What is the difference between a cached background process and running process in manage apps section?
Question by DrSunil Vaswani /

What is the difference between cached background process and running process in manage apps section (for Android)? Elaboration and connected subquestions : Both are seen to occupy memory as seen in manage apps section. Do apps in either cached background process and running process occupy random memory? If an app as a running process is stopped sucessfully but runs as cached background process then would the free random memory not increase? as a result of stopping the same app as running process though it continues to be as a cached background process

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Answers (18)
  • Fred

    Dear Mr Dr Sunil. Please read the responses from top to bottom; many users have answered you query in all possible ways and in a simple language that is possible. There is no explanation possible beyond this. Please stop think about Cached Processes and use your phone as u like.

  • vishal

    Running processes are the processes from applications and the operating system that is working and running, whether it is an open application or not. Cached processes are placed in the memory in order to allow for quicker opening of the application. Cached processes are not always necessary, but helps sine applications start with less wait time.
    From what I have noticed, running processes will reduce memory consumption almost immediately. However, cached processes may not release the memory immediately or fully. Results will vary. so u shouldnot stop it u can reboot ur device if more processes are running if u thought this will save urs battery running processes are sometimes more then running apps thats why i am saying it to u

    • DrSunil Vaswani

      You mean cached process release RAM memory – implying greater free RAM becomes available after the cached process is stopped?

  • Rohit Pandey

    cached process is something which sucks very less and keep your visited online link in itself in to the form of cached copy.ultimetly it keeps the transaction alive.
    and the process is something which is program in execution….

    • DrSunil Vaswani

      Does it occupy Random Access memory

      If the cached process is stopped then greater RAM is available?

  • Michael Heffner

    Think of the cached process as a paused application. It starts from a saved state so it will start faster, but it is not actively updating nor using the processor.

  • ha14

    cached background process enable launching applications/services faster, it is like loading web page faster, they stay in memory so that to say hey i am ready just click on me. Cached background process can occur only if you already used an application but you did not closed it. cached background process depends also on how the program was written, sometime they do close and sometime stay cached background process.

    Android ram manager can clean cached background process if memory needed somewhere else. The algorithm for determining which processes to terminate first is based on the process priority, as outlined here under Process lifecycle: Foreground process, Visible process, Service process, Background process, Empty process.
    http://developer.android.com/guide/components/processes-and-threads.html#Lifecycle

    • DrSunil Vaswani

      If running process of an app is stopped but it’s cached background process is running then would random memory increase equally or greater compared to stopping the app’s cached background process and also it’s running process?

    • ha14

      cached applications do not have a real activity it is just a space that is used and how much depends on the how the application was written and how the android deal with it, normally it is less that if the real process is running.

      Managing how applications use memory
      http://support.google.com/android/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=168609
      recently used applications are cached in the background, not running, therefore they are not using cpu cycles or data or battery they are cached so they will load faster the next time you need them. Killing cached apps results in those applications requiring more time to load the next time they are launched.
      if something does need the RAM Cached Processes will be automatically closed by the OS

      1) Open the Manage applications screen.
      2) Touch the Running tab.
      3) Press Menu , and touch Show cached processes or Show running services to switch back and forth.
      The Running tab shows the applications, processes, and services that are currently running or that have cached processes and how much RAM they are using.
      http://support.google.com/android/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=168609
      If you see an application running that you didn’t launch, it’s most likely was called by another application to perform a task. If you kill the application you didn’t launch, the system has to relaunch that specific application in order to complete a task. Many of the applications you think are running aren’t really running, simply they are cached. Loading an application from your storage takes longer, is negative on the battery, and worse than loading it from it’s cached position in RAM. The Android OS has a “minimum available RAM” threshold, and when that is full, it will unload those cached applications to make more room.

      there are some cache cleaner applications for android, you can use it to see how much space you will get.

    • Dr.Sunil Vaswani

      Does stopping an app in cached background process section increase memory available for running process?

    • ha14

      If Android starts running out of RAM, these processes (cached background process) will be the first ones to be removed (deleted) to free up RAM. You can do it also manually to free RAM.

      the thing is that Manufacturers can alter settings so to redefine what is meant by cached background process. If it is your case, You’ll have to contact them (Manufacturers) to see their definition.

      the application that you’re using is considered to be foreground process. Other processes if they’re interacting with the process that’s currently in the foreground they are also considered foreground . If you clean cached background process be sure that they are not needed currently.

    • Dr.Sunil V

      I understand!

      Thank you

      Adding a connected point : Do cached process occupy Random Access Memory? and thereby reduce Random Memory available equal to the quantity of Random Access Memory specified for the said apps in the cached process section?

    • ha14

      i think if a process uses 30mb ram while in foreground then the same amount ram will be occupied when in cached background process only if ram is available to do that. Also this depends on how android application is written thus space occupied can varry.

      Profiling Android Applications
      http://www.jpct.net/wiki/index.php/Profiling_Android_Applications

  • Alan Wade

    Cached Background Processes are processes that are still in the memory and not ‘switched’ to disk. They are not in the foreground and dont have a running service.
    Why are they still in the memory? – Because there is enough memory to do that so that you can switch back and forth quickly.
    An example would be if you launched an application then pressed the ‘Home’ button. If the process dosnt have a running service then it would be ‘Cached Background Process’.

  • Prashant M

    Cached and running processes both use RAM but the difference being the cached processes are one that are tend to work faster but are not that of importance. Whenever you wish to open new application and the unused amount of RAM is not suffice to run that particular application then first thing to happen is that the cached applications are stopped and then the running apps are stopped. Its as similar to to windows 7 task manager which shows amount of RAM and Shared RAM being used by an application However in case of windows 7 it will firstly clear the shared RAM but will never touch running apps.

    • DrSunil Vaswani

      If cached background process is stopped but running process is stopped then random memory would increase?

  • DalSan M

    Running processes are the processes from applications and the operating system that is working and running, whether it is an open application or not. Cached processes are placed in the memory in order to allow for quicker opening of the application. Cached processes are not always necessary, but helps sine applications start with less wait time.

    From what I have noticed, running processes will reduce memory consumption almost immediately. However, cached processes may not release the memory immediately or fully. Results will vary.