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Every reboot starts with "Android is upgrading"


Jul 11, 2012
This is a Note 4 (unlocked from AT&T, running Android 5.0.1). Yes, it's a few years old but I use it only as a pocket-sized drawing tablet and it has worked mostly great for that purpose (using ArtFlow), up to a year or so ago. Since that time there were problems that made me stop using it. First, every time I reboot, it starts with a message "Android is upgrading... Optimizing app 1 of 1" for the first few minutes, which obviously slows down the boot process, and also makes me wonder if something is "stuck" in the operating system. Second and more important, it was extremely sluggish, to the point of unusability. Third, all the batteries were inflated.

Just recently I decided to try using this device again, since it is my only portable stylus-based device so I want to use it for sketching. I bought a couple new batteries, so there's one problem solved. I read an article on Android performance, and cleared the cache; and now performance seems much improved, though still a bit laggy at times. And I assume that recurring "Android is upgrading" message is a sign of something I need to fix, but I don't know where to start.

Also I do have "Developer options" enabled, and under "Process stats" it shows a huge number of applications running at 90+%, including Instagram, Amazon, AT&T Locker, etc. etc., none of which I use, as far as I'm aware. It says "the status of your device memory is currently critically low". Should I do something to stop all these seemingly unnecessary processes?

Any suggestions appreciated! There are plenty of apps on the device, almost none of which I use. They have a very small footprint on the device storage so I never bothered uninstalling them, but I suppose uninstalling them might help eliminate some of those "processes".
I also have a device of that vintage, a 5.1.1

I am going to bet that it is plugged into the charger when you are rebooting.

Am I right?

My device will also do the 'Android Is Starting...........
Optimizing App 1 Out Of (whatever)'
if I boot it up and it is on charge.

Try booting it up while not plugged in.

Next, it is going to be laggy until you eliminate that bloatware.

If you can, eliminate your Google account on the device.

Disable and clear data for all Google apps.
Whatever you need from them is accessible through your browser.
And speaking of browsers, are you using Chrome?
Yeah, that is a Google app- ditch it.

Better browser?
Questions about this?
Just ask.

Back on point, disable and clear data on all apps you dont use, especially social media apps and shopping apps.

Short of rooting the device, and then uninstalling all this tripe, this is about as good as it gets.

Do you have a computer?
There is a way to make it so that apps without the ability to be disabled can be made to not start at boot.


Always keep in mind that a device that old will always be lacking, but I know that mine does pretty good considering its age and the fact that it only has 1GB RAM.

Getting rid of unused and useless apps really made a difference in all around performance.

Let me know your results, questions, issues, etc.
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It's great to get your reply, @puppykickr.

But no, it does the "Android is upgrading..." every single time I reboot, even if unplugged (which is most of the times I reboot).

Okay, I will go ahead and start removing/disabling apps. Last night in Developer Options I tried turning on "Show CPU usage" and although the code it spits out is mostly unreadable (it looks like 4 pixels high or something), I could make out the word "instagram" every time a new "page" of code appeared. So the first app I attempted to remove was Instagram. It seems I cannot uninstall it, but I clicked the "Disable" button and I thought this may have improved performance, but today I am not so sure. But anyhow I'll continue uninstalling/disabling apps.

I don't think I'm ready to remove my Google account - after all this is how one interacts with the Play Store, for example to get updates in the ArtFlow app, which I use and paid for years ago.

Most of the apps are trivial ones I downloaded when it was my main device (apps for travel, weather, etc.), but to be honest, none of them ever affected performance noticeably, which is why I never removed them. It seems likely there is one stupid app that is wrecking the performance, so I guess I have to purge them all until I find out.

Same story with Chrome -- I have used it since Day 1 with no problems. But I am not attached to it. Anything wrong with Firefox? Installing something from an "FPK" "APK" is currently beyond my experience/comfort level, so I'd appreciate more info (e.g. if there is a "primer for beginners" somewhere).

Thanks for the link to ADB AppControl, but I am mostly a Mac user.

Anyway, I'll continue removing apps, but I'm hopeful to figure out if there is a way to "look under the hood" and get rid of that "Android is upgrading..." message. Thanks!
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Yeah, Firefox is slow, bloated, and the people in charge over there don't seem to like our Constitution very much.

Try the one I posted a link to.
It is a truely great browser.
In fact, there are many legitimate copycat apps built right from it.

This is legal, because the app is 100% open source- not like the other more popular ones.

Installing an APK file is simple.
You just need to get the APK from a legitimate site.
I only provide links to appstores that I use myself.

The appstore that Lightning is on is actually much more trustworthy than the Play Store is- they have never had any malware.

Every app on F-Droid is recreated by the people that run F-Droid.
This slows updates because they too must be recreated, but it eliminates the chance of malware.

Just download it, find it in Downloads with your file manager, then click on it.

There will most likely be a scary sounding warning from Google that should be completely ignored if the app came from F-Droid.
A settings adjustment, 'allow apps from untrusted sources' (remember that Google only trusts Google) and then you should be able to install it.
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Is the boot message saying that Android is optimizing or doesvit say Android is upgrading?

If it says upgrading, then you may have an old upgrade stuck in memory that keeps on upgrading.

Updates generally occur when restarting a device, so this is when it would be happening.

Open developers options and turn off 'Auto Update', and then find the system app called something like System Update and clear the data.
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Android System Webview is a needed app- very important- and should be kept updated.

Security Policy Updates sounds like a possible culprit.

I have a crap device that claims to need 'an urgent security update'.

Well, I unwillingly did it, and the only thing updated was a bunch of Google crAPPS that I did not want in the first place- and of course, Google thought that it was best to update all the other apps that I did not want updated as well.

So a 'security" update may only be Google being a pest.
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Hi, here's an update. Three weeks ago I uninstalled a couple dozen apps, and inactivated another couple dozen apps. All I have left are three drawing apps, and a handful of others (Uber, ASTRO, etc.). My battery life is really good now (although that's probably just due to the new battery). Most important of all, performance is really good now (no more sluggish behavior). Initially after doing this, the "Android is upgrading" message continued to appear whenever I did a reboot. But it only lasted a couple minutes so I figured that was good enough.

But then, in the past couple days I suddenly noticed that the "Android is upgrading" message no longer occurs! And reboot time is shockingly fast (by my standards, for this device), like I don't know, maybe 5 seconds or something. So that is really nice.

It is mysterious how the problem took care of itself, or at least not as an immediate consequence of the actions that I took. I am certain of this because I kept track of these changes in writing. I only use this device every few days so it's hard to know when the change occurred.
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