Android 14 might kill task killer apps claiming to speed up your phone

These apps don't work, and it's good to see Google finally cracking down

Android 14 may help crack down on scammy ‘task killer’ apps that misleadingly promise to speed up your smartphone.

According to information uncovered by Android expert Mishaal Rahman and shared in an Esper.io blog post (via Make Use Of), Google will change Android to prevent apps from killing other apps’ background processes.

The changes involve the ‘KILL_BACKGROUND_PROCESSES’ permission and the ‘ActivityManager.killBackgroundProcesses(String)’ API. These work basically exactly as they sound, allowing apps to leverage the permission to close apps running in the background.

Currently, task killer apps use the permission and API to shut down all background apps, claiming this will speed up your device. Of course, this isn’t true, and closing down background tasks may cause other problems down the line. Android 14, however, will only let apps kill their own background processes.

The problem with task killers is that they can conflict with Android’s resource management, which is already capable of closing down apps that aren’t needed. Plus, some apps are designed to run in the background and will just restart if a task killer app shuts down the apps’ background process, using more resources than if the app had been left alone.

Google echoes this in documentation that Rahman shared:

“Android is designed to keep cached apps in the background and kill them automatically when the system needs memory. If your app kills other apps unnecessarily, it can reduce system performance and increase battery consumption by requiring full restarts of those apps later, which takes significantly more resources than resuming an existing cached app.”

Along with tamping down on task killer apps by restricting the use of the permission and API, Google also seems to be gearing up to enforce a long-standing Play Store policy. Per a note at the end of the documentation shared by Rahman:

“It isn’t possible for a 3rd-party application to improve the memory, power, or thermal behavior of an Android device. You should ensure that your app is compliant with Google Play’s policy against misleading claims.”

As with any change in a pre-release version of Android, it’s possible things could change before the stable release. Hopefully, this change sticks. And for those still rocking a task killer app, you may want to get out ahead and uninstall it now.

Source: Esper.io Via: Make Use Of