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Apple forcing removal of ‘free memory’ app features

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, August 27, 2009
News Categories: Apps + Games

Apple is forcing developers to update, or otherwise pulling, applications offering a “Free Memory” function in an apparent attempt to ban the feature from the App Store. The “Free Memory” feature is most often a button found in iPhone and iPod touch activity monitoring programs such as Bjango’s iStat, allowing users to free up RAM that remains marked for use by closed programs. According to Bjango, iStat’s Free Memory function was removed at Apple’s request, and “all other apps with Free Memory appear to have been removed or updated without their Free Memory function.” It is unclear why Apple just now decided to outlaw the feature, or if the company plans on offering a similar built-in alternative, apart from simply restarting the device; users have long reported iPhone system and application instabilities traceable to memory problems.

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Comments

1

If Apple are going to ban apps that fix flaws in their systems, they need to get their own solutions in place first.

This is like my wife throwing out my toothbrush and telling me she’ll get me a new one next week.

Actually, no. Apple haven’t told us they are going to offer any solution so it’s just like my wife throwing out my toothbrush, banning me from getting another one and that being the end of it.

Posted by BeefJerky on August 27, 2009 at 8:16 AM (PDT)

2

Apple just pull these apps for one reason:
If there is no fix for the memory leakage problems, then there is no problem. Apple don’t wants to admit that there is a problem and therefor they simply pull the apps.

If they would really pull the app because they are working on such a feature on there own it would be even worse. That would mean that no developer should work on ANY app at all, because he is at risk, that Apple thinks “oh - nice app”, develops their own and pulls them.

Although I am using Apple products since the Mac II, I am really starting to hate this ugly corporation.

Posted by Markus on August 27, 2009 at 8:55 AM (PDT)

3

This is a great feature. Don’t upgrade your app.  Apple hates innovation.
Actually, what probably happened is people started calling in tech support for instability and it came around that they ran ‘clear memory’? 
Well, anyways there is always jailbroken spring board apps.

Posted by nsfw on August 27, 2009 at 10:19 AM (PDT)

4

I am very disappointed this feature is being removed, and had I known, I would NOT have updated my iStat. Thankfully, I have Time Machine and will roll back.

However, I can understand Apple’s reasoning. There is not a “memory leak” per-se in the OS (well, there may be, but that is not why memory gets consumed over time). Application like Safari keep pages cached, etc. Like that, when you come back to Safari, the page you were on is loaded and ready to go (a perfect example is you are running gmail mobile in your browser, and it is using a local DB store, and the page can be interacted with even if you are no longer online). Running one of these apps to clear your memory deletes all that, and all you are left with in Safari is a screenshot of that last page you were on, and then everything needs to be reloaded.

As the other platforms (I am thinking of WebOS right now) start depending more and more on web based apps, and more and more of these make their way to the iPhone, things like this will just provide a hindrance to the proper performance of these apps. I hope they explain it more, but that is my guess…

If you really need the memory back, you can always reboot the phone. Not THAT big a deal.

Posted by Eytan on August 27, 2009 at 11:20 AM (PDT)

5

Since probably none of you know anything about running a successful mobile platform or could even run your own lemonade stand without going bankrupt in a week, you should just sit back and let Apple do it’s thing or just dump your iPhones and go buy an Android phone or some other superior alternative.  Apple may be monitoring iPhones to find the memory efficiency of the OS and doesn’t want any outside apps making changes.

Anyone can speculate as to why Apple is requesting the removal of free memory apps, but in the end it’s their store and their decision alone to make.  The iPhone platform is not run by democracy and never was.  Apple has always made that clear.  Apple is likely trying to remove any app that throws a kink into iPhone OS development statistics.  Most of the iPhone users I know don’t play with utility apps and just use the iPhone as it is.

It’s your choice to gripe about every decision Apple makes, but it makes no sense at all and you should just quickly leave the platform to those that appreciate it.  If you think that Android or Symbian OSes are so darn superior, you should never have bought an iPhone in the first place.  It’s rather stupid to restrict yourselves to something that’s only going to bring you pain and misery.  So don’t whine, just leave.

Apple is in business to make money and satisfy 99% of the users which they have been successful in doing.  That’s a relatively good goal to weather bad economic times.  I’m heavily invested in the company and have a lot to gain or lose by Apple’s moves.  I’ll take their decisions over any of yours any day of the week.

Posted by iphonerulez on August 27, 2009 at 11:27 AM (PDT)

6

Sure, it may not be THAT big a deal. And yet it IS a problem. Running programmes like Layers or Brushes or indeed many games, if I do not to a reboot or use a free memory app, I can encounter performance problems, crashes or worse.

If my use is even slightly like the norm, people switch through apps pretty quickly. That is what makes the iPhone or iPod Touch so handy.

But it’s not handy if you have to reboot every time to restart an app. Not even close.

You can say it’s not a memory leak and is, in fact, a “feature” and you can say it’s not THAT big a deal.

But it is a problem. And, right now, there are solutions.

