Android 5.0 Lollipop has been a polarizing update of the operating system. There have been many improvements over Android since the 4.X days of Jelly Bean and Kit Kat, but many users have suffered from some drawbacks as well.
Memory leaks and battery life issues are among some of the most prominent complaints plaguing Lollipop. Worse yet, these issues seem to be spread across a wide range of handsets. From Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6 to the Note 3 and Note 4. The LG’s G3 and G4, to the different versions of the HTC One, it sometimes feels as though no phone is safe from the problems.
With the release of Android 6.0 Marshmallow imminent, but not necessarily here yet for many users, we’ve decided it would be a good time to look at Android 5.0 Lollipop issues users have experienced with this version of the OS.
If you’re the type of person who buys a new phone every year or so, you can reasonably expect the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to be making its way to your phone in the coming months. However, some of us prefer to hold on to a phone until the screen is so cracked you can’t even read it anymore; others still are simply not financially equipped to upgrade. Heck, there are even some people out there who just don’t care to have the newest devices.
Curious about what to expect from Android 6.0? Check out this article here to read about some of Marshmallow’s better features.
We will discuss some of the more common problems with Android L, and point out which have been fixed with updates—Spoiler Alert: none of the big ones—and which problems persist. Where possible, we will also give you any solutions that have been found.
Don’t forget, if the content of this article gets you down, you can always root your phone. We have guides for rooting most of the top smartphones here on Joy of Android, and there is simply no better way to ensure the most customizable experience possible than by rooting your phone.
The “memory leak” issues that plagued the initial Android 5.0 release is perhaps the most infamous and most frustrating of the bugs that the OS has suffered through. But what exactly is a “memory leak” exactly?
Reports vary from handset to handset, but the consensus has been that when an app is opened and then closed, the system has trouble releasing the memory and completely killing off the app’s functions. Users have struggled with anywhere from 50%-80% of memory being consumed by processes and apps that were thought to have been closed.
One of the more widespread issues has been apps force-closing in the background. If you have 8-10 apps running, it is not uncommon to see a pop-up telling you one of those apps has Unfortunately, stopped working.”
Ideally, the Android 5.0 OS would be able to handle a large number of running apps and processes without arbitrarily killing some of them off, but this has simply not been the case.
Another place this problem has been seen is in launcher redraws. In essence, a launcher redraw happens when multiple apps that are consuming large amounts of memory are being used simultaneously. Upon closing of the apps, the launcher screen does not immediately reload. Instead, the user sees their wallpaper and, after a small delay, the launcher loads again.
In all reality, the delay is a few seconds, and the issue of launcher redraws is nothing more than a slight inconvenience, but for power users and those searching for the optimal Operating System, this is a bug that still leave us scratching our heads.
The memory leak issues become most apparent when users are running their phones without a power-down or restart for more than a couple of days. Realistically, the phone should be restarted every day or so. This would help to cut back on the instances of the memory leak issue, but it is only a temporary solution. As more processes are left running after a day or two, more memory is drained.
Although restarts are not ideal, they are a quick solution to the problem.
Many devices have already received the 5.1 update, and the jury is still out on whether the update has fixed the memory leak issue or not. User stories suggest the problem has been addressed, but not completely solved. Some devices are seeing improved performance, whereas others seem to be still struggling with the problem. If I had to provide a firm answer to the question, it seems that the memory leak still exists, albeit in a lesser form.
What do you do if faced with a memory leak?
There are certain fixes that work for select handsets. However, many of them require root access and are not a broad enough solution to mention here. Your two best options are going to be restarting your phone and wiping the cache partition.
The restart is a simple method, and wiping the cache partition is only slightly more involved. To wipe your cache partition, simply turn your phone off, boot into Recovery Mode, and select Wipe Cache Partition.
The biggest thing you can do is not let your phone run for more than a day or so without a reboot.
Yes; however, this is the reality of Lollipop right now.
Word on the street is that Android 6.0 Marshmallow does indeed fix the memory leak problems, so it is best if we all cross our fingers and patiently await the OTA updates to start hitting the major models and carriers in the coming months.
