To clarify, yes, I run a custom ROM on my phone. I thought to myself "I'm going to flash this and keep it stable because I need to depend on it for work".

Almost a full month later, I'm finding that the interface is lagging, apps don't spring open with the same swiftness that they used to, and in general, I'm finding I need to reboot more often. Nothing is critically wrong, logcats don't seem to show any malfunctioning, it's just.....sluggish.

Flashing the ROM over again is starting to feel like Windows; I reinstall fairly often to keep it running smooth, but if it's something I'm doing wrong, I'm entirely open to suggestions. As I grow older and less obsessed with flashing anything I see on XDA, I want to keep something stable and dependable.

  • 10
    funny... I have Windows systems running for years and Androids running for many months with no degradation in performance. Jun 28, 2012 at 11:01
  • 2
    One more thing: 'flashing the ROM over again' doesn't improve anything. It consists of usually a kernel and the /system partition. It's called ROM (read only memory) because it never changes, not even when you wipe (except for when you reflash a different ROM). Your performance rot solely comes from certain installed apps most probably. Test a wipe and see if it's a difference. (Some other reason i can think of: Samsumg's infamous RFS)
    – ce4
    Jun 29, 2012 at 5:49
  • 2
    @ce4: the term ROM is a misnomer really, in Android the system partition not really read-only; it is only read-only in essence because the permission is set to not allow any program to write to the folder/partition. In rooted systems, the root can change the permission and grants privileges to programs to write to the read-only folder/partition.
    – Lie Ryan
    Jul 4, 2012 at 14:17
  • 1
    I know, bad wording from me. it's like hacker vs. cracker, everyone uses the former. at least by normal daily use it doesn't change, and that's what i wanted to say in the 600 words of a comment. my phone has two apps which do: adblock modifies /etc/hosts and TiBackup that allows integrating into system. but both don't lead to this symptom. See this rant, thats rather common... plus.google.com/app/plus/mp/211/…
    – ce4
    Jul 4, 2012 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


The effect you are describing is not caused by the OS. It's caused by more and more background processes that accumulate over time and maybe more apps registering to system hooks that need to be evaluated when certain events occur.

Every OS that supports this will be vulnerable. My Android has run for the past 1 1/2 years without any performance degradation. Always question and confront app developers if they run a service in the background for a long time (without any need/use). Interval-like started background services that check/pull for some information and terminate after that are fine. Google Play Music is was1 a perfect example: The App sets an Android Alarm (that is not an user alarm, but more a programmatically scheduled event) in intervals to perform its sync.

But some apps start a long-running service that can't be disabled by the user, and if you have many of these running, your performance will in-fact degrade.

1Google Music seems now also to run all the time. :( But there are other good examples of apps, that understand that they shouldn't run all the time. Or where the user is able to deactivate the background service. Or where the app developer was competent enough to make use of the rich (push) API of Android provides to keep the impact of the app at a minimum.

  • 4
    It might happen by installing lots of 'service' apps, you can however reverse it just by deinstalling the offending apps (no need for a system cleaner and such). Also resetting/wiping your phone will render it to the exact same stage as when you got it (or first installed your ROM). Here's a rant by Android Dev Dianne Hackborn about a free game that launches 2 services that together consume 10MB constantly: plus.google.com/105051985738280261832/posts/JAqggyKcM2z
    – ce4
    Jun 28, 2012 at 9:10
  • 6
    What an awesome name for a developer, Hackborn.
    – Hyangelo
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:28
  • 1
    @Hyangelo in the words of Lady Gaga, maybe "She was born that way"... LOL!!! No disrespect! I take my hat of to Dianne Hackborn, Romain Guy and Jean-Baptiste Queru :D Without 'em where would Android be now! :)
    – t0mm13b
    Jun 29, 2012 at 2:03
  • Is there a way to find out which background services is hogging my resources and how to un-install them? Better yet, is there a way to know the resource intensity before installing the app?
    – Heisenberg
    Mar 4, 2015 at 17:18
  • Not before, but you always can have a look at the running apps via SettingsAppsRunning
    – Flow
    Mar 4, 2015 at 17:24

Answer by Flow is correct in that the increased feeling of sluggishness is not caused by the OS, it is mainly caused by apps. But there is another effect I noticed, specially on battery life: The more you use your phone, the more you are demanding to its performance (and battery life), even if it is not conscious. (It is the same for hard-drive sizes: the more you have, the more you need.)

So, it can also be the your level of expectation is slowly raising.

I remember I was fascinated by all the powers I had in my hand when I bought my HTC Magic some years ago. Recently, I switched it on to have a look: it still works alright, but, well, now that I used a Nexus One and then a Galaxy Note, I feel it has a very rough UI and very limited powers. My expectation have raised.


If you are using an alternative ROM to Android, it is possible there could be issues with the ROM which might be causing it. Issues like this have been seen on CyanogenMod ROMS in the past, especially on nightly builds (that is, test versions). However, they are correct in that it is more than likely due to apps you have downloaded.

I have gone without rebooting, clearing caches, etc. for over three months without any degradation.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .