Doing searches from the Google Search app can be strangely slow on many devices, but the cause isn't obvious. The community might have figured it out, though. If you're sick of watching the Google Search app chug along on Android, this might fix you right up.

2013-06-26 08.22.31

The cause is alleged to be the Search Applications Provider in Android, which returns a list of installed apps on the device to build suggestions. To take care of the issue, you have to disable that app. Go into your settings to Apps > All > Search Applications Provider. Disable the app, and you're done.

The Search Applications Provider might simply be poorly optimized. A bug has been submitted to the issue tracker, but JBQ (the manager of AOSP) is currently unconvinced it's an AOSP issue. There is a thread on Reddit with tons of users reporting success with this, but that doesn't prove anything. It could still be some sort of placebo-fuelled mass delusion. However, it seems to work for us. Some people are reporting problems with searches after attempting this, so definitely proceed at your own risk.

[Reddit, Android Issue Tracker]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • yl

    my google search app works great on wifi or 4g but doesn't work on 3g or lower networks. any idea what maybe causing this? will this fix my issue?

    • http://kennydude.me/ Joe Simpson

      If it's a network issue, this really shouldn't have any effect.

      Contact your network operator

    • Matthew Fleisher

      3g is slower than 4g...

    • yankeesusa

      You probably have sprint. Sprint sucks at 3g speeds with google now. On my note 2 with sprint google now only works on wifi and 4g or in an area that has good 3g coverage which is 1 in 25! If by end of year this continues to occur I will just leave my phone on roaming with verizon prl and just wait to see what sprint does. I'm tired of having one of the latest phones and not being able to use due to slow data.

  • SlenderSniper

    "First, go into the Google Sear/Now app"

    I think you made a spelling error. @Ryan Whitwam

  • Matthew Fleisher

    Hmm, I don't have a Google Sear (or search) app on my phone. My Dolphin browser works fine.

    • IrishSid

      lol XD

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I can't be 100 percent sure but I think the slowdown affects people who have Google Search/Now, which probably means Android 4.1 and up.

      • Matthew Fleisher

        I uninstalled the app because it was redundant and useless to me.

        • Mr E

          Aside from when it's updated (or more specifically, when AP reports about new cards), Now is usually disabled on my phone due to it using up so much extra battery life.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    As I said on Reddit and the bug tracker, this is a real issue and a real solution.

    Having such a basic thing essentially broken for a ton of people is bad for Android as a whole, as it makes Google Search look bad and frustrates the hell out of me.

    I also believe it's an AOSP issue, contrary to what jbq has said, but we'll see if I'm in the minority.

    • IrishSid

      I think you're being a little dramatic there atrem.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I don't think I am exaggerating or being overly dramatic. It's an incredibly frustrating issue that affects many.

      • Mr E

        To be fair, one would expect excellent search functionality from a *Google* phone.

        • IrishSid

          I misspoke. I thought it was all android phones. It's been pretty instant on any galaxy phones I've had, so I was under the impression this was to shave a few milliseconds off.

    • mike dunham

      Seems to improve the search on my Galaxy Nexus which would take roughly 30 seconds to return any results, its now down to about 5 seconds

      • IrishSid

        Oh really? I never realised it was up to 30 seconds :/
        It's always been instant on the note 2 and below.

        • mike dunham

          Some of us are still using older phones that are not as powerful as the Note 2

          • IrishSid

            "Note 2 and below"
            Stay pleb.

      • Darren Henderson

        I just tried this on my GNEX as well. Running CM 10.1.0 with Franco incase anyone considers that important for this bug. It had gotten to the point where Google Now was unusable. It was much faster to open up Dolphin and search there. After disabling and force stop, my Google Now is spinning like a top. I can finally ask random stupid things like "how far away is the moon" and get a response in 1-2 seconds.

        • Royal2000H

          What if you do the other suggestion in the comments, "go to 'phone search' options and uncheck 'Apps'"? Do you get similar results (if you re-enable the Search Applications Provider app first)

  • Mahesh

    Hoo this worked .. This worked :) Finally... I can use voice search

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I couldn't believe it worked either, but it really does. And the fix actually makes sense.

  • Mr E

    Am I the only one who almost never uses the Search (or Sear ;)) app? I do all my searching through the browser unless I happen to be playing around with Google Now [every few weeks/months].

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I use Voice searching a lot from the widget, for things like directions and navigation, for example. Or to find things and have Google Search speak the result back to me.

      I used to never use this Search app, but that changed very quickly after the Jelly Bean update.

    • Hans Pedersen

      I used the search app a lot back in the days of 2.x, simply because it was a really simple and fast way to find and start apps. The Now app just added a lot of fancy annoying animations which just made the app too slow to use. Thankfully there is the folder alternative where I can stack the most used apps into one of the static shortcuts in the bottom.

    • impulse101

      yep, you are. I use it about 40 times a day

  • Peacen1k

    I'm running 4.1.2 and never have this problem. All my searches have near-instant results. Maybe because I disabled Google Now?

    • sixtyfour

      I saw the same before enabling Now. With Now and disabling all "phone search" items, searches return quickly.

  • jamaall

    Didn't fix mine. Tempted to uninstall updates, though that would get rid of some cards.

    • Kyle

      This surprisingly works for me. However you're right, we would lose a lot of the new card functionality. But if you're looking to speed up your searches instead of firing up the browser then let's do it!

  • markgbe

    You could also go to 'phone search' options and uncheck 'Apps', and whatever else you dont need. tends to speed things up.

    • sixtyfour

      I did this when configuring Google Now and saw significant improvements in search results speeds. Does disabling "Search Applications Provider" do the same thing? If so, this is more of a hack than a best practice.

