HTC Wildfire Performance: Hints, Tips, and Tricks!

Though it is a brilliant and compact smartphone, HTC did regrettably hinder the Wildfire’s CPU and graphical processing capability. Due to the small 528mhz chip, people have often complained that the eyecandy transitions, default applications, and general experience can be a bit slow, laggy, or unpleasant. I have found this to be the case myself.

Since getting mine late last year I have found a few ways to reduce these problems and better my Wildfire’s overall user experience, as well as increase productivity and gain a few great applications too. Now I would like to share these tips with you! No purchases are needed. Rooting of your phone isn’t needed either.

Some of these performance boost techniques will be unnoticeable on higher-end devices, but do apply to most Android phones.

Replace Some Apps

The apps that come with the Wildfire are not all optimised for speed. Try these apps instead, and see if your performance improves.

Go SMS

The ‘Messages’ application in Android is painfully slow on the Wildfire (in 2.2 anyway). I was used to a Sony Ericsson C902 before I got the Wildfire; that had a weedy and insignificant internal architecture by comparison, yet managed to load up my messages near-instantly, even with a backlog of 2000 messages.

So why is the Messages application so slow? It isn’t just on the Wildfire either; even the Desire has a few lag issues. I haven’t yet had found an answer to this, so I decided to switch SMS applications!

I tried HandcentSMS for a while but didn’t quite take to it, though it was quite a bit faster than the Messages application. I later found GoSMS on one of those random market perusals we all do.

I love and recommend it because it is FAST; very fast indeed! The smooth movement in the scrollbar is what does it for me. GoSMS also brings a few new intuitive features with it, my favourite being the message ‘pop-up’ feature that HandcentSMS also offers. However unlike HandcentSMS, scrolling between messages in the popup and typing into them yields no lag whatsoever! Truly smooth, fast, and effective SMS capabilities at last.

Opera Mobile/Mini

I found the default browser in Android 2.2 was acceptable but slow on rendering, especially when scrolling. After a bit of reading up I found a lot of recommendations for the Opera browser on Android (including one from this very site). After installing it, I was delighted by the loading times, which are considerably faster than the default Internet browser. The same applies to the scrolling, which feels totally seamless — no jerky browsing whatsoever!

You must remember, Opera Mobile is 20MB and offers a few more features than Opera Mini, which is under 5MB.

I have found two downsides to Opera MINI, however, which may or may not upset your experience of it, depending on how you browse. Firstly, clicking links in another application and launching Opera can sometimes lead you back to the last page viewed. This is because if Opera is unused for an extended period of time, Android’s intelligent multitasking kills the process. When Opera is restarted and immediately sent a new web page, it ignores the incoming page link and decides to ‘open previous tabs’. Once it is running again you are fine to reload a link, but this is something I would appreciate seeing fixed. The second niggle is that pinch-to-zoom doesn’t work as you would hope. The gesture does zoom in and out, but only between “Whole Page”, and “Closer”. There is no true dynamic scaling.

Opera Mobile does not have these issues.

Go Launcher EX

HTC Sense comes bundled with the Wildfire, and that is all fine and dandy. However I craved superior smoothness and speed again, since Sense can be awfully jerky at times. In looking for alternative Homescreens I tried LauncherPro, ADWLauncher, and even a few of the really obscure ones. I finally found GoLauncher after following a link from GoSMS’s market page.

GoLauncher is one of the fastest, gracefully-flowing, and simplistic Home Screen replacements there is. Though unfortunately some of the HTC Sense widgets are not compliant with it, I have learned to make do without them. Putting an application link to Wifi Hotspot on my home screen instead of a toggle widget hasn’t hurt me so far. The increase in performance is well worth losing my calendar widget too. A quick tip I will give you, is that if you go into Go Launcher’s settings and reduce the number of home screen panes to 3 or even 2 rather than the default 7, and disable the default effects, it goes like a rocket. Delightful. I really do implore you to give it a Go…

Alex Pascal wrote about Go Launcher EX in some more detail in this article.

Cut Down on Widgets

I know you have probably heard this a dozen times, so sorry for making it a baker’s dozen.

Widgets – Are – A – Memory – Glutton

Of course some Widgets are far better than others with memory management, but overall the more widgets you have, the more background processing and memory allocation takes place. By removing unnecessary Widgets you free up resources on your phone for other applications to use, thereby speeding up their loading and rendering times. People often idly add one more widget to their homescreen every now and then thinking “one more can’t hurt”. Then after a while you realize you are littered with them. Keep only the bare minimum that you truly need.

Turn Off Predictive Text

This is a big one! I found biblical lag when I was typing words into applications with predictive text enabled.

