How to Stop Android Apps Running in the Background

Stop Android Apps Running Background Featured

Does your Android phone’s battery drain faster than expected? One of the reasons for this could be the apps that continue running in the background long after you have moved on to a different task altogether. These apps drain your battery and also eat up your device’s memory. You can stop Android apps from running in the background and save your phone’s precious memory and battery life by using a few methods shown you in this guide.

Note: for this guide, we used a Google Pixel 3a running Android 11. The steps may vary depending on the make, model and Android version your device is running.

Update Your Android Device

If there is an update available for your device, this is the first thing to attempt in order to help you with apps in the background draining your battery. Android updates come with several features that help you optimize your phone’s memory consumption and battery life among other performance issues.

Android 9.0 (Pie) and higher versions come with great power management features that extend your phone or tablet’s battery life by placing limits on the apps running in the background.

Find out which apps are running and consuming the most battery life

This will help you know which apps are open and running, how long they’ve been running, and the amount of RAM they’re consuming.

To do this, go to Settings and tap “Developer Options.” (If it is not available, follow this link to find out how to activate the Developer Options.) This should be under the System sub-menu.

Stop Android Apps Background Developer Options

Select “Running Services.”

Stop Android Apps Background Developer Options Running Services

In the Running Services screen, you’ll see a list of the background apps running on your device.

Stop Android Apps Background Developer Options Running Services List

To see the apps draining your battery, go to the main Settings screen again. There you should see a Battery menu. From the drop-down menu in the top-right corner, choose “Battery usage.”

Stop Android Apps Background Running Battery Usage

In the new screen, you can see the apps consuming the majority of your battery.

Stop Android Apps Battery Usage App List

To stop Android apps from running in the background, you just have to force-stop them. You can do this directly from the “Running Services” menu under Developer Settings or directly from the “Battery usage” sub-menu.

Under “Running Services,” if you select an app that is using up a lot of RAM, you can select it and simply hit Stop to stop it from running.

Stop Android Apps Background Stop Running Services

Under Battery usage, you can select apps you want to stop as well and then hit “Force stop.”

Stop Android Apps Background Stop Battery Usage

Alternatively, a more general method of stopping apps is to go to Settings and tap “Apps and notifications.” Select the option that lets you see all of your installed apps.

Stop Android Apps Background Apps Notifications See All 1

Scroll down through the list of apps and find the ones you want to stop. To stop an app, tap it and select “Force stop.” This will stop the app during the current session, though it’ll relaunch when you reboot your phone.

Stop Android Apps Apps Notifications Force Stop

If you don’t need the app altogether, you can long-press on its icon and select Uninstall, or on the same screen, tap Uninstall and confirm your action.

Stop Android Apps Apps Notifications Uninstall

Optimizing Your Phone with Adaptive Battery

If you go to Settings and then Battery, turning on “Adaptive Battery” will extend your battery life based on your phone use. This setting essentially limits the amount of system resources that are made available to apps you hardly use.

It figures out the apps you want to use and those you won’t use on that day using machine learning. It learns your usage patterns and drops the commonly-used apps into one of five App Standby Buckets: Frequent, Active, Working Set, Rare and Never.

Stop Android Apps Background Adaptive Battery

General Battery Optimization

You can also do some general battery usage optimization by going to “Settings -> Apps and notifications -> Special app access.” Select “Battery optimization.” Choose “All apps” from the drop-down menu to optimize the battery use of all apps. You can also choose to optimize the battery usage of individual apps if you don’t want to turn on battery optimization for every single app.

Stop Android Apps Running Background Battery Optimization

Use a Third-Party App to Control Background Apps

If your Android device doesn’t have a proprietary native or built-in option to be optimized or checked on running in the background, you can use a third-party app to control such apps.

Greenify is one such app that provides fine controls over apps and manages them by placing them in hibernation. For non-rooted phones, the controls are limited, but with rooted phones, you have more control over the apps running in the background.

However, task-killers tend to slow your phone down and sometimes may drain your battery more as they try to force-close an app in the background every time.

Wrapping Up

Android updates come with several features that help you optimize your phone’s memory consumption and battery life among other performance issues.

Among these features is the Adaptive Battery, which figures out the apps you want to use and those you won’t use on that day using machine learning. It learns your usage patterns and drops the commonly-used apps into one of five App Standby Buckets: Frequent, Active, Working Set, Rare and Never.

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William Elcock William Elcock

William has been fiddling with tech for as long as he remembers. This naturally transitioned into helping friends with their tech problems and then into tech blogging.

One comment

  1. I am a senior citizen, not tech savvy, and I ‘ve been on a learning journey past few years . this info has answered so many questions and issues that I could not resolve. Until now. I am gaining a better understanding of androids system. thank you

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