Lollipop’s memory leak bug confirmed, will finally be fixed in future Android release


Android 5.0 Lollipop THUMB DSC07204

Although it can be exciting living on the bleeding edge of tech, sometimes being first to a software update can prove to be more harmful than good. Just ask Nexus (or even iPhone) owners who’ve, over the years, learned the hard way that initial updates — especially when it comes to major Android versions — can often times be riddled with bugs and other general weirdness. It’s this very reason it appears there was such a long delay in the rollout of Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Nexus 5.

Now, with the recent update to Android 5.0.1 and Nexus owners being some of the first to get the update, a good handful of users are now reporting a memory leak bug responsible for killing open apps and constant home screen reloads on their devices.

The thread on Google’s Android Issue Tracker shows a range of Nexus devices afflicted, everything from Nexus 7 2013, to Nexus 4, and Nexus 5 showing Android system eating upwards of 1.2GB+ of RAM (normal usage is around 500MB).

While tough to pinpoint the exact cause (thanks to the complete sh*t show the thread has turned into with users only complaining about the bug), it seems one of the thread’s members may have found the cause relating to a memory leak in “system_server” when screen is turned on/off (frameworks/base/services/core/java/com/android/server/display/ColorFade.java).

With a fix now in place, the thread has no officially been marked as “FutureRelease,” meaning you can expect the fix to hit your Nexus device in a future update. Of course, no word on exactly when we can expect a rollout or even what the specific version number will be (Android 5.0.3?), so you’ll just have to sit tight for now. Anyone noticed this bug on any of their devices?

[AOSP Issue Tracker]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

Get brand new Nexus 7 (2013) for $135 on Groupon using this discount code

Previous article

Download: Give your device a new look with this massive collection of 675 Lollipop-inspired wallpapers

Next article

You may also like


  1. I’ve been dealing with this since kitkat

  2. What about the FCs on the google Camera? Getting Can’t Connect to Camera is not working. Ever since 5.0.1 on the N5 its been like this. 2 steps forward, 10 steps back. Stop hiring designers Googs and hire engineers!

    1. That issue has been around since 4.x and it’s because something is using the camera. With 5.x it’s most likely the flashlight app and it doesn’t release control until a reboot is done. :/

      1. I had that problem with a CyanogenMod version of Kit Kate, but never a release version.

        1. Same here. Every now and then (probably about 5% of the time at most) it says it can’t connect to the camera.

        2. Kit Kate. Sexy by every crumb.

      2. Never had an issue like this on any phone pre-5.0 Lollipop.

    2. Having the same issue, doesnt happen a lot, but it happens enough that ive recognized it as an issue. Hoping the next update takes care of it, and optimizes battery life a bit more on my Nexus 6.

  3. Yes, the problem confused me a lot from my phone’s update to Lollipop

  4. My N5 just started running slow and closing apps randomly since 5.1….

    1. I’m still running 5.0 and it’s been pretty good to me. Except one thing I hate – sometimes when I exit an app via Back button, and I know I started this app from the desktop, it starts reviving some apps that were kept as background processes. So instead of getting back to desktop I get into a long forgotten app.

      1. That can happen from an updated launcher, if the launcher is updated while you’re in an app.

      2. I was getting that on Kit Kat on my N7, but it only ever reopened Chrome (or beta, can’t remember which).

    2. How did you get 5.1? Only 5.0.1 is out – :P

  5. My LG gpad 8.3 GPE has been doing it bad since update. Also huge lag when opening or switching between apps

  6. I have been saying this since the OTA. RAM HOG!

  7. I have a GPE M8 with 5.0.1. Occasionally the keyboard will quit responding while typing, the launcher will suddenly close and reopen randomly and notifications on the lock screen will linger after cleared or vanish completely when the device is woken up from sleep. All minor annoyances for the privelage of having cutting edge software… Oh yeah, the camera application has problems connecting to the camera and it forced me to restart the phone on ocassion.

