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Memory management question/why are programs I'm not using in the active memory?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by kokotele, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. kokotele

    kokotele Lurker
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    My Droid (MotoDroid 1) starts to get really slow when the free memory falls below about 18%. I'm finding that if I let the Droid do its thing, the free memory routinely falls below 15%, and the phone is so unresponsive that it's frustrating to use. I also see other symptoms that appear memory-related, like screen artifacts (or screens just not being drawn properly), hiccups in video playback or game motion, etc.

    I installed a memory manager app/task killer (Memory Booster Lite), and when I kill the active tasks my free memory boosts to about 30% and the phone works great. The problem is that almost all of the tasks that are running are programs I'm not using, and in many cases haven't used in days or weeks.

    When I kill them, things are great, but I can then watch as the Droid loads different items into memory. Again, it's loading programs I haven't used recently.

    So why is my Droid stupid enough to keep loading programs that slow it down, and how do I stop it from doing it more?
     

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  2. voodooochild

    voodooochild Android Enthusiast
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    honeslty, if you're not using apps and they're starting themselves uninstall them, normally the device will just cache the app, so it isnt running per se in the background, but ready to do so, so commonly used apps load quicker. I cant say i've ever had an issue with this.
     
  3. kokotele

    kokotele Lurker
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    A lot of the apps are ones I do use, though. Like Maps. Haven't used it in 2 weeks, but it keeps loading into the memory.
     
  4. sitlet

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    they are just cached. They are NOT running, and not using any battery. Dont use a task killer, it only makes things worse.
     
  5. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert
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    Correct.
    The phone is trying to anticipate your needs by loading things it thinks you'll need.
    Swype isn't running until I pull a keyboard, but it is loaded all the time.

    It costs your battery the same amount of juice to hold a 0 or a 1 in memory.
     
  6. kokotele

    kokotele Lurker
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    That's what people keep saying, but that's not the behavior I'm seeing. I'm seeing that they're in memory and using it, and when I kill them I get memory back and my phone runs smootly for a few minutes until it loads back up again.

    If they truly aren't using memory, what other methods do you suggest to keep my phone running smoothly? When I don't keep killing the tasks, it can take 30 seconds or more just to do things like open my apps list, or start the camera. While I'm waiting for these things to happen, my phone is stuck and unusable.
     
  7. RyanB

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    OP, instead of using a task killer, try creating a home screen shortcut instead to running tasks. Then, close out things that you don't feel you need from there, that are actually running as well (vs being kept in memory). If that doesn't do enough to help, you could alway root.
     
  8. dalegg

    dalegg Newbie
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    You should try Startup Auditor or some similar program. It displays which programs will start up by themselves. You can choose to prevent them starting and keep them from starting up by themselves. It is similar to some programs that start on your computer; Some have to start up at boot and some just load to make you think they execute faster because they are already loaded. You will be amazed at what starts by themselves. I have programs that start up at boot that I have never used. It may solve your problem.
     
  9. sfhdweb

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    I agree with you AngryHatter
     
  10. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert
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    Using cpu cycles is one thing, occupying memory is not to worry about.
     
  11. amlothi

    amlothi Android Expert
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    Your Droid is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing!!!!!

    Please do some research about how memory management works in Android. It is not like Windows.

    The problem here is the user (i.e. YOU) not the phone.

    From: FAQ: Why You Shouldn’t Be Using a Task Killer with Android


     
  12. kokotele

    kokotele Lurker
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    Here's the thing: all of these responses assume that the phone is giving me acceptable performance. It is not. If it were, I would never have looked at the memory usage.


    So it's supposed to be so slow as to be unresponsive? It wasn't that way when I first bought it, and I wouldn't have bought it if it were.

    Please do some research about how memory management works in Android. It is not like Windows.

    So please explain what I should be doing differently to make my phone run quicker. I don't have it overloaded with apps, and have only 2 widgets running: CalWidget and Gtasks.

    From: FAQ: Why You Shouldn
     
  13. Yeahha

    Yeahha Usually off topic
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    You may also want to look through your app list and uninstall apps you don't need. Android doesn't have two types of memory it has ram only your installed apps are stored on the same memory the s apps run in. As you install more and larger apps the less memory android has to work with.

    Also move apps you can to the sd that will help too.
     
  14. amlothi

    amlothi Android Expert
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    What Android system version are you using? Memory management has improved greatly in recent versions. If you are stuck on an older version, it's possible that your phone is not managing memory as well as my phone and other newer phones with the updated Android OS.

    Android will continue to load things into memory in the background. It happens on my phone too (but I don't have the performance issues).

    What I have done is temp rooted my phone to remove system apps that were consistently being pre-loaded in memory but that I never use. At least, this way, apps that I use often are being loaded.
     
