How to Control Which Apps Open on Android Startup

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Couldn’t help but install a handful of apps that you swore you’d use? We’re all guilty of this at some point. We download application after application with the intention of using them every day — fitness apps, language learning tools, etc. — and maybe use them twice a month. You would uninstall these applications, but you are determined to use them somehow! Plus, who knows when you’ll need them, right?

The thing is, inactive apps still use up processing power on your phone. This will ultimately affect your Android smartphone’s performance. The programs you do use will run slower and choppier and are more likely to crash. Unbeknownst to you, these apps will sometimes launch and start running by themselves as soon as you turn on your phone, too. Though you may want this to be the case for the apps you do use, those forgotten ones need to stay forgotten — just not uninstalled.

Adjusting your Android’s app start-up settings can prevent these potential problems with performance. On top of that, you can control which apps open on your Android smartphone’s startup.

Autostart & Disable Apps

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Disabling apps in this context means preventing them from running on their own without your order. In other words, you are not uninstalling these apps, simply “freezing” them. Disabling apps can also be particularly useful when trying to turn off built-in device applications. Disabling an app requires you to follow some simple, easy steps. You can also access an app’s autostart feature this way.

Note: the options presented below may differ from your phone depending on which Android software version your smartphone device is running, as well as the phone’s make and model.

  1. Go to Settings, then select Applications or Installed Apps to access the Application Manager.
  2. From your list of downloaded apps, select the one that you wish to disable.
  3. Either Disable or turn on Autostart.
  4. Keep doing the same for other apps you want to freeze.

The ability to disable and autostart apps is a convenient feature. Still, it’s not an all-powerful tool, so you might want to try other options.

Use Developer Options

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The developer options built-in to every modern Android smartphone allows you to modify more complex settings, including those that involve active or inactive apps. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Enable Developer Options. If you need to enable Developer Options on your phone, you can do so by opening Settings > About Phone > Software Information.
  2. Repeatedly tap Build Number seven times, or until a text displaying, “You are now a Developer!” appears on your screen. You may need to type in your PIN to proceed. If successful, you can now turn on the developer options from the Settings menu.
  3. Under Developer Options, scroll down to the section that controls the behavior of your apps. These options will vary from phone to phone. In some phones, you may see an option for Inactive apps. Here, you can select which apps you want to prevent from being activated — and vice versa — upon booting up the device.

Another important thing to consider is that Developer Options manages how apps should behave when they are inactive or abandoned. For instance, try turning on Don’t keep activities under developer options. Enabling this setting prevents your phone from running any background app. This can be pretty useful, especially for phones that have limited RAM.

Should you wish to limit the number of apps running in the background instead of cutting them out completely, use the Background process limit option directly underneath it.

Use a third-party app

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Should you find that going into your Applications Manager and Developer Options doesn’t get you a satisfactory result, you can try using a third-party app to control your apps flexibly.

Here’s are some suggestions for apps that can get the job done.

1. Taskmanager

Taskmanger might be your go-to solution if you want to end processes that are potentially slowing down your device. As mentioned before, apps that you rarely use will only consume valuable resources.

As one of the most popular task manager tools available on Google Play, Taskmanager can track apps that are behaving maliciously or inconveniently, e.g., starting itself without user permission. It can intercept and kill (turn off) an app in an instant. If such apps can’t be killed automatically due to the permission settings of Taskmanager as a third-party app, the app will prompt you to kill them manually instead.

That being written, you can hardly rely on this app to eliminate bloatware built-in to your phone by the manufacturer. These are considered system apps.

For everything else, however, I would say that Taskmanager is worth a try and an effective solution.

2. Boot Apps

Boot Apps works differently from Taskmanager. Instead of disabling apps, Boot Apps is a tool that gives you an easier way to enable essential apps to start automatically.

By using Boot Apps, you can choose which applications you wish to start once your phone is booted up. Moreover, it doesn’t require rooted access, so the app is user-friendly for those who do not necessarily understand developer system settings.

This app also saves you the hassle from having to manually open individual apps that you will most likely use, such as messaging apps, social media apps, etc., on a daily basis.

Final Words

Keep in mind that most of the time, your Android smartphone system manages your apps for you. For example, when you run out of RAM space, unneeded apps running in the background are terminated instantly without needing intervention from you or any third-party app.

Having said that, Android is not a perfect OS. Any configurations or tools mentioned only serve as performance optimization aids. Just like any other tweaks or tricks, they may not work 100% of the time.

As users of Android smartphones, we can only hope that they will develop an official service similar to the Task Manager found on Windows PC. This way, we may gain more freedom in controlling startup apps.

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