Android multi-tasking has been praised for years as one of the best multi-tasking systems in the mobile industry. UI wise, webOS has always been better, because it was much more intuitive, but ICS has solved much of that problem, at least if manufacturers keep using the software buttons and multi-tasking button (which Samsung doesn’t do with the Galaxy S3).

iOS took years before it implemented “some” multi-tasking capability, and even now it still only works for a few types of apps. WP7 multi-tasking is also quite poor and doesn’t keep almost anything in the background, not even an IM. RIM may have the most advanced multi-tasking system right now, because every single app keeps running in the background, although it remains to be seen, with BB10 smartphones, if that was a wise choice or not for battery life. But even so, Android multi-tasking remains at least a top 2 in the industry.

Unfortunately, HTC seems to be taking that position way down (some even say worse than iOS) with the One X. They’ve implemented such aggressive memory management that once you switch to a different application, your previous application will be deleted from memory, so if you use multi-tasking at all on your phone, that means those apps will have to load again.

This is not how Android normally manages multi-tasking. Usually, apps stay in memory until there is very little of it left, and only then the “oldest” apps in memory start to drop out, and make room for the newest apps in memory. This allows the user to easily switch between many previous applications without reloading them every time.

Android may or may not need a bit more aggressive memory management, so that if you have 1 GB of memory, or even 2 GB like some new phones will have, it shouldn’t wait until you have only 30 MB left to clear up the old apps. But killing them as soon as you enter a new app, seems like a huge, well, overkill. It makes the large amounts of RAM modern Android devices have almost useless, and breaks the multi-tasking experience for Android users.

Here’s a video depicting the problem, courtesy of YouTube user wrxdrunkie:

  • Guest

    lol If IOS multitasks better, then this is a useless phone

  • Anush Surendran

    Will this be same on One S and One V too?

    • Mmzshockto

      I think this only happens with one out of how many ever Androids. Why can’t apps just be saved into the memory as is and we store them to storage &move them how we see fit. Having to relaunch every app every use is a waste of power too?

    • The One S has the exact same issue. It has been confirmed.

  • ElelvlentaL

    I do hope HTC patches this issue, but in all honesty this phone is still great. Even though this may be considered a negative there are so many positives in this phone that they outweigh this problem, albeit, an annoying one.

    • Uestwhb

      It’s a shit phone mate

      • Very true. I really don’t like the phone, but I can’t figure out if it’s because Sense is just enormous bloatware or if ICS just doesn’t work correctly with 1GB of RAM.

        • JulianMckinzey_son_of_Android

          It’s both. Sense UI isn’t as smooth as many claim.
          Hate to say it but put it beside Touchwiz and you can see why.

  • True_Neutral

    This is a really stupid decision.

    Keeping apps in memory is better, because RAM doesn’t consume much power. I imagine that re-launching every app when the user wants to get back to it will consume more power in the long run, because the loading phrase of an app is pretty CPU (and network data in some cases) intensive.

    • AppleFUD

      I would think you are correct on this. Ramping up the CPU every time you do something doesn’t sound like the most intelligent way to conserve battery.

  • well, i didn’t even realize this issue before this video… yeah, i checked now, it reloads sometimes, but it’s not so bad. (i’m coming from a desire, and the one X experience is awesome!) plus, we just need a patch. and we’re waiting for the 4.0.4 rom, so in that this patch as might as well come :)

  • Who shot the video should have also showed us how he set the options in Settings – Developers Options – Apps as it’s possible to choose if a user wants to keep the apps running (and how many) or rather stop them.

    • This has nothing to do with the settings in developer options. I tried toggling all the different options and it had no effect on this issue. This is a major screw up on the part of HTC.

  • Namibie2005

    I call BS on this. Multitasking works fine, but you can change the behaviour with settings.

    • Edward

      You haven’t noticed that your Google Talk keeps signing out? Geez I have, and BaconReader too, I have to keep re-finding the Reddit post I was reading whenever I switch more than two apps away from something, sometimes even one! Apparently the issue has been dealt with in the .8 RUU. I’ll find out in about 20 minutes!

  • Gustavo Gomez

    Finally an article about it. Thanks. It is a big problem. I have lost my bike rides, I cant run runkeeper, take pictures, and send text messages because it deletes runkeeper from the memory

  • David Rosen

    FINALLY an article that talks about this issue. I’ve been in constant emails and phone calls with HTC and constant threads on XDA and I’m gonna return the phone this weekend and go back to my crappy MyTouch4gSlide for the next few months if this doesn’t get resolved. Anyone saying that this is a non-issue, either a) you don’t use your phone to the extent that a top of the line Android phone should be used or b) the issue only affects some One X’s and we got lemons and yours are fine… And to the commenters saying we changed options or stuff in the developer options… No… We changed the options in the course of troubleshooting trying to fix this issue that started from the second I turned the phone on. Right now the options are back to defaults and still having the issues.

  • Daveyj

    My HTC Legend with 7mb of RAM could keep my web pages in memory without having to reload every time I switched app… This is really the only flaw I’ve found with the phone, otherwise it’s nearly perfect! Please fix this HTC!

  • Thanks Android Authority for this post. Several people on XDA had posted that they been notifying other websites and they are ignoring them. This is an excellent phone with a fatal flaw that will make people return it. HTC needs good publicity now more than ever and this should be addressed by HTC right away.

  • e34v8

    Another OneX problem?! Shame, it’s a beautiful phone.

  • DJ

    Even the LIVE wallpapers doesn’t seem to work when u slide over pages… I haven’t heard about this on any forums… dts an another fault in this ONE X… but its a good one and I do own the same.. !!! HTC.. please fix all these v soon

  • Justin

    this would be a deal breaker for me!

  • V@no

    HTC One X has about 200mb of free ram available after boot (out of 650+, not 1000 as advertised), this is not
    nearly enough almost for any multitasking, I doubt users will ever see much
    of improvements until Sense is totally gone.
    As much as I love HTC One X, the lack of multitasking totally ruined it for me. Switched to SGS3 with 2gb or ram and despite all it’s flaws I’d never trade it back for nearly perfect HTC One X.
    HTC, you really screwed this one up…

    Anyone saying that multitasking is working fine, should sell the phone and get a nokia of some kind, because you obviously don’t use it to it’s full potential and simple flip-flop phone would be just enough for your needs.

  • Praveen

    Got a OneX few days back. Not facing this issue. HTC has patched it up I suppose.