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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is it necessary to use a Task Manager?

Hi Folks,

I have read many times that task managers are no longer required with recent versions of Android. But, there are at least a couple of things that make me wonder. Firstly, I am in little doubt that my humble HTC Desire S (running Android 2.3.5) now runs appreciably slower than when it only had a few apps on it and it now has approximately 120. Secondly, developers still continue to push out task managers and new ones are appearing all the time.

So, what do others have to say?

Thanks.

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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Here we go again.... :S

There are camps that support both sides of the argument. I recall reading in another thread that Google devs themselves say it's not necessary.

But I still use one as sometimes Chrome and Facebook just don't close themselves.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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theres a lot of good points in this post mate Free ram is wasted ram... or not? you are on quite an old android version though and memory management wasnt as good back then but i still wouldnt recommend a task killer. Devs make them because people think they need them (the devs are smart enough to know theyre selling crap. Same as the "signal booster" and "battery saver" apps). Your phone slowing down due to having more apps on its storage wont be fixed by a task manager. I dont think. thats a different memory
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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Android stores apps in ram to make things quicker when opening up apps that you use frequently. By closing them out using a task manager, you're actually making it take longer. With so many apps stored in ram, if you need to open an app that requires more ram that what is available, it will automatically close apps in order to make room for you. The only time you would ever need to use a task manager is if an app locks up with no sign of getting it to close any other way.

Always remember the saying, "Free ram is wasted ram" when it comes to android.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
Here we go again.... :S

There are camps that support both sides of the argument. I recall reading in another thread that Google devs themselves say it's not necessary.

But I still use one as sometimes Chrome and Facebook just don't close themselves.
I think fb will just open itself tbh and whats wrong with chrome being "open"?
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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Task killers became moot as of higher end devices running Android 4.x. In lower end products after you install tons of apps, they lag and auto-reboot (kernel panic) because there is little RAM to begin with, and too many apps want to use it. After awhile, all Android can do to free enough for those apps is kill your launcher, or worse, panic leading to a reboot. Task killers won't fix that either. You'd either need a better device or learn to root and tweak how much memory can be used by installed apps, or how many apps are allowed to run at once, and I'd only advise the latter if you're more experienced with how Android works. Otherwise it could lead to a brick.

If you're trying to expect fluid, iPhone like performance out of a cheap device with limited spec, or a device over two years old running Android 2.x, dream on. You might as well expect Pentium performance out of a 386DX running Windows 95.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 11:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Android stores apps in ram to make things quicker when opening up apps that you use frequently. By closing them out using a task manager, you're actually making it take longer.
When you put it that way it sounds like a good idea. Close the ones you don't use often, it doesn't matter if they take longer, and let Android store other apps in RAM, the apps that you want to start faster.

There is a long list of stuff I rarely use running right now, and when I get a call I have to swipe 3 or 4 times before it picks up my input...

