The View on Task Managers for Android

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So, you are in possession of a brand new Android device, which you have rooted and have loaded with tons of apps. However, seeing how you came from the world of WM, you are used to the idea that the device should have every bit of available RAM to perform the way it should. With this in mind, you quickly turn to the market and look for “task killers” or “task managers” and end up installing the best one that you can find.

If you can relate to the previous statement, let me start of by saying “join the club” followed by a “we should read a bit more on the subject”. According to a very interesting post by XDA member Paul22000 with information by flipz, doing the “kill all tasks” bit that we did and loved back in WM is pointless and even counter-productive when it comes to Android devices. A very detailed explanation, which I will summarize here, states that Android in essence is prepared to handle inactive tasks all by itself. What does this mean? Well, in essence you will have two types of apps running in the background: apps that remain silent in there but are active (certain widgets, and programs that are loaded with a feature to start up faster… think of adobe in the PC), and others that basically are programs that you use and you exit or simply minimize to the background by hitting Home. The resident programs really consume very few resources and the ones that are minimized will be shut down by Android after a certain time of inactivity.

Moreover, if you have ever used a task killer like Advanced Task Killer, you will notice that by hitting the “Kill All” button, well, the app will do just that. However, if you go back into the app 3 seconds later, you will see that most of the apps that you were trying to kill, will be back up and running. The point here is that the system will restart every single one of the apps that you tried to kill and may end up causing system instability, leading you to Force Closes, or even lock ups.

So, the take home message for this article is that you can try to manage your devices’ RAM as you did back in WM. But unlike WM, Android does a better job at managing its resources and needs very little (if any) interaction from the end user. We will leave you with a small excerpt from Paul’s thread (of course, the link to the full thread is at the bottom of this article).

FAQ: Why You Shouldn’t Be Using a Task Killer with Android

I see this come up over and over again. People saying that a task is running in the background and they think it is killing their battery or hogging all of their memory. So their natural reaction is to download a program made to kill tasks. Here’s the thing… you are likely doing more harm than good by killing tasks that aren’t ready to end. I was the same way when I first got my CDMA Hero. There were tons of things running that I didn’t want so I just kept killing them. After a few weeks I realized that if I stopped using a task killer (and totally uninstalled it in fact) my phone actually began to run better! The applications would close themselves and things just seemed to be running better. I get that there may be short term benefits from clearing a task, but you should still take the time to read through this.

You can find the rest of the write up in the original thread.

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