Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Truth About App Killers and Task Managers on Android

Should you use app killers, task managers, and cache 'clearers'? It seems like a plausible idea to do so because pretty much all Androids come with pre-installed apps and services (known as bloatware) that are impossible to remove without a root. These continually run in the background, and to you, seem to hog up a lot of the RAM and speed of your phone that could be distributed to different places. Sure apps like Advanced Task Killer and CCleaner can fix this to a degree, but are they also causing harm along the way? Find out the truth about app killers and task managers!

How do they work?

Well, its pretty straight forward. People install them from the Google Play store in hopes that they will free up memory by ending and minimizing background tasks. And not so surprisingly it does exactly that. It finds services running in the background and forces them to end so that there is less 'stuff' taking utilizing the memory on your Android so it runs smoother...or so you think.

Some popular task managers:
  • Android Task Manager
  • Advanced Task Killer
  • CCleaner
  • Task Manager (Sand Studio)

So...What's the catch?

Advanced Task Killer
[First off, let me clear up that RAM equivalent to the 'memory' of the computer or device.]

The catch is that Android makers kind of know what they are doing. It is undeniable that bloatware is annoying in most forms. This being said bloatware doesn't have that big of an impact on your phone as you may think.

You may look at the bar of used vs available RAM and be taken aback that it is almost full. Well, believe it or not, that's what it's there for! It is not always a bad thing for the RAM to be a little full (not all the way) as a lot of these services are not bloatware and key system services that need to be running in order for the system to run smoothly.

Another things is that the apps that task killers end are resilient in their nature and will just restart. And when they are stopped by a second party it will create an even slower device since it is force stopped rather than safely ended. The combination of these two will use even more RAM although it doesn't display the use. 

Also, some apps that you have and use regularly probably depend on their background service to function properly. If your task killer messes with this (even though your unaware of it) it can cause it to crash later on or stop doing its thing.

The Verdict. What should you do?

The task manager definitely have their disadvantages to them, but that doesn't mean they should be avoided completely. Those users that are willing to customize them to only end apps that you are certain about will earn the fruits of these apps. If your going to go around and use the 'End All' feature, you should expect slowdown and not download the app altogether.

Another great solution that probably no one has thought of (*sarcasm*) is to use the task manager that comes with Android in many cases. (What?! Use a pre-installed feature?!) Going to Setting > Apps > Running will take you to a list of apps (with total memory usage listed) and give you the ability to click on and stop the ones of your choice. This menu usually discludes the necessities and gives you a good idea of how bloated your memory is and what's hogging it.

An additional trick is to go to Settings > Battery and then seeing what is taking up the most battery. This (although doesn't directly correlate with RAM) will be a good indicator into what is eating up the awesomeness of your device.

If you abide by only ending those memory-hog apps and not being obsessive about, it is almost possible to guarantee a device that runs like factory default!