(2.3.5 here.)
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Old August 16th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Android (on ics and above anyway) "learns" which apps you use most and gives them ram priority so you really dont have to close anything. Android does it. Long pressing the home button on the s3 brings up the stock task manager and shows you how much ram is in use but for over a month ive had the button set up to launch the camera instead. Thats how unneeded the task manager is to me
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Old August 16th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Android devices designed for 4.x also have more than enough RAM to waste so even 200+ apps won't slow them down. now, if you ran a cheap little phone with Jelly Bean and it only had 512MB of RAM, that would be a problem. Android is designed to kill any task as-needed to free up RAM in the event you need to launch a huge program, like the bloated Facebook to GTA: Vice City. unfortunately, with cheaper or more limited hardware, Android might inadvertently kill something important if there isn't enough memory and it's about used up, such as the launcher, Play Store, or something that causes it to kernel panic and reboot by itself. that does not mean Android sucks or that its memory management sucks, just that you're expecting more from lower-end hardware than is possible.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 04:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You guys keep going on about ICS or 4.x and above and how they handle memory, but the OP stated he us on 2.3.5.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 04:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You guys keep going on about ICS or 4.x and above and how they handle memory, but the OP stated he us on 2.3.5.
This is true mate but my only experience of gingerbread was on a mega low end device so i cant really comment on it. I think 2.3 was the start of android being truly able to look after itself though. Hope that helpz
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Old August 16th, 2013, 04:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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2.3 in and of itself isn't a bad system. but lately i am seeing the only devices running it sold on pre-paid setups from Net10 and Straight Talk, and let's face it, these 'new' phones are about as solid as a Chinese tablet, and couple that with insufficient RAM for 2.3 as well, heck, if i were limited to 256MB-512MB RAM, i'd be using 1.x or 2.1 Eclair because that's a bit low even for Gingerbread. these devices have partitions almost intentionally setup to make less room for installed apps, presumably to prevent some odd dozen apps from draining the already limited memory in these devices. when folks start rooting, using sd-ext and overclocking to overcome that limitation, you start getting lag, OOM panics, and various other issues. these days i wouldn't buy a device sold as new with 2.x more due to the hardware rather than the software.

However, in my view, Android got a ton more fluid as of 4.1.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 06:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This is true mate but my only experience of gingerbread was on a mega low end device so i cant really comment on it. I think 2.3 was the start of android being truly able to look after itself though. Hope that helpz
...so how about mega low end devices running 2.3?
  • 600MHz Single-Core Processor
  • 512MB RAM (not sure I believe this) (ok, I guess so; /proc/meminfo says MemTotal: 414444 kB, don't know where that other 100MB is but this is more than I thought)
  • Storage: 220MB /data, and so on
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I've got an ext3 partition on my SD and all my apps (including dalvik cache, libraries, etc) on it via link2sd.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Lol my last experience of GB was on a Zte Blade (officially on Eclair) 600mh, 250gb ram, like 2mb rom Actualy my xperia was on GB out the box but it had ICS waiting for it. So the only real experience of living with 2.3 was on a tiny lil 100 phone, overclocked by 200mhz, running a custom rom and i must say it was pretty nice. It blew mid-range phones out the water so GB will always have a place in my heart

I will admit though, i did use an extreme task killer and i was more of a noob back then so im not sure if i REALLY needed it. I might have tbh. I used to just kill everything when the keyboard got laggy and the haptic was delayed. Looking back i should probably just have been wiping the cache
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Old August 16th, 2013, 08:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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with my lower end products i just edited the values that Android's priority-based task manager used and just made it more aggressive. any low-end product i used regardless of it being Eclair or ICS, would lag like heck and possibly randomly reboot if the memory got as high as 85% used. if it didn't reboot it lagged as the launcher almost always had to restart as Android would kill it to make room for the app i was using in the foreground. i was never sure why the launcher i used was set at a priority of level 6, the lowest priority in Android.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 08:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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In my experience it really hasn't made much difference either way.
I have tried using them, and not using them, and it seems that Android pretty much just does it's own thing either way. If an app needs to open, it will, and if it needs to be shut down to allow something else to open, it will. I really don't think that a task manager is needed, and in reality just uses up memory that could be freed for better use. But I know that there are a lot of folks that seem to think they are helpful.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 09:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'll simply link to my previous post on the subject;
Free ram is wasted ram... or not?

In addition, Android's task/memory management hasn't fundamentally changed since Android 2.0. The key difference between your device and a more modern device is total available RAM. A device with 512MB of RAM will generally keep less absolute memory free than a device with 2GB of RAM.

