Task killers are a polarizing topic in the Android community. There are those who swear by their necessity and insist on their use, and there are those who think task killers do more harm than good and dissuade new Android users from ever installing them. But which group is correct and more importantly, should you use a task killer on your HTC EVO?
You'll find compelling arguments and user "evidence" in support of both sides, so it's difficult to know what's actual fact and what some just believe to be true. If one person says that task killers don't improve battery life but another person says they do, and both are speaking from first-hand experience, whose lead should you follow?
The easiest thing to do, of course, is to download a task killer and try it for yourself. If you think it's making a positive difference, then keep it; if it's making a negative difference, then remove it. Your personal perception is really all that matters.
But if you'd rather make an informed decision than engage in a game of trial-and-error on your EVO, then here are 10 things (in oversimplified terms) you might like to know about Android.
- Android is designed to manage memory for you. It tries to keep tasks active for as long as possible but will automatically kill them when you need more memory or when they're not used for a long time.
- The system ranks all of the processes that are running on your EVO and kills them off in order of importance (least to most) when necessary.
- When applications are running in the background, they use very little memory and aren't really doing anything but "saving your place" so you can quickly jump back into them.
- Killing a background app increases the amount of work the EVO has to do the next time you want to use it because it has to launch "cold" all over again.
- Some stock Android apps start by themselves and will restart even after you kill them. They're not doing any harm or using any power, so you can leave them alone.
- Android will always try to use as much of the EVO's memory as possible; memory that is not being used is really just being wasted.
- A task killer is best used on rogue apps that unnecessarily consume power and resources, not on every app you see listed that you didn't launch yourself.
- The auto-kill feature offered in many task killers can do more harm than good because power is used for every killing spree. And after all the extra memory is freed, Android goes back to work to try to use it as efficiently as possible again.
- Free memory and "filled" memory use the same amount of power.
- Killing processes can sometimes have unwanted consequences (missed notifications, missed messages, disabled alarms, random reboots, etc.).
What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
If you use a task killer and see real benefits from it, then don't pay attention to people who say those benefits are just figments of your imagination. If you used a task killer and then uninstalled it because you think your EVO runs better without it, then ignore those who blame any performance issues you may have on the fact that you're not using one.
In other words, do whatever you want. It's your EVO!
I have a task killer installed on my EVO for one reason and only reason only: #7 above. If an app freezes/crashes or is the cause of noticeable battery drain, then it's nuked with a task killer. That's the sole purpose of a task killer on my EVO.