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Does Android still bog down over time?


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#46 +AJerman

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 19:37

It almost entirely depends on how many and which apps you install. If you have 100 apps that all think they need a background process, then yes, you're going to see a slowdown. I generally run a handful (10-20) apps and some small games usually of the words with friends or scramble with friends variety, and I haven't had lag on the latest generation devices. I don't think I could make my One X lag if I tried. Older phones like my Captivate were definitely slower though, but again, the only relation to how long it had been since I'd factory reset would have been how many apps I had installed. Regardless, smooth then was nothing like smooth now. Project Butter really helps to smooth out the whole experience.

Put it this way, I've never found any of my Android devices to be any more or less laggy than iOS devices of the same time frame. The iOS fanboys just like to act like iOS never lags. I had a 3G a long time ago and it had horrible lag sometimes. I had an iPhone 4 and it was much better, but it too lagged now and then. I haven't had extensive experience with the iPhone 5, but I suspect, like Androids on current hardware, it would show very little to no lag. The reason it would have been more noticeable on an Android is because of the multitasking and allowing apps to freely run their own services. I think these features are major advantages of Android, but they aren't without some performance impact. That's why Apple is always able to include slower CPUs and less memory in the iPhone comparatively.

I'd really say that smart phones have only just matured in the last year or so. Prior to that, new features were being rolled out as fast as performance was being improved, especially on a mobile OS like Android that has more extensive multitasking and such. Now that mobile CPUs have gotten so fast and large amounts of memory are being included, lag isn't really much of a factor on more new phones from any manufacturer or type.


#47 OP Belazor

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 22:39

It almost entirely depends on how many and which apps you install. If you have 100 apps that all think they need a background process, then yes, you're going to see a slowdown. I generally run a handful (10-20) apps and some small games usually of the words with friends or scramble with friends variety, and I haven't had lag on the latest generation devices. I don't think I could make my One X lag if I tried. Older phones like my Captivate were definitely slower though, but again, the only relation to how long it had been since I'd factory reset would have been how many apps I had installed. Regardless, smooth then was nothing like smooth now. Project Butter really helps to smooth out the whole experience.

Most useful, since indeed there's been quite literally a quadrupling of power (single core 1.5 GHz to quad core 1.5 GHz, 512 MB to 2GB of RAM) between my previous venture into Android and the phone I'm looking at :p

Put it this way, I've never found any of my Android devices to be any more or less laggy than iOS devices of the same time frame. The iOS fanboys just like to act like iOS never lags. I had a 3G a long time ago and it had horrible lag sometimes. I had an iPhone 4 and it was much better, but it too lagged now and then. I haven't had extensive experience with the iPhone 5, but I suspect, like Androids on current hardware, it would show very little to no lag. The reason it would have been more noticeable on an Android is because of the multitasking and allowing apps to freely run their own services. I think these features are major advantages of Android, but they aren't without some performance impact. That's why Apple is always able to include slower CPUs and less memory in the iPhone comparatively.

I know that the iPhone 4 (my current phone) lags like an asthmatic ant when I try to do fast browsing in Chrome Mobile, and I've figured out that mobile browsing with Chrome, Kindle and various social media clients are the primary usages of my smartphone. I don't mobile game - I always have something to read on the go, and so I need a phone that gives me the best mobile browsing experience with Chrome Mobile.
Why Chrome specifically? Because of the tab syncing, I need to be able to see my tabs from my phone on my desktop / tablet.

That's why I'm looking at a whale phone (5in) :p

I'd really say that smart phones have only just matured in the last year or so. Prior to that, new features were being rolled out as fast as performance was being improved, especially on a mobile OS like Android that has more extensive multitasking and such. Now that mobile CPUs have gotten so fast and large amounts of memory are being included, lag isn't really much of a factor on more new phones from any manufacturer or type.

Thanks, very helpful post :)

#48 +beanboy89

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:08

A friend at work mentioned something to me the other day that I had never heard before. Apparently the manual of his Droid 2 said that you are supposed to reboot the phone once a day, I assume to reduce lag. I've had both my phone and tablet bog down, but that was only when I was running a lot of heavy apps simultaneously. Once I close a few apps, the device becomes just as snappy as it would be on a fresh boot. Both my phone and tablet are rooted, running ICS and JB, respectively.

#49 Boz

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:52

I'm still running Android 2.3 on my old HTC and have never had a problem but a friend of mine has the exact same phone and has had nothing but problems with bogging down. Not sure exactly what it is.


There are multiple reasons why this happens.

It comes down to:

1. Apps you install. If an app you installed has memory leaks (aka not coded right or has a bug that causes that memory leak) only that one app can cause your phone to become unstable as it will eat your memory. Unlike iOS, the thing with Android is that it is a true multitasking OS. This means that your apps runs as a process in the background and can execute things. iOS kills apps completely after you switch away from it, so the app can't do anything when it's in that state. It's a bit more complex than that but that's basically the gist of it.