As far as task managers go, it depends if you want a task manager or a task killer, which are two totally different things. I advise against straight task killers because they tend to do more harm than good. Task managers, or task schedulers, are nice in that they can automate things such as disabling GPS when certain apps are closed/minimized, or enabling/disabling wifi based on location. These, when paired with a solid battery management application can work wonders on your battery life.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 09:55 PM   #18 (permalink)
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there are far more changes from 2.x to 4.1.x than memory management. Project Butter, for one, has totally changed how fluid and responsive Android is compared to its earlier incarnations.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 10:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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there are far more changes from 2.x to 4.1.x than memory management. Project Butter, for one, has totally changed how fluid and responsive Android is compared to its earlier incarnations.
I understand that, but that has nothing to do with my comment. I should have quoted, but I was responding to:

Quote:
you are on quite an old android version though and memory management wasnt as good back then
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Old August 17th, 2013, 06:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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with my lower end products i just edited the values that Android's priority-based task manager used and just made it more aggressive. any low-end product i used regardless of it being Eclair or ICS, would lag like heck and possibly randomly reboot if the memory got as high as 85% used. if it didn't reboot it lagged as the launcher almost always had to restart as Android would kill it to make room for the app i was using in the foreground. i was never sure why the launcher i used was set at a priority of level 6, the lowest priority in Android.
Can you link to where you learned about how to do that stuff? I can figure it out based on this post and a previous one you made but I wouldn't mind seeing it all laid out nicely.

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Task managers, or task schedulers, are nice in that they can automate things such as disabling GPS when certain apps are closed/minimized, or enabling/disabling wifi based on location.
Keeping in mind the megaLowEndness and ancient Android versions involved in devices like mine and the OP's, can you recommend a task manager/scheduler to do those things? I wouldn't mind having GPS turn on when I open a GPS app and off when it's closed. As it stands I keep the stock power widget on my home screen and try to remember to turn GPS on before opening such apps.

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These, when paired with a solid battery management application can work wonders on your battery life.
This is directly at odds with what appears to be the same AF kool-aid about task killers and memory management (Android's memory and power management is infallible so you should never try to improve it), but it is consistent with my experience on my megaLowEnd device running gingerbread. My battery life is atrocious with just the stock battery saver app and heavy manual control (including keeping mobile data disabled). I added DU Battery Saver and found significant improvement. I added Battery Stats Pro just for tracking but found my battery life improved to a nearly tolerable state, so now I just don't mess with it.

Everyone can tell me I should remove this stuff until they're blue in the face but I'd rather have battery life than the approval of others.

So, if I haven't scared you off...can you recommend "a solid battery management application"?
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Old August 17th, 2013, 09:29 AM   #21 (permalink)
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DB - I apologize, but I stopped trying them back in 2010. I use power Toggles, and I have them set on my home screen. If I want something off, I turn it off manually.

Quote:
This is directly at odds with what appears to be the same AF kool-aid about task killers and memory management (Android's memory and power management is infallible so you should never try to improve it)
It depends. The big-three in this regard are wifi, bluetooth, and gps. In terms of wifi and bluetooth, they've always drained a SMALL amount of battery when on and not connected. Turning them off would enhance battery life marginally. However, with Google now using wifi for location detection and reporting, ANY background app that suddenly wants to know your location will drain your battery. If you see Google Services start spiking in battery usage, this is a prime candidate.

GPS is similar, in that it uses no battery when on but not in use. However, more and more apps are using location. Even when I turned off location in Facebook, the damn thing calls up the GPS whenever I load the app, and keeps it running when indoors. Turn off GPS, and problem solved.

The idea behind a task scheduler (if you can find a good one) is to prevent certain apps from abusing these three features that are supposed to have minimal effect on the battery when idle. But I don't like simplicity because it can't always know what you want, so I use toggles. Here's the app I'm referring to (very lightweight, no bloat).

