Have you ever wished to speed up your Android, but now known how? Have you tried task killers, but found it hard to tell whether you made an improvement? In this post, we’ll look at Autokiller Memory Optimizer, an app that gives you more control over how Android releases its system resources.
“You shouldn’t be using a task killer with Android” clearly explains why the task killers are not a good solution to fasten up your system in the Android interface. Briefly, we might say that the reason that task killers are no good for Android is that the same system regulates itself for releasing RAM memory. Process are not killed when you close the app; instead the process stays open until the system itself realizes it needs more memory to run a new process. This way, you can actually gain some speed when you restart the app, as its resources may still be in memory.
Just like a computer, a smartphone uses Random Access Memory (RAM) for processing the functionality of softwares and apps. When you are running low on RAM, your phone will start to slow down, because it needs more memory than is available. As a solution to this problem, Android devices has an autokiller that automatically shuts apps down when the memory used is close to the limit. Obviously this limit depends on the capabilities and configuration of your phone.
If you root your phone (and I totally recommend you to do that) you can use apps for changing your system parameters like the RAM auto killing. One of this apps is Autokiller Memory Optimizer available on the Android Market.
As the developer says: “AutoKiller Memory Optimizer is designed to fine-tune Android system’s inner memory manager routines to keep your device fast and smooth. It also features a full-powered process manager which lets you control your whole system.”
Warning: Messing around with system configurations like this is potentially dangerous to your phone, and not for the faint-hearted! Check out our other How To articles for safer tips on improving performance.
Going for It
The system itself divides the process into six different types, and here’s where it gets technical. The six types are as follows.
FOREGROUND_APP: This is the process running the current foreground app. We’d really rather not kill it! Value set in system/rootdir/init.rc on startup.
VISIBLE_APP: This is a process only hosting activities that are visible to the user, so we’d prefer they don’t disappear. Value set in system/rootdir/init.rc on startup.
SECONDARY_SERVER: This is a process holding a secondary server — killing it will not have much of an impact as far as the user is concerned. Value set in system/rootdir/init.rc on startup.
HIDDEN_APP: This is a process only hosting activities that are not visible, so it can be killed without any disruption. Value set in system/rootdir/init.rc on startup.
CONTENT_PROVIDER: This is a process with a content provider that does not have any clients attached to it. If it did have any clients, its adjustment would be the one for the highest-priority of those processes.
EMPTY_APP: This is a process without anything currently running in it. Definitely the first to go! Value set in system/rootdir/init.rc on startup. This value is initialized in the constructor, careful when refering to this static variable externally.
For every type of app, the system has a limit of pages (1 page=4 kilobytes) predefined. Autokiller Memory Optimizer allows you to modify this.
For the changes you can make you have the freedom to set as you wish, but there is a lock on the three first types of apps (this can be removed in the Preferences tab) and there isalso a list of presets configuration as follows (the numbers corresponds to megabytes remaining before shutting apps in the last 3 types of apps): Moderate (30, 35, 40), Optimum (40, 50, 60), Strict (60, 70, 80), Aggressive (82, 90, 98), Extreme (150, 160, 170), Ultimate (200, 225, 250) and (a wink from the developer about the TV series) Lost (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42).
Within these presets, you should try different ones, because every phone has its own RAM capacity and it would not be a good idea to set a killing parameter that is very close to your RAM total capacity as your phone would be killing apps constantly and you wouldn’t be able to use it at all.
The app also categorizes the running apps in the six types and you can kill them manually for RAM release in the tab processes and the same occurs with the services in the current tab.
This app has also a donate version with some more features like the Chuck Norris mode when you can configure the app to use aggressive killing to release memory. It also gives the ability to set a different preset when the screen of the phone is off (this is very useful because when the screen is off you do not need memory to run new apps, but it still consumes battery).
My Own Experience
I own a LG GW620 (a low range phone) and a Motorola Droid 2 (a high range phone). For a long time I used a task killer and the Autokiller Memory Optimizer and soon I realized the problem with the task killer — that it’s constantly occupied killing apps that keep reopening — so I decided to get rid of the task killer app and use only the Autokiller Memory Optimizer.
To begin with it’s a little tricky to find out which preset works the best for your phone, but once you find it you get a new life for your phone: faster and with lower battery consumption. I tried all this on the LG and I am convinced that this kind of tweak is quite useful for performance optimization in low range Android phones. Even in high range phones, it is useful if you want to save some battery,