To disable the predictive text, go to Settings > Applications > Language and Keyboard > Touch Input > Text Input. Then untick the Prediction, Spell Correction, and Word Completion boxes.

Okay, I must admit that for some people this would be a lot of support to lose, but try to disable what you feel you can. With them enabled, every time you type a word the processor is trying to work out what the word you are writing might be, or how it should be properly spelt. This sucks up far more processing cycles than you would expect. I tried many different keyboards too to help ease my pain, and I found that disabling predictive for all of them makes inputting text much smoother.

I also found that disabling haptic feedback on keyboard inputs gave me a little extra boost. See how it goes for you.

Watch Background Operations

Some applications can leave processes running on your system without declaring themselves in your notifications pane. You can check if any of your applications are of guilty of this by going to Settings > Applications > Running Services. From here you can tap on the process identities to gain more information about them (such as how much memory they are hogging). If you no longer use an application you find there, get rid of it!

The HTC Sense Eyecandy Helps

I felt very confused when I realised this, and it feels so counter-intuitive. Turning the HTC Sense effects ON in Settings > Display > Animations makes everything appear to run smoother. I have a few suspicions as to why this may be, but nothing conclusive enough to write about as of yet. This is not the same for other home screen as you would expect. Go Launcher Ex for example does slow down quite a bit with the flashy add-ons. HTC Sense is a bizarre exception.

Remove Applications You Don’t Use

Applications that you don’t use…

  • …take up memory that Android could use on other processes — especially if the application uses auto-start or background processes of any level.
  • …leave traces and references in the Android system that increase load times — having to parse a couple extra lines of code when you launch something can make a considerable difference, especially if that code calls upon further processes.
  • …slow down the rendering time of the Application Drawer.

If you don’t need an application, show it the door.

Switch to List Views

Did you notice that scrolling through the HTC Sense Application Drawer was laggy? I definitely did. So I tapped Menu, then clicked ‘List View’. Android finds displaying List entities far less intensive than displaying menu icons, as you may well have noticed with other applications.

Whenever you get the chance to view something in a list structure, do so; the boost is great.

That’s All, Folks!

Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas on how to increase the speed (or at least the apparent speed) of your Wildfire or other low-end Android device. I utilize pretty much all of the tips I have written about, and my Wildfire feels so much better to use than when it was ‘factory-fresh’.

Thanks for reading, leave any questions in the comments area below.


  • carlesba

    How can we avoid running default application from HTC Sense (like Exchange, forecast…)?
    That apps are running even when I change Sense launcher by other (like Go Launcher) and I guess they consume battery and resources.

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      A good question, I shall look into it!

      • http://laurentiubuica.ro Laurentiu Buica

        A very good one. I’m myself interested in it. I hate those default apps like stock, htc peep and facebook sense. They’re so annoying.

        Btw, nice tips&tricks. My wildfire runs smoothly right now.

        • http://technoblogofsorts.com Sam Cater

          Carles – I saw you commented here, did you ever root your Wildfire in the end? Is there a speed increase as some people claim?

          http://androidadvices.com/how-to-flash-cyanogenmod-7-to-htc-wildfire/

          • carlesba

            Well, finally I couldn’t make root because my firmware is too new. I’m waiting for Unrevoked update its app.

          • gaz

            i have Rooted my wildfire and there is a big diffrence in speed on cm7.0.3 after overclocking and on 2.3.3 ,i have 2 wildfire phones one not Rooted and one if there is a defanted diffrence

          • ARUN

            when i switch on my camera….. i take more time to atart…. this is 2 months old cell only…. why it is happening….? how shal i make as normal….? pls reply

  • snap

    I think LauncherPro is still by far the best launcher for the wildfire, its simple much faster and intuitive than the rest.

    The stock sms app is very slow but i still find go sms to be just as slow. I wish i could just use the vanilla android app..

    • http://technoblogofsorts.com Sam Cater

      I shall investigate optimization in LauncherPro. I find Go SMS faster.. curious. Do you know the name of the vanilla sms app?

      • http://technoblogofsorts.com Sam Cater

        LauncherPro is quite fast when you the use the Beta ‘keep in memory’ feature.

        • snap

          It might be jsut me put i find the app drawer on go laucnher to be way too cramped for the wildfires already small screen. I also feel it stutters quite a bit when compared with LaucherPro.

          • snap

            oh and the vanilla sms app for android doesnt have a name as such its just the normal sms app before htc skinned it. You can get it back on the wildfire by installing it yourself from somewhere like the xda developer forums.

