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Unable to shuffle between a few apps at a time on your Pixel 3? You're not alone

It looks like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL exhibit a memory management issue that more than a few people have noticed.

Published onOctober 23, 2018

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  • It looks like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL exhibit a memory management issue.
  • The issue prevents more than a handful of apps from remaining open in the background.
  • The root of the issue is unknown, though people are quick to blame the 4GB of RAM on the Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL may be two of the best Android smartphones you can buy, but they are not without their issues. One of them looks to be an inability to move between a handful of apps at a time without one closing out, especially when you have music playing in the background.

This does not seem to be an isolated issue, either. At least three threads on Reddit complain about the Pixel 3’s alleged memory management issue. Multiple posts on Twitter echo the same concern, with folks only able to open two to four apps before one of them eventually closes in the background.

The memory management issue seemingly gets worse when you use the camera. As we found on our own Pixel 3 XL, we had Pocket Casts close several times when we took some pictures. The same thing happened when we used Play Music and Spotify.

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Google Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 3 screen

What makes matters worse is we do not know why this issue exists. Most people blame the Pixel 3’s 4GB of RAM. When compared to phones like the OnePlus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which feature at least 6GB of RAM, the Pixel 3’s RAM count is mediocre and possibly worrisome for the future.

Alternatively, Flash Kernel developer Nathan Chancellor believes the memory management issue is due to Google’s switch to Android Low Memory Killer Daemon (lmkd). This is a process monitoring memory state that kills the least essential process or processes in order to better react to high memory pressure and keep Android running as smoothly as possible.

2a. The memory issues that some people are complaining about may be due to the switch ( to lmkd (a userspace low memory killer implementation):
— Nathan Chancellor (@nathanchance) October 21, 2018

Chancellor believes that Google simply needs to further tune and fix lmkd for the Pixel 3. He also said that Sultan, a popular Android developer on XDA Developers, tried the switch on the Pixel 2 and found the same memory management issue.

Whatever the reason, we can only hope that Google pushes out some sort of fix in a future update. We know that not everyone will see the same issue, but enough people have complained about the same thing to hopefully warrant some sort of deep look.