Software tools for dealing with your Android device

When i started my phone i skimmed through all the settings and all the applications bundled to get an understanding what is possible to tweak and do with this phone. I was surprised that you also needed all these tools for killing apps, optimize the system, moving apps and so on. Recently I have been acquainted to the hard reset boot menu and since the phone ain’t working as its supposed to. Because of i have been reading on how to fix the problems. Today i came across backup because i need an incremental manual backup to google drive so i can deal with my pictures and as i thought about it. I wonder why google does not have this simple solution built in - I don’t use G+ and i don’t want to either and those apps presented don’t do the job incrementally. So what are those necessary tools to make the phone happy and the experience complete?

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I don’t know if there is an app to backup to Google Drive, but there certainly are other apps to make a cloud backup:

@Robin maybe you can share your experiences with Dropbox on the FP?

@Nordlig Which (other) tools are you exactly looking for?

The Dropbox app works flawlessly! Syncing between server (online), my Macbook and my phone goes in the blink of an eye :wink:

Well I use the ES File explorer to be able to copy and move stuff around the system and on my mac i use Android File Transfer. I have one software on the phone to calibrate the GPS (sort of) and I need one to calibrate the gyro. Before i had a tool to “optimize the system” and to “Kill services” just as if the system handled it poorly. I am just looking for tools to use handling the phone. I read about some Android Development Kit that one could download to side load apps and god knows what. The must be more of those kind of tools one can use to take care of the phone.

The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) is a computer tool, where you indeed can install apps through a USB-connection from your PC/Mac. There are many tutorials on the internet how to do that! : )

Honestly, you need no tools to “take care” of your phone. Just don’t install every app you can find without thinking twice about whether or not it can be trusted and you’ll be fine.

Stuff like task killers are unnecessary as well. The OS is well able to manage resources by itself.

The Android SDK is much more than “a tool”. It contains everything required to develop Android apps and test them. Side loading apps really is something only advanced users should be doing and is primarily meant for app developers to automatically deploy apps on a test device.

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One tool I added was F-Secure App Permissions. I’m strict on permissions, if an app wants too much I don’t install it or update them (and I try to notify the author). AP gives me a detailed look ‘after the fact’ with its categories “Can cost me money”, “Can impact battery life”, “Can see personal info” etc And maybe needless to say, AP requires no permissions :wink:

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Another tool I am using is Ivan Volosyuks Disk Usage. Just to keep an eye on things :wink: (Originally because my wife’s FP kept complaining about insufficient space).

Eh? You don’t need an extra app for that (Settings -> Apps).
If you want to deal with permissions you could use the extensive XPosed framework + XPrivacy (3) which can give fake data to apps.

I have a question that belongs here, I think.

Like I understood it, by long-pressing you get to see the active apps. You swipe them left or right, to quit them (I don’t understand why they don’t quit when you leave the app, but okay).
Because I noticed there where a lot of apps active most of the time, I installed an App Killer. Now I understand the quitting of apps even less :-). Sometimes there are MORE apps in the list than the app killer says it has killed, and sometimes there are LESS apps.
Is the list not up-to-date? Doesn’t the app killer kill the app really? I also noticed that even the apps I quitted by swiping, stayed active after all.
I don’t like the fact that I don’t have a clear view over the apps that are running. I would like to have correct information about what’s happening. Don’t I need a tool for that? How can this be achieved?

Curious for the explanation :slight_smile:

Hi @Taxicletter,

First, I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this department but some basic understanding.
So basically, apps that you for example allowed to sync your account, or apps you get notifications from, can “start themselves”. As far as I understand they always have a running service, in order to be able to sync or create a new notice. So that might explain the difference in your killed apps and active apps, cause a lot of apps actually have to run to do their job.

Also, you might want to be cautious about using an app killer. Keeping your most used apps active, is actually less strain on your CPU/RAM than always closing/reopening them. I read on various posts that the android system actually analyses your use of the apps to make the best of it, to store certain data in the RAM so it’s faster to access. Killing all the apps all the time actually hinders your system to do this job. I wouldn’t use an app killer at all, but rather just swipe close those kind of apps you only use irregularly yourself. But again, this is ‘only’ what I learned from reading other peoples posts about the android system.
So unless your phone is noticeably slowing down from too many running apps I would reconsider your need to kill all those apps. (Here’s a link to a topic where this is also discussed)

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@Taxicletter,
I’m not an expert either, but I think Kris_S advice is sound.
On my old and outdated smartphone, with only 256MB RAM, I actually found a task killer app useful sometimes. But on the FP (1GB RAM) I would deem it unneccessary.

