Is your phone a serial background app killer?

  • TECH
  • Monday, 14 Jan 2019

The Plus 2 has a removable rear cover which is made from mostly metal combined with plastic panels on the inside. YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Is your Android smartphone quietly killing your apps when they should be running in the background? This website reveals which phones are the worst offenders and how to compensate. explains that Android smartphone makers are resorting to automatically closing apps in order to stretch the battery life of their phones. 

"But some go so far that they break useful apps just to get a little more juice out of your device. This gets so absurd that with some vendors, our smartphones are becoming dumbphones again," it says, on its mission page.

It uses the definition of dumbphone to refer to how older feature phones are unable to run tasks in the background unless the phone user is actively using the device.

When these programs kill background apps, certain useful functions get disabled – for example, your alarm(s) won't go off and health apps can't track your steps or sleep, among others.

Though Google introduced the Doze mode to base Android in Android Version 6.0 (Marshmallow) to unify battery saving across the various Android phones, the smartphone makers themselves have since written their own battery saving apps in their reskinned softwares.

Don't kill my app! says these vendor written programmes tend to be poorly written and only save battery superficially, with side effects that stop apps from fully functioning. 

The site lists major smartphone makers, assigning amusing icons to rate how bad they are at managing background apps. 

Users can choose which rating icons to use, either a poop, thumbs down, trojan horse and most bizarrely, the face of Russia's former communist leader Joseph Stalin.

The biggest offenders include Nokia (HMD Global) and OnePlus, while base Android, HTC and Samsung are ranked as the least intrusive. 

Not one to just criticise, the site also provides solutions for users to override their phone's kill-happy programming. 

"This is the true aim of this site: By communicating these issues with users and provide them with hacks, workarounds and guides to keep their apps working and making their lives easier," says the site.

For each of the smartphone brands, the site gives a step-by-step guide of how to protect background apps, usually by whitelisting them (adding the apps to a special list that is excluded from automatically being closed).
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