Issues with battery life have dogged Android 5.0 since before it was even released. The initial OTA update was pushed back to try and address a bug that was leading to poor battery performance. However, it seems as though the bug may not have been completely fixed.
Experiences of this bug vary across devices and handsets, but there seems to be a vocal community of online users who claim that Android 5.0 simply suffers from poor battery life. The bug was supposed to be fixed with the release of the 5.1 update, but many doubt that this has actually been the case.
Do you see a trend here?
I know I am.
Many users these days are complaining of devices that once lasted throughout a whole day before Lollipop, but are now only lasting 8-10 hours before requiring a charge. This has been my personal experience on both an HTC One M8 as well as an LG G4, running both 5.0 and 5.1. It seems that the reality of Lollipop is battery life just is not what it used to be.
People point to Material Design as a culprit, stating that the animations are more resources-intensive while others say that the problem lies in certain apps and data connections. Some struggle on Wi-Fi, whereas others have issues on 3G and 4G. It appears that Android 5.0 and 5.1 may have trouble restricting background data in certain apps and processes, allowing an unmitigated exchange of data when it is not always necessary.
Many still point to Google’s own apps and services as some of the main culprits. Google Now has been shown to be a battery-sucking service that constantly pulls data and uses up resources. The Google Services that are required for such things as the Play Store and Contacts Sync always seems to be near the top of the list in battery usage as well.
If Google Now is the culprit, it can always be stopped or uninstalled. This is a much trickier issue with Google Services, an integral part of the Google App ecosystem on a lot of phones.
So while it seems that the battery life issues persist throughout Android 5.x, the good news is there are a few small things users can do to try to increase battery life. Monitoring your device to see what apps and processes are consuming the most battery would be the first place to start.
Usage statistics provides accurate information about which apps and services are doing the most damage. This gives each user the ability to stop certain programs, as well as uninstall those that may be causing bigger problems.
Most phones these days also have various versions of “battery saving mode;” this was, in fact, one of the key components of the Android 5.0 update. Using battery savings modes can help to restrict background data and control screen brightness to extend the life of the phone throughout a battery cycle.
The dashboard is also a great tool when it comes to battery management. Swiping down from the top of the screen gives you quick access to all sorts of settings that can help increase battery life.
Any setting that involves the exchange of data is inherently going to cause a drain on the battery. Such simple changes as keeping Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off when not in use can add more life between charges. Syncing and Location services are also battery drains that can easily be toggled off when not in use.
The screen plays a very large role in battery drain as well. Increasingly, smartphone makers are reaching for bigger and brighter screens with higher contrast levels and stunning resolutions. These beautiful screens also have the potential to be the single largest thief of your valuable battery power in daily use.
My current usages statistics as I write this article show that my screen is responsible for 27% of my battery consumption, a full 12% more than the Android System itself.
Being mindful of screen brightness levels and assuring that your phone is set to time-out the screen after a period of inactivity are great ways to add more life to your phone. Unfortunately, a phone without an active screen is not worth much more than making and receiving calls.
It is worth mentioning that restarting your phone on a regular basis can contribute to longer battery life. This helps to close out running background services and gives your phone a clean slate to work with. It never hurts to wipe the cache partition every once in a while either. This is a simple process that usually takes less than a minute and does not permanently delete any of your saved data. You can find a guide on Wiping the Cache Partition here.
You can also check out this article on How to Save Battery Life on Android.
If you came here searching for answers and solutions, I could only imagine you are a little disappointed to hear your best fixes are to root your phone, restart it often, wipe the cache partition, and wait for Android Marshmallow. I wish more fixes would apply across all devices running Android 5.x Lollipop, but this is simply not the case.
Even though Lollipop provided many upgrades, there are nagging issues that continue to persist throughout the life of the OS. We can only hope that Marshmallow is the answer we have all been waiting for.
Do you know of better solutions for memory leak and battery life issues or do you want to express your frustrations with Lollipop?
Or, are you the type who just loves Lollipop for what it is, even with these issues? Leave a comment below.