If you have been experiencing some performance problems on your Android smartphone running version 6.0 Marshmallow and have traced it down to an uncontrolled use of system memory, take comfort in two things. One, you aren’t the only one. Two, Google says that the issue has been fixed. Now the only problem is trying to divine what “will be available in a future build” means in this context, whether that means in next month’s security updates or in Android N. Either way, affected user will just have wait for the fix to land on their devices. If it does, that is.
For all its advantages and benefits, Android is not a perfect platform by any means. It has a few ugly warts that iOS fans or anti-Android advocates use as ammo against it. Aside from security, another favorite scapegoat is resource management, particularly system memory or RAM. As this anecdote will show, Google eventually does get on top of thing. Sadly, the story is far from over.
Bug 195104 was reported way back in November last year, after Android 5.0 Lollipop’s equally unpopular RAM-eating bug was squashed. It wasn’t the last we’d hear of it, apparently, as multiple users reported and confirmed seeing something similar with Marshmallow devices. In most cases, these users see their RAM usage nearly doubled for now apparent reason. Most of the time, that would be because the operating system failed to clean up previously used memory or failed to keep apps in check.
Six months and 493 stars later, Google finally reports that the issue is fixed. The rather blunt and vague announcement isn’t exactly new, as almost all bugs are declared closed that way. However, it won’t stop users from asking “when?”, nor will it stop people from bringing up the favorite topic of Android fragmentation.
Due to established practices and systems, even if the fix were to be included in the upcoming July security updates, it might take some time before it actually arrives on users’ devices, unless they have Nexus smartphones and tablets. OEMs aren’t as quick on their feet. Even those that promise a short one-month gap, the updates aren’t rolled out equally to all markets and models.
So whether the fix comes next month or next Android version, it might sadly not matter that much for those who’ll have to wait for months to finally see their Android devices stop eating so much memory.