2. The ROM version or custom ROMs might also have memory leaks themselves. Especially in launchers they put on top and that could be the cause of instability. At first everything runs great, but after time your OS gets out of memory and it starts closing processes and just becoming unstable. That's when you get those WAIT or CLOSE PROCESSES dialog.


For those who have issues my advice is when your Android device starts lagging, go to Applications and you will see processes there and how much memory they consume. You can spot which apps have memory leaks and just kill those and don't run them or if you do, make sure you close their process after you are done with it.

#50 Xerxes

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:21

It's extremely easy to root an Android phone. I had my friend root her phone, and she drove through the whole process, while I watched. Hell there are even toolkits that pretty much do everything for you. There's a plethora of information/videos on the internet :p My Galaxy Nexus has been stable, and Jelly Bean made it so much smoother.

Yeah, and my Windows Phone started to bog down after a while. The main UI was still smooth, but once you open up too much apps, it was game over. Not to mention the 'mulitasking' on WP just blows compared to Android/iOS


Yeah, I know it's really easy to root the phone but that isn't the problem. Stock Android (on the Galaxy Nexus) doesn't work well with my carrier without tweaking it (need to replace the radio and change some other stuff) because my carrier insists on using the obscure. This in turn breaks the auto updating and means you cannot update to the newest version of Android, as Google pushes it out, without breaking the phone again....it's a nightmare from what I've read and I just can't be bothered with all the extra stuff you gotta do to make it work right again. Is my excuse anyway :p

#51 +bman

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:25

Yea, for me I tend to notice a slowdown/lag over time (probably more to the 6 months or longer) because I am one of those people with 200+ apps installed, and many running quite often, and the phone never turned off. So I expect things like that, wish it didn't make a difference but it does. Well I shouldn't say that, with each new generation it gets less and less.

#52 Shadrack

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 17:54

There are multiple reasons why this happens.

It comes down to:

1. Apps you install. If an app you installed has memory leaks (aka not coded right or has a bug that causes that memory leak) only that one app can cause your phone to become unstable as it will eat your memory. Unlike iOS, the thing with Android is that it is a true multitasking OS. This means that your apps runs as a process in the background and can execute things. iOS kills apps completely after you switch away from it, so the app can't do anything when it's in that state. It's a bit more complex than that but that's basically the gist of it.

2. The ROM version or custom ROMs might also have memory leaks themselves. Especially in launchers they put on top and that could be the cause of instability. At first everything runs great, but after time your OS gets out of memory and it starts closing processes and just becoming unstable. That's when you get those WAIT or CLOSE PROCESSES dialog.


For those who have issues my advice is when your Android device starts lagging, go to Applications and you will see processes there and how much memory they consume. You can spot which apps have memory leaks and just kill those and don't run them or if you do, make sure you close their process after you are done with it.


A developer of an Android app has to explicitly write code that runs in the background, otherwise the OS (as of v4) could kill the task to free up resources. And it does. It more-or-less works like iOS now for the vast majority of apps. Difference being, a developer can explicitly force background execution of code for whatever reason on Android and it will be approved for the app store. In iOS, only applications featuring VoIP or Navigation are allowed to execute whatever code they want in the background (as a matter of App Store policy).

Both operating systems have "true multitasking*" (with an Astrix).

#53 Boz

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 22:12

A developer of an Android app has to explicitly write code that runs in the background, otherwise the OS (as of v4) could kill the task to free up resources. And it does. It more-or-less works like iOS now for the vast majority of apps. Difference being, a developer can explicitly force background execution of code for whatever reason on Android and it will be approved for the app store. In iOS, only applications featuring VoIP or Navigation are allowed to execute whatever code they want in the background (as a matter of App Store policy).

Both operating systems have "true multitasking*" (with an Astrix).


Your application on Android will run as a process in the back. Android doesn't kill them. You have to ask permission whether or not you want to run a long running processes in the background which is something else.

And no, Android and iOS are not the same. Android is a true multitasking OS and allows execution of background services and parallel tasking while iOS is a quasi multitasking OS which allows only 7 APIs to run in the background and it's not a matter of App store policy it's how iOS is engineered.

#54 Shadrack

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 22:33

Your application on Android will run as a process in the back. Android doesn't kill them. You have to ask permission whether or not you want to run a long running processes in the background which is something else.

And no, Android and iOS are not the same. Android is a true multitasking OS and allows execution of background services and parallel tasking while iOS is a quasi multitasking OS which allows only 7 APIs to run in the background and it's not a matter of App store policy it's how iOS is engineered.


...I didn't say they were the same I was saying as of v4 of Android that they are similar. But you know both of them inside and out so I digress.