  15. RyanB

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    OP, I've had mixed results using this app. It gives you a choice about stopping an app: either only preventing it from loading at boot, or have the Startup Auditor close it every time it's opened. I've found that it kills every app you tell it to, every time the app in question is opened, even if it's just set to prevent it from running at boot. Hopefully they've got that kink worked out by now. Also, have you tried the shortcut to runnin apps yet? It acutlly lists the stuff that's *running* versus the stuff just sitting in the memory and not doing anything. This way, you can babysit what's going on in the bacground better.
     
  16. RyanB

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    These are also very relevant issues. For example, JIT compilers were added in 2.2, and that alone makes a performance difference over 2.1 (see here: Benchmarking Android 2.2 (Froyo) and the JIT against Android 2.1 (Eclair) | Android Central). I don't see what model/OS version your running, which very much makes a difference for rooting and the like, but it is something to maybe consider. For example, you can overclock your device to help with lag, you can remove crapware like the NASCAR app that Sprint's been putting in their phones that you can't otherwise delete, you can increase battery life by swapping out the stock kernel for one that can work at variable speeds, and other things that really can address this problem. I used have similar problems on my Droid, but rooting has taken care of those as it provides solutions that aren't otherwise available.

    EDIT: oops, I just caught in the first post that you're running the origional Droid, like myself. FWIW, it's one of the easier phones to root, if ever decide to do it.
     
  17. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert
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    You know...sometimes they slow down.
    You have a miniature computer that you can stick in your pocket. It runs on a tiny battery.
    On the best days they sometimes slow down. If you could see everything that was taking place in the background it wouldn't bother you as much.
    Patience is your friend when it comes to smartphones.

    We expect these things to act the same as our laptops or desktops. Pretty big expectations, if you ask me.
     
  18. sitlet

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    To the OP, if you really are having problems with your phone slowing down, do a hard reset. It will reset your device to factory state, and should resolve any issues with the phone slowing down. If you are unwilling to take our advice on how the Android OS runs, and how task killers disrupt that process, then a hard reset is just what you need.
     
  19. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?
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    I'm not sure it's helpful to scold newbies about task killers, and the truth is, Android can and does run background task/processes called Services.

    Anyways, the idea most have posted in this thread still holds true: task killers are often unessary and do more harm than good.

    This is mostly because the Android system will restart killed/crashed services periodically. It does also cache Apps. So having Android use memory is typically a very good thing. Memory is there to be used -- un-used memory is un-helpful.

    However, there is a threshold where having a low amount of available memory impairs the system's normal ability to handle the starting/stopping and caching and other functions of memory managment.

    To the OP, Yeahha's suggestion is the way to go. Consider ditching a few (fart ;)) apps you don't need and then see what happens. Much better (especially for your battery) to let Android handle memory and give it the room to work, than to use a task killer and always run right up against the memory limits.
     
  20. BookLover

    BookLover Android Expert
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    Do you keep your apps updated?

    Before hardresetting, try rebooting your phone once a day, sometimes that helps.

    If it doesn't, start uninstalling apps one by one until you find the one that's causing your phone to lag. A lot times phone lag is caused by a bad app.
     
  21. DocQ

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    to OP: another option is to get Titanium Backup Pro where you have the option to FREEZE any app (bloatware, or app you've loaded) you don't plan to use. You'll need to root first. I kept trying to chase down/stop apps loading and reloading and this did the trick. Just an option if you don't feel comfortable uninstalling these apps.
     
  22. Mortus

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    kokotele the other posters are correct.

    Though there seems to be a correlation between apps that are running (As they require memory) and apps that are simply cached, they are not the same. An app that is not running but is cached uses no CPU power but does occupy memory without having a significant impact on performance. An app that is running uses both memory and CPU power and some bad apps can run as a service in the background so even though it's not being used it is still using CPU power and memory.

    As other have pointed out your problem is likely a bad app running a service in the background using CPU power even though the app it's self is not in use. So if the apps in questions are ones you downloaded/bought thinking they may occasionally be useful then the solution may be to uninstall the apps in question one by one rebooting the phone and use it for a day or two and see if performance improves. It may be one or more of the suspect apps that are causing the problem.
     
  23. sohguanh

    sohguanh Android Enthusiast
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    If the smartphone you bought BEFORE installing any apps runs very smoothly and fast then it is highly likely the above quoted is what I want to say. I am an Android developer so I can say some apps can be written very badly and if it is written as a Service the problem gets even highly visible to an end user.

    Before installing any Android app, focus on the app Permissions also. Usually for Full Internet Access, it is pretty much anything an app can do behind your back. Unless necessary I only develop Android app with NO permissions.
     
  24. hrbib21

    hrbib21 Android Expert
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    I find the same thing happens at times; my phone becomes sluggish. So guess what I do? I kill unused apps using Systempanel. Guess what? The earth didn't fly off its axis, it hasn't snowed in SC in August, and Obama hasn't miraculously fixed the economy.

    In summary, it works for the OP so what's the problem? Do a factory reset when he already has a viable solution? Do you people just buy new cars when it's time for an oil change?
     
  25. busted bones

    busted bones Android Enthusiast
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    What did you use to temp root? Also when you say remove do you mean completely delete bloatware or block it from loading?
     

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