Task Killer -- Do I need one?


Last Updated: 2012-04-02 18:57:19
  1. userno69

    userno69 Member

    Hey guys. So I just got my first smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S through US Cellular (the Mesmerize). It runs Android 2.1 Eclair, and is supposed to be updated to Froyo before the end of the year.

    When I got the phone, the person at US Cellular installed Advanced Task Killer on my phone and said I should use it to free up memory and save battery life. So at first I was using it, and it did free up a lot of memory when I pressed the kill tasks button. But then I had some issues like Winamp getting killed when it was playing music in the background. This prompted me to look more into task killers and I found a lot of conflicting information. Some people say they are bad and don't help and cause trouble on the phone, others said just the opposite. There were some specific comments about ATK saying it can corrupt the OS. This all made me very nervous and I'm not sure what to believe. So for now I have uninstalled ATK. What input do you guys have about task killers? Any tips or recommendations?

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  2. PinkMirrorKirby

    PinkMirrorKirby Well-Known Member

  3. BookLover

    BookLover Well-Known Member

    Install Watchdog or SystemPanel. They both do the same thing. SystemPanel has more info, but my little brain cannot comprehend it all...plus it caused a lot of lag on my LPP homescreens. I use Watchdog myself. It even alerts you to misbehaving apps in the notification bar so that you can easily decide whether or not to kill that specific offending app.
  4. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    Some light reading for you. ;)

    FAQ: Why You Shouldn’t Be Using a Task Killer with Android
    http://androidforums.com/sprint-htc-hero/26997-task-managers-your-hero.html
    Droid Den - Android Guide: Should I Use a Task Killer - Droid Den
    Android Developers Blog: Multitasking the Android Way
    http://androidforums.com/motorola-droid/18334-task-killer-apps-truth.html#post113494
    Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
    AndroidSPIN Why you don’t need a task killer app with Android.
    Froyo update kills Android task killer apps | andrew | Androinica
    Google and Cyanogen comments imply task killer/manager apps are pointless | andrew | Androinica
    Task Killers... The Answer from Google & Developers.
    Android OS Task Killers: Does killing background tasks and services actually help?
    http://androidforums.com/htc-droid-eris/39801-task-killers-good-bad-ugly.html
    Task Killers: Good or Bad? Android And Me Forums
    ongoing:android_myths [CVPCS Android Wiki]
    http://androidforums.com/htc-droid-eris/42114-yes-you-need-task-killer-app-eris-period.html
    Another look at Android memory management, and why task killers are not bad - PPCGeeks
    http://androidforums.com/htc-droid-eris/47545-memory-management-task-killing-another-view.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL6gSd4ugSI&feature=channel

    If you prefer the CliffNotes version to all this - Some like them, but most don't need them.

    When it comes to Android, the OS is really designed to handle memory itself. Yes, you will see your RAM on the low side soemtimes and if you look you will see a bunch of applications running in the background. This is all normal for the OS. Majority of the apps in the background are sitting idle and just waiting around to be launched. The RAM that they are "using" will become available to another application as soon as it is needed. All of this is done with very minimal battery usage as well.

    For me the old saying, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." comes to mind in discussions about task killers. The key question that you need to ask yourself is, "How is my phone working?" If the answer is good, then you already have your answer to the Great Task Killer Debate. If the answer is bad, then majority of the time the next question should be, "Why?"
    souja67, synicalx, melissai_ and 2 others like this.
  5. next_release

    next_release Member

    So then you would be ok with me putting a program on your computer that runs all the time, has access to sending your personal info to a 3rd party whenever it wants, has rights & access to read or write to your sd card, could track your movements, and even has access to your voice, picture, fingerprints, times of activity, not to mention all of your contacts info...
  6. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    Do you really think if someone writes such a malicious program that they wouldn't take silly task killers into consideration and just have the process auto-restart? Don't you realize just by using Google/Android you've already succumbed to Big Brother anyway? Task killers are a waste of time. The only thing they're any good for is killing poorly written programs.
  7. TheAtheistReverend

    TheAtheistReverend Anybody want a peanut? VIP Member

  8. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

  9. ericwins

    ericwins New Member

    The multiple postings on why using an AppKiller to save "memory" and battery life is a bad idea makes complete sense. I have a slightly different problem, and I'm not sure if all the running apps have something to do with it - though of course independently AT&T and Samsung both spew the same advice - get an "AppKiller".

