Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sometimes Android task killers make sense

Android doesn't need task killers to free up your RAM. Just mention "task killer" on any Android forum and a million people will shout that task killers are bad. Always and everywhere.

Task killers are bad if you use them the wrong way. Many task killers automatically kill apps at random, and then Android puts them back into RAM, and the task killer takes 'em out again, and then Android reloads them, and then...

Apps loaded in memory usually sit quietly in the background. They don't use any processor cycles, they don't eat your battery, and they go away by themselves if other apps ask for RAM.

But some apps do not keep quiet in the background. Google Maps is a notorious offender that keeps its network location service active when you don't need it. Facebook keeps going online after you move away, and if you try to log out it punishes you by deliberately forgetting your password. Shazam won't stay quiet either. When you exit the app, it keeps going online in the background to do who-knows-what. If you don't start the app, it still goes online all by itself when Android caches it in RAM for future use.

So even though task killers usually do more harm than good, keep in mind that there are exceptions. Sometimes there are very good reasons to kick apps out of memory after you're done with them. Just don't let them kill apps at random, but only zap those apps that really need to go away.

Bomb That Task

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