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Archive for March 29th, 2010

Android Task Killers are Useless

by on Mar.29, 2010, under Nexus One

Android Task Killers are Useless

You’ve likely heard of or installed so called “task killers” on your android device to “free up memory” and keep your device running fast. Well sorry to burst the bubble, but they are 100% useless!

They play on the age old misconception that the more “available” memory you have, the faster your computer will be. While this is only “true” (if all memory is used) when you’re running multiple apps at the same time that require the same memory space… which the android stack handles just fine on its own.

We must first understand how android handles applications and states before we have a better understanding of why these task killers are snake oil.

Speaking of snake oil, Android Virus Scanners are Useless – linux doesn’t have “viruses”, and on top of that, each application you run, is contained in its own virtual environment.

When you launch an android app, and then another app, the states are saved for when you return, this doesn’t mean the app is necissarily “running” in the background – it just has its last state stored in memory. Once you open up enough apps, the system will remove states which are no longer necissary – and re-enable them when they are.

The best I can find is to watch this video: (youtube link)

Some task killers actually hinder some default apps. For example, advanced task killer gets in the way of default services connecting and polling refresh updates (ie. Facebook and email) are unable to properly get updates until ATK is uninstalled.

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