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.painless.pc&hl=en
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Old August 17th, 2013, 10:50 AM   #22 (permalink)
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It was complicated and i figured it out myself. it involved paid apps such as ROM Toolbox Pro and tons of patience. also the edits and adjustments depended greatly on the device. one hack doesn't fit all
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Old August 17th, 2013, 11:57 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Greenify is pretty well respected but its root only. For shutting off system functions when you arent using them, doesnt Juice Defender do that? havent used it but ive read people say it turns data off when the screen is off.
Does GPS actually drain your battery when enabled but not in use mate? I always keep it enabled and it uses nothing unless an app needs it. Aparently bluetooth is the same but im still in the habit of switchin it off lol
EDIT oops i didnt notice this page lol i was replying to DB
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Old August 17th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #24 (permalink)
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What's often overlooked is the user's ability to configure their device to their own ends. Don't want Twitter etc updating every five minutes? Then tell it to use a longer interval. Have no use for <insert app here>? Then stop it updating/syncing and it won't do anything. It may still be installed, but if it's not doing anything it won't "waste" resources as it will be closed by Android's own garbage collection routines in time.

That said, some of the biggest advances over time in the OS have been in resource management. Those of you who used devices running Cupcake (Android 1.5) or even lower will remember how much of an improvement GB (2.3.x) brought, let alone ICS and beyond (4.x).
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Old August 17th, 2013, 12:32 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Luckily my first android ran eclair out the box lol. Maybe off topic but does anyone whose spent time with an iphone know if users use/ever need 3rd party task managers?
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Old August 17th, 2013, 01:05 PM   #26 (permalink)
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My OG EVO is still running strong with Gingerbread. The USB port is failing, but the OS is smooth.

I don't use task managers, but I do manage when apps sync, if I let them sync at all. Also if an app gets hung up and is wake locking, I'll kill it, that's the only time I'll do that.

Biggest thing for me to keep my setup snappy is regularly clearing the caches in the phone. These data stores can accumulate over time and either become large enough to bog stuff down, or accumulate small errors that compound.

As long as I keep these in check, the phone runs fine.
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Old August 17th, 2013, 01:20 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Hi Folks,

What a fantastic response!

I was fully aware that this topic has been discussed many times and I have read a good few threads on this subject.

The essence of what I'm reading here is that the OS (2.3.5) is not to blame. Instead, the hardware is where the problem lies. But, is that really the case? To my mind, the OS knows what resources are available to it. For me on my lowly Desire S, that's 768MB of RAM. No more, no less. Therefore, it is the job of the OS to manage this resource in a way that does not impact on performance. If performance suffers (laggy, etc), is that not the fault of the OS? And, if that's the case, is there not a need for task managers or indeed something else to help the OS manage resources more effectively?

In raising the above questions, I am not intentionally trying to be controversial. I simply want to better understand what's going on beneath the hood.

JPC
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Old August 17th, 2013, 01:27 PM   #28 (permalink)
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No, it's not the OS's fault. if anything, the apps often muck with the OS's priority-based memory management. if the device has very little RAM to begin with, and you download say six apps that try to set themselves at a priority of level 1 (never kill) then Android doesn't have any say in the matter if they hog more than 3/4 the RAM available and you try launching Angry Birds. that would be the Developer's fault.
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Old August 17th, 2013, 01:48 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by nickdalzell View Post
No, it's not the OS's fault. if anything, the apps often muck with the OS's priority-based memory management. if the device has very little RAM to begin with, and you download say six apps that try to set themselves at a priority of level 1 (never kill) then Android doesn't have any say in the matter if they hog more than 3/4 the RAM available and you try launching Angry Birds. that would be the Developer's fault.
Hi Nick,

Thanks for your reply.

OK, I understand. So, how do I flush out these problem apps? Is there a way of finding out what priority level the apps set for themselves? I get the impression that Angry Birds would fall into this category but it's not my cup of tea and is not installed on either of my devices.

JPC
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Old August 17th, 2013, 02:00 PM   #30 (permalink)
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actually, when you back out of Angry Birds it fully closes since it's a later priority level and a huge game memory footprint. Priority level 1 is normally reserved for system apps like Maps, G+ and Play Store, which often remain running to check for updates, notifications, etc. as far as i know, unless rooted you cannot view or change priority levels and most of it is in the build.prop file in /system.

some nefarious free apps love to set themselves as a priority level 1 or 2 to remain running, often to pop ads up in your notification area. this is one reason i prefer to pay for them to avoid finding out later on, as most don't even alert you to having such things inside of them. paid apps never issue unwanted advertising and are often far more polished and stable.