          • http://technoblogofsorts.com Sam Cater

            I can agree with that! The AppDrawer was a proper let-down :/

  • Stu

    Great feature, I got my Wildfire a couple of weeks ago (had to get my first one replaced due to the screen dying) and these tips have helped quite a bit, especially the list view for the App draw!

    On a side note, this site is great but desperately needs either a mobile compatible site or an Android app, the site is horrid to read on a phone and the RSS feed just sends to the site too.

    Keep up the great work.

    • http://technoblogofsorts.com Sam Cater

      I will send a note to my editor for you, though I am sure he will pick up on this comment anyway. Mobile site’s are handy, but formatting and content layout can be lost easily. Nevertheless, I will give it a mention. I would agree that a site based entirely upon mobile applications should have a mobile-friendly version.

      Also, thanks!

      • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

        That would be me :)

        Yeah, a few people have brought this up (either a mobile site or an app). I’m looking into it!

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  • Bhasker Raj

    Sam Carter,

    Your tips on HTC Wildfire is very useful and will help users enjoy using this phone.

    I have a question.

    I have HTC Wildfire Mobile and had 2GB SD Card replaced with 16 GB SD Card.

    The available space on SD Card is 14.34 GB

    I get message every time: the space on the Phone Space Storage is low, make space. available.

    How to save files and videos on the SD Card?

    A. S. Bhasker Raj
    Secunderabad
    India

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      As of Android 2.2, large media files default to being saved on the SD Card automatically.

      The message ‘Phone storage space low’ refers to the internal memory, which is quite small on the wildfire. To fix this, install ZDBox, and use the application transfer feature to move your larger applications off the internal memory and onto the SD card. This will free up your internal memory and remove that annoying message.

  • Jenny

    so helpful! I found with my messaging that it mixed up the texts in the conversation and was getting very annoying. I installed go sms and so far its brilliant! thank you :)

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      The default HTC SMS application does this, and I believe a patch will come if they continue to update the Wildfire mk 1′s Android version. Glad you like the application and thanks! :)

  • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

    If you want cutting-edge performance beyond that of GoLauncherEX, install Zeam Launcher. It is a fully functional minimalist home screen replacement.

  • Sanjana Nyapati

    This is insane! I had to reset my phone the other day because of how AWFULLY sluggish my Wildfire had become. Despite my resetting it, a few days later, my phone went back to being slow. These few changes have made such a difference and my Wildfire is so much easier to use now :D I especially love GoSMS, I definitely find that it is infinitely better than Handcent Sms. Hopefully the speed lasts, thank you so much!

    My only continuing issue with my Wildfire as of now is that I still haven’t received a push message for the Froyo update. I’m still running on the Eclair (2.1) and was wondering whether there’s anything I can do about it? I’ve tried looking up downloads for it but have had no success. Any idea where I can manually download the update?

    Thanks again! :)

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Hey Sanjana,

      Sounds like your carrier is being slow with the Froyo update. Who are you with?

      • Sanjana Nyapati

        Hey!

        I know, I’m so frustrated. It’s an Indian service provider, I’m afraid you might not know it. It’s called Airtel!

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      You are most welcome, and thank you! :)

      As for the speed issue, the Wildfire is not limited to 528mhz, strictly speaking. You CAN root it on 2.1!! However HTC locked rooting up in 2.2 so that you can’t. If you don’t care about busting your warranty, you could root your Wildfire and use CPU scaling to squeeze a bit more out. Here is a link to the most popular ROM: Cyanogenmod.

      http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices/htc-wildfire

      Have a look at the rooting articles on this site, or Google like mad if you aren’t familiar with the concept. It is quite serious business. I don’t recommend rooting per se, but if you haven’t got anything to loose, it may be a step towards improvement.

      Thanks again.

      • Sanjana Nyapati

        Well I most certainly don’t really have much to lose, but this rooting stuff definitely is very complicated haha.. I’ll look into it :) thanks so much again!

  • http://forum.xda-developers.com/member.php?u=3203290 bharat

    hey sanjana. I advice u not to update ur phone to official froyo. Because it updates ur hboot and makes it unrootable. Many people including me have done the update in december being unaware of it and are now regretting soo badly for doing that. Unrevoked might be given up on wildfire. And no one can properly tell whether the newer wildfire will be rooted or not even in future. Rooting is a process with which u can heavily customise ur phone and increase its performance. There are a lots of custom roms out for wildfire. Even there are gingerbread custom roms. U will have all the benefits of stock rom on custom roms. In additional u will have several other benefits also. So im sincearly suggesting u not to make the official update. Learning all those things will only take a couple of days.

    So, donot make a mistake like me. U r actually lucky to be told by someone earlier. One thing is sure, “UNROOTABLE WILDFIRE IS A DEAD THING”.

