Task Killer Apps: More Harm Than Good

With the open source characteristics of the Android OS, it’s not surprising that many users have the desire to control all aspects of their device. For this reason alone, one of the more popular utility types that you will find are Task Killers. These applications allow you to determine which of the currently running tasks you’d like to force close on your device. You can configure these Task Killers to ignore certain applications and even automatically kill all other apps after a certain period of time has passed. But do they really help?

After reading an interesting article the other day on Reddit, I decided to test for myself. My test was much shorter than the test in the post as I figured results from a quick test would be much more apparent. They were. Within two 3 hour tests, I noticed a clear increase in battery life when I wasn’t killing tasks after every use of my device. On my Motorola Droid I have several apps that I use frequently and in the background as well: Twitter, Facebook, OKCupid, FourSquare, and many other standard applications that run on the device. As the Motorola Droid doesn’t break down the battery usage any less than 10%, it was still impressive to see a minimum of 10% difference in the reading.

But the original poster was right, the device was even running faster! The truth is, Android OS was configured to have apps not close in the fashion many of us are use to. If you configure all of your applications correctly, this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s not that difficult to determine when your apps are active, if they show up on your status bar, and how they notify you of changes. Android is really what you make of it and task management is an important part of the whole process.

That’s not to say that Task Killers don’t have their place. If you install random apps constantly and don’t configure them to work how you would like, then having the ability to end all application processes is definitely a helpful thing. If you want better overall performance of your device, however, just tweak your settings to match what you’re looking for.

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  • I use one on occasion to kill an unruly app or when debugging some equally feisty code. At the end of the day though a fresh restart and quality apps keep things running smooth just like you say.

  • homesick alien

    The reason I use a task killer is that I always see apps running that I don’t want to run… Some of those I NEVER use and I don’t even want on my phone but can’t get rid of. How am I to configure those not to run? Easy for you to say to configure properly, but that is not allowed.

    I can’t stand that I have these apps running and killing them gives me at least some kind of control.