A behavour as described above in most cases indicates something's messed up in the system. The most likely candidates here are:
- Application Cache
- Dalvik Cache
As you might have guessed already, different solutions are available for rooted devices -- but only few for non-rooted devices, which cannot directly access the Dalvik Cache. So read on below examples until you hit something working for you, or continue to the very end for all options.
rooted and non-rooted devices: Clear the Application Cache
If you're lucky, it's simply that: the Application Cache got filled/messed up. This can be easily resolved, even on non-rooted devices:
- With methods available by default on each Android system:
- From your homescreen, go to Settings → Apps → Manage Apps. Make sure to view All Apps, not Downloaded only
- Walk the list, open each app, and hit the Clear Cache button
- Easier method using helper apps: There are several apps available on the Playstore which allow to clean all application's caches at once, so you don't have to walk a long list and do it manually. One example for such an app is 1Tap Cleaner, which also can clean up several other histories like e.g. the browser history
rooted devices: Clear Application Cache and Dalvik Cache
Even more likely for the described case is a messed-up Dalvik Cache -- especially if you tested a lot of apps, permanently installing/uninstalling different ones. So a cleanup of the Dalvik Cache most certainly will solve the situation. As a side effect, it will certainly speed-up things. No negative side-effects are to be expected.
- Via Custom Recovery
This is the most effective way and sure to really do the job. This example is based on the ClockworkMod Recovery, which is most widely spread. It should be equivalent with AmonRa Recovery.
- Boot into recovery mode (how to do this often depends on the device/ROM used. For CyanogenMod users it's most easy: Long-Press the power button, select "Reboot", select "Recovery")
- Using the Volume controls, select Wipe Cache and approve it using the power button. On the next screen, approve the action the same way. This way you easily clear the Application Cache as described above, all at once, without the need of an extra app.
- Go to the Advanced menu, select to Clear Dalvik Cache the same way with the Volume and Power keys and approve it.
- Go back to the main menu, and select Reboot. The next reboot will take longer as usual, so don't worry: Android needs to rebuild the Dalvik Cache, that's completely normal behaviour.
- Helper apps:
Several apps offer options to cleanup the Dalvik Cache (e.g. SystemCleanup and Titanium Backup PRO Key ★ root). You can try those; but I'm not sure if one of them really "wipes" the Dalvik Cache. At least for Titanium Backup I know it only removes remains from uninstalled apps (i.e. obsolete Dalvik files).
rooted and un-rooted devices last resort: Factory Reset
If none of the above does solve your problem, there's always the Factory Reset. Basically, this does all the above (wiping Application Cache and Dalvik Cache) -- but it also wipes the
/data partition. This means: All your settings and data (except those stored on your sd card) as well as all apps you installed yourself are gone. So be sure to have a good backup before doing this (see e.g. Full Backup of non-rooted devices for how to achieve this).