Multitasking - my experience and a possible fix

strudel#AC

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2010
131
29
0
Visit site
I am well aware that I am beating a dead horse bringing up multitasking again. I think I may be able to help people out with some of their frustrations based on my experience so if some of HTCs decisions with multitasking frustrate you read on...

I have always run an application called System Panel. It is capable of doing in-depth logging of various things such as CPU usage, battery percentage, etc... I find it quite handy to see over time how my battery life is and what is using CPU and memory. I have seven homescreens packed with widgets so my phone is always using a lot of ram. I noticed that on my Evo, even though System Panel was being run as a high-priority process, it was being killed on occasion. It was very easy to see because there would be large blank areas in the graphs if I looked at the history for any of the stuff the app logged. This was annoying but something I could live with.

Something more troubling and in my mind unacceptable, is things like navigation and streaming music being killed off. I was traveling for work so I was using navigation and Google Music for music on my drive. I started playing a playlist on Google Music and inputed my destination in Google Navigation. I responded to a few emails before heading on my way and noticed that when I went back to Navigation, the app had been killed, GPS was still being used but Navigation had no knowledge of the address I put in just a few minutes prior. The same thing happened when I tried to switch to Google Music, the music continued to play but the application was basically reloaded. High priority apps should take precedence over everything (that is why they are high priority) but they were getting killed left and right. That is NOT multitasking!

I had read about improvements from modifying the minfree values used by Android so I rooted my phone and installed Rom Toolbox. I went to the Performance section and adjusted the Auto Memory Manager settings. I did not pay attention to what the values were set to, but I used the "Mild" preset and checked the "Set on Boot" checkbox.

I did some testing today and the difference in behavior is rather shocking. High priority apps do not close under any circumstance. While having Navigation and Google Music running (and a Timer for good measure) I opened Facebook, Email, Gmail, Words with Friends, Messages, Googe Talk and various news and weather apps. All high priority apps continued to run no matter how much app switching I did. My final test was to go into Google Earth, turn on 3D buildings and go to Manhattan. This uses a ton of ram and all high priority apps continued to run, although my phone struggled with this, it was the first time I saw my phone struggle to do what I was asking it to do. I thought it locked up on me for a minute or so but it did everything I asked without rebooting or killing any high-priority apps.

Now when it comes to apps that are not actively doing anything (web browsing, email, messaging Pandora when it is paused, etc...) HTC's aggressive killing of idle apps still rears its ugly head. Having idle apps reload when you switch back to them happens less then it did but still occurs and 95% of the time after a quick reload I am right back in the same place I was when I left the app. Overall, I would not consider this a big deal. The most important thing is that running apps do not seem to be killed any longer, no matter what I do.

With some slight modification multitasking still leaves a little to be desired, but it is a huge improvement and something I highly recommend anyone that is rooted to give a shot
 
Last edited:

kbp08tls

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2012
465
97
0
Visit site
There are a couple of guys over on AndroidForums working this exact issue using ROM Toolbox memory manager settings, among other tweaks, to try to clean up Sense's multitasking.
Check out this thread at AndroidForums for reference. They start talking memory manager settings on the second page but the whole thread is worth the read.
 
  • Like
Reactions: drewjohn

dskwerl

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2010
124
6
0
Visit site
My only gripe is with Waze (and I'm inclined to say this issue is with Waze, not Sense, because I've encountered it with every device I've used Waze on) and how it reloads itself almost every time I switch to a different app and come back to it. Which is especially frustrating when you are using it for navigation and want to change a song, or look something up really quickly.

Besides that, the multitasking doesn't bother me at all. Sometimes when I use the app switcher, it takes a second or two to reload an app, but that doesn't bother me. It's only with Waze when I have to completely start over almost every time I switch out of it and then back to it.
 
Last edited:

Jackson Galaxy

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2011
261
35
0
Visit site
I am well aware that I am beating a dead horse bringing up multitasking again. I think I may be able to help people out with some of their frustrations based on my experience so if some of HTCs decisions with multitasking frustrate you read on...

I have always run an application called System Panel. It is capable of doing in-depth logging of various things such as CPU usage, battery percentage, etc... I find it quite handy to see over time how my battery life is and what is using CPU and memory. I have seven homescreens packed with widgets so my phone is always using a lot of ram. I noticed that on my Evo, even though System Panel was being run as a high-priority process, it was being killed on occasion. It was very easy to see because there would be large blank areas in the graphs if I looked at the history for any of the stuff the app logged. This was annoying but something I could live with.

Something more troubling and in my mind unacceptable, is things like navigation and streaming music being killed off. I was traveling for work so I was using navigation and Google Music for music on my drive. I started playing a playlist on Google Music and imputed my destination in Google Navigation. I responded to a few emails before heading on my way and noticed that when I went back to Navigation, the app had been killed, GPS was still being used but Navigation had no knowledge of the address I put in just a few minutes prior. The same thing happened when I tried to switch to Google Music, the music continued to play but the application was basically reloaded. High priority apps should take precedence over everything (that is why they are high priority) but they were getting killed left and right. That is NOT multitasking!

