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Scheduled Reboot for Cellphones

You can do it for desktop computers... why not handheld computers?
  [vote for,

Any cellphone tech support professional will tell you that a cellphone operates most efficiently when it is powered off for a minute or so every few days. But who remembers to reboot their phone every 3 days? I've gone weeks without even thinking about it. Desktop PCs (I don't know about laptops) have the option for regular reboots at scheduled intervals to keep them running at peak performance. I want the same option for my cellphone. Simple, really.

Also, to avoid a pain in the neck that I experience with my PC, the SIM lock code will be deactivated (not required) during scheduled reboots. This is because it's a pain in the neck to set my computer for a scheduled reboot at 3 AM so it's running smoothly for me in the morning, only to get up in the morning and find that it didn't get past my password screen. I enter the password and it takes a few more minutes to start up. Not very convenient. If it's a regularly scheduled reboot, that shouldn't be required.

21 Quest, Jun 25 2009

Troika http://valuedminds....ages/realTroika.jpg
As [21 Quest] said in his first anno, "Actually, you really should replace the insulation in your hourse regularly" [normzone, Jun 25 2009]

According to this blogger, it's not just Microsoft http://justanotheri...ry-headaches-at-bay
(I know, I know, the iPhone isn't a smartphone) [coprocephalous, Jun 29 2009]


       One of Microsoft's greatest commercial successes has been setting the expectations of the general public low enough that this kind of thing is considered to be a reasonable solution to the problem.

       How would you react if I suggested that your house should be demolished and rebuilt at 3 year intervals to keep the loft insulation working at peak performance?
Wrongfellow, Jun 25 2009

       Not really the same thing at all, Wrongfellow. Actually, you really should replace the insulation in your hourse regularly (maybe every 10 years) for a variety of reasons. And as far as the reboot being a Microsoft lie, I'd like to point out that Microsoft doesn't manufacture phones. Sure, there are phones that use Windows Mobile OS, but not really very many of them. More prevalent are Palms and Blackberries with their own, proprietary Operating Systems, and HTCs, which run a variety of OS's, from Windows Mobile to Linux-based Android. And all of them seem to run better with regular reboots.
21 Quest, Jun 25 2009

       "Any cellphone tech support professional will tell you that a cellphone operates most efficiently when it is powered off for a minute or so every few days"

       Not having access to a cellphone tech support professional at the moment, can you tell me why this is so, or provide a link?

normzone, Jun 25 2009

       I've heard it helps in a number of ways. One way it helps is that when the phone is powered off and power cycled, it establishes a new connection with the carrier signal, which I've been told helps prevent dropped calls and keeps wireless internet running more smoothly, as well as other functions of the phone that are signal-based or recieve daily updates from the signal. It's entirely possible I've been fed a bunch of bullshit over the years, but I've been told the same thing by tech support guys from Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, and I have to say it really does help with my Android G1. It just runs faster, even the screen is more responsive, when I reboot every few days. I'm off to work right now, but I'll look for a link tonight.
21 Quest, Jun 25 2009

       //I've been told the same thing by tech support guys from Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile// These are all carriers. Have you spoken to anyone from Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson...?

       (It's just that I am a mobile phone software engineer (though for none of the above), and I've never heard of this)
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 25 2009

       Since I'm currently in love with my Nokia Tracphone, which I buy a minutes card for periodically. I can't speak to more sophisticated machines.

       If it's got scads of processing power, it's probable that like many such devices it might benefit from a periodic nap, but I haven't seen that mine gives a tinker's damn. Works great on 7/24 for months on end.

       [AWOL], leave it to the service providers to blame it on the hardware and software folks. The three horses of the troika (three legs of the tripod) rarely pull in harmony.
normzone, Jun 25 2009

       I called HTC a few times, but they always tell me to talk to T- Mobile. Same with a few other manufacturers, they always refer me to my carrier.
21 Quest, Jun 25 2009

       I'm sure my old Nokia used to do the opposite of this - When left turned off, it would spontaneously turn itself on for a short while, and then off again. (I assumed it was to run down the battery)
Dub, Jun 25 2009

       I just talked to 2 tech support reps at T-Mobile and was told 2 different things. The first one told me that EVERY smartphone/ PDA/Blackberry should be powered off for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes a day. The second didn't mention other devices, but said he recommends power cycling (reboot) once a day, and that he has 2 batteries for his G1 and swaps them every day, turning it off, swapping the battery, and powering it back on immediately. It also turned out that part of the reason my phone was bogging down was an app I installed that a lot of people have had problems with because it runs continuously in the background and interferes with some of the native apps.

