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How do I get my phone to cache more in the background?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by aysiu, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. aysiu

    aysiu Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    This problem doesn't seem to be specific to one app, one phone (before the Galaxy Nexus, I had the HTC Glacier and the the HTC Magic), or one Android version (I've used 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.0, and 4.1).

    The main problem I'm having is that I want more stuff cached in the background. Here are some examples.

    Example 1
    In the Google Reader app, I have checked a box next to Synchronize feeds: Download frequently viewed feeds every hour for offline access. And yet when I go to look at my feeds, it still has to take time to load them if I have a slow or no network connection. Shouldn't it just check every hour and then when I want to view the feeds, they're cached offline and can be displayed instantly?

    Example 2
    In just about every web browser I've tried (except Opera Mobile, which I'm using now mainly for this very reason), if I open up a bunch of tabs in the background, the pages will download in the background, but then when I go to look at another tab, it'll want to reload the page. If I happened to have a strong network connection when the page was originally loaded and a weak one when I'm trying to look at it again, it'll still try to reload the tab. More importantly (even if you assume tab loading doesn't happen in the background), if I view a loaded tab, go to another tab, and then return to the original tab, which I know had previously loaded, the non-Opera web browser will still attempt to reload the tab. Shouldn't that page be cached? Shouldn't it try to reload only if there's a strong network connection? Or, better yet, only if it's been a few hours and the content might have changed?

    Example 3
    In the Facebook app, there's a setting that says Refresh interval 2 hours. Supposedly every two hours, it's polling the Facebook servers and pulling down my feeds, most of which are text, though some pictures are in there, too. Yet if I go into the Facebook app, the first thing I see are not cached feeds but a blank white screen with text in the middle that says Loading.... What's there to load? You should have loaded that two hours ago. And then if I pull down at the top, then you can try to refresh with new feed information.

    I can put in examples 4, 5, 6, etc. if you really want to know. I think you get the drift, though. Background downloading doesn't appear to actually stay downloaded. How do I get my cache bigger... or actually used?

    Why does this matter to me?
    I don't do a ton of streaming video, so I'm not at all worried about hitting my data limits, which are pretty low anyway (I paid for 5 GB a month, and Verizon upgraded me to 10 GB for no extra charge as some promotion). I want things to download in the background. I spend a significant chunk of my day commuting on a train to and from work. The train ride is long and the signal patchy--sometimes very strong, sometimes weak, sometimes not there at all. What I'd like to do is have a bunch of stuff loaded offline (RSS feeds, web pages, Facebook statuses and pictures, etc.) to instantly view, whether I have a connection or not.

    If anyone has suggestions for how to make this work, I'd be very appreciative. My phone is rooted, so if some custom rom mod does this, I can flash the mod. And if there is no solution, even just someone commiserating with me would probably help. Very frustrating!
     

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  2. Demache

    Demache Android Expert

    Not sure about 1 or 3, but 2 is probably due to the phone running out of RAM. You may have already cached them, but if Android senses that its running out of RAM, it will clear data in other tabs (and apps) that your not using to make room. Web browsers are very RAM intensive, especially if you preloading videos, which are very RAM heavy alone. That may not be the entire story, but that might be it.
     
  3. aysiu

    aysiu Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    You're probably right about the RAM. I've got 1 GB, I think. Even if the tabs had to be reloaded, couldn't they be reloaded from the cache instead of trying to redownload from online?
     
  4. Demache

    Demache Android Expert

    I don't think its saves a whole lot to the cache. Maybe some images, page layouts, etc. Stuff like videos? Not a chance. You have to balance what you can or else the web browser itself starts taking up GB of data in the cache. Cache makes it so you don't need to redownload random pictures and stuff from the webpage. The main content is usually discarded.
     
  5. aysiu

    aysiu Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Maybe I'm in an extremely niche situation. I don't care about pictures and other stuff. I mainly read news articles and blogs, so I care most about the text, which shouldn't take up that much space. But if the people making web browsers (or apps or whatever else is on Android) are trying to prioritize minimal cache space, that works exactly opposite to what I want. Oh, well.
     
  6. Demache

    Demache Android Expert

    I think its because your misinterpreting what the cache is for. Its not for offline use. Its for decreasing the amount of time it takes to reload a page. The browser will normally re-contact the server to check if anything has changed. Plus, website owners themselves can tell the browser to not cache the site.
     
  7. aysiu

    aysiu Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Well, yes, that's true, but that also assumes you have a connection. The logical thing to do when there is no connection is not to check if anything has changed... or if you cannot check, just display what was there before.

    In any case, the browser thing was just one example. (And clearly it can be done correctly, because that's what Opera Mobile does.) I'm saying this appears to happen for just about any app, including ones that claim to download stuff for offline viewing (like Google Reader, which says Synchronize feeds: Download frequently viewed feeds every hour for offline access).
     
  8. Tim K

    Tim K Android Expert

    If you go to settings > accounts and sync ..... are these things checked off to sync? I don't use Facebook but if I recall, I think Facebook should have a sync setting. I don't use Google Reader, but I assume that if its installed, a separate sync setting shows up under the Google account syncs.

    Aside from that, the only thing I can think of is that maybe these background processes are actually being cleared by the OS to make room in the RAM for other things.... like all the tabs you are trying to have open. Its possible that you are your own worst enemy here. Its just a hypothesis but its what I came up with. Its also possible that Facebook's crap-app doesn't work right.

    Also, tabs not being pre-loaded in the background drives me crazy too.
     
  9. aysiu

    aysiu Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Yeah, everything's sync'ed up in theory. I totally get killing applications to clear up RAM, but the cache should not be stored in RAM. The cache should be stored on the internal storage.
     

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