My friend recently bought a Wiko “Lenny 3”, which runs Android 6.0.1 After a short while of using it, it seems that this phone is configured by the manufacturer to very aggressively kill background apps, even ones that should be left running. For example:
- Apps that should be running in the background and syncing/polling for messages, such as K9-Mail (email client) or the Signal messenger, apparently aren’t left running. Often, when opening K9-Mail or Signal, 10 or more emails/messages/texts will suddenly “arrive” all at once, many of which are hours old by then, so those apps clearly weren’t working in the background like they should’ve been and only got the chance to poll when they were manually (re-)opened by the user. This means that even basic availability and message reception (part of the whole point of a phone, one would think) is not working reliably!
We put a calendar widget (belonging to Google Calendar) and a news app’s widget (SPIEGEL ONLINE) on the home screen, both of which are just blank after the phone is started and are only “resurrected” by fiddling with them manually (still haven’t figured out a reliable procedure).
If a live wallpaper is set, then after some time of using the phone (filling the RAM with other apps, presumably) or after rebooting, the phone’s wallpaper will be reset to the default, static one (Wiko logo). This also depends on whether the live wallpaper is set from the home screen (where it already disappears e.g. just from opening the “recent apps” screen) or from the settings (where it lasts longer, but still not permanently). Curiously, this only seems to affect live wallpapers that aren’t pre-installed (Phase Beam etc.), such as Galactic Core or Pixel Rain.
A large part of the marketing/“bonus features” for this phone seems to revolve around battery life and “optimizing” performance. It includes a pre-installed “Phone Assistant” app (cannot be disabled!) where different levels of battery saving can be set up, background apps can be killed and so on. This app also puts a “One Clean” icon on the “all apps” screen whose function seems to be killing all currently-running user apps (it plays an animation and announces having freed XXX MB of memory). Tapping this “One Clean” icon always resets the wallpaper to the static default if a (non-pre-installed) live wallpaper was set, which is why I think all this has to do with an overly aggressive background app policy (even the live wallpaper process gets killed).
Unfortunately, even whitelisting everything in the “Phone Assistant” and disabling as many battery saving/“optimizing” features as possible didn’t alleviate the problem.
(I haven’t tested this, but I suspect that the built-in email, calendar etc. apps pushed on you by the manufacturer, most of which can’t even be disabled, are spared this violent treatment, so many people owning the phone might not really notice these issues. Just an idea.)
Because of these issues with the manufacturer-provided setup, I’m very eager to install a custom ROM on the phone. However, none of the popular ones (e.g. Cyanogenmod or Paranoid Android) seem to support this phone and I certainly don’t want to brick it! Does anyone have any experience with a phone that behaves like this? What would be the best course of action? Is there a (comparatively) risk-free way to try a custom ROM or can I do anything from within the manufacturer-provided installation?
1 Apologies for linking the German page; for some reason the page seems to be available in every language except English. If you find an English version, do tell me.
Edit (2016-12-27): It seems that these issues with Wiko phones are becoming more well-known and affect an entire line of models (Wiko phones on Android 6 (Marshmallow) with only 1 GB of RAM). Even those low-tier Wiko models which came with Android 4 on release and were only later updated to Android 6 seem to then exhibit the problems I described (non-functional widgets, background/synchronization issues etc.) due to Wiko’s messed-up implementation – even though there were no issues before the update.