       So that's what I know about this issue. Regular power cycling helps, according to every professional I've spoken to.
21 Quest, Jun 25 2009

       Oh. You mean SMART phones. You didn't mention that, though it is implied.

       I just have a dumb phone. But I still love it. Ten cents a minute, no bills, no bullshit.
normzone, Jun 25 2009

       //More prevalent are Palms and Blackberries //
Well, there of course, you could hardly be more wrong.
The most common smartphone OS is Symbian, by a very long way.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 26 2009

       I said they were more prevalent than Windows Mobile, Absinthe. Did I even mention Symbian? Hm, no, don't think so.
21 Quest, Jun 26 2009

       Clearly you don't make a living calming down irate mobile phone customers, Ian. I deal with this shit every day. No such thing as dropped calls... my ass there's no such thing!
21 Quest, Jun 26 2009

       //How would you react if I suggested that your house should be demolished and rebuilt at 3 year intervals to keep the loft insulation working at peak performance?// Come now, that's an unfair analogy and would suggest, for example, that Windows users need to reinstall their operating systems at intervals to keep the registry working at peak performance ...
spidermother, Jun 26 2009

       [IanTindale] I think things in the US may be different - cells are often larger then in the UK, with much worse overall coverage, and dropped calls at the edge of cells are possible.

       Though of course, that's not going to be cured by rebooting your phone.
TolpuddleSartre, Jun 26 2009

       My guess is, if there's any benefit to rebooting a phone, it only applies to smart phones, which have more potential for getting bogged down in their complex OSes - certainly, my non-smart phone doesn't get switched off for months at a time, with no ill effects or "dropped calls". Also [Wrongfellow] is right - it's bizarre that people could think it's an acceptable solution. It would be as if you couldn't operate your radio for more than a few hours without turning it off for a bit.
hippo, Jun 26 2009

       You mean like when the computer appears to be stuck doing something or is running really slowly people will shake the mouse around and bang it on the mousepad, as if to say "Wake up, you dozy machine!"?
hippo, Jun 26 2009

       A whole industry exists to automatically test and monitor mobile phone voice and data services. Indeed, regulators in many countries require this testing to be done. Measurements show that dropped voice calls happen quite frequently for all sorts of reasons. Similarly, failures of data services are very frequent, particularly for newer services.

       The manufacturers of the test and measurement equipment often use real handsets to perform the measurements. It quickly becomes clear that a real handset locks up within a short time when used in this way. This is particularly true of smartphones which often contain a lot of software that is not designed to be used in a continuous way for 24 hours a day. The solution to this problem is to invent hardware that is able to reset these handsets and bring them back to life. Resetting means electrically removing and replacing the battery in some cases.
DenholmRicshaw, Jun 26 2009

       //I'd like to point out that Microsoft doesn't manufacture phones.//

       I'd like to point out that I never claimed they did. Maybe you should read my first paragraph a bit more carefully?
Wrongfellow, Jun 26 2009

       Then why was Microsoft even mentioned? And that analogy was crap, by the way. Completely non sequitur.
21 Quest, Jun 26 2009

       //Then why was Microsoft even mentioned? //
Perhaps because they are the ones who lowered peoples' expectations such that they think that reboots are an accepted part of machine operations.
I think it was around about the time of Windoze 95, when the machine would freeze after about four days.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 26 2009

       Oh. Well, I'm running Windows Vista Home Basic on my PC and don't reboot but maybe once a week to install updates, because after installing certain updates it tells me it has to reboot to finish the installation process. That doesn't even happen once a week, though. Sometimes it goes for almost a month without a reboot and works just fine. I'd use the scheduled reboot, because it doesn't hurt and might help, but I explained in the post why I don't care for that option as is.
21 Quest, Jun 26 2009

       //Sometimes it goes for almost a month without a reboot//
A whole 30 days? Woo-hoo! Let's hear it for Microsoft!

       Now read [Wrongfellow]'s first anno again. You have been assimilated. Or is that "subsumed"? I always get the two confused.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 26 2009

       Would you quit being a troll, Absinthe? Really, it's getting old. This isn't a format war, or an OS war, or any other kind of war, and it has nothing to do with Microsoft. It's an idea for a program that would help phones run more efficiently.