The articles I've read on Android v4 multitasking state things differently but I guess they don't know as much on the subject than you do, Boz.

#55 Boz

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 23:02

...I didn't say they were the same I was saying as of v4 of Android that they are similar. But you know both of them inside and out so I digress.

The articles I've read on Android v4 multitasking state things differently but I guess they don't know as much on the subject than you do, Boz.


You were not wrong btw.. Android will in fact eventually kill the process of the app running (unless it's doing something), however it is more open to making the OS unstable if there's an app that has serious memory leaks. iOS goes into so called suspended state, which is why Apple advises that you do any clean up, save data or whatever when a user hits home button (as the OS itself will do clean up if it needs to and remove the apps completely from suspended states) thus lowering the chances of memory leaks causing instability but in return unless you are using the 7 background APIs your app won't be able to do anything until it becomes active again (meaning you call it back on).

#56 BillyJack

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 23:14

My wife used a Samsung with Android for two years and it slowly got slower to the point she could not stand using the phone anymore. She only had a few apps installed and rebooted often. It got worse with time. I almost seemed as if Google was purposefully slowing down the OS so that she would get a new phone. Well she did. She got a WP7 and loves it and will not be going back to Android. Several people I work with report the same with different Android phones.

#57 +BeerFan

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:46

My wife used a Samsung with Android for two years and it slowly got slower to the point she could not stand using the phone anymore. She only had a few apps installed and rebooted often. It got worse with time. I almost seemed as if Google was purposefully slowing down the OS so that she would get a new phone. Well she did. She got a WP7 and loves it and will not be going back to Android. Several people I work with report the same with different Android phones.


Complete and total FUD. Not even a hint of any merit to this post. How about some actual troubleshooting steps taken or some non-anecdotal evidence to support your wacko theory? Google is intentionally slowing down their OS to force you to upgrade? How exactly are they doing that? Why isn't it happening to my family's 5 android devices or any of the 20 or so people at my workplace where we maintain their android work cell phones? Completely unintelligent and content-less statement.

Simply put, you apparently hate Android for some reason, so you will support whatever silly theory you see that is anti-android. Your wifee's Windows phone will probably slow down over time, too. And then you'll make a post saying that Windows Phone blows and you'll get an iPhone for her. congrats.

I've used Windows Phone, Apple, and Android smartphones over the past 4 years. My experience with Windows Phone is limited, admittedly, but I like them all for different reasons. I prefer Android for the much heightened ability to tweak and customize... which is not something you will ever have in anything Apple. We'll see about Windows Phone... they're still too new to decide.

#58 MtnDewCodeRedFreak

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:12

Here are my experiences with all the smartphones I have had since 2007:

- Blackberry 8703e by Sprint - Sprint has awful coverage - would not go into 1X EV when I was on college campus .... and doesn't even have a camera.
Result: Had it in June 2007, then got rid of it in August 2008.

- Blackberry Curve 8330 by Verizon - that is a lot better .... has camera .... problem is the QWERTY keyboard and the trackball deteriorating over time.
Result: Had it in August 2008, then got rid of it in Nov 2009.

- Blackberry Storm 1 by Verizon - first touchscreen phone I had. Battery life deteriorated over time and the BB Storm's hardware just bricked at the end.
Result: Had it in Nov 2009, then got rid of it in July 2011.

- Droid Charge by Verizon - tons of apps to download now .... got a lot of games. Downside? The friggin battery always going low. Had a ton of processes in the background and clearing the RAM (373 MB!) doesn't help at all. Took a LONG time to charge it to 100%.
Result: Had it in July 2011, then got rid of it in Dec 2012.

- Current Phone - iPhone 5 by Verizon. Charges faster than Droid due to the new Lightning charging connector (4/4S has 30-pin), downloaded a few apps from the App Store so far. Downside? Can't transfer contacts and photos from Droid to iPhone :( so I had to manually rebuild my contact list and email a few pics to myself then save them to my iPhone.

#59 Slammers

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:34

Think of it like your computer. It's always gonna be buttery if you use it right and don't have lots of hungry apps/programs running.
Ive had my Arc since it came out and its just as smooth as the day I got it. I don't have any apps though apart from youtube, instagram, facebook and the stock ones.

#60 Nashy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:42

Every Android phone i had got slower over time, eventually to the point it rebooted itself, or just froze on a black screen. Always found this to be annoying.

Recently i got some cache clearing app which seems to help alot, but i still get the problems.

i had the original droid, and an x2. Thinking about getting a Galaxy s3, but i don't know. i think the problems will still be there.
Man i so wish iphones were itunesless.


S3 has been by far the worst Android device I've owned. I've had quite a few of them.

The HTC One X was up there with one of the better ones I've had.



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