New to Android; Problems Managing Memory?


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  1. zadillo

    zadillo Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hi all,

    Hope someone can help me out. I've been reading through the forums and trying to learn more about how memory is managed with Android, but I still feel pretty lost. I'm new to the entire Android experience, so I'm going to assume most of the issues I'm having are user error, and hope I can learn how to handle them better.

    I've got a Sprint HTC EVO 4G. I've installed a fair number of apps, but I don't think anything excessive; Yelp, Amazon, Kindle, Layar, RadioTime, myPod, doubleTwist, Twitter, Flixster Movies, Shazam, ESPN Scorecenter, PdaNet, Meebo IM, Gmote, ACV, ShopSavvy, Mint.com, Battery Left. I had initially installed ATK too, but after reading various threads warning against using task killers, I uninstalled it.

    The issue I'm having is that it seems like it is performing pretty sluggishly - most everything I do, it seems like there's a noticeable delay (scrolling, opening up an app, holding the Home button down to switch apps, etc.). The worst behavior I've encountered is that 4 or the last 5 times I've gotten a phone call, when I try to slide down to answer the call, the phone is non-responsive, and by the time I can slide it down it tells me I've missed the call. This is obviously pretty frustrating.

    When I go into the Settings: Applications: Running Services section, I am finding that the Avail memory seems to continually be dwindling. This morning it said:

    Avail: 23MB+0.00B in 41 Other: 0.00B in 4

    When I closed a running service (say, one of the sprint ones that seems to start up on its own), the numbers would jump up to something like this:

    Avail: 23MB+200MB in 41 Other: 59MB in 4

    But if I went back a screen and then viewed running services again, it would be back to:

    Avail: 23MB+0.00B in 42 Other: 0.00B in 4

    So I'm not sure if this is trustworthy or if it even matters.

    The other issue I've had is generally with some apps that seem to be starting up their own services even when I don't want them to - GTalk seems to start by itself, myPod seemed to start all its services by itself, etc. I can't tell if that is part of the issue or not (i.e. when I kill one of those services it temporarily seems to increase from 0.00B to some larger amount, but again, only until I go back to the screen).

    What I'm hoping to get a better understanding of is what, if anything, I'm doing wrong, and how I should be handling this. I hope it isn't the small number of apps I've installed, and assume it isn't given that it seems like people often have many more apps and no issues.

    Thanks!

    -Zadillo
     

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  2. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member

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    Zadillo, since I don't have an EVO (I have an HTC Magic) I can't comment on whether or not this is a specific problem with the EVO, or if it might be a faulty unit, however I can recommend that until/unless you get a better answer you might want to try one of the various App killer apps in the market.

    TasKiller and TaskPanel are the two most common I've seen (I've used both, currently I use TaskPanel).

    These apps let you set a list of apps to ignore (so they run in the BG) and a list of apps to "auto kill" so if they start themselves they will be auto-killed at specific intervals. You can also quickly kill _all_ running apps (except those on your ignore list) with a tap of one button.

    TaskPanel Lite v2.3 Application for Android | Tools

    TasKiller free v3.03 Free Application for Android | Tools
     
  3. zadillo

    zadillo Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks - I guess one reason I've been worried about doing that is that I've gotten conflicting info on whether or not to use task killers. I have seen recommendations to use them, but also fairly long threads warning against using task killers and various dire consequences if you do, rather than leaving it up to Android.

    On a broader note I'm not even sure if that's my problem or not, which is why I'm hoping to get a better sense of whether what I'm seeing is even a problem or not.
     
  4. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the Task killer app threads are kind of like debates on Religion.

    Let me put it this way: I have been using either TasKiller or TaskPanel on my Magic since I got it (1 year now) and nothing "dire" has happened to my phone. So... I take those threads with a grain of salt.

    For me it's only partly about managing memory, more about wanting control over which apps are running. IMO an app should NOT be running unless you want it to be running. ;-)
     
  5. LoyalServant

    LoyalServant Well-Known Member

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    Nobody says that 'dire' things will happen if you use a task killer.
    What people DO say is killing processes can and will cause battery drain.
    You terminate a process, then it has to reload that process which in turn consumes processing power and as a result, battery power.

    Most people don't know what processes to kill which is why it's a bad thing.

    I never kill processes and I get up to 2 days of runtime on my Nexus.
    That is using the phone regularly to send/receive emails, texts, make calls, etc.

    Task killing is bad when you don't know what your doing so it should not be promoted to everyone.

