“Do I need a task killer for my Android phone.” your head will hit the pillow as soon as you start hearing about Kernels and RAM and CPU performance). When troubleshooting a phone with Verizon’s tech support, one of the first questions they ask is if the phone has a third-party task killer installed. So in the real world, outside of the techy-geeky talk, let’s see whether you need one or not, and how to best set it up.
First, a brief lesson on how the Android OS works is in order. Unlike a computer, your phone is actually designed to run lots of apps at the same time. The apps are smaller than a computer program and running multiple apps simultaneously allows for faster switching between programs on your phone. Plus, if you set your task killer to “aggressive,” and it kills apps that are designed to always run, you could cause other parts of your phone to slow down or malfunction, and a constant seesaw between a task killer ending apps and your phone restarting them can actually worsen phone and battery performance.
So when do you need to install a task manager on your phone? The short answer is rarely. Here is the “no” opinion: if you have a task manager installed straight out of the box (Motorola has one on their Razr, Maxx, and Droid 4), stick with the manufacturer-installed task killer and pass on the aftermarket ones. Also, if you’re having problems with your phone, before calling tech support, if you have a market-installed task manager, uninstall it before calling tech support and see if that solves your problem.
In a perfect world, if the apps were built perfectly, you’d never need a task manager. But if you’ve ever installed an app and found that your battery life drops considerably, or you feel the phone heating up or otherwise acting strangely, you could have a rogue app that isn’t playing nice with your phone. You can go about installing a task manager in a few different ways. First, see if your phone has one natively installed and use that. Second, a traditional task manager like Advanced Task Killer will get the job done, but to get the best out out of it, you’ll want to set it to moderate, or at least put a few items like “email” or “network connection” on the ignore list so those apps won’t get killed (kill the email app, and you won’t get alerts when new messages come in).
Another great app to install for task management is “Watchdog.” Watchdog monitors your phone’s usage so you can see which apps are using the highest percentage of your processing power, and most likely your battery. If you have a rogue app that is always running, Watchdog will flag it for you. Then you can decide whether to uninstall it and seek an alternative app, use a task manager to periodically shut it down, or just live with it.
Bottom line: you won’t do any permanent damage to your phone with a task manager installed. Don’t expect miracles and don’t set the task manager to aggressive mode, and do uninstall a task manager as a first step in troubleshooting. For your wallet, don’t pay for a task manager unless you have tried their free version and you know it works for you. Stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of your battery.