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Finding and Stopping Programs Running in "Background"

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by startac4, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    My battery charge % is continuing to drop more than seems to be right for what I'm "normally" doing on the phone. I expect its because there are programs running continuously in the background that are eating up the battery.

    How do I (1) identify these programs and (2) how do I stop them? I know that Avast is running and I'm OK with its active security (just as I have it doing on my computer). How do I find the others?

    When I go to Settings -> Storage -> -> Apps I see a list of programs that apparently are running. But I don't know if that's true. They may have been loaded when I powered on the phone, but are just sitting there doing nothing at all (except taking up space). I have no use for most of these programs (e.g. Amazon, Lookout, T-Mobile TV, Google Play Movies, Facebook et al). I don't know if stopping any of them would make a difference. And I don't know a safe way to stop any.

    One time I found a place to stop something - I can't remember where that is on the phone - and got this dire warning to the effect that stopping the program can have unpredictable results, which would seriously impact the use of the phone. When I select one and try "clear data" - I don't what that would really do - I get another dire warning that all kinds of things will be lost forever.

    The question comes down to how do I find which programs are continuously running (including ones that I don't know about,) how do I stop them without having "dire, catastrophic results", can they be "re-started" if for some unforseen and strange reason I actually wanted one of these programs in the future, and is there a way to stop these and keep them stopped without having to do this every time I power on the phone.

    Oh by the way - I just installed Signal Messaging. Can that be one of the culprits? If so, is there a way to stop it without deleting it from the phone? I need that only for a very, very limited use at just occasional specific times.

    = = = = =
    Update:
    I just found a list under Settings -> Battery & Power Saving -> Battery Usage -> Battery Use Details.
    It shows Screen as taking 27%, Phone Idle 7%, Android System 4%, Android OS 3% and a bunch of others around 1%-2% (including dex2oat, what's that?). I don't see anything that would explain the precipitous drop from 39% to 26% in about an hour (without any phone calls or text messaging). Nor do I understand the difference between Android System and Android OS. As for Signal, it's not even listed here, though I know I had been looking at it (though not actually using it).

    Any suggestions as to what I should do from here? It appears to me that something is significantly draining the battery - and I don't know just what it is nor what to do about it.
     


    #1 startac4, Jun 7, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  2. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    Ignore the warnings, you cannot harm your device by stopping apps running in the background...
    Go to settings, apps, and from the list, choose disable.
    As for the battery, how old is the device? And make and model? Android version?
     
    puppykickr and MrJavi like this.
  3. MrJavi

    MrJavi Android Expert

  4. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the URL pointer. But that site wasn't much of a help. It doesn't tell me which ones are safe to stop and which will wreck havoc (other than saying never to stop anything with "google" in its name). I also can't find anything on my phone that says "google assistant" or even "google search" in Settings.

    I also didn't see anything explaining the difference between Android System and Android OS - each having separate battery usage - nor the difference between between Phone Idle and Cell Standby, which took 7% and 5% of battery usage respectively when last I checked. I should think "idle" and "standby" are the same thing. And just what is the phone doing in either case.
     
    #4 startac4, Jun 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  5. MrJavi

    MrJavi Android Expert

    ocnbrze likes this.
  6. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    what phone do you have?
     
    MrJavi likes this.
  7. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    LG K20Plus
     
  8. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    well your phone came out in 2016. it could be your battery is finally giving out. i would try a replacement and see if that helps. batteries are designed to last 3-4 years which your phone's battery is well within that range. so my guess a new battery should fix the battery drain you are currently having.
     
    MrJavi likes this.
  9. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I have the phone only a little over 1 1/2 years so I should think the battery is still good.

    I've been doing a Force Stop on some things that I don't need and may be doing things in the background (e.g. Lookout, Weather Service) or won't need for a while (e.g. Signal Messaging) but now I realize I don't know how to re-start anything that I've stopped if and when I need it. I did a DuckDuck search on this but what I found was not helpful (e.g. writing code for an "intent", pressing Force Stop again which did nothing). I should think that there is a straight forward way to do this (short of deleting the program and having to re-install it).
     
