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The Android Browser and Page Reloading
The Android mobile platform is developed by Google to run on a variety of devices. Unlike the iOS System that only runs on the iPhone or Windows Phone 7, which has a set of hardware restrictions, developers are free to develop a phone with any hardware specs they desire.
While the openness of the platform is one of the reasons many like Android, it also is cause for some issues. These issues are usually found in the area of available RAM, as only with plenty of memory available, can the phone make the most out of the Android system. The RAM issue can in some cases also have its consequences on the Android browser when reloading pages.
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Multitasking and Available RAM
One of the annoyances many people have with Android is that the browser seems to default after a user switches away from it temporarily and returns later to continue browsing. In short, what happens is that the phone hasn’t got enough free memory available to keep the browser locked in memory, especially when the alternative task, the reason why the browsing has been interrupted in the first place, is heavy on RAM usage. This could for instance be checking a text message, email, or more heavy apps such as Google Earth.
To check on available RAM, go to the following menu from the home screen:
Menu Button -> Settings -> Applications -> Running Services
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Possible Solutions to the Problem
The only real and permanent solution to the problem is to reduce the memory usage of the phone. This can be done in various ways, and is subject to your priorities:
- Sets of home screens that are filled with (active) widgets take up a lot of RAM. To increase on memory make sure to disable the big ones and/or the ones that update frequently.
- Making sure that no app locked itself into the memory. There are only a few apps that are able to do this, most notably launcher replacement apps, such as ADW.
- Using a Task Killer. Although the practical usage of a task killer is debatable, it could help freeing up memory through the auto killing process. However, make sure the browser is excluded from being killed automatically.
- If possible, and only rooted devices will be able to do this, make sure to reduce the amount of home screens. This will reduce the RAM footprint of the default configuration of the device.
Although the above suggestions will help towards preserving browser pages, with Android it will always be a bit hit and miss. This issue is mainly present on older devices or any devices with a modest amount of RAM present. As there is no way to manually upgrade the amount of RAM, there are no real alternatives, besides upgrading to a high-end device.
Another method could always be to check out and try a few alternative browsers for Android, as they all behave differently. However, with Android's seemingly random memory management system, this will never be a guarantee for success.
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There is no conclusive and permanent solution for resolving the page reloading issue for the Android browser. Freeing up enough RAM will result in an improved browsing experience, but the real solution will probably be a device upgrade when this is truly a deal breaker for you. Taking the above-mentioned steps, however, may considerably help towards solving the issue, making your Android device the multi-tasking power phone it should be.