I had read about improvements from modifying the minfree values used by Android so I rooted my phone and installed Rom Toolbox. I went to the Performance section and adjusted the Auto Memory Manager settings. I did not pay attention to what the values were set to, but I used the "Mild" preset and checked the "Set on Boot" checkbox.

I did some testing today and the difference in behavior is rather shocking. High priority apps do not close under any circumstance. While having Navigation and Google Music running (and a Timer for good measure) I opened Facebook, Email, Gmail, Words with Friends, Messages, Googe Talk and various news and weather apps. All high priority apps continued to run no matter how much app switching I did. My final test was to go into Google Earth, turn on 3D buildings and go to Manhattan. This uses a ton of ram and all high priority apps continued to run, although my phone struggled with this, it was the first time I saw my phone struggle to do what I was asking it to do. I thought it locked up on me for a minute or so but it did everything I asked without rebooting or killing any high-priority apps.

Now when it comes to apps that are not actively doing anything (web browsing, email, messaging Pandora when it is paused, etc...) HTC's aggressive killing of idle apps still rears its ugly head. Having idle apps reload when you switch back to them happens less then it did but still occurs and 95% of the time after a quick reload I am right back in the same place I was when I left the app. Overall, I would not consider this a big deal. The most important thing is that running apps do not seem to be killed any longer, no matter what I do.

With some slight modification multitasking still leaves a little to be desired, but it is a huge improvement and something I highly recommend anyone that is rooted to give a shot

Can you post a link to where I can read up on rooting my Evo LTE?
 

Darth Mo

Well-known member
May 17, 2010
1,303
48
48
Visit site
Interesting find.

I'm holding out rooting for the first official update to see if HTC addresses the issue, but I'm not holding my breath. Still, I'll give them a chance.
 

strudel#AC

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2010
131
29
0
Visit site
for those that are trying the OP's method, as a result of the changes made to keep apps open in memory, what affect on battery life are you noticing?

In regards to battery life, I am abusing the phone too much today to say for sure, but I will report back as soon as I get an idea of what (if any) impact this change has on battery life
 

usguyver

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2010
809
4
0
Visit site
I am well aware that I am beating a dead horse bringing up multitasking again. I think I may be able to help people out with some of their frustrations based on my experience so if some of HTCs decisions with multitasking frustrate you read on...

I have always run an application called System Panel. It is capable of doing in-depth logging of various things such as CPU usage, battery percentage, etc... I find it quite handy to see over time how my battery life is and what is using CPU and memory. I have seven homescreens packed with widgets so my phone is always using a lot of ram. I noticed that on my Evo, even though System Panel was being run as a high-priority process, it was being killed on occasion. It was very easy to see because there would be large blank areas in the graphs if I looked at the history for any of the stuff the app logged. This was annoying but something I could live with.

Something more troubling and in my mind unacceptable, is things like navigation and streaming music being killed off. I was traveling for work so I was using navigation and Google Music for music on my drive. I started playing a playlist on Google Music and inputed my destination in Google Navigation. I responded to a few emails before heading on my way and noticed that when I went back to Navigation, the app had been killed, GPS was still being used but Navigation had no knowledge of the address I put in just a few minutes prior. The same thing happened when I tried to switch to Google Music, the music continued to play but the application was basically reloaded. High priority apps should take precedence over everything (that is why they are high priority) but they were getting killed left and right. That is NOT multitasking!

I had read about improvements from modifying the minfree values used by Android so I rooted my phone and installed Rom Toolbox. I went to the Performance section and adjusted the Auto Memory Manager settings. I did not pay attention to what the values were set to, but I used the "Mild" preset and checked the "Set on Boot" checkbox.

I did some testing today and the difference in behavior is rather shocking. High priority apps do not close under any circumstance. While having Navigation and Google Music running (and a Timer for good measure) I opened Facebook, Email, Gmail, Words with Friends, Messages, Googe Talk and various news and weather apps. All high priority apps continued to run no matter how much app switching I did. My final test was to go into Google Earth, turn on 3D buildings and go to Manhattan. This uses a ton of ram and all high priority apps continued to run, although my phone struggled with this, it was the first time I saw my phone struggle to do what I was asking it to do. I thought it locked up on me for a minute or so but it did everything I asked without rebooting or killing any high-priority apps.

Now when it comes to apps that are not actively doing anything (web browsing, email, messaging Pandora when it is paused, etc...) HTC's aggressive killing of idle apps still rears its ugly head. Having idle apps reload when you switch back to them happens less then it did but still occurs and 95% of the time after a quick reload I am right back in the same place I was when I left the app. Overall, I would not consider this a big deal. The most important thing is that running apps do not seem to be killed any longer, no matter what I do.