    1. If that’s the case, I don’t want to see Lollipop on my perfect carrier edition M8 until this is fixed

    2. No sir. What ROM are you running? I don’t have those problems. I’m using Sky Dragon 5.0.1. Do are you stock GPe?

      1. I’m using stock LRX22C.H5 release-keys. It was updated via an OTA, but I re-flashed it with the stock ROM thinking the OTA might have caused problems.

  8. The only problem that I have is that auto brightness gets turned on automatically even will I disabled it manually. The rest works fine

    1. I’ve noticed that adaptive brightness keeps turning itself back on on all my phones running lollipop.

  9. YAY!! good to hear! My nexus 7 says 89% memory used lol

  10. My nexus 9 has this

  11. I’ve had this issue (launcher being killed due to low memory and having to be restarted when returning to the home screen) since 5.0 – same on 5.01 so lets hope they finally found a fix. They need to start testing this with real users. Developers don’t seem to use their phones much!

  12. I wonder if this is the reason that my camera app on both my GPE and my new Nexus 6 crash occasionally when opening, with the error “Cannot connect to camera”. Only seen it on both devices running Android 5.0.

    1. My old Nexus 10 would do this frequently on 4.2 and 4.3.

  13. My Nexus 6 sometimes won’t wake up at all, so I have to hold power to reset the phone. I hope the fix addresses the issue, I’m concerned I’ll miss alarms/calls if the OS has frozen up.

    1. I’m in the same boat as you with mine….

  14. my apps freeze a lot and i’ve found myself restarting my phone completely on my N6. I hope they get this fixed….sad that a user found the problem and Google has yet to fix it.

    1. Maybe there are more problems and Google wants to fix them all at once.

      1. well….touche. You’re probably right. I’ll keep my fingers crossed with the next update!

  15. I have encountered it a few times on my nexus 9, it has stopped since the update a while back

  16. My Nexus 4 froze a few times while trying to access the lock screen. Happened when I had bluetooth playback at the same time.

  17. Lollipop is both the best and worst Android update Google has ever released.

    1. I can’t really agree with the worst one… Honeycomb was pretty bad.

  18. Yep, moto G 2014 with 5.01. Works fine for several hours, and then things get sluggy…and slower and slower, until things become unusable. Solution is to power cycle, and back to ‘okay’. I figured a memory issue was the cause…new massive release…not really surprised at this.

  19. Haven’t encountered this yet on the Shield Tablet, but no doubt it might crop up.

    1. Yeah it doesn’t appear to happen on the Shield Tablet but on my Nexus 5 it happens allllll the time

  20. I have an issue where my recents soft-key doesn’t work. After i reboot it works fine. happens once a week or so, and ever since 5.0.1. I’m on a N6

  21. Oh? Could this be happening with other devices on 5.0.1? I’m running a ROM on my M8 and in all honesty I wanna go back to 4.4.4. Not for the OS, but for Sense. I just miss it.

    I noticed one time that I had a little toast message that said “App low memory” or something like that. Hmm…

  22. I have a nexus 6 direct from Motorola.. I notice that I will occasionally just get a random reboot, even when on a call and the screen is off. I also have an issue with 1/2 of the screen will freeze in place. power button to turn off the screen and back on usually fixes it.

    1. That is kind of odd. I have an AT&T Nexus 6 and I haven’t had that problem at all.

  23. yep I def have this problem. My system uses anywhere from 800mb to 1.3GB of ram. while apps only use 500 mb. I haven’t seen any degrade in battery life but things can become sluggish. A simple power cycle seems to fix it for almost a week.

  24. I guess I don’t have this issue.

    On my Nexus 6, System hovers around 60-150MB of RAM usage.

  25. Restarted the phone once when this situation happened. Haven’t experienced it afterwards.
    However phone seems to go sluggish when neaaring 10~15% of battery life, Even when battery saver is not enabled.

  26. Google 16-year-old hiree with latte stains on his shirt: “Oops”

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Handsets