Why did I get less free RAM after the ICS update in my Galaxy Note?
June 28, 2012 in Galaxy Note Guides
Some users felt the sluggish immediately after the ICS update on the Galaxy Note. Some users even want to go back to Gingerbread, as commented by some users on the post of Top 10 questions on ICS update for your Galaxy Note and Ice Cream Sandwich is coming to your Galaxy Note
Of course, it is NOT necessary to go back to GB. Don’t over-react on the feeling. In this post, I will share with you how to read your available RAMs, and some tips to make your Note more responsive.
During the ICS update, for some unknown reasons, all apps will be started (we all know all apps will be re-installed by the updater, but I am not sure why they are started). So, after the update, your Note will not so responsive. A quick solution is rebooting your phone after the update. Most apps will not run automatically, so, after the reboot, only some apps started.
Now, you can check your memory (RAM) usage through Settings–Applications–Running. You should have 200-400MB free RAM. This is more than sufficient for most apps!! For example, for my note as shown below, it still have 299MB free RAM after running a few days.
But if I use the bundled Task Manager, it reported only 101MB free RAM as shown in the screenshot below. This is why a lot of users get scared!. Do not trust any task manager or system info apps. Most of them suck. Most of apps report available RAM inaccurately.
Wait a minute, the specification says my Galaxy Note have 1GB ram, but it shows I only have about 800MB. Is Samsung cheating us? Surely not. The about 200MB RAM is reserved by the system, mainly for GPU. In your Galaxy Note, there is a GPU (Mali 400-MP, to be precisely) whose duty is to render whatever to be shown on the screen. All such embedded GPUs do not have “dedicated” memory: they have to share the system RAM (your 1GB RAM). As GPU need contiguous (both physical and virtual) address, memory should be reserved. This is something similar (but not identical) to your integrated graphics card on your PC (if you still have such a PC).
Your Android kernel (ICS) and drivers will use about 200MB RAM. Another about 200MB were used by your launcher and other bundled apps (both essential and bloated). So, after rebooting your Galaxy Note, you should have 300-500MB available RAM. Don’t use any task manager to check!!
Android (and its father or mother? Linux) is very efficient in memory management. Any unused RAM is wasted! Android caches some apps in the RAM so that when you want to launch these apps, it will be super fast because they will be loaded from memory instead of from the storage card. Most of the time, your newly closed apps get higher priority of being cached. Of course, Android will not use up all your RAM; it will always leave 100-200MB as unused in your Galaxy Note so that you can launch any apps without feeling the sluggish. If the unused RAM is not sufficient, some cached RAM will be released immediately based on priority and other factors.
So, you should never worry about RAM management in your Galaxy Note. Most task managers and RAM boosters are useless.
If you feel the phone is sluggish, the problem can be caused by some poorly-written apps or some other settings (e.g., excessive power saving settings). You can always check the running apps from Settings–Applications–Running to find out which app is hogging the resources.
As mentioned, some apps start itself automatically when you reboot your phone. If you are curious to know which apps in your phone will start automatically (usually during boot time), you can install this Autorun Manger (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rs.autorun). If your phone is not rooted, you can only temporally stop such apps through Settings–Applications–Downloaded–choose the app–Force Stop. Anyway, for most users, this is NOT necessary.
Ok, a few tips to make your phone more responsive:
- Turn off Power Saving. Based on my personal experience, the Power Saving can extend the battery life only about 10%, and your CPU seldom goes to 1.4GHz with Power Saving on. I tested for a few days. When it is off, my Note became far more responsive,and may battery is still enough for my daily use. Occasionally I still turn it on if I know I need user it for longer time on some days.
- Turn off Screen Rotation. You can always turn it man when you need it, e.g., browsing web pages, watching videos.
- Turn off Touch sounds and vibrate on touch. You can do this from Settings–Sound–System
What are your tips to make your Galaxy Note more responsive? Or do you have comments to share with us?
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