Android 4.3 may breathe new life in your bogged down Nexus 7

by: Bogdan PetrovanJuly 29, 2013

Nexus 7

For all its qualities, the original Nexus 7 had a problem – it got slower the longer you used it. At least that’s what many users reported in righteous outrage.

The problem was related to low-level software, specifically to the way information was written on the flash storage of the tablet. As long as the data blocks that make up the storage were empty (when the tablet was new), writing data was quick and the operating system ran smoothly. As the storage space filled up, the operating system kept looking for free data blocks to use, which was fine until all the blocks became used up. At that moment, the operating system had to delete blocks before writing them, which caused the tablet to slow down dramatically.

The solution is for the OS to periodically issue a TRIM command, which goes through every data block that is no longer in use and wipes it. This way, when data needs to be written on the flash storage, plenty of empty blocks are available.

TRIM doesn’t work on the Nexus 7 on Android 4.2, which explains why so many users have been having performance issues.

The good news is Android 4.3 supports the TRIM command, which means two things: the Nexus 7 (2013) won’t be having the same slowdown problems as the first generation, and the Nexus 7 (2012) should work better once you update it to Android 4.3.

According to Brian Klug of AnandTech, Android 4.3 will run the fstrim command daily, ensuring that wiped out space is constantly available on the Nexus 7. The command will run when the device is idle, the display turned off, and the battery is above 70 percent.

That means you shouldn’t expect to see an instant improvement as soon as you upgrade your Nexus 7 (2012) to Android 4.3. The trick is to leave the tablet a few hours unused and with the battery charged, so TRIM can work its magic.

The solution was available before to rooted Nexus 7 users through various apps, but it’s good to see Google working to improve the experience for everyone.

  • Rob

    I am still waiting for the 4.3 update on my Nexus 7

    • gfusion

      me too :(

      • Alain Lafond

        Look on the net, there plenty of ways of upgrading. With or without root or unlocking…
        It is call sideload
        Easy…. I’m still locked and unroot…

        • SeraZR™

          Rooot EEEEEEiiiiiT! NAAAOO!!!

          Nexus devices without root = Waste IMO :p

        • Apple_Nexus

          You can’t “side load” the OS!

          • Alain Lafond

            You can sideload the upgrade. But if you look for sideload 4.3, you’ll see all infos about it…
            Sure with any I-Pinga, you can’t do this… lol

    • Adam Outler

      Why wait? factory images are availble from Google.

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      Don’t have to wait…
      (be sure to have a full charge, and solid wifi connection)
      Under App Manager, go to “All”
      Scroll to “Google Services Framework”
      Clear Data and Force Stop, push “Yes” after both
      Go back to “Check Firmware Update”
      It should start downloading after the first, or first few tries.

      I did it Saturday on my N7, and it took on the first try.

      Of course, I am not a professional, and your actions are your own. Check it out on line first, Google and YouTube.

      It made a noticeable difference in my Nexus 7 performance.

      • districtjack

        Just tried your advice. Didn’t work. I then googled GSF and got this warning from xda-dev
        Clearing Google Services Framework will cause the C2DM service for every app that uses it to fail until that said app also has its data cleared and is launched and configured again (first time use). If you’ve ever wondered why your notifications for certain apps stop working, it was probably due to reading advice on clearing Google Services Framework to solve some other problem

        • EvenInTheDarkestHour

          I’ve done it several times before without incident. But, better safe than sorry is always ta good course. Sorry I didn’t help.

          • districtjack

            I didn’t notice any detrimental effects from clearing the GFS. I guess I’ll wait for the OTA. It can’t be more than a week away. Its probably given out to nexus’ in order of activation date. Mine is only two months old so I will probably be later rather than sooner. Thanks for the tip though,it was worth a try.

          • districtjack

            Yahoo! Just got the update. Android 4.3 157.5MB
            However I can not say one way or the other if clearing the GFS did it or if it just got pushed OTA.

    • districtjack

      Me too. I’ve been pushing “check for system updates” several times a day and still no update.

  • Alain Lafond

    I upgraded next friday, and it’s true. A visible gain of speed. I believe I won’t buy the new one. Changed my mind.

    • Apple_Nexus

      You upgraded in the future? Then why not upgrade to Android 26 Zebra chocolate cheese cake? ;)

      • Alain Lafond

        Seem that you have lotsa time to loose…

  • Ransom Rockwood

    Upgraded the day it was released and haven’t had a single hiccup or agent since. My nexus 7 is back to performing like it was when I first bought it. It made me decide to be a little more patient and wait to see if any deals come out for the lte version of the new nexus.

  • kascollet

    Half-baked OS and half-baked hardware.
    It was about time to fix that Google. Shame on you.

  • markG

    At least that’s what ONE user reported in righteous outrage.

    Seen this linked a million times, but at the end of the day, it was only ever one person complaining of this, nobody else was complaining.

    • Joshua Hill

      I think the memory slowdown/bottlenecks may have been overstated/over-reported.

      The battery drain issue that came with 4.2 is very real. Just look in the comments sections of articles related to it to see how many were affected.

      • Guest

        Lol I refused to update to 4.2, so I’ve been running the stock OS that it came with back in August. As far as I can tell, it’s just as fast/battery efficient as it was when I bought it (granted, I stopped using it as heavily around xmas).

        • Joshua Hill

          4.1 didn’t have the battery drain that 4.2 did but I fixed it by running a custom kernel anyway. 4.3 has trim support which should speed up your device if memory speeds are slowing. I’ve only had my N7 for 3-4 months so no probs yet but I upgraded to 4.3 just in case.

    • I can provide more examples if you need.

  • Oliver Blake

    I noticed an instant boost of performance, so I’m going to leave it on overnight see if anything comes of that

  • Sir_Brizz

    I upgraded mine last Friday. Charged to 100%. It went almost 4 days without a charge before it died. Battery improvement for sure.

    4.2 added TRIM whenever something was uninstalled I believe, so that helped. I haven’t ever experienced the slowdowns with a 32gb device.

  • CzarOfTruth

    Still do not have 4.3. I live in southwest Florida with my very nice Nexus 10 and no freaking update yet!!!