  10. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    does not matter. the phones were made in 2016. just sitting on a shelf, the battery will still discharge. like i said they are made to last 3-4 years regardless of use. i would still look into get a replacement.
     
    puppykickr and MrJavi like this.
  11. MrJavi

    MrJavi Android Expert

    #11 MrJavi, Jun 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
    puppykickr and ocnbrze like this.
  12. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thank you Mr Javi and ocnbrze. I understand what you're saying. I had recently ordered a spare "just in case" battery for the cellphone - only one place still carries it - so I will wait a bit and then try to swap batteries. I'm a little concerned about the case being stretched and getting it back on afterwards.

    I also found how to re-start the programs on which I had done a Force Stop. The instructions are in an Android Central post from six years. Perhaps Disable would have been better in terms of reducing battery usage.
     
    ocnbrze and MrJavi like this.
  13. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    cool beans......keep us posted if the batteries helped or not.
     
    MrJavi likes this.
  14. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    I am going to throw my 2¢ into this fountain, and make a wish.

    A few things first.

    Most folks here are going to be using modern, up to date equipment.

    I, on the otherhand, do not.

    This may be in your favor.
    Maybe not.

    Anyway, here is the point- Android does a great job of monitoring what needs to be running and not running.
    The older versions were not as good at this as the newer versions.

    Usually, it is true that force stopping apps that run in the background actually uses MORE battery power- because what happens is that these apps tend to quickly start right back up.

    What uses more energy in your car- cruising nonstop from point A to point B, or stopping and starting multiple times on the same trip?

    It is quite the same with your phone. These apps use more energy stopping and restarting than they do when left alone, running in the background.

    Did you say that you were using an anti-virus?
    Ditch it.
    They are not needed on Android, and are a black hole that gobbles up battery power.

    Now, before you think that I am against older devices, there are some benefits that you and I can enjoy that owners of new devices cannot. (They generally don't need these things, but let's stay positive.)

    A handy little app that will stop all background running apps is called Fast Task Killer.

    I will provide a link to an older, ad-free version. (It works fine.)

    If you want some simple, heavy duty work done, the same developer has another app that does the same thing, but also clears the cache of all the apps. This will free up some space for you, and stop the background apps.
    Fast Optimizer is what it is called.

    Both apps are small, ad-free, one touch gems without any settings to fool with.

    Just be aware that when you upgrade (and someday you will), these beloved little apps will most likely not work the same on a modern device.

    In fact, you can't clear the cache of an app with another app on any device running Android 8 or above.

    And remember, system apps, or apps that you have given certain permissions to (accessibility, notifications, etc.), will soon start up again after being shut down.

    The final, and most drastic addition to your device would be an app called Greenify.

    This app will force stop all user apps (the paid version can also stop system apps) as soon as the screen goes off. There are a coupke of widgets you can use instead if you are using the phone and just want to stop whatever may still be running.

    Here are the links for the three apps that I mentioned.

    https://fast-task-killer.en.uptodown.com/android

    https://fast-optimizer.en.uptodown.com/android

    https://greenify.en.uptodown.com/android
     
    Madasa, ocnbrze and MrJavi like this.
  15. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    "Amazon, Lookout, T-Mobile TV, Google Play Movies, Facebook et al)."

    These are what you have listed.

    See if under the app settings for each of these if they can be disabled.

    This will prevent them from running in the background.

    All of them are accessible via your browser anyway, so having the app is not necessary.

    Well, not Lookout, but it is not needed at all.
     
    ocnbrze and MrJavi like this.
  16. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Also, a plain, completely black wallpaper can save a large amount of battery life.

    You can download this, then find it in your Gallery and set it as your wallpaper.

    black wallpaper.jpg
     
    Madasa and MrJavi like this.
  17. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I expect no new batteries have been made since then - the phone is "discontinued" - so the replacement battery I ordered will have the same "sitting on a shelf" issue as the battery that came with the phone. Given that, it doesn't seem that changing batteries would make any difference.
     
    MrJavi likes this.
  18. There are actually a lot of apps designed to find and stop programs from running. They 're mostly used to monitor employees or track time, but maybe they can help you as well. For example, at work, we have this app worktime that allows you to configure which programs should be prohibited from running and when. But honestly , I think your battery is dying, as many others have said. 3 + years is quite a time span for a phone battery life.
     
    #18 Melody Andeaphs, Jul 15, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2020
  19. startac4

    startac4 Newbie
    Thread Starter

    As I wrote above, what is the point of changing batteries if the "new" battery was likely made at the same time as the battery that came with the phone.
     
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