  • vijay krishna

    hey some one guide me about htc wildfire because i am fed up with this phone , it takes time to open cam ,it takes time to open messages , and many more please help me………….

  • sandeep

    thanks for the tips, i wil try n c……….if it works then i wil be thanks ful to u

  • Sreekanth

    Hi, this is sreekanth, two days ago i purchased brand new HTC wildfire mobile. My battery backup is less than a day (i.e., 24 hours). can anyone get me the solution for that.

  • Adi

    Hey sam, thanx buddy :) now my htc wildfire works fine compare to previous…..

  • g

    Thanks for the tips!! The sms is definitely better now :)

  • Akshay

    These tips are very helpful to make ur wildfire soomther…….
    Also to add something to increase the battery life and speed of the device.
    1. Disable auto sync
    2. Decrese the brightness to minimum
    3. Check all the animations
    4. Decrese the display resolution of the phone to 480 (Can only be done by using Launcher Pro) and afterwards you can uninstall it. Also

    Also to increase the speed of the Games on wildfire, while playing a game like angry birds please close ur internet connection. It will make game faster and remove all ads….

    Hope this will help.

    Thanks
    Akshay

  • seshathri

    many applications like facebook google + are getting opened automatically if i close also. How to solve this issue

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      Use a task killer or something similar. Running in the background is a key function of the application and just a ‘comes with it’ problem.

  • Holly.

    hi your advice is amazing! my phones much better but one thing. On the themes how do you get a digital clock widget on? because go weather or whatever is rubbish!?

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      Add a clock widget to the home screen, but scroll through the choices. I think it is the second or third option.

  • yorstex

    How do I delete the default messages application?

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      Impossible without Rooting. HTC lock that down.

  • vipul

    many games on my wildfire work slowly…its annoying …….
    games like
    1 angry birds rio,season
    2 raging thunder
    3 pool master pro
    4 droid pool 3d
    4 burn the rope
    etc..
    please help…..

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      This is unavoidable due to the underpowered graphics chip in the Wildfire. Sorry.

  • DP

    My HTC Wildfile touch pad bacame faulty within five months ?
    Does anybody experienced such unstability of the product ?
    Is there any authentic tip to slowdown the process of ageing of this touch pad ?
    Of course not without using and keeping it just for shakeof having it.

    Also I am experincing the device is tooooo hot to handle…….reaching to nearly 50′C

    Any tip ??

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      I had a similar problem with my HTC overheating. Apparently it’s a common problem with earlier models; you should take it to the store where you bought it (or to HTC themselves) and they will probably replace it for free.

  • prashanthi

    Hi…I am using hrs wildfire s…some time my phone automatic switch off and on…I brought these 3 weeks back only..please help me

  • muw

    htc wildfire default camera app is very slow. is there any solution or any other faster app?

  • sree

    I bought htc wildfire s three weeks back. Now my camera became too slow and songs are not playing properly. Also if iam getting any call, first few seconds screen is not showing anything…… And opening galley also it is taking more time……… Please help me out………..

  • Andy Dandy

    Go Launcher along with “Home Manager” (android app) = much smoother.
    As HM not only helps in changing default home but also restricts other home app to work in background.

    Thanks SAM …..

  • Niall

    Hey, i see you have a good few tips on the wildfire… well i need help, whenever i go on my camera to take a picture the screen keeps tilting itself even when on a straight surface making all of my photos upside down or something, is there anyway to lock the way it takes photos???

  • Nikita

    Thanks, man!!!

  • Rajeev Radhakrishnan

    Thanks alot just did whatever you said! can i delete my default messaging system?

  • Chris – London

    How can I turn off the screen lock, that comes up everytime ?
    Just got the phone – driving me mad !

  • karlie

    Im useing go sms and i set mt setting to what i want. My wallpaper my fonts my font colors you name it i changed it. But for some reason they wont save. Sometimes the settings will stay for a day or maybe just an hour. I havent been able to figure out what is causing this. Please help

  • Jenni

    hey, my htc wildfire has a message saying ‘low on store please make space’ but no matter how many applications, photos and messages I delete the message won’t go away. Now more messages are coming saying that I have no storage so which wont let me do anything thing on it not even delete things. I have tried downloading ZDBox but there is not space for it. what do I do??

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Hey Jenni, have you tried these tips?

  • Matt G

    When I first found this article I was extremely happy because me and my family who also have the phone had been suffering from lots of lagging, faults etc. from the original HTC Wildfire apps and system.

    After following all the steps recommended and using GO Launcher, GO SMS Pro and GO Keyboard for the last 5 days I am in worst off position.

