How To Use SetCPU (for Android)

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Note: Your phone needs to be rooted in order to be able to use this app. As always, back up everything before you make any modifications to your phone. We are not responsible for anything that goes wrong with your phone.

SetCPU for Root Users is an application that allows you to adjust the clock speeds of your android powered phone’s CPU. With SetCPU, you can both overclock and underclock your phone’s processor to either  help increase performance or save battery life.

Here is a quick guide on how to use SetCPU:

1. Download SetCPU: The first and obvious step is to purchase (currently $1.99) and download SetCPU from the Android Market.

2. Grant Superuser Permissions: When you open SetCPU, it will ask you to grant it superuser permissions. This is needed in order to be able to actually use the app.

3. Auto Detect Speeds: After you grant it superuser permissions, you will be taken to a screen where it asks you to either auto detect speeds or show other frequency sets. Select auto detect speeds, but if this option doesn’t work then select show other frequencies and select the phone/processor that most closely matches yours.

4. Set Desired Clock Speeds: You can set both the maximum and minimum clock speeds for your phone’s processor. The maximum speed is the highest frequency your phone will grade the processor up to, while the minimum is the lowest.

Raising the maximum and minimum frequencies will allow you to speed up your device, while lowering them will help save battery life.

You may not be able to overclock the processor past the factory maximum depending on the kernel your phone is using. If this is the case, you have to download and flash a custom kernel that allows overclocking before you can take it past the factory maximum.

5. Scaling: Governors determine how the processor will go back and forth between the minimum and maximum clock speeds that you have set. Some of the popular governors are:

  • Conservative: This governor scales the CPU gradually up to the maximum speed as the demand goes up. This is the clock speed I personally use because it gives you a good balance of performance and battery life.
  • On Demand: This governor is similar to the conservative one, except it goes straight to the maximum speed whenever there is a demand on the processor.
  • Performance: The name says it all, this governor only allows your processor to run at the maximum speed for best performance.
  • Power Saver: This governor runs your CPU at the minimum clock speeds at all times to save battery life.

6. Set on Boot: If you don’t check the “set on boot” box, your phone will go back to the default clocks every time your restart it. But before you select this option, be sure to “test drive” your new clock speeds for at least a day or two.

This is a good idea because if you set an unstable clock speed and your phone starts bugging out, you can just restart it and go back to normal. If you don’t test it thoroughly before selecting set on boot, a simple reset might not fix your problems.

7. Profiles: If you want to tweak things a little bit more, you can set custom profiles. Just go to the “profiles” tab and check the “enable” box. Then press “add profile” and you will be given the option to set custom clock speeds based off of user defined conditions like when the phone is charging, the screen is off, the battery level is below a certain percentage, the temperature is above a certain percentage, and more.

And that’s pretty much it. For more information, visit the developers website.

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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.

  • Val

    Great tutorial, very helpful. I wanted to know the name of the pen you were using in the video (how to use setcpu (android) to navigate through screens in your phone; pretty neat. Thanks!

    • David Rahimi

      I’m not sure what the name of the exact pen I got was, but its called a capacitive stylus.

  • Supermelienl

    What is a stable minimume Mhz for android tablets?
    I got a 1x core 1008mhz (officially) thanks for giving me the answer

    • David Rahimi

      Well, 1000 MHz is definitely going to be stable for you since that is what it came with, however it largely depends on what kind of processor your phone has. Some processors can only be overclocked 200-300 MHz while I’ve seen others overclock an extra 500-600 MHz. Usually, somewhere in between the max clock available and factory clock is somewhat stable (of course, this is depending on the kernel).

  • lala

    what does the userspace mean