Technology Explained

8 Common Misconceptions About Mobile Device Batteries You Need To Know

Bryan Clark 11-09-2015

I went on a fact-seeking mission to uncover some of the most common myths and misconceptions about mobile device batteries. Weaving a tangled web through muddy waters and conflicting information, I found some insightful information on what each of us can do to increase battery life, efficiency and longevity. The focus of this article leans more towards smartphone, laptops and other non-removable battery How To Care For Your Non-Removable Laptop Battery What precautions should you take to ensure your non-removable laptop battery last for as long as possible? Read More .


Let’s strap in and clear the air about some of these commonly-held mobile battery myths.

Myth: Non-OEM Chargers Damage Batteries


Part of me is inclined to believe that this one might have been started – or at least perpetuated – by the phone manufacturers. While modern smartphones have razor-thin margins, the accessory market features markups in excess of 1,000 percent in some cases.

Pay no mind to those that warn you away from non-OEM solutions. What you should be avoiding, however, are knock-offs. These are the chargers that claim to be authentic – or non-branded generics – that sell for peanuts (sometimes one-fourth the price or lower) compared to the authentic version.

There’s a lot of fear-mongering that’s playing into this rumor as well. We’ve all heard the stories of the unfortunate soul who had a phone catch fire, or even explode after plugging it into an off-brand charger. I wish I could say this was a myth; but it’s not. Events like this happen due to cheap import chargers (off-branded or knockoffs) that might look like your OEM charger, but use materials that are of sub-standard quality and aren’t really all that worried about things like, how they work, how safe they are When to Throw Away Your Fraying Cables & Phone Chargers Let's cut to the chase here — in a benevolent ploy we only really want you to read this article for one reason: to throw away those shredded, damaged chargers NOW. Read More , or even if they’re using the same gauge of wiring.


In fact, knock-offs may even have completely different amperage or voltage ratings that aren’t necessarily in line with what’s recommended for your device. These variations lead to excess heat, fire, and yes… sometimes even explosions.

Now that I’ve thoroughly scared you, I want to reassure you that there are good options out there. Trusted brands like Belkin, or even Amazon’s own line of non-OEM chargers and accessories – AmazonBasics – are perfectly fine for the discerning consumer.

Myth: Avoid Using Your Device While It Charges

Plug it in. Turn it on. Fire it up. Your phone, that is.

Not only is using your smartphone or tablet while charging completely non-detrimental to your battery, bending over in all sorts of odd positions while trying to remain tethered to a 3-foot charger is also great exercise.


Kidding aside, there is no truth to the myth that you can’t use the device as it charges. The only detrimental thing I could find was more of a common sense realization: it’ll charge slower while you’re using it (here’s how to charge your phone faster 4 Tips To Increase Smartphone Charging Speeds Faced with a low battery warning right before you need to leave? These neat tricks can help you charge your smartphone faster than usual so you aren't left with a brick in your hand. Read More ). How slow depends on what you’re doing, but it’s rather obvious that using your device while you’re trying to recharge its battery sort of minimizes the effectiveness of the exercise. The reason for this is two-fold:

  • You’re using battery while you’re replenishing it.
  • Your phone throttles your effort to an extent to avoid overheating since the phone will get hotter while charging (according to an Apple representative I spoke to about another myth, below).

That said, even if you’re not using your device, chances are that it’s still actively using the battery for something. Whether that something is syncing to the cloud, downloading updates, or just running internal processes – unless the device is off, it’s using some battery.

Myth: Always Charge Batteries to Full Before Using Them (Don’t Charge Unless Your Battery Is Fully Depleted)

When phones, tablets, and other mobile devices were still using NiMH and NiCd batteries How a Battery Works and 3 Ways You Can Ruin It The modern battery is featured in so many of our favourite technologies that you could almost be forgiven for not spending time learning about their workings. Read More , you had to fully discharge from 100 to 0 percent in order for them to keep their capacity. This is known as the “memory” effect.

