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What is bit rot? Why your phone is getting slower and slower?

Did u ever notice your phone getting slower and slower after few months? If yes it’s because of bit decay in your phone called Bit rot.

It’s just not only happens to only phones but Computers too. When they age they have a tendency to get a little bit slower.  Bit decay occurs to Galaxy telephones and LG telephones and Pixel telephones and iPhones and each and every different phone that does extra than make calls and ship texts.

Let us know more about Bit rot and see if we can’t understand things a little better.

What is Bit Rot, explicitly?

 “Bit rot”, it refers to the deterioration of software over time, which can affect performance and stability. Bit rot is also known by the names bit decay, data rot, data decay and silent corruption.

Bit rot is one of the more difficult to know about and prevent. The primary reason is because bit rot happens silently. You won’t know about it until after it’s already happened and by then it’s often too late.

Bit rot is most commonly associated with older versions of Windows that seemed to need reinstallation every few months to keep a system running smoothly.  If you’ve ever had a Windows PC seemingly slow down and become unstable for no apparent reason, despite your best efforts to keep it clean and free from infections and other malware, you’ll know what I mean.

There are three reasons why your phone gets slower than it used to be: Software Erosion, Software Entropy, and Software Bloat.

Software Erosion

Software erosion is a slow deterioration of software performance over time or its diminishing responsiveness that will eventually lead to software becoming faulty, unusable. This is not a physical phenomenon: the software does not actually decay, but rather suffers from a lack of being responsive and updated with respect to the changing environment in which it resides.

Causes:

Several factors are responsible for software rot, including lack of updates and degradation of compatibility between parts of the software and the appearance of bugs in unused or rarely used code.

  • Lack of maintenance:Lack of regular maintenance across the board is the biggest cause of Software Erosion.The Android that runs on your phone is actually a big group of independently running programs and services that need to communicate with each other constantly. An example: Instagram makes another change on their servers, and then updates the app in Google Play. Your Contacts app ties into Instagram, so it might need an update. Or your camera gets an update but the gallery application that’s tied to it doesn’t. All the parts of the system need to work with all the other parts, and that means regular maintenance.The good news here is that a lot of Software Erosion problems are fixed with a factory reset where all the user data is wiped. The bad news is that it all comes back eventually.
  • Unused code:When a company changes some code there’s a very good chance some of the original code is never going to be used but is still built into the final product. Infrequently used portions of code, such as document filters or interfaces designed to be used by other programs, may contain bugs that go unnoticed. With changes in user requirements and other external factors, this code may be executed later; thereby exposing the bugs and making the software appear less functional.
  • Rarely updated code:Normal maintenance of software and systems may also cause software rot. In particular, when a program contains multiple parts which function at arm’s length from one another, failing to consider how changes to one part affect the others may introduce bugs.In some cases, this may take the form of libraries that the software uses being changed in a way which adversely affects the software. If the old version of a library that previously worked with the software can no longer be used due to conflicts with other software or security flaws that were found in the old version, there may no longer be a viable version of a needed library for the program to use.

Software Entropy:

While software development is immune from almost all physical laws, entropy hits us hard. Entropy is a term from physics that refers to the amount of “disorder” in a system. Unfortunately, the laws of thermodynamics guarantee that the entropy in the universe tends toward a maximum. When disorder increases in software, programmers call it “software Entropy.”

It refers to the tendency for software, over time, to become difficult and costly to maintain. A software system that undergoes continuous change, such as having new functionality added to its original design, will eventually become more complex and can become disorganized as it grows, losing its original design structure.

In theory, it may be better to redesign the software in order to support the changes rather than building on the existing program, but redesigning the software is more work because redesigning the existing software will introduce new bugs and problems.

It is tied to the notion of change and has no meaning in a static system. If there is no intent to alter the system, we cannot speak of its entropy. Likewise, a system which does not yet exist has no entropy.

The proposed definition of software entropy is as follows:

                                                                            E = I´C / S

Where I´ is derived from the number of unexpected problems introduced during the last development iteration, C is the perceived probability that implementing changes to the system now results in a new I´ > 0, and S is the scope of the next development iteration. In general, values of E below 0.1 are considered good. An E of 0.5 is considered high, and values above 1.0 are overwhelming.

Most of the software on your phone is in a closed system. You might be able to update the keyboard or camera app from the Play Store, but the bulk of the operating system is installed at the factory and only changed with a full system update. This is very different from all the apps, both factory-installed user apps and ones you installed yourself. The software you can change gets more complex over time and the software you can’t change has to deal with it.

There are two ways to fight Software Entropy — regular software maintenance through timely updates, or resetting the user software back to the factory state.

Software bloat:

When your phone is running out of storage, you likely check your apps folder to clear out the games and other assorted apps you never use anymore. But that’s when you discover a bunch of weird apps you not only ever use, but never even downloaded. And worse yet: You can’t delete them!

The apps that come pre-installed on your phone are harmless, except that they use up storage space and possibly RAM (i.e. adding unnecessary “bloat” to your system).

Software bloat or bloat ware is a term for software that is too large relative to its purpose. The term implies slow software that hogs resources and is difficult to use.  It is also commonly used to refer to preinstalled software on a device, usually included by the hardware manufacturer that is mostly unwanted by the purchaser. An example of this with the Samsung Galaxy S4 was when preinstalled software took up 45 percent of the phone’s storage.

Manufacturers and carriers often load Android phones with their own apps. If you don’t use them, they just clutter your system, or–even worse–drain your battery in the background.

On Android and Windows devices, both the carriers and manufacturers like Samsungs, HTCs, and LGs are allowed to pre-install their own apps and software. Apple also pre-loads several apps that cannot be deleted, including Stocks, Weather, and Maps.

How to get rid of bloat ware?

It depends on which device you’re using. If you’re on a Windows Phone, you can uninstall any of these unwanted apps. Android devices, on the other hand are all over the map—the deletability of bloatware varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, carrier to carrier, and sometimes even in model to model. This is part of a deeper problem with Android known as fragmentation—there’s a zillion different flavors of Android out there, so no one phone’s experience is exactly the same.

Android users Bloatware can be easily removed if the user has root access on his/her smartphone. That means removing all the manufacturer and carrier gobbledygook and thus getting down to the root Android software. This process gives you the Android experience as Google intended it, which means there’s a lot more customization options, including the ability to delete any app you please.

However, the rooting process has its own advantages & disadvantages too. For instance, the manufacturer’s warranty may be voided if the device is rooted.However typically the bloat apps usage percentage very low as shown in pie chart.

Bloat ware on your phone isn’t unique to the mobile age. It’s just a continuation of tech manufacturers giving you a bunch of crap you don’t want.

 

Jahnavi M
Vulnerability analyst, Technical Writer, Security Blogger, Co-founder---SecKurity

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