How to Stop Android Apps From Running in the Background

Have you ever noticed your Android phone or tablet getting hot or the battery draining faster than expected? Chances are some apps are running in the background, using up system resources and battery life. While some background processes are necessary, many are not. Fortunately, Android provides ways to stop unnecessary apps from running in the background.

Key Takeaways:

  • Android allows apps to run in the background to perform useful functions, but some apps abuse this, draining system resources.
  • You can stop or limit background processes in Settings or by forcing apps to sleep.
  • Putting unused apps to sleep and disabling unnecessary app permissions can make a difference.
  • Apps with usage access or ignoring battery optimizations may need to be controlled.
  • Third-party apps like Greenify can also hibernate apps not currently in use.

Understand Background Processes on Android

Android is a multitasking operating system, which means it allows apps to run simultaneously and in the background. This is necessary for things like playing music while using other apps, getting notifications, uploading files, or refreshing content.

However, some apps abuse background processes by continuing to run draining system resources without good reason. Stop Android apps running in the background unnecessarily can help optimize battery life and performance.

Why Apps Run in the Background

There are a few legitimate reasons why Android apps run in the background:

  • Multitasking: Well-designed apps can perform tasks in the background while you use other apps in the foreground.
  • Notifications: Apps connect to the Internet to receive push notifications to alert you about messages, events, etc.
  • Location access: Apps like maps track your location in the background to provide navigation guidance.
  • Uploading/downloading: Media apps can upload and download in the background so you can keep using your phone.
  • Refreshing content: News, email, social media, and other apps refresh content in the background so it’s ready when opened.

Problems With Background Processes

While background processes serve purposes like the examples above, they can negatively impact system resources if not managed. Issues include:

  • Battery drain: Apps running constantly in the background use more CPU power and mobile data which drains battery faster.
  • Slow performance: Too many background apps hog RAM and processor resources which may cause lag, freezes, or app crashes.
  • Mobile data overuse: Background apps can rack up mobile data usage, causing overage charges if you have a limited data plan.
  • Security/privacy concerns: Rogue apps could access private data or transmit it over the Internet without your knowledge when running in the background.

Manage Background Apps in Settings

The Settings app provides a couple straightforward ways to stop or limit background processes system-wide. Here’s how to manage background apps in Android’s Settings:

Put Unused Apps to Sleep

Putting unused apps into a deep sleep state can curb excessive background activity. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Select the app you want to put to sleep.
  3. Tap Battery.
  4. Enable Put app to sleep.

The app you selected can no longer run in the background when not actively being used. It will essentially “hibernate” until opened again.

Disable App Permissions

Apps often need permissions to run background processes. Removing unnecessary permissions prevents associated background activities.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Choose the app and tap Permissions.
  3. Disable permissions not needed for the app to function, like allowing it to run background processes when not used.

Be careful not to disable permissions that break an app’s intended functionality. But permissions like ignoring battery optimizations, running background processes, and excessive mobile data access can likely be disabled to limit background usage.

Force Apps to Sleep With Battery Settings

Android includes dedicated battery management settings to force apps into sleeping when not in use. Here’s how to make apps sleep through battery settings:

  1. Go to Settings > Battery.
  2. Tap the More battery settings (three dot icon).
  3. Select App launch then choose Manage automatically.
  4. Toggle off apps under “Allow apps to start in background” you want to force to sleep when not actively used.

Android will force selected apps to essentially hibernate, preventing all background processes whenever you aren’t using that app. This keeps them from passively draining resources while running in the background unnecessarily.

Adjust Background Usage Limits

You can set data usage limits for background processes system-wide or per app basis. To conserve mobile data and battery life from background mobile data usage:

  1. Go to Settings > Network & internet > Data Saver.
  2. Enable Data Saver which prevents apps from using data in the background across the system.

You can also set individual Data warning and Data limit amounts per app within Settings > Network & internet > App data usage to specifically control their background usage.

Use Third-Party Apps to Limit Background Processes

Specialized apps like Greenify can aggressively force stop apps from running background processes if you want more advanced control. Follow these general steps:

  1. Download and install an app like Greenify from the Google Play store.
  2. Open the app and grant the necessary accessibility permission.
  3. Select the apps you want to hibernate when not actively being used.
  4. Configure the app’s settings like enabling aggressive doze and auto-hibernation as needed.

Using both built-in Android options alongside apps like Greenify provides maximum control to stop apps running in the background. Force stopping unused apps can make a significant difference in battery life and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Android allow apps to run in the background?

Android enables background processes so apps can perform useful functions like playing audio, receiving notifications, refreshing data, uploading files, etc. while you use other apps in the foreground. Background processes become problematic when abused or excessive.

When should I restrict an app’s background usage?

If an app is draining your battery or using extensive system resources without being actively used, it’s a good idea to limit its ability to run in the background. Restrict permissions and enable battery saving restrictions specifically for such problematic apps.

Is it safe to force close all background apps?

Using aggressive measures like force closing all apps via task killers is not necessary or recommended. You mainly want to target apps which abuse background resources when not being used interactively in the foreground. Legitimate system processes should be allowed to run properly in the background.

What are the most common sources of excessive background battery usage?

Social media apps, news/content apps, email apps, and music/media apps are often the biggest culprits of battery draining background processes on Android devices if activity is not restricted properly when minimized or not in active use.

Stop Unnecessary Android Background Processes

While Android’s background multitasking enables useful app functionality, unchecked background processes can negatively impact system resources. The key is targeting apps which abuse background resources when not being actively used in the foreground. Utilize Android’s built-in settings and permissions managers as well as third-party apps to stop unnecessary processes from draining battery and slowing performance. Restricting background usage to essential functioning only results in a smoother and more efficient Android device.

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