The idea of battery memory still persists and if I had to guess, it’s mostly confusion based on the recommendation Calibrate & Maintain Your MacBook Battery For Best Performance If you correctly calibrate and maintain your MacBook battery, it's possible to improve performance and put off replacing it for as long as possible. Read More of some manufacturers that you let your smartphone battery fully discharge periodically. This has little to do with your actual battery – or its non-existent memory – and more to do with how your device interprets battery usage. This reboot is strictly to recalibrate the battery usage “time gauge” to give more accurate readings as to how much battery life you have left while using your smartphone.


Modern batteries are Li-ion, which actually perform better when you don’t fully discharge them, although letting them deplete completely doesn’t have a dramatic effect on lifespan, and has no effect on capacity.

What most people don’t realize is, the actual threat to your battery is in the number of charge cycles. A charge cycle is the number of times your battery goes from dead – or nearly dead – to full. Each battery has a limited number of charge cycles before performance begins to degrade. Keeping the device in the 50 to 80-percent sweet spot Keep Your Android's Battery Healthy With These Tips Software and apps can only go so far -- what about how to charge and discharge your battery? Learn all the tricks here. Read More is the key to avoiding a high number of charge cycles, and thus extending the life of your battery.

It should be said, however, that you could completely ignore this advice and your phone or tablet battery should still last several years. They’re smart, durable, and long-lasting even without any special care.

Myth: Don’t Charge Mobile Devices Overnight

There is a lot of conflicting information about this. During my research, I actually found more than a few well-respected tech blogs offer clashing opinions on whether or not it was acceptable to leave your device on the charge for 8 or 9 hours Pros and Cons of Leaving Your Computer Turned On All the Time It has been one of the most long-running discussions in computing: is it better to leave your PC turned on when you're not using it, or should you always turn it off? Read More while you slept each night.


Rather than further muddying the waters, I decided to call upon some experts from both the iOS and Android camps. Since it’s not abundantly clear which side is correct, I phoned Apple’s tech support and then decided to double-check the information and be sure that it was the same for Android devices as well.

First, the Apple rep (James):

“…it’s absolutely fine to charge an iPhone, iPad or MacBook overnight. All Apple devices are designed to limit incoming power once they reach a full charge.”

So, Apple says it’s fine, but James did offer up another piece of information before I got off the phone.

“What I would worry about is allowing it to charge on your bed. If the phone gets covered with a pillow or blanket or something it could overheat because phones get slightly hotter when they charge. Most phones are in cases that don’t allow heat to dissipate properly once they begin to overheat and heat kills batteries.”

Simple enough. Charging your device overnight is fine, but don’t charge it in your bed or you risk additional heat and heat kills batteries. Check. Got it. Thanks, James.

I then called AT&T, one of the largest retailers of Android devices in the United States. Once I got connected with tech support, I asked the same question of “Dave.”

“Yes. Charge the phone at night and unplug it in the day. If you do not leave the device on the charger too long you will have no problems.”

There you have it. Two major device manufacturers. Two tech support guys. Two matching answers. It’s as good as we’re going to get.

Myth: Task Managers/Killers Extend Battery Life

Task managers aren’t just unnecessary, they’re often responsible for performance decreases that are worse than the RAM-hungry apps they’re designed to kill. You shouldn’t be using them Why RAM Boosters and Task Killers Are Bad for Your Android At first glance, RAM boosters and task killers sound incredibly useful, but a closer look shows that they could actually be harming your phone instead. Read More at all, but if you do, it’s probably doing more harm than good.

Android and Apple both are both remarkably efficient in how they allocate resources to background apps. RAM is usually the culprit, and if you check usage statistics you might find that background processes are using up quite a bit of your system resources. The thing is, when the additional resources are needed for the app you’re using, the device will automatically re-allocate these resources from the apps you aren’t.

Besides, using your RAM is a good thing. Here’s what the Android Developers Forum has to say about resource allocation:

“Empty RAM is useless. Full RAM is RAM that is being put to good use for caching apps. If Android needs more memory, it will force-quit an app that you haven’t used in a while – this all happens automatically, without installing any task killers.”

Myth: It’s Not Necessary To Turn Off Your Mobile Device (Turning Off Your Device Can Damage the Battery)


Your device can be turned off any time you aren’t downloading or installing system updates. In fact, you should turn off your device from time to time in order to give it a break. In this rather humorous exchange from way back in 2011, David Carnoy (CNET) details his discussion with an Apple Genius (tech support crew) who likened an iPhone that is never turned off to a car that sits idling all the time, “it’s not doing much, but it’s still running.”