       If you're claiming you know more about smartphone software than a dozen tier 3 tech support agents from 3 different carriers, then I'm calling bullshit on you. And unless you can show me some links proving that rebooting doesn't provide any benefit, then I'm calling you a liar, too.
21 Quest, Jun 26 2009

       //Would you quit being a troll, Absinthe?//
I'm sorry you think I'm a troll - actually, I'm far uglier and nastier than most trolls, as my few remaining friends will attest.

I can't decide if this idea is a clever satire on the state of mind engendered by the boys from Redmond and their lazy and half-arsed approach to OS-writing, or a true chindogu.
Do you seriously think it acceptable to reboot a mobile device every day?
That's a sticking-plaster solution.
You're seeing the mote and missing the plank.

Call all the bullshit you like, but no number of a carrier's tier x support guys have got the sort of access to software, tools and accumulated experience that I do as a systems engineer for a handset manufacturer.
If you think I'm going to provide links to my employer's proprietary data, I'm going to call you a prat.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 27 2009

       Hold on a minute - I have an answer (i.e. I have someone else we can blame) that means nobody's a troll, and everyone's right: -

       If you're using a smartphone, that suggests you're using third-party apps.

       If you code something that doesn't release all of its memory 100% then over time, there's going to be some resource contention as the OS thinks more and more of its resources are being used by the dodgy application.

       Run more than two or three of these at the same time and sure, you're going to need to periodically reboot whatever it is you're running, be it clever phone, laptop, desktop or mega-server - it's not the OS's fault (necessarily) but what applications you run on it.

       That's why [normzone]'s phone will always be more reliable than an app-phone.

       And yes, we've grown accustomed to the easy solution of rebooting, because in a complex world of software, rather than figuring something out properly, it's often best to adopt a heuristic (witchraft it may be, but if something works 90% of the time, it's probably worth attempting 100% of the time before diving in to debug mode which can take hours) solution - and it just so happens that rebooting is that solution. It's not clever, but it works.

       Things are changing - but for as long as memory is relatively cheap, people will continue writing inefficient code (memory wise) What we need to do is blow up some chip factories, making memory really expensive, at which point coders and their managers won't be quite so hard pressed into writing leaky code in order to meet aggressive release schedules.

       That being said, I think the strategy Apple and other smartphone types have been relying on is encouraging lots of 3rd party apps to be generated really quickly in order to encourage 'buzz' and create stuff they could acquire (and later tidy up, presumably) without lots of expensive in-house development - and providing an easy to use (read leaky) development environment helps encourage that - so they're probably a little culpable themselves.
zen_tom, Jun 29 2009

       sp: moat

       If you're going to troll [AWOL], do it properly. (Only kidding!).

       I've got to admit that I share [AWOL]'s ire, not at you [21 Quest], but at the fact that phones would benefit from a reboot in the first place. The hardware and, as [zentom] points out, the OS aren't really at fault here.

       There are layers of applications running on the average phone these days that just aren't as robust as they could be. The network operator often rolls it's own branding onto the phone, with its own menu system and proprietary settings. Then you add the fact that most bog-standard, couple-of-years-old phones are capable of running Java MIDP and that most extra apps are not so sympathetic to device constarints.

       So, the general running of the phone is subject to OS running (MSW isn't as stable as Symbian, for example), then there are the carrier based personalisations (my Orange phone could probably benefit with an 'unbranding'), and then there are so many 3rd party apps that get developed on platforms other than the phone they are intended to run on and there are inevitable porting issues that aren't captured.

       In conclusion, a scheduled reboot isn't a bad idea, but it is a cludge.
Jinbish, Jun 29 2009

       memory recovery and defragging would most likely be the culprit. No clue if the HW or basic OS is at fault but apps are written in crap like Java. Also the mobile providers would like you to do this to jiggle *their* equipment as well so they don't end up with ghosties and it makes them look busier on paper.
FlyingToaster, Jun 29 2009

       //sp: moat//
sp. "mote" (Matthew, 7:3)
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 29 2009

       Let us be clear. You are proposing a scheduled reboot for an *operating system* that is housed within a device that also communicates on the GSM (or other) networks. Whether that is its primary porpoise, or not. It really has nothing to do with the "mobile" networks. It is device dependent. Your battery will have a longer lifespan if you cancel all "services" that are just listening, and not actually performing a function. In fact I think the processors on these devices are "sandboxed" to prioritise GSM connectivity.

       So good idea, if you are unlucky enough to have a *TELEPHONE* that is masquerading as a "Cray", or "Big Blue".
4whom, Jun 29 2009

       {[AWOL]: Quite right. Sorry!}
Jinbish, Jun 29 2009


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