Deal With Background Apps

It’s the bane of owning a smartphone – apps can, and will, demand data. And when they’re not demanding it, they’re sending it. While you’re on a Wi-Fi connection this will usually be okay. The problems start when you’re using metered mobile internet.

There are several ways you can deal with background apps, but fi rst a question: does it actually matter? Do you really need to worry about these apps?

It really depends on what they’re up to. Battery discharging often? Metered connection exceeded, resulting in big bills? If either of these things have happened to you, or your Android is just running slow through the sheer weight of expectation from all of the background apps currently running, then yes, it matters.

You can get a handle on which apps are causing problems by opening Settings>Apps and switching to Running. Here, all active apps and services are listed, along with the resources currently apportioned. Spot apps that shouldn’t be there? You can tap an app to force stop it.

This won’t stop apps from restarting later on, however. Unless you plan to uninstall your data vampire apps, the best way to proceed is to prevent them from getting online in the fi rst place.

Using Android’s data usage tool you can manage which apps access the internet, potentially saving yourself a bit of battery power and even reducing your phone bill.

In Settings>Data Usage you can check how much data your phone has used over the past month. All web-connected apps are listed, displaying the data use of individual apps as well as a grand total.

To cap data use by apps while they’re running in the background, open the menu and select Restrict background data. You’ll fi nd this makes quite a difference to your Android’s performance.

There are too many junk apps installed

While checking what apps are making a connection to the internet, you’ll probably notice a few that you had forgotten about, or don’t want to use anymore. There may also be some that you don’t access all that often. You can tidy things up pretty easily, either by disabling the apps, uninstalling or even freezing them if your phone is rooted.

You might also move the apps to a secondary launcher, so they’re visible only when you want to use them. Open Settings>Apps to view your current apps, tapping Disable to prevent the app from running or Uninstall to remove it from your system.

Is your phone rooted? If so you can take advantage of an application such as Greenify, which will freeze a problematic app for you, preventing it from running in the background. This is ideal for apps you use rarely but still need to run occasionally.

If your phone isn’t rooted, don’t worry. Third-party launchers – such as Go Launcher EX or Nova Launcher – can be installed and set up, with your rarely used apps dropped into the new home screen. Once you’ve done that then you can go ahead and delete the shortcuts from your main home screen, saving space.