There aren’t any set-in-stone recommendations for this, but a commonly held belief is that you should turn your phone off at least occasionally, because internal components have finite lifespans.

The CNET discussion made light of the fact that most of us use $500+ dollar devices as alarm clocks rather than shutting the phone off and allowing it some downtime.

Myth: Turning off Wi-Fi/GPS/Bluetooth Saves Battery


GPS is a background service, which means it isn’t really doing much unless you’re actively using it. GPS is only in use when you’re looking for directions, adding location details to emails or social media posts, and running other process that actually use the GPS.

Wi-Fi actually uses less battery than maintaining a cellular data connection. According to Apple, you should leave your smartphone’s Wi-Fi enabled if you want to save battery. How’s that for debunking a myth?

Modern smartphones with Bluetooth 4.0 and its Low Energy protocol means that you can leave Bluetooth enabled and not worry about battery life at all.

Anything running on your phone, even background apps, tasks and processes use some battery. But none of the items that are commonly believed to cause severe battery drains (those mentioned above) are actually responsible for much more than a trickle of battery here and there. None of these on their own – or in combination – will drain your battery unless you’re currently using them.

If you really want to save battery life, dim your screen How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More , your eyes could use a break 7 Ways to Reduce Screen Time and Rest Your Eyes Staying healthy includes caring for the eyes. Vision related health problems are a real lifestyle ailment and our digital habits are promoting. The cure lies in thoughtful use of the screen. Read More anyway.

Myth: Phone Calls/Internet Use/Downloading Files Uses Battery Fastest


The truth is, gaming and other graphics-intensive processes will drain your battery the fastest.

Streaming video or online (connected) games on your smartphone or tablet (or even your laptop) are responsible for the most dramatic battery drain on your device. Just about everything else pales in comparison. Facts aside, this is still one of the most persistent smartphone myths 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True We're going to tackle 10 of the most prevalent smartphone myths today and see if we can't do our part in ending the misinformation surrounding today's smartphones. Read More , and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Which of these myths had you fallen victim to? Anything you’d like to add? Sound off in the comments below.

Photo credit: Charging Samsung Smartphone by R. Nial Bradshaw, iPad 2 by William Hook, WiFi Hotspot by WoodleyWonderWorks,  Playing Candy Crush on iPad by m01229, all via Flickr

Related topics: Battery Life, Debunking Myths.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 23, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I have found that on my phone, calls DO in fact drain my battery very quickly.

    I can definitely vouch for leaving wifi on. I see little to no difference leaving wifi on or off, so I just leave it on.

  2. Rob Nightingale
    September 18, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Fantastic advice here. I held a few of those myths myself. Nice work :)

  3. Anonymous
    September 13, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Thanks For the Article Man.It Was Very Informative..Keep Up the Good Work :)

    • Bryan Clark
      September 14, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Anonymous
    September 12, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Tthanks for the response! I went ahead and removed Clean Master last night. Not comfortable messing with the whole "rooting" thing though. Wwondering if Ok actually need to caches? Is this necessary?

  5. Anonymous
    September 12, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I found this article to be eye opening! I have the app "Clean Master" and it prompts me several times a day to "boost" my phone. It cleans my RAM as well as cleans the "junk files" wiping out the caches & other folders. I had always used the take manager too. Man! Guess I'm easily lead! Also, fully discharging the battery myth. Clean Master also prompts me when my CPU is overheating. What's your take on this? Hmmmm?

    • Anonymous
      September 12, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      I'veused Clean Master - It was quite good - but I noticed my phone running faster once I removed it along with other resource hungry apps - task killers will do the trick preformance-wise but they're mostly a temporary fix - best option would be to find alternatives for the more resource hungry apps and not need a task killer (I currently use just the "Recent Apps" window to "kill" the opened apps and personally I've been pleased with this option for the last year and a half :) ) - for example you could use an app that doesn't stay in the background (like clean master) to clean your junk files - the overheating promt that you like so much is actually using some of your phones resources to bring you that prompt - you the rest of your apps actually "move" slower (it also helps with the overheating :P ) - the main problem with app killers (or other background apps for that matter) is the fact that they use alot of resources for the checks they do - in the long run, apps that are active only while they're in the forground (or in the recent apps lists) tend to help out alot more performance-wise - rooting/custom roms help immensely in removing bloatware and resource hogs from the phone (the biggest of which seem to come with the f*in phone for f*ks sake - sorry - this really pisses me off) though I do NOT RECOMMEND doing either of these unless you know what you are doing (if you want to learn how to do it correctly and without many risks - you could take a look at for your specific phone model - just BE SURE TO READ thoroughly before doing something that you find there - reading the comments for the things you want to try wouldn't hurt either)

