Why kill?


Nov 10, 2010
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There are these apps that help you kill running apps/tasks. I get that it would save memory and power but can you turn them off and on at will without screwing something up?

For example: "Auto kill tasks" kills tasks when the screen goes black. It then tells you about saved memory when you wake up the phone. Do the tasks just get turned back on?

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Yes they turn themselves back on in android 2.2. Task killers work against your phone in 2.2 and will slow the phone down and kill the battery. Do not use task killers. 2.2 can work more efficiently by turning things on and off at will.

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Yes they just turn back on , using battery to do so.
The apps are open but not open in that they are sitting idle and if the phone needs the memory it will kill them itself
I keep a task killer on my phone but I set manual kill for rogue apps or those that use background battery. Tikl, Geo reader (though fixed now), Compass, are a few examples of those using CPU in idle mode

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More to read:

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.
WOW - Thanks everyone!!!!!

I am uninstalling now!
As I wrote before I have one but set to manual. Sometimes you get several apps at once and one doesn't play nice. Its a easy way to see which one without uninstall as it might just be a setting in the app. My Ultra Keyboard started causing problems and I was able to find the arrow keys above a certain size on the bottom in custom themes don't like handcent so I just moved the arrows

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