Like many of you unfortunate souls out there I have had my HTC Incredible go into a rebooting loop over the last month or so. The following recounts some observations and and a solution which appears to work.
First off, my son and I both have the same phone and software versions and apps. He does NOT get email on his phone because he does not want to. I do. His phone has NEVER rebooted. Mine has done so numerous times. My business partner also has the identical phone and software version, lives within 200 yards of me, and uses the email and has had numerous reboots and has gotten them even sooner than I saw them at first. My partner and I have set up email attachments and downloads to go to the SD card. So much for background info. Here is what I did to fix the problem followed by some other observations:
- Open up the case of the phone and remove the battery
- Remove the SD card from the phone.
- Put it into an adapter that allows you to access files directly on your computer. In my case this was a Windows PC running Windows 7.
- Mount the SD card in your computer and open up the browser to see the files on the SD card.
- Look for a folder called ".Mail"
- If your phone is like mine you will see hundreds of files, some of zero length. This was even though I had deleted most of the emails I received on my phone.
- Proceed to directly delete any of the zero length files. For that matter, you may have other files like jpg's laying around of uncertain origin. I got rid of these and other strange files that seemed attached to no documents at all.
- Remove the SD card and reinsert into your phone. Put the battery back in and the cover on then restart the phone. Your phone should run properly and you should not see any negative consequences from the files you deleted previously.
Some other observations relevant to this solution that bolsters my theory that this problem has something to do with the email application and also a problem with file system corruption on the SD card as a consequence of it.
- I had previously seen the email application put some mail from a different account I was using into my main account. The files could not be deleted and even trying to do so would cause the mail app to force close.
- My son has never seen the problem despite being in the same environment with the same phone and software. Relevant difference to me was that he was NOT using email and I was.
- The email app clearly has bugs if it is leaving behind hundreds of files even if you delete the emails. Why? As a software engineer my first instinct would be to look to see if the file system locks were properly synchronized when the email app is writing to the flash file system. I am not conversant in Android OS programming nor the app code itself so this is speculative on my part. I would also look for a timeout on reboots if file system enumerations take too long. Lots of files on a system might trigger a premature timeout and reboot. Once again, this is speculative on my part but I sure wish I had the code to debug this myself.
- These issues seem to coincide with a rapid rise in network traffic most likely because of the iPad 2/iPhone support by Verizon. I wonder if this additional traffic load on the network is opening up timing holes in the software because of backoff and retry intervals for certain apps. Once again I suspect the email app especially because it is vulnerable to network traffic issues as it tries to get email account updates.
I could be wrong about my theory as to why the problem is happening. My solution seems to work. As far as pulling the battery and putting it near your AC in the car, that did NOT work for me at all. Leaving the phone out of its protective case also had no effect. Only screwing with the files on the SD card mattered.
I hope this helps.