How to Stop Android Apps Running in the Background

Stop Background Apps Android Featured

Does your Android phone’s battery drains faster than you expect? One of the reasons for this could be the apps that continue running in the background long after you 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 using a few methods we’re going to show you in this guide.

Note: for this guide, we used a Samsung Galaxy phone running Android Pie (9) version. The steps may vary depending on the make, model and Android version your device is running.

Kill the Background Apps

To stop Android apps from running in the background, you just have to force stop them.

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

Stop Background Apps Android Settings App Force Stop

Some phones will come with option for you to prevent the app from autostart by itself. If your phone comes with the option, select it.

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 Background Apps Android Settings App Uninstall

Alternatively, you can stop the app in the list of apps from the Memory usage section under Optimization settings. To do this, go to “Settings -> Device Care” and tap Memory.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care Memory

You’ll see a blue Clean now button, and the apps eating up memory are selected with a checkmark. You can tap the blue button to free up memory by stopping the background apps on this list.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care Memory Clean Now

How to find out which apps are running and consuming the most battery life

This will help you know what 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.”

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Developer Options

If you don’t see Developer Options in the Settings, go to “Settings -> About Phone.”

Stop Background Apps Android Settings About Phone

Tap Build Number seven times. You’ll get a notification that you’re now in Developer Mode. From here, you can go back to Settings and scroll down until you get to Developer Options.

Select “Running Services.”

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Developer Options Running Service

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

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Developer Options Running Services List

To see the apps draining your battery, go to Settings again and to Device Care.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care

Scroll down and select Battery.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care Battery

In the new screen you can see the apps that are consuming your battery the most.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care Battery Menu

Optimizing your phone

Tap the three dots (vertical) at the upper-right side of the screen.

Tap Settings.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care Battery Menu Settings

Next, tap “Optimize settings.” This feature optimizes battery use by automatically adjusting your settings to save on battery.

Stop Background Apps Android Settings Device Care Battery Menu Settings Optimize Settings

You can toggle the switch to on/blue, and your phone’s settings will be optimized for brightness, media volume, and scree timeout.

Update Your Android Device

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

Android 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.

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.

Use a Third-Party App to Control Background Apps

If your Android device doesn’t have a proprietary native or built-in option to optimize or check 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

We hope you now know how to kill those pesky background apps that drain your device’s battery and hog its resources. Let us know in a comment below whether these steps worked for you or whether you experienced any challenges.

Elsie Biage Elsie Biage

My passion has always been to share every bit of useful information I find on tech, with the ultimate goal of helping people solve a problem.


  1. Geeez Loueeeze!! What an ordeal to stop apps from running in the background! I thank you guys enormously for doing all the hard work in this great article but why in G_d’s name does it have to be such an ordeal for us poor, mortal, non-techies? I’m gonna have to print the article and keep it next to my “Archie Bunker” chair so I can read and reread it until I get up the nerve to try doing it. Oh, me, oh, my!

  2. Thanks. Definitely helped. Maybe you can further assist me. My only objective is to enhance the Call of Duty Mobile gameplay performance on my LG Stylo 2. Any feedback would be great.

  3. I will try this on the new phone I got for my uncle. It’s a jitterbug smart 2 which uses a modified version of Android 7 Nougat. This is the 3rd one. I returned the first two right away due to extreme battery drain while the phone was barley used at all. It would just sit there on my table and in less than 24 hrs battery was at a critical level. This 3rd one is not much better. The main culprits are Android OS- keep awake and mobile active radio. There is no wifi at his place so I have that turned off and Bluetooth turned off. I have turned off permissions and notifications to many apps. Turned off GPS, etc. Not much help. Screen time, cell standby, and any actual phone usage Is minimal, just a few %. I hope these things mentioned will help.

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