Android Rot


We have all heard of the term Windows Rot. Where you eventually have to re-install the OS to clean up the trash left behind from older installs and configuration changes. Well I want to discuss Android Rot. This is where a app in Android which seemed to work fine for the first few weeks starts to behave strangely, stops responding, and in generally becomes unusable.

Before Windows Phone I used to have a Android 1.5 phone which was painfully underpowered but had to use due to work email. Anytime the OS misbehaved you had to go into the diagnostics menu and clear Dalvik and other caches, or worst case factory reset the phone.

I figured by now Google would have had all this app cache, system cache, Dalvik cache, App Data stuff all fixed up but now it’s still all happens today. A month ago I started the family on Android and put on common apps we all used. I then capitulated 3 weeks ago and purchased a Moto G4 32GB model at Costco for $150 (Great price).

The first week worked well. Following how I used Windows Phone I used Waze for commute, Pocket Casts for listening to PodCasts, and GasBuddy to report prices as I drove. At work I used the phone, SMS,, and some crappy Citrix Secure apps to allow VPN web access and work email access. I would have said I achieved 95% functionality and usability that I had with Windows Phone.

Well something happened say Friday, GasBuddy would take about 40 seconds just to display the splash screen and when you did your first search it would say no stations found try again. Also tasking back to GasBuddy it would restart the app at the splash screen vs. where I left off. The when I reported this to GasBuddy the usual responses, clear cache, reboot the phone, re-install app. All which didn’t resolve the issue. Then Waze started to misbehave, audio alerts stopped playing, couldn’t send SMS’s of ETA’s. Filing reports were hit and miss of getting a timeout message. Same responses from their support also.

This rot then spread to lesser used apps such as DunkinDonuts. It used to cache my id/password just fine but then I and it re-prompted for id/password and it wouldn’t accept it. Again tried the same approach cache,un-installed, re-install, reboot. It seemed to fix the issue for their App for one day and started over again Tuesday.

Finally I took the time yesterday to just give up and go into diagnostic mode, clear all system caches and reset to factory, and the key was not to restore any app settings from any backups and re-install everything.

Well that is working now. After 4 hours of re-setting everything up again everything is working fine but for how long? I haven’t heard any complaints from my family yet but they don’t use their phone like I do. I just wonder how long it will be before the rot comes back into my phone.

Anyone else experiencing Android rot?

Comments (2)

2 responses to “Android Rot”

  1. rameshthanikodi

    Been using a Asus Zenfone 3 for 4 months now, my first Android phone after finally ditching my Lumia 920. To be honest, it's been great. I haven't experienced any rot of any kind, but it definitely slows down if I bog it down with apps, but then again, this is a mid-range phone. The phone ships with Asus's system-level detection mechanism to detect and kill battery/data/cpu sipping apps. It seems to work. I have also uninstalled some of these apps that it detected and the phone is snappy again. So I don't think it's so much of an OS issue more than a rouge app issue.

  2. jimchamplin

    I think Google, like Microsoft, cares little about "legacy problems." Just keep adding features and ads and nobody will notice when that odd bug that's existed since Windows 2000 happens, or the Store stops working.

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