Why do I have to restart my smartphone once a week?

I have a Samsung Galaxy S 4G. Under “Support” my phone tells me “T-Mobile suggests that customers restart their mobile devices at least once per week.”


not sure what O/S but likely that the programs and apps you open do not all get shut down even when you “close” them. The soft reboot ensures that there are not apps in the background chewing up memory and hurting performance. A soft reboot may also clear out RAM memory or things like recent webpage visits. Remember, a smart phone, unlike a PC, has limited memory and processing resources. Reboot ever day, few days, weekly is the easy fix.

It’s like any other computer. There’s stuff that it does when it starts up and shuts down, and it’s important to let it do those things every once in a while.

As a programmer, I must say that I wish they’d stop making the computers in this way. Decades ago, when computers were slower, it was genuinely a good idea to do this stuff once a day, when the computer is turned on. It really did save time and make things run faster during the course of the day. But nowadays, the computers run so fast that in my opinion we’d be better off if everything was kept constantly up to date; it is only the laziness of my fellow programmers that allows them to continue in the old style. And on their behalf, I apologize.

Restarting the phone occasionally will get rid of various glitches that pop up and impede performance of the device. The “smart” part of a smartphone is really a computer, and you don’t let your computer run 24/7 for weeks without rebooting it.

The best way to do it is to power the phone off, pull the battery, reinsert the battery and power back on. I don’t think you have to do it every week. I usually tell my customers to do it when they notice problems with performance of the device.

I certainly do. The only time my work laptop, home laptop and home desktop get rebooted is if updates are installed that require it.

[Emphasis added.]

Doesn’t this force a download of software updates to the phone?

Anything more sophisticated than a toaster benefits from being shut down and restarted now and then. For lack of a better term software tends to get corrupted when run and needs to be restarted for best performance or in some cases any performance. My cable modem locks up and needs to be restarted every couple of days. I’ve thought of putting it on a timer to shut off the power for a few minutes every morning at 4:00 AM.

That’s probably because T-Mobile is too lazy to troubleshoot specific performance issues and suggests that you reboot instead. To be fair, a reboot will likely fix many issues caused by wayward apps.

But with both Android and modern PCs, if you have an up-to-date operating system and don’t have malware, regular reboots aren’t really necessary.

Android is arguably good enough at background memory management on its own, and Windows 7 (and even XP) are stable enough that you shouldn’t have to restart the whole system. Individual apps from time to time, probably, but it’s been a decade or longer since regular system reboots were essential to smooth operation.

Depends on the phone. On Android phones, they typically download updates on a staggered schedule (so not everyone congests the network at once) and then prompts you to reboot when needed. Manually forcing a reboot before an update is available won’t do anything.

That usually happens to cheaper electronics. Better routers/modems can go months and years without problems.

A lot of consumer electronics these days can have an uptime measured in months instead of days; it’s not really unusual anymore.

You may get notifications that updates are available but those updates won’t download without your permission (unless you have changed your permissions to allow automatic updating).

FWIW, I haven’t shut my iPhone down in months

My Android needs to be rebooted from time to time. About once a week or so it’ll drop the data connection. Problem is, it doesn’t let me know and I usually find out when someone says “Didn’t you get all my text messages?”
But since the battery just barely makes it a full (waking) day, from time to time I just let it run down.

Also, as someone else said, I just always figured that it’s a computer and even the best computers need to be rebooted once in a while.

Likewise. Mine gets turned off when I fly. Period. It would have been on continuously for six months at a time or longer.

I was told by Apple that occasional shut down every program and turn off the device is a good practice for iOS devices. Mine had become corrupted by trying to gobble up more memory than it had.

I’m a bit obsessive about shutting of programs now.

It does not on my android phone (droid incredible). I tend to switch batteries on my phone about once a week when I put in the extended battery so I can log my hikes with the phone’s GPS.

Here is what T-mobile says about it, which is more or less what’s been said here. While a reboot never hurts, I imagine that’s probably their advice for phones across the board and probably does help quite a few. Not all phones are smart.

I take it you guys were never around any frustrated Linux admins who had to deal with the 2.4 kernel bug which required a reboot every 16 months.

Your PC also has limited memory and processing resources. The limit is just high enough that many people never notice it.

Not to say this isn’t happening to you…but since this is the SDMB: Technically, text messages come over a separate channel from data. If you aren’t getting your text messages, it’s not because your data connection got dropped. That would be a reason you can’t surf the web or read e-mail. Of course, the SW on your phone could plumb them together in such a way that if data were unavailable, the text message interface would hang as well. As a side effect.

Wish I could say the same for my iPhone a 3g. If you run apps after a while it slows to a crawl, seems as if the used apps aren’t releasing memory. I shut it down, turn it on and it runs fast again. The iPhone is no more immune to this than any other device.

Do you shut down apps fully?

I had to restart my HTC Desire once a week or else it would become so slow as to be totally unusable.

It turned out the culprit was a memory leak in the built-in internet browser. They fixed it in a later ROM update and now I don’t have to restart it.