Since that is done within the app's individual code, unless you know how to decompile and such, i do not believe you can change how they set their priority level, sorry.

A proper developer would allow Android to modify the app's priority based on how often or how little you actually use it to allow it to function most efficiently. Unfortunately, some apps even in the Play Store don't always conform to that, and that is one reason i'd advise reading the reviews to find out if it's crap or worth having.
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Old August 18th, 2013, 03:25 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Many thanks, Nick. That's very helpful. As it appears to be difficult, perhaps impossible, to tweak priorities, I guess we are left with the only option of uninstalling suspicious apps. And, in order to determine which are the rogue apps, we could use a process monitor to see which apps are hogging the CPU.

JPC
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Old August 18th, 2013, 04:47 AM   #32 (permalink)
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It would actually be great if google or say cyanagon gave us a nice easy way to prioritise apps the way we want them
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Old August 18th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Luckily my first android ran eclair out the box lol. Maybe off topic but does anyone whose spent time with an iphone know if users use/ever need 3rd party task managers?
I actually had one back when I had a Jailbroken iPod Touch 2G (I think that was almost five years ago). Back when they had 128 MB of RAM (for the OS AND Apps), so even iOS 2/3 had appreciable problems with lag. Mind you, the animations and such were smooth, but you often waited at a white screen for several seconds for apps to start. It definitely helped when it came to the web browser though.
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Old August 18th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #34 (permalink)
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These is a script that was developed by a dev called ZeppelinRox, that reset the priority values for apps. Not sure if this would help here or not, but it only works on rooted devices.

If you want have a look at the devs thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=991276

I used it on my OG evo, and it helped.
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Old August 18th, 2013, 08:30 PM   #35 (permalink)
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My iPhone 4 had issues mostly with large games that occasionally dumped me back to my home screen and when reloaded lagged to unplayable states. i had to reboot it so often that it brought me back to Android again. besides enough time with iOS it gets repetitive and rather boring to go back to home, find icon, click icon, hit home, find other icon, click other icon, etc over and over again. it made me finally see the point of widgets.

the bad part is that Android still lacks games i miss.

1. Sky Gamblers: Air Surpremacy
2. Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders (you HAVE to play this one!)
3. BlackShark Helicopter Sim
4. Apache Sim
5. Infinite Flight


These five have ZERO Android ports.
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Old August 18th, 2013, 08:47 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Greenify is pretty well respected but its root only. For shutting off system functions when you arent using them, doesnt Juice Defender do that? havent used it but ive read people say it turns data off when the screen is off.
Does GPS actually drain your battery when enabled but not in use mate? I always keep it enabled and it uses nothing unless an app needs it. Aparently bluetooth is the same but im still in the habit of switchin it off lol
EDIT oops i didnt notice this page lol i was replying to DB
Greenify is 4.0+ only. I wish it was compatible with 2.3.5, I really want it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkylogik View Post
Luckily my first android ran eclair out the box lol. Maybe off topic but does anyone whose spent time with an iphone know if users use/ever need 3rd party task managers?
iDevice users tend not to need it because of the expensive high-spec hardware involved and probably can't anyway. Apple would probably not allow such a thing in their app store, and you can't sideload unless you jailbreak. Jailbreaking, I'm told, requires you to keep a somewhat resource-hungry suite of stuff running all the time to stay jailbroken, slowing the device significantly.

I have an iPad provided by my work and have experienced only excellent performance. It also cost something like 20 times as much as my Android phone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granite1 View Post
These is a script that was developed by a dev called ZeppelinRox, that reset the priority values for apps. Not sure if this would help here or not, but it only works on rooted devices.

If you want have a look at the devs thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=991276

I used it on my OG evo, and it helped.
Sounds like an interesting script and I love the dev's name.
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