With some slight modification multitasking still leaves a little to be desired, but it is a huge improvement and something I highly recommend anyone that is rooted to give a shot

I have found out what HTC has done with multicasting when you are in an app you just need to press the home buttion not the back buttion when you press the home buttio. Then the multitask bution it gos back to where I want so what I see is when you press the home buttion it saves the state of the app

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
 

crxssi

Linux: The power beneath
May 31, 2010
2,668
155
0
Visit site
I have found out what HTC has done with multicasting when you are in an app you just need to press the home buttion not the back buttion when you press the home buttio. Then the multitask bution it gos back to where I want so what I see is when you press the home buttion it saves the state of the app

Your theory doesn't address the "recent apps" button...
 

crxssi

Linux: The power beneath
May 31, 2010
2,668
155
0
Visit site
for those that are trying the OP's method, as a result of the changes made to keep apps open in memory, what affect on battery life are you noticing?

Battery life is not affected by how many apps are "open", unless they are all needing CPU or other resources at the same time, which is rare. Most apps sleep when they do not have the screen.
 

usguyver

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2010
809
4
0
Visit site
Your theory doesn't address the "recent apps" button...

That what I mean by multitask buttion which is the resent app buttion and if you press the home buttion to go some where else it saves the state of the app and when you press the resent app button and go back to the app it is at the same spot I have tested it.

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
 

Saneless

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2010
453
48
0
Visit site
Sense always has and always will reload. It too is an app and gets dropped from memory like everything else.

Best bet is to use a leaner launcher that starts up quicker than sense does (which is most of them)
 

flyhighx

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2011
49
13
0
Visit site
Battery life is not affected by how many apps are "open", unless they are all needing CPU or other resources at the same time, which is rare. Most apps sleep when they do not have the screen.

Perhaps my wording of saying in memory was incorrect. What I would like to know is how battery life is affected by what the OP is doing. If Sense in it's intended state is "closing" apps down when the user leaves an app to go another task, I wonder what the toll on the battery would be if we override that, and keep multiple apps active where they normally would be closed. What sense is doing is different then Android's function of keeping apps open. Sense is closing apps that should be ACTIVE. This is how it should be, apps I have active should stay active. I do not want them to close based on Sense's approach to multitasking. There must be some drawback to keeping the apps running however, and I want to know if it is tangible in terms of battery consumption.

That what I mean by multitask buttion which is the resent app buttion and if you press the home buttion to go some where else it saves the state of the app and when you press the resent app button and go back to the app it is at the same spot I have tested it.

I'm not seeing the same results. If I'm using a web browser and am in the middle of typing a form, and hit home, and then go back into the app by either using the multitask button or opening up the browser directly, the browser along with the web page reloads, causing me to loose my work.
 

crxssi

Linux: The power beneath
May 31, 2010
2,668
155
0
Visit site
Perhaps my wording of saying in memory was incorrect. What I would like to know is how battery life is affected by what the OP is doing. If Sense in it's intended state is "closing" apps down when the user leaves an app to go another task, I wonder what the toll on the battery would be if we override that, and keep multiple apps active where they normally would be closed. What sense is doing is different then Android's function of keeping apps open. Sense is closing apps that should be ACTIVE.

No, there is no wording problem, I knew what you meant. Answer is the same- 99% of apps will sleep when they don't have the screen. They will pose no additional battery drain just because they are ready for multitasking when needed. With typical apps and normal use, there will be no change to battery consumption.

This is how it should be, apps I have active should stay active. I do not want them to close based on Sense's approach to multitasking. There must be some drawback to keeping the apps running however, and I want to know if it is tangible in terms of battery consumption.

There really are no drawbacks other than there is less memory available for other apps. That is no worse than it killing off apps because of not having enough memory. I think HTC's implementation is attempting to make it LOOK like there are more resident apps than there actually are; mostly because there is far less post-OS/post-Sense memory available with this phone than the previous ones.
 

Saneless

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2010
453
48
0
Visit site
Are there any fixes for non-root users? Is it worth upgrading if the multi-tasking is so dreadful?

There's not much you can do without root, and if I had to do it over again I'd keep my 3D and not upgrade to the LTE right now. Knowing the issues you've had with your current phone, I think you're kinda like me in that you notice things quickly that aren't exactly working the way they probably should.

I'd especially wait to see what people are saying about the Galaxy S3.

I personally think the Multitasking issues outweigh the benefits right now and HTC needs to fix something. As it stands, the 3D is an overall better phone minus only the battery life and camera. The 3D is a more comfortable size, has a better grip, and honestly even the resolution is fine on the 3D for its screen size.