Does killing the running apps free up memory and save battery? Are there other ways to free memory that I may be missing?
Im not totally sure but I think killing apps constantly actually drains the battery more because the droid will just restart the processes after you kill them.
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Android is set up differently than windows etc.
The way it works is that it uses the same amount of battery life and processing power to see designated "free" and designated "used" memory in your system.
What that means is that your phone will operate the same with memory used as memory free. Apps that are already loaded into memory actually load fast than if they're not already there.
Here's a scenario.
You have angry birds in your memory loaded. Your phone memory is full. You open up gmail (because for some reason it's not already running). Your phone kills angry birds and loads gmail in it's spot.
Diff scenario. You're running task killers. You load gmail. It loads gmail into free space.
Both these scenarios use the same amount of battery power and processing power.
That said, say you had angry birds and gmail running. You switch to gmail, loads faster than if you had to load it from free memory.
This is why task killers are not recommended.
I have one only because I tinker around and if an app is hanging I can kill it with two button presses.
If you've just rooted read this before doing anything else:
Droid X Koush Bootstrap Backup/Restore Tutorial
If your phone is bricked read this:
Complete Droid X .sbf Flashing Tutorial
Get back to stock:
Stock "M" Boot Image for Droid X
Change "Verizon Wireless" Display Text on Your Droid X
maderstcok 2.3.340 OTA upate.zip
maderschramm's post is very good and to the point. Here's another good explanation I found a while back:
Task Killers Per Lifehacker:
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
How Android Manages Processes
In Android, processes and Applications are two different things. An app can stay "running" in the background without any processes eating up your phone's resources. Android keeps the app in its memory so it launches more quickly and returns to its prior state. When your phone runs out of memory, Android will automatically start killing tasks on its own, starting with ones that you haven't used in awhile.
The problem is that Android uses RAM differently than, say, Windows. On Android, having your RAM nearly full is a good thing. It means that when you relaunch an app you've previously opened, the app launches quickly and returns to its previous state. So while Android actually uses RAM efficiently, most users see that their RAM is full and assume that's what's slowing down their phone. In reality, your CPU—which is only used by apps that are actually active—is almost always the bottleneck.
Why Task Killers Are (Usually) Bad News
Apps like Advanced Task Killer, the most popular task killer in the Market, act on the incorrect assumption that freeing up memory on an Android device is a good thing. When launched, it presents you with a list of "running" apps and the option to kill as many as you want. You can also hit the Menu button to access a more detailed "Services" view, that lists exactly which parts of each application are "running", how much memory they take up, and how much free memory is available on your phone. This set-up implies that the goal of killing these apps is to free up memory. Nowhere on the list does it mention the number of CPU cycles each app is consuming, only the memory you'll free by killing it. As we've learned, full memory is not a bad thing—we want to watch out for the CPU, the resource that actually slows down your phone and drains your battery life.
Thus, killing all but the essential apps (or telling Android to kill apps more aggressively with the "autokill" feature) is generally unnecessary. Furthermore, it's actually possible that this will worsen your phone's performance and battery life. Whether you're manually killing apps all the time or telling the task killer to aggressively remove apps from your memory, you're actually using CPU cycles when you otherwise wouldn't—killing apps that aren't doing anything in the first place.
In fact, some of the processes related to those apps will actually start right back up, further draining your CPU. If they don't, killing those processes can cause other sorts of problems—alarms don't go off, you don't receive text messages, or other related apps may force close without warning. All in all, you're usually better off letting your phone work as intended—especially if you're more of a casual user. In these instances, a task killer causes more problems than it solves.
What You Should Do Instead
That said, not all apps are created equal. Many of you have used task killers in the past and actually found that after freeing up memory, your phone works a bit better. It's more likely that this is because you've killed a bad app—one that was poorly coded, and (for example) keeps trying to connect to the internet even when it shouldn't. Any performance increase you experience is more likely because you killed the right app, not because you freed up loads of memory (or, in many cases, it's just placebo). Instead of killing all those apps, find out which ones are actually causing the problems. If you really know what you're doing, you may benefit from using a task killer to stop the one or two inefficient-but-loved apps on your phone.
Note, however, that this is still a contested notion. A lot of developers (including ROM builder extraordinaire, Cyanogen) will not even look at your bug reports if you're using a task killer. In this humble blogger's opinion, your best bet is to stay away from regular task killer usage entirely. If you absolutely have to have that one battery-killing app on your phone, though, kill away—just be aware that when you experience a recurring Android bug later on, the task killer may be at fault. Of course, you can just stop using it to determine whether that is or isn't the case.
Baton Rouge, LA