      • ProductFRED

        Disabling it blocks it from searching for the apps, but it will still attempt to. Actually unchecking it from the Google search settings will stop it from searching through your installed apps in the first place.

        TL;DR: Yes, but this method kind of a dirty hack.

        • jazzruby

          Does this affect apps like Music? e.g. 'Google', 'Listen to Audioslave'

          • James Sarino

            I tried markgbe's suggestion (go to Google Now settings under Phone Search, uncheck "Apps") and I was able to pull up Audioslave (via Apollo app) on the results. I tried I also tried disabling the Search Applications Provider app, and in my case, it made searches slower.

          • David

            Marks suggestion fixed me up beautifully!

    • ProvoAggie

      Thanks. I tried the recommended suggestion above and it didn't help at all. I re-enabled it, went into Phone Search and unchecked a bunch of apps and it's much faster now.

    • PabloBablo

      I am the reddit user who discovered the fix. This was intended for those who already manually unchecked all the apps and still had sluggish results. I noticed an improvement after already having unchecked all of the apps under phone search, and that was noted in the original post.

    • Brandon Watkins

      Thanks that helped a lot! disabling just messed up my search and it keeps thinking music is playing in the background. everything seems to work still, music, ect .

    • David

      That worked awesome! Thank you. Get my results instantly now.

    • Mattgb

      Yep, this worked. Thanks!

  • Jake

    I have this problem on both my Verizon Galaxy Nexus and my Nexus 7, but running 4.2.2. Disabling the Search Applications Provider app certainly cut the waiting time, but searches still take a good 8 - 9 seconds. The only things that made search near instantaneous, as it used to be, was to a) uninstall most user apps and disable a bunch of system apps, or b) to boot into safe mode, or c) to uninstall updates to Google Search and go back to an older version (2 or three updates ago) that worked well. . Neither of those are reasonable options. Even when I uncheck all of the apps from the "Phone Search" or "Tablet Search" setting within the Google Search app, it's slow. Oh, and by the way, this slow-down only happens on the first search (or voice action) that I perform right after launching Search. If I do another search without backing out completely, they are all instantaneous. However, if I exit Search, then go back into it, the initial search is slow again.

  • Nathan Borup

    Thank you thank you thank you! i thought my razr maxx was just really screwed up...

  • Ken

    Way faster now ! Thanks!

  • Benjamin Pavel

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this.
    My searches also took from 8 seconds but now they are instant or just take a second and even Google Now opens more quickly.

  • Zach Mauch

    So is this fixing the issue with Voice search not working while on Bluetooth? It works fine for me at other times, but while on bluetooth headset it stays on "initializing"

    • Matthew Fry

      I seriously doubt it.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    It seems to just be a placebo effect as I don't see any noticeable improvement on my Note 2.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's not placebo.

      • sixtyfour

        Maybe not a placebo, but it might be a sloppy hack. Have you tried disabling app search from Google Now settings? I tried both and the effect appears to be the same.

  • Typongtv

    Thanx for sharing this one with us .... very noticeable improvement.

  • NoBullet

    How do you re-enable it, just in case? I don't see a way to do that.

    • Jake

      Go to the main Android Settings>Apps, swipe across to the "All" tab, scroll all the way to the bottom of the list (all disabled apps go to the bottom of the list). Tap on the app and you'll see the same screen shot at the top of this article, but the button on the right will say "enable" instead of "disable".

      • NoBullet

        Ah cool, thanks.

  • http://blog.k12.com/ Scott Holm

    Worked for me. I never seemed to have an issue with search speed on 3G or LTE but on my home WiFi it takes forever. Disabled this app and searches go right through now, thanks!

  • Seth Merritt

    New update seems to have helped

  • BBpost

    I disabled Phone Search (re: apps, movies, books) and ended up with the same result

  • nsnsmj

    This didn't work for me, unfortunately. Maybe it's because I'm still using this old Nexus S. Thanks though!

  • Sean Donovan

    this. it used to take me a min or two searching with google now and its immediate now

  • gehrig_Bradenton

    Worked for me, not a placebo. Way faster Now searches.

  • ashclepdia

    Why not just go into search settings and turn off the apps search?

    Unless for some reason this app is just causing lag somehow

  • master94

    google Now is so slow on my Razr

  • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

    Galaxy Nexus here, I first tried the phone search options and didn't see a large improvement. Disabled the setting and now its nice and quick again.

  • Dave

    I would not do this because i will lose the ability to search in apps and i have 400+ apps and often need to search.

  • Adam B

    I use Simple search widget (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.j4velin.searchwidget) for some months now. It does a great job.

  • David

    After reading the warning and the comments, I decided to go the route of markgbe,
    (go to Google Now settings under Phone Search, uncheck "Apps").. and my google now searches are blazing quick on my GNex!

    • Justin Wilson

      I did the original fix and it solved the lagging search on My Nexus 7. However since then it is updated to 4.3 JB and the search went back to taking forever. Tried to replicate the fix and "Search Applications Provider" doesn't exist anymore. So I did Davids alternative fix (except it is labeled "Tablet Search" instead of "Phone Search") and unchecked everything I didn't care the Google Search app to search for on my tablet and that fixed the problem now search is blaze fast again.

  • JerryDarkHorse

    Is it just me or has the latest Google Search update removed the Search Applications Provider? If so it seems Google has fixed this issue as the search is much quicker.

  • VitebMobileApps

    I got the perfect information on how to fix the google searches from your article. Thanks so much for your helpful article. It has resolved my problem.

  • haqnawaz Aziz

    Works well on WiFi mode,not 3g.

  • Mikey Key

    I went to search application provider, an tapped it. The only thing it would let me do is force stop it. Where it normally says uninstall it says cancel, an I tap it nothing happens.