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Losing memory fast?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by AzJazz, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. AzJazz

    AzJazz Member
    Thread Starter

    I'm running the 'Free Memory' app, which is showing that I am down to 50% memory after a few Bluetooth calls or running a few apps. I thought that Android managed memory pretty well, but I'm not so sure now.

    Is anyone else seeing their RAM memory disappear quickly?

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  2. Tabs

    Tabs Member

    What good is RAM that isn't being used? Free RAM doesn't magically give you better performance or something like that - it has to be doing something to be useful. Android automatically manages the RAM anyway, it frees it when a program needs it. It's kinda the same thing as Win Vista/7's SuperFetch feature. When that came out everyone thought it was a bad thing that they had no free RAM, but in reality it makes the system much faster by using all that free RAM to intelligently cache apps so they load much faster and so on.
  3. AzJazz

    AzJazz Member
    Thread Starter

    Hi, Tabs - What you are describing isn't exactly true. Free RAM does give you better performance - up until the point you run out of it. The Droid (and everything else out there with a CPU) will use RAM as applications/programs are run. And hopefully, very little RAM is being used to support the running programs.

    And more importantly (and unfortunately more rarely), when an application is shut down, it will hopefully fully release every bit of RAM it used when the program was running. From what I have seen, applications are not releasing everything on the Droid.

    If one program used every bit of RAM on your PC computer, that would be a very BAD thing, and your PC performance would severely suffer as a result. Why? Because at that point, the computer starts running in 'virtual memory' mode, where the computer starts utilizing hard drive space to act as a RAM replacement - and hard drives are hundreds of times slower to get data on/off than using RAM. Thus, any program (or the OS) that needs RAM at that point gets it from the much slower virtual memory.

    This is why older PCs could still run WinXP when they only had 256 MB of RAM, even though WinXP would like to gobble up a lot more. Those PCs were mostly running from the hard drive virtual memory, which was obvious from slow performance and a hard drive light that was constantly 'On'.

    Now, let's talk about the Droid. To my knowledge, once the Droid runs out of RAM, that it. End of story. I don't think it uses anything like virtual memory (and if it did, I pray it would never use the SD card). Unfortunately, I've been watching the RAM usage on my Droid, and it constantly is creeping 'up', even when apps are terminated. That means that applications aren't releasing all of their memory. That also means that over time, the Droid will probably run out of RAM.

    And once the Droid runs out of RAM, apps could start crashing. (I believe this is related to the 'Phone Call Echo' problem, but I'm not sure - but, the current solution is: 'Reset your phone') But, it looks like the Android OS is doing something about it. From what I have seen, there is some sort of RAM threshold level that once the Droid crosses over, the phone resets to clear up RAM usage. It's actually a pretty nice feature (if you're not in the middle of a call :) ). I have seen my Droid spontaneously reset a few times now. And I wouldn't have even known it occurred if I didn't see it happening.

    So, yes - Knowing the amount of free RAM is very important, and although Android can shut down old apps to free up some memory for new apps, it doesn't guarantee that every byte of the memory from the closed app will be restored to the system. If you see free RAM disappearing at a fast rate, it usually means that a program was written poorly, and suffers from what is called in the industry as a 'memory leak'. Programs with severe memory leaks will cause computers (and phones) to crash or impact performance.
    AuTumnPunkin likes this.
  4. JediJesus

    JediJesus Android Enthusiast

    My ram seems very stable. It may go down but it never gets really low. My storm would go all the way down to 0 every 2 days. Android seems to be pretty efficient to me.
  5. Nepherim

    Nepherim Well-Known Member

    @AzJazz: Excellent info, thanks.
  6. chefboyardee

    chefboyardee Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Very informative and well written. Thanks for posting!
  7. Legacystar

    Legacystar Android Enthusiast

    This is not true. linux is setup to close apps when it needs ram regardless. this is not windows.
  8. AzJazz

    AzJazz Member
    Thread Starter

    Legacystar - I understand that Linux can close older apps when a new program needs RAM. I'll adjust my comment above.

    However, that does not mean that the closing apps will always release all of the RAM they had allocated. Unavailable RAM can still creep up, and the Android can still run out of RAM. Android is tons better than my old WinMobile device as far as memory management - my WM6 device would also close apps when it needed RAM (a WM6 Linux-like feature, I believe), but I would still need to reboot it at least every other day.

    My Droid also loses free RAM throughout the day, but at a much slower rate. It seems that I need to reboot my Droid about once every 5-6 days, and I am running a heck of a lot more stuff on my Droid.
  9. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    As far as I understand it both linux and java have type of automatic memory management (java has automatic garbage collection, linux has ?). So it's entirely normal for you to lose RAM throughout the day as you use your phone. This shouldn't affect performance at all.

    When a new app needs RAM, the system will overwrite the area of RAM that holds info for the oldest app with the new data.

    The only situation in which things might slow down is if the system didn't leave itself enough room to do the overwrite. This should be very rare for Droid users.
  10. AuTumnPunkin

    AuTumnPunkin Lurker

    re:AZJAZZ... Its unusual for some one to ACTUALLY EXPLAIN how the Answer WORKS! Thank you! I'm still confused on WHAT do to figure out consistant loss of memory. (Ie; which program, or app?) But, will turning my phone (( moDro) off each time, (say, once a day?) Help? THX! (( ALL OF US, aren't Gifted w / Geekyness! )
  11. emdmao

    emdmao Android Enthusiast

    It might be that you have a poorly coded app that is giving you issues. Android handles RAM very well and you shouldn't run into this problem very often. As a general rule you should reboot your phone once/twice a week though anyway. These are tiny PCs after all :D

Motorola Droid Forum

The Motorola Droid release date was November 2009. Features and Specs include a 3.7" inch screen, 5MP camera, 256GB RAM, processor, and 1400mAh battery.

November 2009
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