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Controlling whats running on android

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Shaggy2, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Shaggy2

    Shaggy2 Lurker
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    Hi

    I have recently bought a Sony Xperia c1505.

    Phone Details: Sony Xperia c1505
    1.) Model Number ? ____c1505_______
    2.) Firmware Version ? ____4.1.1_______
    3.) Baseband Version ? _____76XXU-USNSKOLYM-2540______
    4.) Kernel Version ? _____3.4.0-perf______
    5.) Build Number ? ____11.3.A.0.47_______

    Also do you have a T-Mobile Data plan on your
    PayAsYouGo or FlexPay Plan? _______No_________

    Carrier ? ______Talkmobile_________ (we know some are also Unlocked so not Just T-Mobile)

    Country you are using your phone in ? _______UK________ (we know that not everyone is from the US)

    Is the phone SIM registered in T-Mobile as the Correct phone?
    Not with T-Mobile. Talkmobile is run on the Vodafone network

    This is the first time I have had a smart phone and two things I noticed immediately when I started using it - first I had to re-charge it a lot and second there was a whole lot of stuff running on it that didn't want. A little later I discovered that unwanted apps also had a habit of using data behind your back.

    I'm trying to get some understanding and control over what is running on the phone, so I can reduce power consumption and know/control what's consuming data, but I'm struggling a bit with this.

    This is what I have done/found out so far
    a)I can do various things on the phone itself to reduce power consumption: Reduce display brightness, reduce screen timeout, only turn on wireless, Bluetooth, GPS when required,turn off phone vibration, turn off notifications. Doing these things has made a big difference to the power consumption.

    b) I discovered you can go to Apps, click on the App and 'force stop' or 'uninstall'. However many of the apps are not actually listed in the apps list and those that aren't, it seems, cannot be removed. Also 'force stop' does not seem to work on some of the apps.

    c) From further searching I understand that only if you root the phone can you actually delete/uninstall many of the unwanted applications. However I also understand rooting the phone invalidates the warranty (and probably also leaves the phone more exposed to malware?). I'm not too bothered about the applications being there as long as they are not running so I hope I can do what I want without having to root.

    d) You can go to settings->Data usage and turn mobile data 'off'. At the bottom of the screen there is a list of applications for which you can select "Restrict All Data" or "Restrict Background Data" to restrict mobile data.

    e)I have downloaed Power Tutor to help me determine what is consuming the power on the phone

    f) I have downloaded Terminal emulator, but have not yet used it much. I seem to be able to do some things (ls,ps,cd), but I think I need to explicitly download tools like grep/find etc. (the little searching I've done suggests I need root get hold of these - hoping this isn't actually the case)

    g)I have read various articles regarding the philosophy android has of keeping task processes "running", keeping then in memory ready to go, in the background when they are finished


    So I have a few questions:

    1) Apps running on my phone
    When I run power tutor with WiFi turned off and leave it running for a while it lists various applications as using power even though I am (as far as I know) not using them.

    a) As I understand it android keeps processes in memory ready for use, but should such applications register as using any power ?

    b) If so how do I know whether they are "active" or not ? And how can I ensure that they won't start doing 'stuff' in the background that I might not want them doing ?

    c) The list of items I see using power tutor looks something like this(the list changes, and extends, over time):
    System
    Kernel
    Xperia Diagnostics
    Lock Screen
    Xperia Keyboard

    Radio subsystem
    Tools
    Messaging
    sys_9999
    sys_1019
    sys_1017
    app_10137
    Media Server
    Phone Contact
    Top Contacts
    Google Account Manager
    Google Play Store
    Google+
    Maps
    Google Search
    Google Partner Setup
    (Norton Utilities)
    Package Access Helper
    Sony Select
    Lock screen
    Customisation Provider
    Facebook
    FBiX Proxy
    Calendar Storage
    Calendar
    SecureClockService
    InfiniteView
    com.android.sms.push
    Friends' music and video
    Update Centre
    Storage capability
    Download Manager
    Package Access Helper
    You Tube
    Picasa uploader
    Camera Devices

    Is there any way of knowing which of these are essential or integral to the working of the phone ?

    d) Occasionally I get listed an app named sys_<4digitNumber>. Does anyone know what these are ?

    e) I am struggling to find a way to disable some of the apps on the phone. I can look under Apps and "force stop", but many Apps (for example Facebook, Maps, Sony Select, Media Server) are not listed. Anyone know how I can disable these applications ?

