Android and Me

Real world tests show task killers still don’t give you better battery life

2 years ago 70

Ah, task killers. One of the most debated apps in Android history. Bring up the task killer debate among any group of loyal Android fans today, and you’ll most likely see some tempers flare. Even if everyone present is in agreement. But why?

In theory, task killers (or task managers) are a necessary tool in the Android arsenal. There have been plenty of times when an app won’t close or open, and the only way to fix it is to kill it and start over. Or maybe you’re a developer and you need to kill or manage apps as a part of the development process. Unfortunately, task killers are rarely used in these kinds of situations. Instead, they’re used as the first line of defense against battery problems and sluggish performance. Every time someone less informed picks up their phone, it’s kill everything, every time.

For quite some time now, it’s been shown that task killers do not increase battery life, and they do not make your phone faster. There are a million and one technical reasons for this (see here, and here, and here), but it comes down to how Android manages apps and memory. Android doesn’t need a task killer, because it’s smart enough to manage apps on its own. If you need to see some real world tests to back that up, then we’ve got you covered.

PC World did some relatively extensive tests on five different phones (EVO 3D, Sensation, Thunderbolt, Bionic, Galaxy S II) to see how using a task killer played a role in battery life. The test used is rather simple. Each device was tested six times, three times using a task killer (Advanced Task Killer) and three times without. A video loop was played on 4G, at maximum brightness, until the phone died. The phone using a task killer had the app set to “safe,” so it only killed “apps that aren’t open but still consume memory,” every 30 minutes.

The best increase any device saw was 4.2% using a task killer. The worst results were a 0.5% decrease. Tests like this aren’t the final word in the task killer debate, but they certainly add some weight to the argument against them. Especially when you consider that the test was used with a task killer on safe. Not agressive, paired with a unending amount of manual kills. In that kind of situation, you can assume that the results would be worse.

However you decide to run your phone is entirely up to you, but take it from the experts. Using a task killer will not give you significantly better battery life. In some cases, it can make it even worse. Instead, try tweaking your screen brightness and changing how often apps automatically pull data from online. Those two settings alone can make a world of difference.