    No processes where harmed in posting this. :p
     
  6. zadillo

    zadillo Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    OK, I think this is my fundamental question right now. When I go to running services, it now says this:

    Avail: 66MB+0.00B in 41 Other: 0.00B in 4

    My question is, is this a bad thing? Or does it not matter? Does it mean I'm running low on memory, and what is the right way to handle this? I don't think I have too many apps installed or even running right now, but I just don't quite know how to interpret this.
     
  7. ewingr

    ewingr Well-Known Member

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    Just a comment: This is a confusing topic. I have read multiple time, including reading the docs for development for Android, that Android automatically handles memory management, and you don't need to close them. While they show open, I guess it is supposed to release memory of a process if it is not 'processing'. Of course, I would think it would have to retain something to keep track of that open app.

    But then I've read about people who have much better performance when they do close apps. I don't know if it is a placebo or fact.

    A bit confusing. Never know who/what to believe.

    [EDOT]
    By the way, I don't even own an Android yet, so I can't help much. Only based on a lot of reading I've been doing.

    I do wonder if you have an app that has a memory leak.
     
  8. zadillo

    zadillo Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    OK, I'm going to give TaskPanel a try, and try and be cautious with what I put on the autokill list and what I put on the ignore list. I think this might go a long way.
     
  9. Vehtemas

    Vehtemas Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, you may want to call Verizon and ask them.

    I haven't run a task killer on my Motorola Droid for months now and never once had issues.

    I do use Spare Parts which tells me what programs are running when the screen is off so I can see battery hogs and also if my phone needs a reboot.

    Sometimes (usually once every week or two) the phone just has a few programs that run rogue and require a reboot, but they are few and far between and don't cause me any grief in general...
     
  10. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member

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    Well, that's the great thing with android, you can install it and try it, and if it doesn't work for you, uninstall it.

    It seems there are three main areas of argument regarding task managers:

    1. Memory Management
    2. Battery Management
    3. App Control

    My Magic will last about 1.5 to 2 days depending on how I use it, and I use a task manger. I have it set to autokill many apps that auto-launch. i also keep WiFi off until i need it, and I don't have a data plan at the moment.

    1. Memory Management: Yes, technically Android is set up to release the mem you need when you launch another app. That's not my concern when using Android with Mem, rather it's how the phone in general can get sluggish the more mem is being used by apps in the BG. On my Magic it isn't too bad, I seldom get below about 50 or 60 MB. On my wife's Dream, however, it can become murderously sluggish! Swiping from screen to screen lags, and it sometimes takes time for the screen to refresh/rebuild itself. I've even seen widgets render over each other while trying to swipe from one screen to the next. Her phone gets down to about 20 MB of Mem. She needs to kill apps just to make her phone usable.

    2. Battery management: I can't comment on what has been said about killing apps hurting battery life, I haven't read the evidence. What I can say is that I am happy with my battery life, so it's not a concern for me. That doesn't me that it should be a concern for others, their experiences may be valid.

    3. App control: I don't like apps running in the BG without my permission, especially when I'm online. Call me paranoid, but I don't want an app running unless I launched it.

    As for the OP's question: The best option would be the scientific approach.

    1. Install a task manager and test. See if there is a difference.

    2. Try a competing task manager and test again.

    3. Find a user with the same phone (ideally more than one other user) and test.

    If the phone demonstrates the same memory issue regardless of steps taken, go back to the store and tell them it's faulty, ask for an exchange. Then see if the problem continues on a new phone.
     
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  11. ewingr

    ewingr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that detailed analysis.

    After posting earlier here, I read another thread where someone said that the apps you see open are not themselves taking up memory, tht it is just a graphic we see in that list.

    It is interesting how some people have problems and some don't. I'm sure it depends on what applications a person uses.

    I also presume that some issues happen due to some apps that have a memory leak. Some have surmised there was a leak based on not loading any new apps, but finding less and less memory as time goes on.

    In the very small amount of reading I've done on developing in Android, I didn't see anything about memory allocation specifically, only about the auto-handling of memory by Android. I'd think that if there are memory leaks, then either there must be some memory allocation done badly by a developer, or the OS in fact has a bug that allows that.

    Sorry...just thinking on paper here.

    I'm anxious to be doing my onwn exploring on a new Captivate.
     
  12. onetondon

    onetondon New Member

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    Seems like the Android system has some issues with handling of its phone memory because there are also times when the phone memory of my HTC Legend goes wonky, changing from one to another without me doing anything.

    Also, what about when after you uninstall a program, the phone memory does not go back up? It's happened to me a lot of times and I can't explain it.

    Someone help please.
     

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