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I've had my HTC Desire for a couple of months now and it is awesome! (A huge improvement to my previous phone... Nokia 3315)

Though recently, I've realised that the phone semi-freezes more and more often - ie. when swiping between homescreens it will either pause/freeze and I will have to re-swipe to get it to change screens. Or worse, it just won't respond to any further swipes and I have to lock the screen then unlock to get the phone back into action.

Got quite annoyed at this (was probably happening once or twice a day) so I thought it might help to turn it off and on again. So I did - not sure if it was a placebo effect but it seems to have helped a bit?

So given that this is my first smartphone, I was wondering if it is 'normal' to need to restart the phone every so often. If so, how often is 'normal'? If not, what can I do to diagnose/fix this problem?

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every computer needs a soft reset? Yeah, after a kernel update one needs to reboot (which is why and when I reboot mine 3-4 times a year). Kernel updates rarely happen to Android devices... "If it ain't broken, don't fix it" :) –  Izzy Jul 5 '13 at 10:43
    
This was me about three years ago saying this. I've learned a bit more since then at least. Agree with the motto! –  redknightalex Jul 5 '13 at 10:52
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3 Answers

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In my experience, for some devices, it helps to reboot the device about once a week. I don't know the exact technical implications of this but rebooting seems to free up the device in some way and make it respond quicker. This will not always be the case though, right now on my EVO i'm at 391 hours (16 days) of uptime and I don't notice any freezing or slowness. On my Hero I would though so I rebooted every-so-often. If you haven't already you may want to look into rooting and flash a custom-rom on your phone as usually that will give you better performance and battery-life. I have found this to be true since with both my Android devices and my previous Windows Mobile phones.

And while I don't recommend it, you can look into ATK for Android or some other task killer and see if this helps. You can make your own decision if you want to use a task killer - some people think they're great while others think they don't help.

Edit - I went to find some links both for and against task killers and mostly I found against. Here are two that lean against them but also talk about ways to use them.

http://lifehacker.com/#!5650894

http://www.androidcentral.com/how-properly-set-and-use-task-killer-oh-yes-i-went-there

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I have had a similar problem but I also had my desire rebooting itself when using google maps. I spoke to vodafone who said return the device to us and we'll fix it, well I did and all they did was reflash it...total waste of time. Anyway ity started rebooting on its own again so I contacted HTC who were very helpful and said that on some desire handsets the motherboard was faulty and I need to send it to them for them to change the motherboard. I did this and 8 days later received my phone back and I have tested it with maps and all the app killer software and my phone works perfect. I say if you have any problems with any HTC contact them directly and they will sort it for you.

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interesting, I haven't actually had my phone reboot itself unexpectedly while using an app. The only times it's rebooted itself was when updating an app from the market (the same app btw)... and I'm thinking that might be just because that app required a force restart? –  pyko Apr 5 '11 at 23:44
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When should I reboot?

If you notice any of the following, it is probably time for a reboot:

  • It takes a long time for an app to launch
  • A system service keep crashing
  • It takes a long time to switch in between activities (i.e. pressing the back button)
  • It takes a long time for the lock screen to appear after pressing the power button

A lot of people almost never reboot their phones (once a couple of months) and they function perfectly. Most of those people are not serious android users though, they pretty much just use it as a phone (calling/texting) and thats about it. If you are a more serious user that plays a lot of games or likes to use a ton of apps then you will need to reboot more often, perhaps once every week or every couple of days.

If you have a newer device you also don't need to reboot it as much because it probably has a faster processor and more RAM so it can handle a larger load for longer. Older devices need to be rebooted a lot more than newer devices.

Why does my device slow down?

Your device slows down because the processor is busy doing work it doesn't need to do. After a while, processes running in the background (services) start to pile up. Android is pretty efficient about knowing when to keep services and activities alive. in the older builds of Android, the system is a little bit more lenient about what it keeps running. In theory it isn't really bad to have a ton of Apps running at once because Android pauses all of the Apps that are in the background. Now, what stinker developers do is they have their app start up a bunch of services when their app starts up. This is really bad because the services will keep running even after the app is no longer visible.

Android is pretty picky about it's memory. Android wants to have it's memory as close to full as possible. Android is pretty efficient at cleaning up memory leaks created by processes, so you really don't need to be worrying about your memory usage especially on newer devices. Most people think that when their memory is full, it's a bad thing. That is totally wrong and I will show you why.

If you know a little bit about electronics, you should know that RAM is basically just a massive array of bytes. The processor needs to run an instruction to load a byte into a section of the array. When the processor runs instruction, it takes power (in this case battery power). When the RAM is almost full it doesn't really hurt the battery; you want it to be almost full because the system doesn't want to keep pushing bytes into the register, it wants to work with what it has. When you destroy all of your apps that were just running, Android automatically clears the memory that those applications were hogging. Then the Android system goes "oh, where did my Sync Service just go? Better start it up again!" Then your device has to reload all of the RAM that you just cleared. This takes a lot of power and drains your battery. So you might kill a couple of services that were CPU hoggers but you are killing a lot of services that Android was actually managing efficiently.

Myths about 'Memory Boosters'

Ha! Take that system apps that were running in the background, thank you App Killer for freeing up all of that memory for me!

When I hear this I go just about nuts, and so does every else on this site. Do not constantly use an App Killer to kill all of your idle processes! What you should really be saying is this:

Ha! Take that battery! Have fun loading all of those services up again from scratch!

Now, there is a way to use "App Killers" effectively. You should only use them to kill background services that have gone rouge (eating up massive amounts of CPU). This happens more often on older devices.

Unless you have a reason why you don't want to reboot your phone when it is being slow, I would reboot it instead of running an App Killer. Rebooting does eat up a little bit of battery as well, but it will most defiantly kill any service that could have been hogging your CPU.

Friends don't let friends use App Killers.

My device is still slow after reboot, help?

If your device is still slow after reboot, then you should go through your apps and delete the ones you don't need. A lot of those apps are probably starting background services and slowing your device down.


If anything needs to be added, or if anything here is inaccurate feel free to edit. Constructive editing is welcome.

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Thanks for the fantastic answer. I knew a few of those kernels of info but how Android works with memory was a bit past me. Need to do some actual reading on the OS it seems. At least it appears I can keep my device running for a while. –  redknightalex Jul 5 '13 at 10:49
    
Do not try to defragment an SD card Yeah. What makes that storage type different from "internal SDCard" and "internal storage"? Both are types of FLASH storage. // Comprehensive answer beside that -- only that the OP did solely ask for reboot, not about "memory boosters" and "task killers" (but it looks like he's thankful for those details, though :) For the "device getting slow": My device is getting slow, apps start misbehaving/crashing. What can I do? –  Izzy Jul 5 '13 at 10:54
    
Thank you Izzy, I will edit soon –  John Jul 5 '13 at 16:48
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