Saturday, April 14, 2012

Unexpected and sudden "Android System shutting down"

Recently my Xperia X10i has started "crashing" and shutting down when attempting to take a picture or video.

The phone was working fine, and I don't recall doing any significant updates.  It's always possible that an application updated in the background, though.

Still, the phone was working fine for quite a while, and for at least a month since my last application was installed.

First, the phone started to shut down whenever I tried to take a video using the built-in camera application.  I chalked this up to some kind of bug between the camera app and CameraZoomFX, which I had tried but no longer used.

Next, it started to crash and shut down when taking a photo.

One time it began "crashing" and shutting down over and over.  I began to restart it, over and over, and it would shut down over and over before I had a chance to see what was going on.

After four or five attempts, I noticed the battery indicator had dropped from 40% to less than 10% in those few restarts.  I assumed the "crash" had left something active that should not have been.

After a bit I got a little suspicious of the crash theory.  I uninstalled CameraZoomFX, but it did not help.  Also, the unexpected shutdowns always seemed to occur when the battery was less than 50%.

Just recently the phone shut itself down without me trying  to take a picture.  The battery indicator was at 32%.

I realized then what was really going on - my battery is worn out.  Plugging the unit in, I could not get it to shut down taking a picture or a video.  The low-battery indicator was giving me bogus information.

I've got a new battery on order, we'll see if that fixes the problems.

So - if you start getting sudden and unexpected Android system shutdowns of your device, be sure to consider the battery.  Given how these devices are used, 2 years for the battery will probably be a good lifetime.

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