The hunt is on for background apps. But before we go on an app massacre, let's remember that many apps run in the background for good reason: they are syncing, providing location data or otherwise doing what they were designed to do. But not always. If you want to know which apps are running excessive background processes or you want to stop apps from running in the background entirely, then we'll show you how.
First of all, if you want to know which are running background processes and how power hungry they are, both in terms of processing power and impact on battery. Android has these monitoring options built in.
Enable Developer Options by going to Settings > About Phone and tapping the Build number until you are notified that Developer Options have been enabled.
Go to Settings >Developer Options >Process Stats to see how much of the time your key apps are running. Tap any app to see how much RAM it's using.
Next, go to Settings > Battery then tap the individual apps to see how much battery they're using.
Which apps should I stop running in the background?
A big culprit of background memory and battery usage is games you're not playing, and music players you're not using. If you can see no logical reason for an app you know well to be running in the background, then you should probably close it.
As a general, you should leave most apps/services starting with the word 'Google' running. So DON'T STOP THE FOLLOWING APPS (really essential services won't let you force stop them anyway):
Google Search, Google Play services, Google Contacts Sync, Google Keyboard, Google Play Store
In the Process stats list, you should have a pretty good idea of which apps you want to leave running in the background simply by knowing how much you use them. The list is a good place to stop bloatware from running (like Moto Care, which you see in the picture), or services you might not use like Google Play Music.
How to disable, stop and uninstall background apps
If you have an app that you think is using an unreasonable amount of processor power or seems to be running in the background way more than it should, then you can either:
Disable it in your App Manager by going to Settings > Apps, tapping the app, then tapping Disable.
Since the Lollipop update, you can close recent apps easily by tapping the Recent Apps navigation button on your phone (to the right of the home button), then swiping left or right to close apps you ran recently.
Delete it from your phone by going to Settings > Apps, tapping the app, then tapping Uninstall
Or Force Stop it by going to Settings > Apps, swiping right to the Running tab, tapping the app, then tapping Force Stop
Remember, if you have no clue what an app or service is, then you probably shouldn't stop it, unless it's using up a lot of RAM or battery, and you don't mind risking your phone crashing.
Greenify is an app hibernation app, letting you put apps to sleep when you're not using them. It's basically an automated version of force closing or disabling apps every time you stop using them and then turning them back on when you need them. But doing that manually is a pain. Hence Greenify is one of the best app management apps around.
To get the full benefits of Greenify you need root access, and we have guides on how to root your Nexus 5, HTC One M8 and Galaxy S5, among other phones. Just search for them at AndroidPIT.
Non-rooted users, for example, won't be able to automatically hibernate apps, but can simply flick a widget switch to put your apps to sleep (not a bad fix if you don't want to root your device). If you're serious about managing your background processes, Greenify is the tool you need.
Do you monitor your app processes? What tools do you use?