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 remove the app.
  • To see what apps are running in the background, go to Settings > Developer Options > Running Services.

This article explains how to stop apps from running in the background on Android 9 and higher.

Stop Apps From Running in the Background 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.

Here's how to kill background apps on Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.

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

    The app will relaunch when you restart your phone. If you want to get rid of the app permanently, select Uninstall.

    App, Authenticator app, and Force Stop 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 problems. Uninstall any apps you don't use much, and this will help improve the battery or memory issues.

How Background Apps Affect Your Android Battery

Your Android device can run multiple apps in the background for a few reasons. Most of the time, it won't cause any battery or memory consumption problems. One factor causing your Android device's battery to 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 Overview navigation icon at the lower-right corner of your Android display.

Apps icon in lower right of screen

Google Pixel phones use swipe navigation by default. To set up 3-button navigation on a Google Pixel, go to System > Gestures > System Navigation.

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

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 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 Are Running in the Background

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 > System > Developer Options.

    If you don't see Developer Options, scroll down and select About phone, then look for Build number and tap it seven times.

    Settings gear, System, and Developer Options in Android
  2. Tap Running Services. It shows the apps currently running on your Android, how much RAM they're consuming, and how long each has been running.

    Running services and device memory highlighted in Android settings
  3. To see apps consuming battery power, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Usage.

    Battery and Battery Usage highlighted in Android settings

    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.
  4. To put your phone into battery-saving mode, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Saver and turn on the Use Battery Saver toggle.

    On Samsung devices, go to Device Care > Battery > Power mode and select Medium power saving or Maximum power saving.

    Battery, Battery Saver and Use Battery Saver toggle highlighted in Android settings
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