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How do you force close an application on Android?

BrianSawyer's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2009 06:44 AM

I have a few applications that like to stick around on my Android phone, continuing to run in the background even when I want them to close. For example, I just learned about Twitter's own new mobile version, which I already like a little more than Twidroid. To keep Twidroid from running, I figured I could just press the Menu button and choose Exit Application:

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But when I take a look at my currently running programs, it's still there, taking up valuable battery life:

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So, Exit Application basically just closes a window but doesn't really close the application. There's got to be a simple solution to this, but I just haven't found it yet.

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5 Replies

  MikeH's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2009 08:31 AM

First see what is eating your battery by going here:

Settings > About Phone > Battery Use

Start here:
<table cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0">
<td><img src="http://data.oreilly.com/battery.png" width="160" height="218" alt="battery"> </td>
<td><img src="http://data.oreilly.com/twidroid.png" width="160" height="218" alt="twidroid"> </td>

Or you can randomly shut down apps by looking at them all:

Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > {Menu}Filter -> Running > Click on App and Scroll to Force Stop

<table cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0">
<tr><td>Step 1</td><td>Step 2</td><td>Step 3</td></tr>
<td><img src="http://data.oreilly.com/appSettings.png" width="160" height="218" alt="android2"> </td>
<td><img src="http://data.oreilly.com/filter.png" width="160" height="218" alt="android3"> </td>
<td><img src="http://data.oreilly.com/stop.png" width="160" height="218" alt="android4"></td>
  Joe Android's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2009 12:55 PM


I've seen the same behavior, and in fact many (most?) Android apps in my limited experience don't even have an "Exit Application" option. Twidroid is one of the only ones I know of.

I think part of the reason why is that Android apps don't exhibit the same life cycle as the you might be familiar with on the desktop where your start something then quit it when your done. Quitting isn't really a big deal, from Android's perspective.

Android apps have a built in lifecycle where the currently active apps (activities) have their state regularly saved off. When the OS/Android needs memory for a new app it throws out and old one and constructs a new one for your (using the save state).

I don't know for sure, but I would hightly doubt that having extra apps "running" on your Android device has any effect on battery life. (I'd guess the vast majority of battery juice is spend on the display). a background app would certainly take up some amount of memory, but that allocation and freeing up additional memory as needed is handled auto-magically in the background for you.

So in short, its a good question (and you can force close an app) but my answer is this is not something you even need to worry about.

My Android app usage and development experience is not that extensive so feel free to rebut or suggest otherwise, but that is my understanding. Hope that is helpful,

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  DouglasW's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2009 05:15 PM

In a short,Android is watching and deciding which and when old apps quit and free system resource on the mobile platform.We could change our ideas about those apps' lifecycle on the resource limited device.

Certainly,if you insist on killing Android apps like what we do on desktop,I suggest Advanced Task Killer Free.It's also known as ATK.You can kill all apps you don't need with one click.

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  timoreilly's Photo
Posted Dec 05 2009 08:40 AM

I tweeted this question, and the consensus seems to be to use Task Killer. Here are the answers I got:

@Papashonga007 @timoreilly I use task killer pro. It's a free apparently that is ad supported, but fully featured and easy to use... plus it has a widget.

@mojavelinux @timoreilly You force close app on #android using Taskiller (or similar). Holding down Home key shows recently used apps, not running apps.

@jarlskov @timoreilly I use the app TasKiller, from the Android Market

@MCSDigiCast @timoreilly under settings -> application -> manage-> force close
  Joe Android's Photo
Posted Dec 08 2009 08:50 AM

Sometimes the best answer is to rethink the question.