Android Overclocking Explained!

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Many of you probably already running a custom ROM on your Android smartphone or tablet, perhaps even overclocked to 1.8Ghz and unleashing the true power of your Android device.

Well, for those of you who don’t know, what is Android overclocking?

Similar to overclocking CPU on a desktop computer, Android overclocking increases the maximum frequency (or speed) that your CPU can run, thereby increasing performance of your Android smartphone or tablet.

Overclocking Android can have a lot of benefits like being able to run 3D/HD games without lag (if you have an older Android device that lags on newer games) or even make older Android devices run just as fast as newer devices.

Android runs open-source Linux kernels, which makes this possible.

Now is overclocking safe?

Yes, I’ve overclocked all of my 30+ Android devices for the last couple years, I’ve never seen a SINGLE FAILURE of CPU due to overclocking although I have burned up my computer CPU many times.

Mobile CPUs used on Android smartphones and tablets are somewhat safer than computer CPUs as they are designed to fit in small compartments and also possess more safety mechanisms to prevent CPU from burning up easily (otherwise manufacturers would have a headache dealing with burned up CPU returns). Desktop computer CPUs are easy to replace but mobile CPUs are not.

At the worst case scenario, your CPU on an Android device will reboot, not burn in hell.

Also, many people mistaken the fact that when you overclock from 1Ghz to 1.5Ghz, your phone/tablet will be running at the 1.5Ghz all the time. This is not true (unless you’ve set your governor to performance, which is not ideal), your Android device will automatically ramp up CPU power as needed so even if you overclock, you might not be running 1.5Ghz all the time, maybe 10-25% of the time when you are running many apps.

How is my battery life when overclocking?

When you overclock your Android device, your battery life is shortened since overclocking uses more voltage, hence more power from your Android device. My ideal guideline for overclocking is to overclock only 10-20% of your stock frequency. So for 1Ghz stock CPU frequency, overclock to 1.1-1.2Ghz.

Overclocking does use more battery life but if you’ve got a phone with a large battery like the Note 2, it certainly is worth to overclock as your battery will still last more than a day. But on phones with no removable battery or small battery, you may have to test it out and see if overclocking is right for you or perhaps only overclock when plugged into a wall playing HD games.

How do you overclock?

First and foremost, you do need a rooted Android device to get overclocking.

Overclocking requires you to have a custom kernel that supports overclocking OR a custom kernel module that supports overclocking (Tegra Overclock app).

Many custom ROMs actually come with custom kernel that supports overclocking so by installing a custom ROM, you can get overclocking enabled on your Android device.

You can also install a custom kernel that’s compatible with your custom ROM (or stock ROM) that will enable overclocking.

To actually overclock though, you will also have to have an Overclocking app such as SetCPU. On AOSP ROMs, overclocking settings are usually built-in under settings in Performance.

If you have a Samsung device such as Galaxy Note, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, or Galaxy Note 2, you can also use Tegrak Overclock app to overclock your phone/tablet. This app installs a “kernel module” to enable overclocking, it only requires root and a very safe method to overclock.

For Nexus 4, see How to Overclock Nexus 4!

Lastly but not least, do you overclock your Android?

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25 Responses

  1. Jacob says:

    I have a question about over clocking i have this app that has a feature that lets you do so my question is there a function in ics that if you turn on can make it so it controls you cpu speed becyase ever since i went to ics this program hasnt acted the same since i was on Ginger bread im sure the developer probably did something accidentally and didnt notice it

  2. BobbyPhoenix says:

    Nice article. Can you do one for overclocking the GPU too?

  3. TheManOfNY says:

    Max’s lookin forward 4 new review’s, requesting 4 u 2 take a look at the Fuhu Nabi XD. Root has been established, but no custom ROMS, (as of yet.) This tablet is intended for pre-teens, with dual settings for parents. So, as a request; feedback your thoughts about the device, in a upcoming video.
    Your recognition is of a “high” ambition,  leading in  information  for all to learn  and enjoy. (With your lead many will follow, Yes…we’re all highonandroid NOW.) Check out the Nabi Xd, its a good tablet with “high” end spec. (Quad-Core, NFC, 10″ IPS, not bad for a “childrens tablet” )Hey Max’s your review may be the start of a good developers device. (The Nabi Xd is very economical, with good hardware.) And apparently not hard to root at all. Look forward to seeing this review, while staying HighOnAndroid, of course. TheManOfNY/ You can respond to this post via Email.

  4. Douglasfl says:

    Hi, nice video.
    I have a question. Can i do this in jellybam ROM with galaxy S3?

  5. irfan says:

    hey, i have a question can you please tell me what if i install a custom Rom and overclock or Underclock my Galaxy note GT-N7000 but after 1 week or so i returned back to stock Rom because i didn’t liked that so my question is will my phone be over or underclocked even i installed stock Rom or will it come back to the normal state? please reply asap….

  6. kamikazi says:

    my nexus 4 is coming cheer:D (i mean buying it:S aftre my exams end it will end on monday) anyway i got a hd2 coz its old will it stop working if i get hot? or its danger and im using paranoid is there anywya to get it to 1.2? (its 1.1:| i want mroe like 1.2 oe 1.4 1.3:P its not hot!

  7. dog biscuit recipes says:

    A lot of information right here and I’m still a very long way from catching up. Cheers for describing!

  8. sanjay says:

    I have Micromax ninja a50 phone which hv 850 mhz procesor…and 2.3.6 android….
    I want to over clocking it…plz give me some advice can I do this? ???

  9. Mabus says:

    you can overclock using mtk cpu control, its on googplay store. There is no need to root your phone as well.

  10. ushwin says:

    dude can u please tell me how to overclock micromax canvas hd……I don’t find and roms or kernels for it where can I find them…help me

  11. mukesh joshi says:

    hey, i have a question can you please tell me what if i install a custom Rom and overclock or Underclock my Galaxy note GT-
    N7000 but now there is problem with updating the software

  12. Arsenio says:

    Sir
    good day and have a nice morning……

    Writing this mail to inquire if this overclocking can be perform in KATA gadget as I have one and using it now.
    The model is KATA Venus 3 operating system 4.2.2.

    Waiting for your prompt reply regarding this matter.

    Again have a nice day and thanks.

    Respectfully yours
    Arsenio

  13. nani says:

    sir, im using micromax a26 what is the rooting procedure and how to overclock and how to increase ram upto 512mb

  14. ayush says:

    can u plz!! tll me that how to flash another kernel in my android (karbonn A2) which support overclocking and swapping…plz bro hlp me.

  15. rus says:

    yeahhh….“I’ve overclocked all of my 30+ Android devices for the last couple years“ so what, you are changing phone once a month and expecting to see any failures??

  16. adi says:

    sir plz.. plz . help me how can i overclock my micromax a61 plz hel me

  17. Jhonatan Valladares says:

    I wrote you on the video tutorial of overclocking, the big question is, how do I overclock a note 4 exynos 5433?

  18. I should have just known D= says:

    i tried to oveclock my android.It plays videos fast and it beats an unclocked phone that runs on 800 RAM.Also i only added a little on overclocking so my phone is safe.Also I TRIED to overclock my phone with its stock kernel and rom,it works.NOTHING gone wrong. =D

  19. hardtime says:

    can u tell me pls where can i find custom kernel that unlocks overclocking for my htc one mini 2?

  20. aedrian says:

    help me i overclocked my galaxy s3 gt i9300 into a maximum voltage/frequency of gpu and cpu then i ended up like a hard bricked phone now how to fix it

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.