If you want to keep the number of running processes down and if you don’t need continuous syncing of calendars, e-mail &c, I suggest you disable the apps Google Bookmarks Sync, Google Calendar Sync and Google Contacts Sync. It might also be a good idea to set up your mail client so that it doesn’t check for mails regularly, only at your request.

Another tip - if that would suit you - is to make use of the Scheduled power on & off function. My phone shuts off every night at 00.30 and is turned on at 06.00. Then of course all apps that ran yesterday are gone, till I choose to start them again.

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Hi Kris,
I understand apps starting themselves for background-activities like syncing. The funny thing is the app-killer also sometimes found LESS apps active then in the list I get when I long-press the homebutton.
Anyway, after your comments (yours and kgha’s) I killed the app-killer :-).

kgha: I allready disable push-notifications most of the time and allow a minimum of syncing. The scheduled power on & off thing is a good idea, I’ll give that a try!

Kind regards,

Jonathan

Hi @Taxicletter,
ok that does sound weird… but I guess you don’t have to worry about it anymore since you no longer use it :smile:
Glad to help out!

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This should be a flaw in the app system. If you actually stopped/killed an application it will take longer to start. Try that out with the apps still displayed in the “task manager”.
Android is managing apps on itself very good (hey it’s Linux; ) so used RAM can also mean that there a programs buffered or cached. RAM is still available but will only be freed when needed. Or not when you need the old data again.
You could also try to change Settings -> Developer options -> Background process limit. I don’t recommend this. I rather think that this will slow down your experience. I would think that this is a legacy setting for devices with less than 1 GB RAM.

There is a big difference between what is “possible to tweak and do with this phone” and “necessary to make the phone happy and the experience complete”, in terms of this topic’s OP. The point is that Android doesn’t need all these tools, it works quite well out-of-the-box. Of course you may want to change part of the experience based on your personal needs and/or preferences (which aren’t necessarily those of other users).

Android is used by vast amounts of people (1 billion active monthly Android users !! [source]) and has been developed so that it can be used by the 90% of average users who want it to “just work” as well as the 0.01% of expert developers (and the 9.99% in between). So it by design has all the essential stuff on board, without all possible extra admin options (so as not to bewilder the average user). For the more advanced user, there are a lot of options to tweak the experience: extra apps, root access, things like the Xposed Framework, etc. Android has many, many possibilities to tailor the experience (much more than iOS for example). But that also means you have to make choices in your tinkering, otherwise you’ll never stop (and end up with a phone that works worse than when you started). So Android works fine as-is for 90% or so of people. If you’re in the other 10% that wants more/better (that’s not a reproach, I’m in that group too ;-)), then you need to spend a bit of time and effort to learn how Android works before installing all kind of apps that may do more harm than good.

In particular about Task Killing apps: as has been said already: they may be useful as a last resort in rare cases, but should NOT be used on a daily basis. Read up on a bit on why memory management should be different on a smartphone than on a desktop PC and on how Android manages its memory, and you’ll see why (just search the internet for something like “do I need a task killer on Android” and you’ll find tons of information). Don’t assume that you should mimic habits from a [Windows] desktop PC on a [Android] smartphone, because there are fundamental differences in both design philosophy and technical implementation !!

Thanks aexl and Fisher AZ.

Quitting apps by swiping them away in the task manager isn’t necessary either than, or does it save some battery?

And: if I go to the app manager for some info about an app, there’s a “stop now” button active, while the app often isn’t running according to the app manager (the list you get when you long-press the home button). It’s just curiosity, not a problem I’m having.

Maybe I should just read a good basic introduction to Android… I’ll go looking for one!

@Taxicletter; After long pressing the home button, the list that appears looks more like a historylist and not the list of apps that are actually active, the app that you could use to list all processes and apps running is system tuner

The list seems to be called “Recent Apps list” and its functionality is explained here.

Here is a short intro:

Actually, removing an entry in recent tasks will kill any background processes that exist for the process. It won’t directly causes services to stop, however there is an API for them to find out the task was removed to decide if they want this to mean they should stop. This is so that removing say the recent task of an e-mail app won’t cause it to stop checking for e-mail.
If you really want to completely stop an app, you can long press on recent tasks to go to app info, and hit force stop there. Force stop is a complete kill of the app — all processes are killed, all services stopped, all notifications removed, all alarms removed, etc. The app is not allowed to launch again until explicitly requested.

Nice find @Nordlig, interesting to read how ingenious Android processes.