    • Bryan Clark
      September 12, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Dark Vip3r offered some excellent advise. If you must use a task killer, use one that doesn't run in the background.

      Your CPU should never overheat. How old is your phone?

      • Anonymous
        September 13, 2015 at 2:56 am

        I have a LG2. It's a couple of yes old. Not really sure if Clean Master app was truly accurate about CPU overheating. Phone itself does tend to feel hot to the touch when using one particular app or another. Also, to clarify my question above, should I pay attention to cleaning my caches? It makes my desktop pc run better so is it the same for my phone? Thanks!

        • Anonymous
          September 13, 2015 at 11:55 am

          applications actually need their cache to run/start faster - the app cache is basically a bunch of files that the app creates at runtime to save different settings/variables/etc across runs (though there are some poorly written apps that don't really use the cache as they should) - so my point being you don't really need to worry about the cache files - EXCEPT when you notice one of your apps misbehaving - then you should clean data/cache for that app and redo the app settings (the app settings tend to be kept in the app data). Cleaning the cache will buy you som extra space on the phone, but only temporary - as soon as you start the app again it will re-write it's cache - so the less you use an app the more sense it makes to clean it's cache - as long as you use at least once a week, there's no real reason to do clean it since yu don't really gain anything.

          As for the apps that keep overheating your phone - could you pehaps give me some examples of apps in question?

          Have a nice day :)

        • Anonymous
          September 14, 2015 at 11:11 am

          Honestly, I'm not sure. Clean Master would just alert me saying my CPU was overheating. So, I really couldn't tell you. So, thanks anyway. You've been really 'd (

        • Anonymous
          September 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm

          Oh, and by they way - you can check which apps are the ones causing you the biggest problems by looking over how much RAM they use (in the phone settings at the app list -> look over the running apps) - the basic "rule" here is - if it uses up more ram then it will probably slow your phone down more (there are exceptions to this "rule" - but it rings true for most apps). For example, on my phone, most of the apps that run in the background use 10mb of ram each (at most) - if you see one that uses more than 20-30 mb you could try finding an alternative app and see if the alternatives are more lightweight (that's if an alternative exists and you like how it works :) ). Hope it helps :)

          Have a nice day :D

  6. Anonymous
    September 12, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Android user here: I absolutely HAVE to use a task killer. After 16 hours (or the end of my workday), my phone turns into a gibbering idiot. After wiping out the worst culprits, it's always much better. After a few days it simply has to be restarted, much like any computer that has been "up" for a few days, memory leaks and such all make this an absolute necessity.
    Found all of your battery info very useful. Thanks for the article man.

    • Bryan Clark
      September 12, 2015 at 12:12 am

      That actually seems to be the consensus amongst Android users in this, and a similar post I did recently.

      Android assures me that these aren't necessary and that the phones are more than capable of re-allocating RAM where it is needed, but I tend to side with you and the users who all report similar problems. But, the "official" word is that they're not needed... take that for what it's worth. If you're experiencing the problems, it's probably not worth a whole lot.

      As an iPhone guy, I'm actually a terribly abusive mobile phone user. I haven't turned my phone off since I bought it (last October), never charge it on any sort of schedule, and I've never used a task killer. I'm starting to believe that these things are bulletproof.

      • Anonymous
        September 12, 2015 at 12:22 am

        I have read similar things before about RAM allocation, typically causing a mixed feeling of guilt and panic as I maniacally scrub all unwanted tasks. Let's whisper when we talk about Apple and Android in the same sentence. We don't want to rile that bees nest up! I have heard similar things about Apple that you mention about huge uptimes and negligible memory leaks. Just can't get behind that lack of tweaks (active flashaholic here).

