I don't know how common this is, but I'm still rocking my Nexus 7 tablet that I bought during the week of its release in 2012. I've upgraded my phone since then, and have even gotten plenty of use out of an iPad Air at work. But I think any piece of technology should be able to last you at LEAST three years, so I was a little disappointed when my Nexus 7 became so slow that it was nearly unusable. Doing some research on the internet revealed that this is was not uncommon, and here I have several tips that made my 2012 Nexus 7 perform just as fast as the 2014 iPad Air I use at work.
This was the big one for me! With the amount of free or cheap games and applications I had been accumulating over the years, I had very little space left on the 16 GB of storage the Nexus 7 has. I removed a ton of super large apps until I had around 5 GB of free space and for some reason everything on the tablet started running faster immediately.
Google Currents is horribly inefficient and it is always trying to download feeds. Even worse, it is impossible to completely remove it from Android. I tried uninstalling it anyway in addition to disabling any updating it did from the App Settings. Like Currents, it is also impossible to uninstall Google Newstand and you need to disable any auto-updating it will do in the settings. The last offender for me was the Facebook app, which was always trying to actively download things from the Facebook servers. Since you CAN delete this app, I did. I still use facebook on the Nexus 7 but everything I need to do can be done from the Chrome browser.
Not only does disabling/removing apps like these increase the performance of the tablet, they also have a huge affect on battery life. I used to not be able to keep the tablet turned on for several days of inactivity but that is no longer a problem.
If you've had your Nexus 7 for a long time and have done lots of system updates like I have, you end up with a bunch of useless files in the system cache that unfortunately slow the tablet down. Instead of going through the steps here, I'll supply a link that walks you through how to clear this cache out. Don't be intimidated by the screenshots, this is a very easy procedure and it was the last step that made my tablet run just as fast as it ran when I first bought it!