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Task Killers... The Answer from Google & Developers.

Discussion in 'Android Applications' started by Martin030908, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 Super Moderator

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    In response to the vast amount of questions regarding Task Killers, I find this to be a valuable article/video in making a determination in whether or not to use a task killer on 'auto-kill' or manually killing apps just because they're open. A task killer is meant to shut down unresponsive apps, not EVERYTHING open.

    Good explanation of how the Android OS is designed to handle applications.

    Make your decision from there [​IMG]
    PLEASE READ THIS!!!

    SystemPanel Documentation | android.nextapp.com (smalltowngirl13 posted @ DxF, but I wanted to put it here as well)

    *quick cut & paste from the link*
    from the developer who designed System Panel.


    " Please read this section FIRST. There are a great many misconceptions about how Android works with regard to
    starting and stopping applications.

    How to Use a Task Manager
    Android was designed from the ground up as an operating system (OS) for mobile devices. Its built-in application and memory-management systems were engineered with battery life as one of the most critical concerns.
    The Android OS does not work like a desktop operating system. On a desktop OS, like Windows, Mac OS X, or Ubuntu Linux, the user is responsible for closing programs in order to keep a reasonable amount of memory available. On Android, this is not the case. The OS itself automatically removes programs from memory as memory is needed. The OS may also preload applications into memory which it thinks might soon be needed.
    Having lots of available empty memory is not a good thing. It takes the same amount of power to hold "nothing" in memory as it does to hold actual data. So, like every other operating system in use today, Android does its best to keep as much important/likely-to-be-used information in memory as possible.
    As such, using the task manager feature of SystemPanel to constantly clear memory by killing all apps is strongly NOT RECOMMENDED. This also applies to any other task killer / management program. Generally speaking, you should only "End" applications if you see one which is not working correctly. The "End All" feature can be used if your phone/device is performing poorly and you are uncertain of the cause.

    Process Types
    The SystemPanel process listing groups applications into three categories: "Active", "Inactive", and "Internal":

    • Active applications are actually running at the present time on the device. An active application may be running in the background and not have any information currently displayed on the screen.
    • Inactive applications have been preloaded into memory, but are not actually using up any system resources. Such applications will not consume any battery power whatsoever. The memory used by these applications can be immediately reclaimed should other applications require it. As such, there is no need to manually remove these applications, as you will see no tangible benefit from doing so.
    • Internal applications are those which are part of the Android operating system itself. Some of these applications may be terminated manually, but they will be immediately restarted afterward by the OS."

    Now the video from Google.
    * Originally posted by Renthor @ DxF *

    I highly recommend people, especially those new to Android, watch the Androidology series of videos put out by Google themselves. In particular, part 2 does a great job of explaining how Android (and really Linux) is different then most people's OS experience.

    Here's the link to part 2, "Application Lifecycle"


    Bear in mind these videos are aimed at developers, but the gist of it is still applicable to everyone.

    After watching the whole Androidology series, I decided to let the OS do its thing with killing/running apps and processes. I have a task killer installed only to kill unresponsive apps that the OS can't kill for whatever reason (which by the way, is a fault generally of the app's developer(s). Not the phone or OS). And the Android OS actually comes with it's own "Task Killer" for this purpose, I just prefer to have easy "one-tap" (or close to it) access to such things.

    Here's the rest if you're interested (highly recommended. Especially if you're a dev) Videos | Android Developers

    UPDATE:

    Adding information from the developer cvpcs (Sapphire).

    ...and the corresponding thread here at DF :)
    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/cvpcs/67001-common-android-myths-explanations.html
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  2. DanDroidX
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    DanDroidX New Member

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    What about an app that adjust the settings for the systems native task killer like minfree or autokiller by andrs? Are these ok?


    Sent from my Droid using an internal neurocellular processing unit
  3. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 Super Moderator

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    Anything that's 'auto-killing' is working against the OS's design.

    Task killers are a nice one touch solution for killing unresponsive or malfunctioning apps. (if you don't want to go through menu > applications > manage applications > filter > all to kill an app). Remember, you can 'kill' tasks without an additional app.
  4. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 Super Moderator

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    Having lots of available empty memory is not a good thing. It takes the same amount of power to hold "nothing" in memory as it does to hold actual data. So, like every other operating system in use today, Android does its best to keep as much important/likely-to-be-used information in memory as possible.
  5. cgaliffi
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    cgaliffi New Member

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    Thanks for the info.
  6. Cathbad
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    Cathbad New Member

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    What else can I do???