        • Bryan Clark
          September 12, 2015 at 12:24 am

          It's a fair point to make. For those seeking options, an iPhone is not the way to go. There are benefits to both operating systems, and it still amazes me that some can't recognize that although they prefer one, that doesn't mean the other is garbage.

        • Anonymous
          September 12, 2015 at 12:49 am

          Completely agree. I would be receptive to test driving an Apple device now that the prices are so close. However, the deal breaker for me is no removable battery (I carry multiple 8500mah batteries) and the lack of micro sd slot. That's not me bashing Apple however. Samsung lost me with the with the S6 for the very reasons I stated, and I've had the 3,4, and 5.

          There is a stability trade off to be had with the ability to go so far into the OS. Right up to battery life taking a hit. Guess I've hijacked your comment section enough.

        • Bryan Clark
          September 12, 2015 at 8:36 pm

          Is an external battery, like the Mophie pack an option for you, Andrew? I think they have one for the Galaxy and the iPhone. I work at home, so I rarely need more battery life than what the iPhone (or any phone for that matter) offers. But, I have played around with the Mophie juice pack in the past, and it was quite good.

      • Anonymous
        September 12, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        From my "research" I did notice that Android actually has a good ram manager -though there are apps that block the releasing of memory, but besides those, from what I've seen the android ram manager doesn't start to clear memory as fast as it should (I believe it might me timed, eg. "clear ram every 15 min" - though this is purely my personal oppinion from what I've observed "along the way" - so it should be taken as such)

  7. Anonymous
    September 11, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    While some of this is sound advice while some of the things you assert are insultingly inaccurate. First of all you generalize for all mobile devices yet they are two different operating systems with two different ways of doing things so they're approach to managing battery is different.

    Second of course using all the functions on your phone is going to use more battery. The more demanded of it the power it needs that's just a general life rule. I'm sorry but generalized assertions were so half arsed and I'll thought out please at least test your rubbish claims before you share with others and also a spell check wouldn't hurt.

    • Bryan Clark
      September 11, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      Hey Jonathan, sorry that you felt the piece was "insultingly inaccurate," but I'm not sure how you came to the idea that I "generalized for all mobile devices" when there are "two different operating systems" (there are far more than two). I contacted representatives from both major mobile support groups, and the entire piece was researched from the perspective of iOS and Android, as well as Windows, OS X and Linux - although some of that doesn't necessarily matter, as they're all using the same battery technology.

  8. Anonymous
    September 11, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Hmmm... where to begin... Well... first of all - good article, congratz! :) - though I would like to know where you went "fact-seeking"? what buggs me are the entries that aren't really facts, for example:

    "Avoid Using Your Device While It Charges" - sorry to say but true - using the phone while charging increaes the strain on the battery by way of extra heat which in turn ( if one is not carefull to put the phone down when it gets overheated ) will probably lead to damaged batteries (it also depends on the specific model of the battery but this is kinda the basic rule -> "your battery burning" = "your battery dead").

    "Always Charge Batteries to Full Before Using Them (Don’t Charge Unless Your Battery Is Fully Depleted)" - though not really wrong - I would like to state that if you want to keep your battery healthy you SHOULD perform a full charge once in a while (though the oppinions differ -> once every1-3 months should be enough - preferrably 1 once a month)

    "Turning off Wi-Fi/GPS/Bluetooth Saves Battery" - EVERY one of the items on this list uses up alot of battery - be it by the apps that use them in the background or just the fact that they're on - even without background apps to use them GPS looks for location from time to time automatically (or at least it tries to connect to the sattelite), bluetooth scans for nearby devices from time to time, wifi also looks nearby networks (quite often I might add) - even Mobile data uses the battery faster (much faster for me - Samsung Galaxy I8200)

    "Phone Calls/Internet Use/Downloading Files Uses Battery Fastest" - this still rings true for users that do not play games on their devices (games tend to waste the most battery, yes, but Phone Calls actually use up alot more battery than other regular apps (including word proccessors, listening to music offline, even AIDE which is basically Eclipse for android uses less battery than a phone call - and you can use that to build an app - so it is somewhat resource intensive)

    • Anonymous
      September 11, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Oh, and by the way - the 50-80% "sweet spot" your are referring to is for when you want to STORE the battery away. If you want to close your device for a longer period of time (month, year, etc) you should leave the battery at 50-80% beforehand. The "seet spot" is only usefull when you keep your device plugged in all the time - otherwise it doesn't do anything (a battery doesn't get damaged by full cycle only - it get a bit damaged EVERY TIME YOU USE IT no matter what level of chare you have on it - laws of physics)

    • Bryan Clark
      September 11, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks for the comment and I appreciate you adding to the conversation.