    I have had ongoing issues with monster web to phone download usage, and I'm pretty sure (not positive) I'm not the one doing it. I am not a power user. I use three different emails (which may negate my "not a power user" comment) where I only look at and reply via text. I don't download attachments via my Samsung Infuse. For other apps, I use the Google Voice search maybe 3 times per week, and check my calendar (which I believe is just on the phone but syncs with GoogleApps). Other than that, I do very little wrt data. Yet I regularly see 3-4MB on the mornings when I turn it on, or at other odd times in the day when I can go back to my webmail and check that I'm definitely not downloading or sending emails.

    I suspect that the automatic syncing of my GoogleApp mail and calendar may be a culprit, but I don't know for sure.

    Do you have any recommendations for how I can troubleshoot where all this web to phone activity is happening and how to cut it off? Right now I'm at about 130MB per month, and I DON'T use Facebook, etc. I deliberately save social apps (when I use them) for my laptop.
  10. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    Actually 130MB/month isn't that bad. In any case you can use Network TrafficStats Lite - Android app on AppBrain to monitor your data usage. I'd look more to weather widgets than mail or calendar.
  11. blahsaysmeu2u

    blahsaysmeu2u Well-Known Member

    i have come to the conclusion that task killers are really useless from reading lots of different opinions. (specially this one: http://androidforums.com/android-applications/335110-why-you-dont-need-task-killer.html)
    but.........
    what about cache cleaners? arent apps in the cache going to be cleared out by a cache cleaner? isnt this kinda doing the same thing a task killer would do since most apps are not actually running in the background on android but are just cached for later "wake up"? so wouldnt clearing this cache be the same as killing the apps that are cached and therefore make the apps be "restarted" again by the os?
    please help if answer or help better explain my question if this doesnt make sense...just learning guys...i hate to ask the noob quesitons but i didnt see any of these types of questions being asked..
  12. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    The cache cleaner I have is for clearing data cached by apps from the phone's internal storage, rather than removing cached apps from RAM. So it's the same as going into the manage applications menu of the phone, selecting an app and choosing "clear cache". A task killer is more like going to the same menu and selecting "force close".
    blahsaysmeu2u likes this.
  13. blahsaysmeu2u

    blahsaysmeu2u Well-Known Member

    Perfect answer. Thanks
  14. plemonjello

    plemonjello Active Member

    Instead of a task killer use something like Gemini to prevent apps from running in the first place when it's not needed.
  15. d.contrarian

    d.contrarian New Member

    Hi everyone, please bear with the n00b.

    I have a real dilemma that needs a good app recommendation in this area of app managers/killers. The Getjar app store client on my SE Xperia Arc (stock 2.3) is running in the background and hurting my phone, for real. How do i know? cos the battery usage monitor in settings tells me that it is ALWAYS responsible for 25% - 35% of total battery usage, every single time i check it up. my phone can't get me thru the day except with very light usage (and i'm already quite a light user).

    Even if i kill the app once using the 'manage applications' setting page, it probably starts itself right back up again cos i don't see any change to my battery usage pattern over the course of the day. and i don't want to delete the app cos the free apps on Getjar Gold are just too good to pass up, and silly Getjar has no alternative method of delivery besides the mobile app.

    I just need an app that monitors for selected preconditions, such as a particular app running in the background, and kills it automatically. i've used ATK by ReChild back in my Moto Droid (2.1 eclair) days to great satisfaction, but all the "2.2+ doesn't need a task killer", "it does more harm than good" comments are making me hesitate going back to it. besides, it kills a bunch of apps according to its own preset algorithms, so i can't be sure if it's killing apps i want running, or even if it is actually killing the Getjar client.

    Please help!!! :(:(:(

    BTW i posted this here because i didn't want to add another new topic to the burgeoning list. i heard doing tt without searching for similar threads first is bad net etiquette, so pls forgive me if u find this off-topic.
  16. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    Honestly, the best thing for you to do is uninstall the Getjar app. I understand why you want to keep it, but it is doing harm and apps that are doing harm shouldn't be on your phone. If you are going to try and find something to prevent it from running anyway then why not just uninstall it while you aren't using it. This way you don't have to deal with an app that is obviously not working properly on your phone and you don't have to deal with something that is going to try and alter the way your phone is meant to operate. If you want to download something later, simple keep the APK on your phone and reinstall the app to get what you want and remove it again when you are done.

    BTW, there isn't any need to post the same thing in multiple locations.
    Crashdamage, jerofld and lunatic59 like this.
  17. jerofld

    jerofld Fixing stuff is not easy VIP Member

    GetJar has an autostart script. Every time you wake the device and slide-to-unlock, it launches the program in the background. If it's taking that much power, I agree with OTD...it's time to uninstall it.
  18. ylexot

    ylexot Well-Known Member

    I use Titanium Backup to freeze GetJar. That way, I can just unfreeze to get updates to apps.

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