    I understand your discussion of the OS. But there is a problem. If I want to play Backgammon or Solitaire, it is impossible without using a task killer. If I don't, the game stops after a while. I have found no other methodology.
    Do you think that my phone is a dud? A number of people who had the problem have gotten new phones which do not have this problem.
    My current intention is to wait until we get 2.2 and hope it fixes the problem.
  7. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    Then I would find a better written app.
  8. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 Super Moderator

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    I have Solitaire (by Ken Magic) and can run it endlessly without any issues.
    I do not have Backgammon installed.

    I would say it's the app that's the issue, not your device.
  9. joeybarclay
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    joeybarclay New Member

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    it seems like my android home application or process or whatever forcecloses a lot. when i try to go back to the home screen it has to completely reload everything im missing apps and widgets and the screen becomes unresponsive. this was before i was rooted and i am still having this problem on custom roms
  10. Cathbad
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    Cathbad New Member

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    You are right.

    I tried the solitaire that you mentioned and it had no problems. The one I was using was the same one I used on the Blackberry and the same is true of the Backgammon game I got for the Droid X.
    So I will have to find ones that were written for this OS.
    I don't actually like either of the solitaires that work OK. My eyesight doesn't like them.
    But I'm glad that I understand the situation.
  11. BayouFlyFisher
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    BayouFlyFisher Rescue Squad

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    I use Solitaire by Ken Magic. It has an option for large cards!! You might give it a try.
  12. Cathbad
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    Cathbad New Member

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    Large Cards

    Thanks. I didn't notice that, and without it I would have to strain. I'll try it again.
  13. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 Super Moderator

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    I'm not sure why this is. Might be a widget you have on your home screen?
    I'd love to here other people's thoughts as I'm not sure why this would be.
  14. DanDroidX
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    DanDroidX New Member

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    I use autokiller, which doesn't kill apps but adjusts the way that Android kills them. It makes my phone faster and only kills the app if it is the background. I agree that taskiller apps aren't good, but minfree and autokiller are useful for rooted users.

    Sent from my Droid using an internal neurocellular processing unit
  15. cereal killer
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    cereal killer Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a great thread.....

    I should link it in my original thread I made a while ago about this.
  16. ffej89
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    ffej89 New Member

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    I agree totally. I do use system panel but never to kill apps. Not true, i do use system just to monitor my phone but if their is an app that is using an unusual amount of cpu i will kill that single app. Have only had to do that maybe a few times though.

    Nice article but i'm afraid for the mass of killers out there you will never convince them they will Kill Kill Kill lol
  17. SGTiger
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    SGTiger New Member

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    I have many apps that use the GPS. Though infrequently, I sometimes notice the GPS is on when it doesn't need to be. Of course this is sucking battery like no tomorrow. Sure is nice to have a task manager to bring up a list so I can quickly see and kill those that use the GPS.

    Additionally I have LauncherPro which is working perfectly... NOW. I had tried every setting in LP and even gave up on it and went to ADW for a short time because LP would redraw the screen every time after using two or three apps. Once I took others' advice to install Minfree, I have NOT HAD ONE redraw for over a week with constant usage.

    I hate the multitude of real generalized posts that ALL task/mem managers are useless.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  18. dmo580
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    dmo580 New Member

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    I'd like to mention my own few cents about this. I know a lot of the top dawgs here at DroidForums don't believe in task killers and there were many posts where people just kept quoting/linking in almost troll-like fashion anytime someone asked something about task killers. I'm glad many of you believe in that, but if you look at the serious discussion going on Reddit today and some threads on XDA, you will see that the community is still quite split. It's not a definitive YES or NO answer.

    Google tells you you don't need one just like Apple told us we don't need multitasking and Microsoft tells us we don't need copy and paste in Windows Phone 7. You know why? Honestly, I do understand how Android is supposed to work. When developers code their apps the proper way and Android is working 100% efficiently, you will see memory allocation at its best. You have to realize that people who have used task killers have admitted that Android's done a better and better job from 2.0 to 2.0.1 to 2.1 and then to 2.2. So this means that Google has already stepped up its game. If they now say you don't need one at 2.2, then does that mean all you troll posters who kept saying you don't need one since the days of 2.0 were wrong? I mean clearly there's been improvement right? So something justifies using it.