    2)Controlling and monitoring data usage
    In Settings->Data usage you can select to turn off Mobile data, which I have done. However I still seem to be getting some data reported on the data stats.
    a) Does anyone know if these stats include data over WiFi as well, or is it just reporting Mobile data usage ?
    b) Is there a way of configuring what stats are reported ?
     

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  2. Slug

    Slug Check six!
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    Hi Shaggy, and welcome to Android Forums!

    That's the Xperia E, if my memory serves me correctly?

    The li-ion batteries used in mobile phones improve in performance over a few charge/use cycles. You should notice a distinct improvement after a week or two.

    They will if they are active and using cpu cycles.

    Your Sony has a "Stamina Mode" which can be enabled in Settings/Power Management. By default this prevents apps from making data connections if the display is off i.e. the handset is idle and 'sleeping'. You can whitelist any apps that you wish to exclude from this; for example I've included Gmail as it's important to me that I receive emails as promptly as possible.

    Not at a glance, no. Many are background processes supporting core OS features e.g. "Maps" (the app) only runs if opened, but a "Maps" process runs constantly (if Location Services are enabled) in order to support apps that may make requests for geolocation information.

    Most likely a low-level system process.

    Any apps installed in 'user-space' will have an "uninstall" option when selected in Settings/Apps. Others will have a "disable" option.

    Facebook is accessed via the Sony Sociallife app, but if you either don't configure a FB account or log-out then it won't have a reason to poll for updates. The same applies to Twitter.

    The likes of Maps, Media Server etc fall into the category of "essentials" as they provide core services.

    In Data Usage, check the menu and see if "Show wifi usage" is enabled.

    See above. It can do, optionally.

    I hope this helps somewhat. If not, or you have further questions, please ask.

    p.s. We have a Sony Xperia E sub-forum devoted to the handset, but it's not seen much activity recently. I'll leave this topic here for now but it's ideal for inclusion there later to help other newcomers - we've all asked the things at some point. ;)
     
  3. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert
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    You're worrying about this stuff way too much. Basically, you should just relax and enjoy your phone. But here's a few things to keep in mind...

    You don't really need Power Tutor. Settings > Battery will tell you what is using power.

    DO NOT force stop apps. Unneeded apps and services will close themselves or be cached in memory, where they use no power. Needed ones will just restart if force stopped, wasting power. IOW, don't worry much about what's running unless Battery stats show high usage for something in particular.

    If it bothers you, some unneeded apps can be disabled in Settings > Apps.

    DO NOT install any task managers, RAM managers, memory optimizers, cache cleaners, etc. etc. These just waste power and may cause problems. Let Android handle things, it does an excellent job.

    Battery savers or power optimizers rarely do any actual good and may use more power than they save.

    I leave WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and mobile data on all the time. I get very good battery life. Our phones can sit at idle for days. However...

    I install WiFi Location Toggle to automate WiFi switching and keep WiFi from constantly searching for a signal.
    If you are in a poor signal area for some time, your phone may waste power searching for a usable voice and/or data signal. Check for this if your battery life is poor.
    You might as well leave GPS on since it is inactive unless an app such as Maps that needs it is in use.

    I never exceed my data allotment so I don't use anything to control usage, but there are many good choices in the Play store.
     
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  4. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)
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  5. Thom

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    I agree. I also suggest that when you feel a little more comfortable you consider Nova Launcher Prime. It allows you to hide those pre-installed apps without deleting them. (If you delete them you might find yourself in a state where you can not install a system upgrade.)

    If this thread was in the forum dedicated to this phone it might attract other users of this phone to participate, ask other questions, and provide other answers.

    ... Thom
     
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  6. Shaggy2

    Shaggy2 Lurker
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    Hi

    I'd like to say thank you for your replies and advice on this, they have been very helpful.
    > That's the Xperia E, if my memory serves me correctly?
    It is indeed an Xperia E (mine is a single sim version - I believe there is also a dual sim)

    Apologies for completely missing the Sony Xperia sub forum!, I guess I should be able to find ready made answers to many of my questions there.
     