Or, at least, until Apple tear them all down.

Posted by BeefJerky on August 27, 2009 at 11:36 AM (PDT)

7

@iphonerulez: Nice Apple-drone rant!

Make up statistics much?  If 99% of users are satisfied, then it would seem odd that over 8% choose to jailbreak.

Even if people believe the iPhone is the best smartphone out there, that doesn’t mean that they should never complain about any aspect of it.  If no-one complained about any of the deficiencies, how would Apple ever make the product any better?

And don’t bother complaining about people speculating about Apple’s motives and then turn around and make your own foolish speculations about what Apple is or isn’t doing.

Posted by WhoCares? on August 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM (PDT)

8

@iphonerulez I might not be able to run my own lemonade stand, but I know Unix.  I can see on my jailbroken phone that the device is leaking memory over time.  I can track wired, active, inactive, used and free memory.  I can see that over time the iphone doesn’t stop running things like mail, ipod, safari, phone, etc and there are just too many things running in the background.  If I kill the applications, I free up memory and everything still runs fine.  I suspect this is some of what istat was doing.  If you have a jailbroken iphone you can actually watch your memory shrink with sbsettings->more->extra+options->statusbar free mem.

Posted by nsfw on August 27, 2009 at 1:27 PM (PDT)

9

This removal of a great tool was the last straw. I’m jail breaking tonight. There are lots of tools available to free memory (and run multiple tasks) on jail broke iphone.

Too much apple control. I can’t believe this.

Posted by Justin Case on August 27, 2009 at 2:43 PM (PDT)

10

I always thought it odd that a phone which caught so much flak for not allowing third party apps to run in the background has so many of its native apps running and using precious resources.

Comment #4 makes a good argument for Apple not wanting us forcing the iPhone into freeing memory, but then why do my open email messages or webpages automatically reload for no apparent reason?

Most likely, Apple plans to pirate the feature.

Posted by Paul on August 27, 2009 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

11

Good luck with your even more unstable iphone after you jailbreak.

Posted by ASFx on August 27, 2009 at 6:13 PM (PDT)

12

If you are a developer and you see system software leaking memory, file a bug.  It is not the responsibility of third-party applications to monitor or even be aware of memory usage or other applications.  There are millions of people using iPhones.  How many of them care about this stuff?  A clear memory button for the cognoscenti does not help the millions who aren’t.

Don’t whine.  Report a bug and make Apple fix it.

Posted by Karl on August 27, 2009 at 7:26 PM (PDT)

13

The Fourth Reich strikes again.

Posted by Dale on August 28, 2009 at 5:41 AM (PDT)

14

@ASFx I must be having a lot of luck because my jailbroken iphone runs really well since I can clear memory.  hi-yo!

Posted by nsfw on August 28, 2009 at 6:20 AM (PDT)

15

ASFx, have you even tried to jailbreak phone? It seems like only thing you did was perhaps read an article by APPLE why not to jailbreak the phone. Without Jailbreaking you are missing not only customizing and free/paid apps available but also not utilizing the full potential of this great phone. Try it, you may never come back to “regular” iPhone.

Posted by Gr8man001 on August 28, 2009 at 8:37 PM (PDT)

16

Hi pple,

Appreciate if someone can tell me whether if I already bought the free memory app, will it be possible for apple to forcefully remove it from my iPhone? I really need that app or else some of my games will fail to run.

Come on… RESETTING THE IPHONE IS A PAIN… it takes damn long for the OS to boot as compared to like 5 secs for the free memory apps to recover memory for me to play my games and run more apps.. Especially my iPhone runs 24-7.. what reboot.. :/

Posted by Francis on September 1, 2009 at 5:12 AM (PDT)

17

Hi Charles,

For many years I’ve mainly stayed with MsDOS systems although not long ago a friend gave me an iPhone 4s.  Being a developer I was interested in writing an app when there is time.  Please note that I’ve been a Federal Whistle Blower since 1998. My time to surface in the Public hasn’t come yet. 

While using my Iphone like many others I eventually encountered many problems. Researching it become necessary to want to wipe the memory clean but after searching it became clear there wasn’t any REAL method to do so.  Frankly after reading your article it now seems this important function was removed and the community of users don’t know why.

Apple much like MS are involved with snooping on users.  Our country is embeded in a WH Coup linked to a World Wide Coup of sorts understood to be the New World Order.  At the time of this writing, this information shouldn’t be unknown!  Back when you wrote your article for you it may have been.  For me, it’s been known since the 90’s. 

I’m disappointed with my phone lacking a tgrue memory wipe funciton.  I more than suspect Applle has enough hooks within their OS to keep what ever snooping data from being disturbed.  All of this for me started when surprisingly my phone started showing serious data communications for no reason.  The only reason would be that the phone is being used as a wireless snooping device.

You’re welcome to write back to me with any questions you may have.

Federal Whistle Blower since 1998
Marty Didier

Posted by Marty Didier on January 21, 2012 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

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