Running an Android Task Killer? Get rid of it, and get your battery back.

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 11-Jan-2011 00:13

Poor battery life on Android? Got a task killer running? Read this...

My Samsung Galaxy S I9000 was starting to get a little sluggish, and draining battery a little quick for my liking. I installed Advanced Task Killer Free on it, and continued to load the handset up with apps, and watched my battery life get worse and worse.

After reading about how memory management for applications (especially applications in the background, not really doing anything at the time) differs from users normal expectations, and that many have experienced significant increases in battery life by killing their task killer app, I decided to take the plunge.

There are plenty of anecdotal blog and forum posts supporting the position that these task killing apps are snake oil, simply peddling in-app advertising to the masses with a product that feeds peoples desires to make their handset run well, but in fact assist it to do the opposite.

With usage about the same, with ATK running and phone battery on 100% at 7am, then dying by about 7pm, I uninstalled ATK, and all of a sudden my battery usage for the same period was significantly lower - with my 7pm battery level around 30%.


Further savings to be had by ridding myself of unnecessary apps running all the time that are really just a bit gimmicky. Using what I actually want and need has bought more battery life, and being ruthless with screen timeout and brightness at night is bringing me back to near fresh-out-the-box battery life.

Because these handsets typically have bigger brighter screens, and CPUs with more guts than say, my old S60 E75, the ability for them to chew through battery power is potentially a lot higher.

Careful management, and not loading up on frivolous apps that run constantly (watch those widgets) will lead to a better user experience.

I have just heard the low battery beep now after 17 hours running - with WiFi & GPS on the whole time, about 45 minutes of GPS navigation, 60 minutes of MP3 playback, 15 minutes of Youtube videos, 30 minutes of calls, around 80 text messages, ten minutes of web browsing, a couple of Android Market app updates, and demoing Latitude to some smartphone-muggles.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has experienced otherwise, and what your weapons of choice are (hardware, apps, usage).

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Comment by hairy1, on 11-Jan-2011 05:24

Swype was the app for me that killed my battery. I couldn't get through the day without the batttery dying by mid afternoon. Ironically I installed froyo at the same time so blamed that. Finally uninstalling swype solved my problems.

I am running Samsung Galaxy Spica which is a different handset. I am not sure if different handsets make a difference.

Cheers, Matt 

Comment by Hayden, on 12-Jan-2011 19:44

Amazing, I was running Advanced Task Killer on my Moto Milestone (XT) and would only ever get a days use, its been a entire day without advanced task killer and the battery is still over 50%. Funny I always thought I was doing good running a task killer.

Comment by Linuxluver, on 14-Jan-2011 22:18

I turn off all automatic updating everywhere possible....and that saves the battery. There is no reason why Facebook or twitter NEED to update any more often  than I manually ask them too. 

I keep GPS off as a rule.

Battery will die quickly in areas with poor reception...this is nothing new. But my battery will last all day as a rule.

I do own three batteries for my Galaxy S...and sometimes I do need to swap a fresh one in....and I can and it only takes a minute or two.   

Comment by Laforet, on 15-Jan-2011 23:36

I like Android for many reasons however the memory management is not one of the reasons. It is just a mess with all the processes pushing each other around. The problem with ATK is that it repeatedly tries to kill some processes only to have them launch again in a few seconds, preventing the CPU from sleeping to conserve power. A utility called Autoruns should be able to stop this from happening.(On a side note, it also stopped the random audio playback problem that we had since 2.1 was released) A small number of these persistent tasks are hard-wired into the ROM like the infamous voice dialer app, which can only be manually removed on a rooted phone. The combination of Autoruns and a manual task killer (I use System Panel however anything will do). Use Autoruns to disable those apps that you don't want to be running in the background, and whenever the phone does get sluggish use the manual task killer to free up some memory.

Comment by Foo, on 20-Jan-2011 08:02

Maybe consider installing Watchdog from the Android market - it keeps an eye on Apps which may be pegging the CPU and rather than closing things down as Task Killers do, it alerts you to what is going on. That way, if you have a dodgy App, you can consider uninstalling.

I did use a Task Killer on my HTC Desire for many months, however eventually removed it. I also found that Froyo gave me a substantial improvement in battery life.

I keep GPS switched off as a rule and screen brightness down, except when outside or in direct sunlight. It all helps!

Comment by velofille, on 22-Jan-2011 18:22

I agree with Linuxluver, turn off all the auto sync, especially facebook (since it has a bug which hogs battery)

Comment by DESMOND BROWN, on 30-Sep-2012 13:05

Please send to me a skype file that you know will work on A5000. thankyou.SLQS

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