  7. Slug

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    No apology required. This is a huge site, with hundreds of active sub-forums (and many more archived), so even those who have been here for years still get disrientated occasionally. :eek:

    It's very likely, but if not a post here is much more preferable to suffering in silence. You certainly won't get your head bitten off for doing it... we're generally a very friendly bunch. :)
     
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  8. dan330

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    hi OP.. welcome to android.. and AF... and smartphones.

    I agree with the others here.. and suggest you stop thinking about the things in the memory and background. it is NOT like Microsoft old OS... always needing to free up memory. Android will take care of it. Sometimes there maybe a bad app that causes issues; you can worry about that when/if that happens.

    just relax and enjoy the phone. :)

    now.. this is your first smartphone. it is not like the dumb phones in the past.
    old phones do NOTHING when in sleep mode. CPU and Memory that are simple and don't take much power. Small low res screens (non-touch) that don't use much power. so they days of battery charges lasting 4 days or more are over!
    sorry.. morn your loss now.. accept it! :p
     
  9. cwcarolync

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    Hi Shaggy, I'm a bit like you in that I have only just gotten into actually using my smart phone in the last 9 months .... it's probably nearly 2 years old ! I was using it as a general clock / calender / calculator / note pad. It seems to be reliable, it's a Motorola XT Fire. I hadn't bothered to use it's full potential because of financial constraints ... I have since found an Australian company which is excellent.
    BUT .... for some reason U TUBE keeps consuming data. I have downloaded "My Data Manager" on it .... it's good, tells me what's using data ... but it won't let me disable it.

    I have very quickly learned how to disable data, & enable / disable wireless stuff as I have wanted. I would love to know how to delete / disable U-tube completely.

    If any one can help with that, I would be most grateful.

    Thanks Carolyn
     
  10. Hadron

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    Hi Carolyn, and welcome to AF :)

    If it's a pre-installed app you almost certainly can't uninstall it without rooting the phone (hacking it to gain administrator access). But with Android 4 you should be able to disable it: go into Settings > Apps > All, select the app and you should have an option to disable it there.

    It's a bit odd though, because on my phone the YouTube app doesn't use any data when I'm not using it (which I do very rarely).
     
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  11. cwcarolync

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    Thanks Hadron,
    I've done as you have suggested & will see what happens from here. My service providers told me it's possible that U tube is being used by advertisers in the background somehow. I have never even bothered to agree to U tube's terms & conditions, so I'm buggered if I know how the advertisers do it. :thinking:
     
  12. mikedt

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    Depending on the version of Android you've got, you might be able to turn off background data for individual apps. Settings > Data usage > List of apps > YouTube...and you might be able to toggle "Restrict background data.". I have this option with KitKat 4.4, but not with JellyBean 4.1.

    I've done it with Google Play actually, because that was consuming a lot of background data, even though I had auto updates turned off in Play itself. Think the reason is, Play is currently blocked here unless using a VPN, and it was trying to phone home and wasn't taking no for an answer. The Facebook and Google+ apps can do the same as well.
     
  13. cwcarolync

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    Thanks Mikedt. Hadron's instructions sorta worked... I did what he said, then turned the phone on to allow data allowance for an hour. U tube was still using data, but much much less than what it was before ... THANKS again Hadron .... I did see Internet was also used in that hour ... I have no idea why ..... but it wasn't as much in the way of huge amounts of data. Some Facebook notifications came in ... maybe that's why ?? My server offers facebook for free.
    I have taken on board your suggestions mikedt ... again THANK YOU Hadron.
    I hope I get this nutted out ... eventually :)
     
  14. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    Google apps are indeed resource hogs. i tend to disable any i never use (Play Music once chewed through my entire data plan because i opened it once and it kept caching up music/ads) and i also notice that oft-times, Google Services is at the top of both battery as well as memory stats. with them loaded up there is not much room for any apps/games you install and it tends to make things like lag, launcher redraws, widgets failing to work (problem loading widget [restart widget]) and random reboots. Google Play is perhaps the most overrated software out there, and there are alternatives that do not chew through resources for no reason and even work better. i suggest if your Google apps are at the top using the most memory, i'd disable them in settings and try Amazon and see if anything changes

    IF you do like and prefer Google Play, i'd suggest also going into settings, under accounts-->Google, disable sync to everything (uncheck). this can chew through data and cause Play Store to not work (it tends to throw tons of 'cannot download due to an error' or 'package file invalid' errors when sync fails for any reason.)

    they do not need to push sync anyway, and this causes a lot of lag during the process. the apps will refresh on their own when you open them, they do not need to sync one bit otherwise.
     
