor Android Oreo performance on Nexus and Pixel phones and tablets. If you’re struggling, try one of these before contacting Google or throwing your device against the wall in frustration.
Restart Your Device
If you start noticing performance problems on your Pixel or Nexus, the first thing you should do is restart your phone or tablet. Hold down the power button, power it down, wait a few seconds, and power it back on. If you haven’t restarted your device in awhile this could work wonders.
Cleanup Your Device’s Storage
If you’ve owned your Pixel or Nexus for awhile there’s a very good chance you’ve accumulated a bunch of files you no longer need. Your list probably includes apps you no longer use, screenshots you no longer need, and various other files buried in your device’s storage. Getting rid of this clutter could provide you with some nice improvements to your device’s performance.
Android Oreo makes it easy to see exactly what’s taking up space on your device’s internal hard drive. Head into your Settings and tap on Storage. There, you’ll get a nice read out showing the amount of space reserved for Photos, Music, Games, and so on.
If you don’t want to go through everything manually you can tap on the Free Up Space button located right below the storage tally on the Storage page. Android will put some items on the chopping block for you. For instance, if you haven’t used an app in a long time, it’ll recommend you delete it.
If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to turn Smart Storage on. With Smart Storage toggled on, your device will automatically remove photos and videos after 30, 60, or 90 days.
Reset Your Network Settings
If you’re seeing slow downloads on the internet or in apps, we recommend resetting your network settings.
To do this, go to your Settings, System and then Reset. At the top you’ll notice Network settings reset. Tap that. Before you tap Reset Settings note that this will cause your device to forget Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections so make sure you have your Wi-Fi passwords handy.
Tap Reset Settings at the bottom of your screen.
Update Your Apps
If you’re dealing with poor app performance, it might be a good idea to check the Google Play Store for updates.
Developers are constantly rolling out new versions of their apps and we expect to see a flurry of support updates now that Android 8.1 Oreo is out.
Before you blindly install an update make sure you read reviews from other Android 8.1 Oreo users. While some app updates will fix issues brought on by the new operating system, some could make things worse.
Force Background Limits
Google’s Android Oreo update comes with a handy new feature that allows you to limit what apps are doing in the background. Apps like Facebook often run aggressively in the background and that can strain your device’s CPU.
If an app supports Oreo, this function will be on automatically. If an app doesn’t support Oreo, you’ll need to force this feature on your own.
To get this done head into your Settings and into Battery and then tap on an app. If an app doesn’t support Android Oreo yet, you should see a Background activity toggle under Manage battery usage. Toggle it off. This will prevent an app from running in the background.
Remember, this will limit what the app can do. For instance you won’t get notifications. A small price to pay for improving poor performance.
Clear Cached Data
Most cached data is good but we recommend clearing it out for apps you don’t use. It’s taking up space and freeing up space can improve your device’s performance.
Google’s removed the ability to clear the cache all at once in Android Oreo. This means you’ll need to go app-by-app.
In order to clear the cache of an individual app you’ll want to head into Settings and Apps & Notifications. Select App info and you’ll get a list of all of the apps installed and disabled on your Nexus or Pixel.
Again, we recommend going through the apps you rarely or never use. Find those and tap on the name. Once you’re in, select the Storage tab. You should now see two tabs, Clear Data and Clear Cache. Tap Clear Cache to clear the app’s cache.
Again, you can also use the Free Up Space feature in Storage to quickly delete data you no longer need.
Turn Off Auto-update for Apps
Automatic app downloads are extremely useful if you have a difficult time staying on top of app updates. If you have a ton of apps on your phone or tablet, it can be difficult.
Android’s Auto-update feature can be handy but can also make your device’s internals work and lead to poor performance or weird battery drain.
If you’re fine manually updating your apps, at least temporarily, try disabling the Auto-update feature on your Pixel or Nexus device.
To do this, tap on the Play Store. Once there, head to your Google Play Store settings. Now, select Auto-update apps. Toggle the first option, Do not auto-update apps on.
Limit Your Animations
If you’re willing to enable Developer Options on your Nexus or Pixel, you could fix some of your performance issues in just a few seconds.
If you want to try this, head into your device’s Settings and then head into System. From there, go to the About section and continually tap on Build number update it prompts you to become a “developer.” Agree and head back to the System section.
There, you’ll notice a new Developer options section that allows you to change a lot of settings. If you’re not a power user you’ll want to avoid messing around with these because they could cause major problems.
Scroll all the way down the page until you find the Drawing section and Windows animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. Go into each one and set the animation to off.
If you decide you want to turn these animations back on you can go back into your Developer options and toggle them back on in seconds.
Downgrade to Android Nougat
If none of these tips work for you and you don’t mind dropping back to Android Nougat, you can try downgrading.
Downgrading to an older version of Android can be time consuming, particularly the first time. If you’re unfamiliar with the downgrade process, or you simply need to refresh your memory, take a look at this walkthrough from the Nexus Help Forums.
If that doesn’t work, you can try factory resetting your phone or tablet.
Factory resetting a Pixel or Nexus will restore the device to its factory defaults and wipe everything stored on it. So, if you do choose to go this route, make sure you backup important files before you begin the process.
If you want to factory reset your Nexus or Pixel, set aside some quiet time and head to Google’s website for a simple, but detailed, walkthrough.
May Nexus 5X Android 8.1 Oreo Impressions
Before we get into an early look at the May update's performance on the Nexus 5X, a few notes about the installation process.
If you're currently running the Android 8.1, and we assume most of you are, it shouldn't take you too long to transition from an older Android 8.1 build to this one. It took us just a few minutes to download and sideload the software onto our Nexus 5X.
We've been using the May Android 8.1 Oreo on the Nexus 5X for a short time and the update seems to be performing well in key areas including battery life, connectivity, and UI speed.
Battery drain is a common Android problem, but we haven't noticed anything on our Nexus 5X. Battery life is about the same as it was on the last build. If you do start to encounter battery life issues, take a look at our guide to fixing bad Android Oreo battery life.
We've been able to connect the Nexus 5X to multiple routers including eero mesh Wi-Fi. Speeds are fast and reliable. We've also successfully connected the Nexus 5X to several Bluetooth devices including headphones and speakers.
The Nexus 5X in our possession feels fast with the new Android 8.1 build on board. It's still early, but animations and transitions are smooth and we haven't experienced any lag or general sluggishness.
The May update is stable on our device. That said, if you're feeling leery, you should think about waiting for long-term feedback about the new build to emerge.