    At first it was running smooth, but as the days went on it became more buggy and faulty. Nearly every time I open my SMS Inbox, there’s a fault with GO SMS Pro.

    On the original home system, I had loads of widgets, syncs, apps running and although it was a bit laggy from time to time it was ok compared to what’s happening now.

    Loading Maps seems to crash GO Launcher EX every time, my phone has been frozen for the last 25 minutes since I last tried to do it.

    I only have 1 home screen dock now, with the task killer and a few shortcuts and it seems my phone is having more errors and problems than ever before.

    I am afraid I’m going to delete these GO Products and just put up with the originals. It’s actually made me appreciate it more now than ever before.

    • doniking

      @Matt: do you still have your wildfire or have it replaced with another phone? i sold mine and still looking for a new one.

  • anil verma

    my htc wildfire is not showing battery ,network signal ..i tried all the things butits not workin ….suggest me??

  • brownyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    very good, helped me out allot. thankss

  • adiya

    hey Sam thanks a lot man …but I m having a small query regarding this phone . u already know about netqiun right .. after scanning my phone for threat I found one virus named payment.exe and It is sending messages twice or thrice by it self to one whom I m messaging to the person.so how shall is get rid of this …?

  • Natasha

    My HTC Wildfire has given me problems since day 1. After a week of having it, a msg would consistanly pop up saying my internal memory was low and to delete caches/delete things before using either my sms, videos, pictures. I couldnt even view any of them! Took it into the store, they did a factory reset, downloaded Ap2SD and Android Assistant in hopes it will resolve the problem. A week later, this time I didnt download a single thing, to prove that it wasnt the fact that I was downloading things to cause this problem. Needless to say, the exact same thing happend! They then proceeded to try other things, with no success, they gave me a brand new phone. 1 month later I am running into the same problem, cant view/send/recieve any sms, mms, I cant even look thru my pictures/videos, which happen to be on my 16gb!! Does anyone have any idea whats going on or what I can do to free up more ROM space?!

  • Dee

    How do you permanently disable the Qwery that gives predicitve texts? I’ve tried everything that was listed but it still shows up. It’s driving me insane. Please Assist!

  • Deepstr

    my biggest problem is internal storage its maxed up now,all movable applications i have moved them to SD CARD but still its not getting any better i have installed APP2SD its not helping either.Any help on this will come handy pls

  • Sanil Kumar

    All apps i studied earlier for months…i have come across better way to transfer apps to sd card by system default : check this out at : http://androidadvices.com/how-to-move-applications-to-sd-card-by-default/

  • http://htcwildfireapps.blogspot.com/ HTC Wildfire Apps

    Go SMS !! Thanks for the app didnt realise it until this post !!

  • x JJSKILLZz x

    Can anyone help me with the fact that every time i download something, it always lags out (I tried this with angry birds, fruit ninja, slice it etc.). plz suggest + help

  • anna

    my phone keeps saying “your phone is low on storage space. Please make some free space before using this application” This happens when im in music and albums. I only have two songs, and 30 pics. Is there something i can do or buy?

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Hey Anna, have you tried this article?

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  • PUSHPA

    my HTC Wilfire was in a bag and with water botle and water gone inside the phone and now my phone is not unlocking no sence with tuching what will i do for this please help.

    Pushpa

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      I have heard that separating the battery cover, the battery, and the actual phone, and putting each of them into a bag of rice IMMEDIATELY can help, as it dries out the moisture… but I’m not sure that that’ll be enough in this case :/

  • Taliah

    Hello. So , recently , my text messages have been coming through without a name & just showing the number. Its annoying the crap out of me. But when I check the contact info , the name pops up & all the other info. I called customer care asking if there was anything they could do but they said no, although I’m pretty convinced there is ;) . If you could help, that’d be great? (:

  • sanidh

    hey people!!

    i just wanted to ask will installing cm7 or by just rooting the device fix the lag bugs of the cellphone?

  • http://i-togodoinkz.blogspot.com/ vince

    we can’t blame htc with the specs..

  • Liam

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for the tips, they helped a lot!

  • Pedro

    Awesome :) I was going to root my wildfire to see if I could get some speed but your tips made it light and smooth like I cant believe xD cheers!

  • kunal

    I overclock wildfire CPU @ 710mhz…

  • pronny

    My htc wildfire taking litrallyyy 2 to 3 mins for sending one sms and also it takes same time for opening one msg… m gonna throw this cel.. cn anyone help me for this problem?

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Have you tried a different messaging app, like Go SMS Pro?

  • http://www.umairsario.info umairsario

    speed is still slow :(( in messaging

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