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  15. mikedt

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    A few days ago I found that Play was chewing through my precious data plan. Was trying to do stuff in the background and phoning home, even though I had auto-updates turned off. Fortunately the ROM I'm using now, KitKat 4.4, has a way of killing background data for individual apps. Problem was the Play servers were blocked for a while, and the Play app wasn't taking no for an answer and kept on trying in the background.

    I've also found G+ consuming 30-50MB one afternoon for no apparent reason. So that's gone from my phone. I only found what G+ was doing when CMCC sent me a message warning that I'd consumed a significantly higher than average amount of wireless data for the day.
     
  16. cwcarolync

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    Thankyou all so much, I've sure learnt some stuff from you all. Found out today all on my ownsome .... the bl**d# apps reappear if the phone is switched of, & restarted ... agghhhhh ! I didn't have "data enabled" switched on, so there was no loss of $$ from my plan. It's annoying though.
    Thanks to you people, I am starting to get more confident with using the
    "data enabled" part of the phone. I'm just more aware, & I will check what's running from here on before I enable data.
    Please don't all laugh at once, I'm an oldish chook. Mikedt can you tell me what ROM, KitKat 4.4, & JellyBean 4.1. are please. I have no idea ...is it something that comes with the phone ? Or is it an app that I need to download to disable unwanted apps. THANKYOU again everyone.
     
  17. mikedt

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    No problem, happy to give details. :)

    ROM = Read Only Memory, it's a bit of an archaic term from when computers really did have read only memory chips for their operating software, like the Apple 2 and Commodore 64. It's a term now used to describe the operating system of a device, e.g. Android, and it can be changed by loading another "ROM" file. Sometimes the term "firmware" might be used as well. When the Android operating system is running on a device, it is read only and apps can't change it. Unless you have something called "root", which is really the equivalent of the Administrator account on a PC.

    "KitKat 4.4, & JellyBean 4.1" is just the particular version of Android, they're all named after candy, sweets and cakes....LOL
    Android version history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The more recent versions like 4.4 have more features, enhancements and functions added, as well as changes in how it looks. One feature I was referring to was the ability to block background data for a particular app, e.g. Youtube, Google Play, Google+. I have two phones here, the new Oppo has KitKat 4.4 that can do it, and the older Samsung has JellyBean 4.1, that does not. This is something I'm doing on the phone itself. There might be something you can install that can block background data on an app by app basis. I've never looked at that.
     
  18. cwcarolync

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    Thankyou Mikedt, I really appreciate your explanation. I'm not sure that my phone has either ??? Since I bought my phone ... tech stuff has gone haywire .... even stuff at work, we have digital x-rays ... CRAZY but wonderful. Thanks for your help.
     
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  19. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    simply going to settings-->Google-->sync settings-->uncheck everything helps a lot. if you use Google Play it maintains the features but won't chew through data or cause any lag. if you want a cleaner notification bar (i am not sure about the rest of you, but i hate having tons of Play Store icons for every update that would complete) go to settings-->apps-->all-->Google Play Store-->uncheck notifications. that also makes the notification service stop running which speeds things up. also turn off any notifications you don't need and that also helps.

    Android version history:

    1.0 (no name, prototype, looked a lot like BlackBerry 5 OS)

    1.5 'Cupcake'

    1.6 'Donut'

    2.1 'Eclair'

    2.2 'FroYo' (for Frozen Yogurt)

    2.3 'Gingerbread' (one of the most popular versions, still in heavy use today via pre-paid)

    3.0 'Honeycomb' (tablets only, sorta a flop)

    4.0 'ICS' (Ice Cream Sandwich--the first time it started the look you see today in JB and KitKat)

    4.1 'Jelly Bean' or JB (most of the lag gone, still choppy scrolling)

    4.4 'KitKat' (current and most recent at 4.4.3, has finally gotten as smooth and fluid as iOS)

    If you have noticed, they also are named in alphabetical order. each name's first letter goes in order from A to Z
     
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