Thursday, December 15, 2011

Android Looping Error in LogsProvider

I just have to broadcast this as far and wide as possible in order to help anyone else out who ever falls prey to this ridiculously stupid error.

I had been downloading heaps of apps during Google's celebration of 10 billion marketplace downloads, where they have about 10 applications per day, for 10 days, at 10 cents each. As such, I was starting to get concerned that I might run out of space on my phone, which eventually led to encountering an extremely annoying bug relating to LogsProvider that would constantly reappear modally on my phone.

Now let's take a step back to understand how storage on my Galaxy S2 works, which is, I assume, similar to on other devices: There is "16GB" of internal phone memory. This is broken up into about 2GB of internal device memory and 11.5GB of, what is for some inexplicable reason, called USB memory; I assume there is some direct USB interconnect inside the phone that Samsung thought would be the right way of hooking up extra storage. This is then supplemented by whatever SD card the owner wants to put into the phone. In my case, I've got another 16GB card.

I didn't want to run out of either the internal device memory, which was down under 1GB, or the USB space, which was down to about 3.5GB, so I did what is often recommended: I started moving applications from the phone to the SD card, which is an option on the app management page.

After I'd moved about half a dozen apps, I started getting a popup about "the application LogsProvider ( has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again." Click ok, and up it comes again, with just a sliver of a second in which to try to click other things to navigate on the phone. Awesome.

So I tried several things, like deleting some apps, as equivalent messages would come up when trying to start almost any application with a message stating that there wasn't enough memory (which memory: Phone, USB or SD?).

Eventually I found a post where someone had the same problem, also after moving things to the SD card. The solution, as given by seljanempire, was to navigate to the LogsProvider application under Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications -> All -> LogsProvider. Then select LogsProvider and click Clear Data. Worked perfectly, and a way better option to the original poster who had their phone factory-reset by a person at the store.

So, WTF? How can a phone have a modal error message that can so completely cripple the phone by running on a loop? Surely it would be ok to show it once, or once every 5 minutes, then suppress it in some kind of mode meaning "OK, I get it, now let me debug the problem without constantly annoying me and getting in my way." It's modal for crying out loud, and after clicking OK, it came back within, I would estimate, a quarter of a second.

Anyway, so my problem is solved, and I hope this post is found by someone in the same situation who can use it to avoid having to reset their phone.

And if anyone working on Android ever reads this: Please fix your error notification design, and the bug while you're at it that causes this problem when moving apps to the SD card. In fact, make it so the memory is treated monolithically in some way where I don't need to know about it. kthxbai

UPDATE: Stay tuned, but it looks like I can't actually go into any non-settings application, due to them crashing, and even trying to run a software update won't work. Looks like a factory reset might still be on the cards. It also appears to only be a temporary fix, as the message recurs after a few failed attempts to run apps. Even the phone won't work, but the camera does for some reason.

UPDATE 2: Tried doing a factory reset, but even that app crashes. I'll have to wait until I can get a cable to connect to the computer, and try to do something with Samsung Kies, as I can't connect to wifi now either. Holy crap, Google! What the hell have you guys allowed to be done to my phone? I say Google instead of Samsung, because the forums would suggest that this issue has happened to people on Android devices from other manufacturers. I was really starting to think it was a good phone, and with all the apps I'd been downloading, many of which were replacing ones I had on my iPod Touch, I was starting to see it as a single, replacement for multiple devices. Turns out it seems more like a single point of failure.

UPDATE 3: This posting has been getting quite a few hits from around the world, and it's been left unresolved, so I should update it finally: Sorry people, but I ended up having to do a factory reset by booting up into admin mode. All my important data was still preserved on the SD card in the end, but I had to reinstall everything afterwards. That includes having to remember exactly which free apps I had downloaded, as they don't seem to get registered against the user's account like paid ones do. Sorry to start the posting so positively and end it so negatively.