How to Stop Apps From Running in the Background on Android

Troubleshoot those battery drains on your smartphone

One of the most common reasons your Android device's battery can drain too quickly is when there are too many apps running that can drain your Android battery. If this is happening to you, one of the easiest things to try first is to stop apps from running in the background on your Android device.

How Background Apps Affect Your Android Battery

Your Android device is well 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 will consume only a little bit the device's battery (in the form of memory use or CPU time). Of course, some apps will use more or less depending on what the app is. Your solitaire game won't (or shouldn't) be checking your GPS location or performing some other task at intervals.

You can see all of 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 also be multiple windows inside of apps, like multiple tabs inside of the Google Chrome mobile browser. Each of these could potentially consume resources as well.

Apps icon in lower right of screen

Unfortunately, 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. Open Android Settings > General.

  2. Tap Developer options.

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

    Running services
  4. If you don't see Developer Options in your settings menu, scroll down and select About phone. At the bottom of this screen, tap Software info. Then, tap Build number seven times. This will enable Developer Options in the Settings menu.

    Enabling developer options
  5. To see apps consuming battery power, go to Android Settings > Battery or Battery Usage.

    Battery usage info

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

    • are consuming excessive memory or battery power and are not optimized.
    • you forgot about or didn't expect to see running in the background.
  6. To put your phone into battery-saving mode, select Battery > Battery saver > On.

    Turning on Battery Saver Mode

    How to Stop Apps From Running in the Background on Android

    Once you have the list of apps you know are consuming too much RAM or battery (or those you just don't want running), it's time to kill those background apps.

  7. Select Settings > Apps & notifications.

  8. Select an app you want to stop, and tap FORCE STOP.

    Force-stopping an app

    If you choose to Force Stop the app, it'll stop during your current Android session. However, when you restart your phone, the app will relaunch. If you want to get rid of the app permanently, select UNINSTALL on this app screen and confirm the uninstallation.

  9. Alternatively, you can force-stop an app from the list of apps in the Memory usage window you viewed in the last section. From Running services, select the app and then tap Stop to force that application to close.

    Stopping an app from Running services
  10. The app will clear 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.

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