One of the most frustrating experiences on an Android phone is when apps are shut down in the background. Notifications may stop showing, whatever you last did disappears, and that’s a completely random behavior. Some Android phones are better than others, but most will experience it at some point. But a future change to Android, possibly even Android 13, could mean your apps may not die as quickly in the future.
The feature, known as “Lately Used Multi-Generations” (or MGLRU), has been rolling out on Chrome OS for some time now, with the company maintaining MGLRU on “a different number of cores from 4 ,14 to 5.15”. A Google employee says it has become “the default for tens of millions of users” and now it looks like the feature is being used on Android. One commit on Android Gerrit shows that Google has merged the changelog for the Android 13 Generic Kernel Image (GKI), and another shows that it will soon be possible to enable it via adb. That second commit hasn’t been merged yet, but it’s currently under review.
This feature achieves two main goals that Android users should be very interested in. The first is that Google identifies a 40% reduction in kswapd CPU usage, and the second is that Google identifies an 18% decrease in app kill out-of-memory (OOM) on Android. The same Google engineer said that the company has tested MGLRU on “one million” Android devices, which seems to refer to the Android Runtime on Chrome OS Virtual Machine (ARCVM) that supports Android 11 on Chrome OS. “We have seen significant improvements in CPU usage and memory pressure, resulting in less OOM kills and reduced UI lag,” they wrote.
As for the meaning of all this, it’s pretty simple. kswapd is a virtual memory management process, which means that if CPU usage is reduced by 40%, a lot of potential processing space will be freed. As for killing out-of-memory apps, that speaks for itself and will obviously be an immediate tangible benefit to the end user. We’ve seen a lot of devices struggle with memory management and on-time notification delivery, or apps shut down in the background.
At the moment, it’s unclear if Google will test the feature on some users for Android 13, let alone enable it by default, but it will benefit users when it launches. . We will be closely monitoring this development to see if anything changes in the future.
Source: Android Gerrit (1), (2)
Thanks to XDA Accredited Developer luca020400 for his support in this post!