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Task Killers Put to the Test, Do They Actually Extend Battery Life? As Expected, They Most Certainly Do Not

We have written a number of times about the idea that task killers on Android do not help battery, no matter what that carrier rep who sold you your new phone has told you. In general, most of us look at Android as a multi-tasking platform that likes to have activities in the background to make your phone perform faster and more efficiently. By constantly killing off apps, you are working against what the OS is trying to do, hence the reason task killers are evil.

On the flip side, there are Android users who continue to believe that task killers are helping their phone no matter what we or a variety of devs tell them. They are addicted to killing apps and have convinced themselves that it will only help out the battery technology from 1952 that is stuck in their phone.

To settle the argument once and for all, PCWorld took to their “labs” to test a handful of phones and decide once and for all if task killers will extend the life of your phone. The verdict? They won’t. 

According to their results, HTC phones saw upwards of 17 minutes of extra battery life with a task killer, but I think we can all guess why. Sense has more background syncs and tasks running than any other skin on the planet and probably could see some benefits to killing off tasks from time to time. Funny thing there, is the fact that in Sense 3.5, HTC built a task killer into the OS. The Bionic did not see a difference and maintained the same battery life it had without a task killer. The Galaxy S2 on the other hand, saw slightly worse battery life with a task killer.

So, as the Android dev community has been trying to tell you since the introduction Froyo, a task killer is not helping you. Stop using one to try and extend battery life, and get back to enjoying your phone.

Via:  PCWorld

Cheers Shawn!

  • Dbond

    only thing i use a task manager for is to free up memory for other tasks, kill the ones i dont use that auto starts on my phone, otherwise all my free memory gets used up and makes the phone sluggish as hell.  granted im still using a droid eris but still.  as for battery life, doesnt make much sense for it to save battery unless something is constantly syncing.  constantly having to reopen a program that you use all the time, that you have killed, is going to take more processing power and in turn drain your battery life.

  • Hardryv

    Well in any ‘tech scenario’ there is always more to the story… The real question about whether or not a task killer affects battery life on a given smartphone has to discussed more deeply.  First-off, what is the proposed collection of task-killer programs doing?  (killing all non-required tasks at continuously, at interval, and whenever an app doesn’t have focus?; killing all non-required tasks once when ordered to and then shutting down; there are many other scenarios I won’t even try and list).  And then what apps are being loaded before allowing the rest of that testing to proceed?

    I say that because here is something I can tell you free and clear.  If I run the camera, my battery life fades almost in real time.  I don’t know how savvy the developers behind that are / were.  I can’t rely on them to have closed down all of the meaty portions of that application.  Also gaming with sound… forget about it.  I got maybe 3 hours tops on my sensation unless it’s plugged in… and *even then* I’ve seen it eat faster than the cord can feed in power (i.e. system still shut down even though it was plugged in).

    I personally use DroidSpeed because it has a 1×1 widget that allows you to slam ‘now’ and then it’s over and done with.  You can say they don’t help, and maybe there’s a context you can find where they don’t, but try leaving you camera or a loud, detailed game on in the background and redo your testing.

    In an earlier life phase before I programmed software for a living I managed tech labs at Dell Computer, and I’ve been in each each role over 10 years now.  If your argument is that task-killing can’t help save power, I would propose to you something about Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and your obviously silly assertion that systems which aren’t actually on are consuming more power than systems that stay on all the time.

    If they take virtually no space, eat up no CPU cycles, serve purposes other than mere power-savings, and hurt nothing… leave those of us who use them alone k thx.