    It's just like launchers. Remember when Helix first came out? Everyone said "OMG FASTEST THING EVAR." Then 1.4b came out (for those who paid) and people were like ZOMGZOMGZOMG SO MUCH FASTER. Okay? So when people whined that the original was slow compared to the iPhone and others said STFU, what did they say when 1.4b came out? Everyone said "well this new one is so much faster." Then LauncherPro came out. That became the new fastest thing. So what? Helix is like a turtle now compared to LP. Was it wrong to whine back then? Like I said, there's room for improvement.

    The same goes with memory management. No one can say Android is flawless. Coupled with the fact that developers aren't flawless either. I know many of you have experienced flawed apps or rogue apps that go on infinite loops. Heck the stock browser has done it to me. Speedtest.net has done it to me with the GPS constantly searching for a location because there's no Exit button and I'm in a large building with no GPS signal indoors. So I drained 30% battery in a mere 15 min or something.

    The point I'm trying to make here is that Google wants us to believe that Android should be able to do it all. Just like Apple wants us to believe you don't need TRUE multitasking to get things done. Obviously Apple's OS 3.0 only did half the trick with push notifications which is why iOS 4 adds so much more. And Android sees this from its memory management perspective too. New Android builds are constantly trying to upgrade this. But to say its perfect as it is now and does not need human intervention is ridiculous.

    Task killers have their place. Just like overclocking a computer does. You could say 99% of people don't need to overclock their computers. It just wastes power and creates extra heat. You know those typical gamers who just buy "fast" computers and now everything comes with an Easy button for overclocking. Do you really need that for Starcraft II? For someone like me who's a member of XtremeSystems forums where people do some crazy liquid nitrogen setups, I spend days reading boards, talking to people, understanding optimum memory timings and voltages as different sticks of RAM made by different manufacturers, and even different batches have different optimum settings. It takes a long time to nail that out. Yeah, i might not HAVE a legit reason to overclock but its my hobby. I enjoy it. I tend to think the rest of the world who just hits an easy button as its the cool thing to do now has no reason to do it.... on top of the 98% of the world who doesn't even know what overclocking is.

    To me, if you're not willing to understand something, yeah there could be a reason why you don't need to do it. But does this mean I should tell gamers who don't raelly understand the art of overclocking NOT to overclock? Does this mean people who don't spend everyday in their garage inside their car shouldn't buy fast cars and nice cars? No. They just aren't getting the full experience of it all, but it doesn't mean people don't benefit.

    The same goes with task killers. A newb might get one thinking itll triple battery life or free up CPU cycles. But in truth maybe only memory is being freed up as none of those apps are really consuming CPU cycles. Once in a while he'll catch a rogue app and think that it made a world of difference because without one he might run out of battery in 10 minutes. You're absolutely right when some apps really just load into memory and this is not the same thing as eating CPU cycles. Sometimes task killers use more power than the app loaded in memory does. This is why it takes research and understanding of the OS and apps to figure this out. But a task killer on idle used for manual killing won't eat that much power will it? I'm sure if you just use it once a week to kill a rogue app, it'll use far less power idling than sending and receiving 2-3 text messages will use up. So really, does it hurt?

    I'd also like to point out LauncherPro already pushes the limits of Android memory management. There are tweaks and hacks here and there to get the screen to stay persistent so it doesn't need to reload the widgets. This launcher that so many of you embrace as godlike already tweaks with Android memory settings. And here you are saying Google knows best and that Android has already been setup to accommodate every user. No, it's not setup perfectly.

    And this is why you can use a task killer. For 99% of us, yeah, Android on its own will be fine, but for those of you who care and know what you're doing, you could see a difference. Just be sure you know WTF you're doing. But the answer isn't "NO DO NOT USE A TASK KILLER THEY ARE USELESS." or "YES OMG IT MAKES MY PHONE FAST 24/7." KNow the drawbacks and benefits before you make a sweeping general statement.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  19. BayouFlyFisher
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    BayouFlyFisher Rescue Squad

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    Nuh uh!!!! :)
  20. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 Super Moderator

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    CK.... I wanted to get a fresh thread that was more of a "link to:" information on the subject :)

    dmo580. Check the updated OP with information from developer cvpcs regarding some common Android myths.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
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