      Using your device while charging: Modern phones actually throttle the charge to avoid this problem. Your device shouldn't overheat while you're using it, even if you're using it while it's plugged in. Both tech support reps, and every piece of documentation I weeded through supported this notion.

      Charge batteries to full: Fair point. There doesn't seem to be a "this is the right way" approach here, as - just like you mentioned - no one can agree on a standard.

      Turning off Wi-Fi: Apple actually recommends you don't turn off Wi-Fi if you want to save battery. From my (albeit unscientific tests), this is 100% true. I was experiencing faster-than-normal battery loss, and once I quit turning off background services this actually improved dramatically. The reason for this is quite simple... without Wi-Fi, your phone is constantly pinging your cell network to ensure the connection is still active.

      Phone calls: I had never heard this. I'll have to look into it.

      All great points. Thanks for contributing!

      • Anonymous
        September 12, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        Apologies for the Wifi - I can't actually say how the apple phones are (never had one, never wanted one :P) - though for android - every singe phone I had used alot more power when wifi/data/gps was on - had an S3 I9300 at a certain point and I managed to get around 1 charge/week when wifi was kept on for only around 15 min/day (also no gps/data/games - mostly in standby - with the exception of around 10-15 min/day phonecalls and a few messages) - before optimizing I had to charge my battery every 2-3 day max (with the same amount of stress to the phone, except for a wifi always-on connection)

        • Anonymous
          September 12, 2015 at 3:11 pm

          though it also matters what android version is on the phone - pre-kitkat tend to use more battery - kit kat is a little better since it does less "wifi near"/tower near/gps location checks and from what I've seen lolipop might actually be really good at managing an always-on wifi/data/gps connection (though I don't yet have a phone with lolipop so that 's mostly an opinion from what I've seen on friends phones)

        • Anonymous
          September 12, 2015 at 3:17 pm

          Oh, and thank you for your reply :) (sorry - forgot to say that in the previous comments)

          Have a nice day :D

        • Bryan Clark
          September 12, 2015 at 8:37 pm

          You know, it might be worth it to split this into posts that are based on user data rather than manufacture data. We have plenty of writers here that use Android. Maybe we can queue up something like that for the future. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Anonymous
    September 11, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    While I agree with most of this, I do have to say that on every Android phone I've owned, I have frequently had to kill tasks to maintain phone efficiency. This is especially true if I've been using some rather large apps, like games, or if I've been using a large number of apps. My phone will slow down to the point where it's nearly unusable. There are often times when I try to tap a button or run another app, and I have to sit there staring at an unmoving screen for 10-15 seconds. If I do get to what I'm trying to use, some features don't work properly, or they lag horribly. The only way to fix the problem is to either restart the phone or kill apps, which is much quicker.

    • Bryan Clark
      September 11, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Pardon my ignorance, I'm not an Android user... don't you have the option to turn off the apps that are causing the slowdown without using a task killer? In iOS you simply hit the home button twice, scroll through the most recent apps, and flick it upward to kill it.

      • Anonymous
        September 14, 2015 at 5:31 pm

        In Android, there is the swipe from recent apps to dismiss an app, which closes the app, background processes that it is directly responsible for, and notifies other related tasks which MAY close in response. This is only in relation to foreground apps, as background ones do not appear in recent.

        If you machine gun tasks with a task killer, most of them will probably restart automatically.

        PS. Task management on a 512MB RAM device is an "experience", a painful one! You cannot close enough to make room for a large app to run so it staggers along with the system terminating temporarily idle but needed tasks, until it hits a point where they must run and displace the big app.

        There are cheap 512MB RAM devices which work after a fashion, but how much more would it cost for them to put 1GB in