How to Stop Apps From Running in the Background on Android

Troubleshoot those battery drains on your smartphone

What to Know

  • Go to Settings > Apps, select an app you want to stop, then tap Force Stop.
  • If you don't want the app to relaunch when you restart your phone, tap Uninstall to get rid of the app permanently.
  • To see what apps are running in the background and the resources they consume, go to Settings > Developer Options > Running Services.

This article explains how to stop apps from running in the background on Android. Instructions apply to Android 7 and higher.

How to Stop Apps From Running in the Background on Android

Here's how to kill background apps on Android:

The Settings interface may differ depending on your phone's manufacturer and your version of Android, but the same options should be available.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.

  2. Select an app you want to stop, then tap Force Stop.

    If you choose to Force Stop the app, it stops during your current Android session. However, when you restart your phone, the app relaunches. If you want to get rid of the app permanently, select Uninstall.

    Apps, Amazon Alexa, and Force Stop highlighted in Android settings
  3. The app clears battery or memory issues only until you restart your phone. Any apps that launch on startup will restart and could cause the same issues. Uninstall any apps you don't use much, and this will help improve the battery or memory issues permanently.

How Background Apps Affect Your Android Battery

Your Android device is equipped to run multiple apps in the background. If the app is written by a professional programmer, it won't cause any problems with battery or memory consumption. This is because when an app is running in the background, it consumes only a little bit of the device's battery (in the form of memory use or CPU time). Some apps use more or less depending on what the app is.

That said, one common reason your Android device's battery can drain too quickly is when there are too many apps running. You can see the apps you have running in the background by tapping the square navigation icon at the lower-right corner of your Android display.

Keep in mind, there may be multiple windows inside of apps, like multiple tabs inside of the Google Chrome mobile browser. Each of these could potentially consume resources.

Apps icon in lower right of screen

There are many poorly written apps on Google Play, and when you install those on your phone, they may consume more battery power, CPU, or memory than they're supposed to. Over time, if you've installed a lot of apps that you've forgotten about, your Android memory, battery, and CPU could be burdened by the excessive load of poorly written Android background apps.

See Which Apps Run in the Background on Android

The best way to alleviate the burden on your Android's system resources and extend battery life is to make sure the only apps running in the background are the ones you want running.

There are a few ways to see what apps are running in the background and consuming your Android's resources.

  1. Go to Settings, then scroll to the bottom and look for Developer Options. If you don't see Developer Options in your settings menu, scroll down and select About phone > Software information. Then, tap Build number seven times. This will enable Developer Options in the Settings menu.

    About phone, Battery information, and Build number highlighted in Android settings
  2. Tap Developer options.

  3. Tap Running Services. This shows the apps that are currently running on your Android, how much RAM they're consuming, and how long each has been running.

    Developer options and Running services highlighted in Android settings
  4. To see apps consuming battery power, go to Settings > Device Care > Battery > Battery Usage.

    As you perform these next steps, look for and consider closing any apps that:

    • Consume excessive memory or battery power and are not optimized.
    • You forgot about or didn't expect to see running in the background.
    Device care, Battery, and Battery Usage highlighted in Android settings
  5. To put your phone into battery-saving mode, go to Device Care > Battery > Power mode and select Medium power saving or Maximum power saving. The latter gives you access to only the minimum required features of your phone.

    Battery, Power mode, Maximum power savings highlighted in Android settings
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