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Looking at my currently running apps screen, I see many applications by htc and android, probably running the UI, and sync and stuff like that. Is there a list or a site that explains what each app does, so I can decide whether I should close it?
Is there a way to automate some of this? Using Tasker maybe, and a timeout, to close apps that are not recently used by me?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The people over at XDA-developers.com will tell you: you don't need a task killer!

Why? Well you see RAM only uses up energy when you change what's in it, so actually the act of 'cleaning' up costs you more than keeping it in memory.

The only apps I would recommend closing are those that require internet access and/or sync often. This includes various games, social networks and your email.

Update: I would add GPS apps to the list of ones you want to keep an eye on, although these generally have explicit "exit" options, and so don't require killing either.

For the rest, it's best to let Froyo decide for you!

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I would add GPS apps to the list of ones you want to keep an eye on, although these generally have explicit "exit" options, and so don't require killing either. –  Matt H Dec 29 '10 at 1:16

You don't need to, by default Android will automatically terminate applications that haven't been used for a long time when another application needs the used memory.

Android prolongs the life of applications, so that when you return to the applications, it will already be in the memory (this improves responsiveness); but applications whose life is prolonged in such manner will be force-killed if another foreground application needs memory.

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I agree with the other two answers, but will add suggestions for two apps I find effective at supplementing app management:

Watchdog Task Manager: This app watches your apps and will notify you if one starts to behave badly and hog too many resources. This is a good way to identify problems so you can efficiently address them.

AutoKiller Memory Optimizer (root only) or Auto Memory Manager:
Android watches how you use your device and tries to intelligently prioritize which apps get killed when more memory is needed. If you want a little more control of this decision making process, these apps let you set the out-of-memory priorities that Android will follow when deciding which apps get to stay running and which apps get killed.

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