I’m going to make a strange admission here for a gadgeteer: I’m not really a power user on my phone or my tablet. Though I use my devices for all sorts of things, though I love to play with alternate ROMs and want my devices to be fast and responsive, in the end I’m a pretty basic user. I don’t use many social networking apps, and for those that I do use, I’m not worried about constantly getting notifications of updates or messages. My biggest concern is having enough battery power to get me through the day. To achieve this, I run a very lean ROM, deleting any unnecessary services and apps and underclock my processor. In my search to find just that little bit more battery life, out of my Galaxy S3 phone especially, I came across Greenify *ROOT*. How does it work? Read on.
Let’s face it, even on my very basic setup I’ve got around 190 different apps and services running on my phone. Many of these apps use up valuable resources and battery even when they’re not active. They may be polling for certain conditions like updates or notifications, or just waiting in the background for you to use them. Often this will result in a laggy and slow system. Now you can’t freeze or delete some of these apps because you do use them, you just don’t want them running all the time and you want to easily run them when applicable. Greenify *ROOT* hibernates these apps when they’re not in the foreground, and they will only run when you, or another app, launch them. The process is very similar to how iOS apps work. Do note though that your Android device does have to be rooted.
When you run Greenify *ROOT*, it will give you a list of all the apps you have running in the background. (See the picture on the right; you can click on it for a bigger version.) By highlighting selected apps, you’ll get a tick mark in the top right hand corner; pressing this tick will hibernate that app. This mean that when the app isn’t actually in use, it won’t be sucking up any resources. You’ll note that all the apps that I’ve left are apps that do frequent polls or need to be ready to accept requests to them. Hibernating those would save resources but be detrimental to usability.
You can see in the picture to the left the apps I’ve got loaded, that even though you wouldn’t think were doing anything, still suck up resources and battery life unused but running in the background. There are things like AirDroid and OfficeSuite I only use once and a while but need them to be on my phone, but why let them suck my valuable resources? In addition I’m not a big Facebook user, so it was a prime candidate for hibernating. I don’t care about instant notifications, messages or chats. Google Maps is handy, but I don’t use it all the time; even though it’s hibernated, if I open an app that uses it (and I have quite a few), it’ll auto run and then hibernate again once the parent app is closed.
To the right is the battery usage profile of Facebook over the last day. Weird how there’s quite a lot of activity between 00:00 and 06:00. I can guarantee you that I wasn’t Facebooking then. I’m not even sure what all that activity is between 07:00 and 13:00 was. I certainly wasn’t hitting Facebook hard. You can however see the effect of using Greenify *ROOT* at around 13:00; after that, there are now only two spikes, both when I specifically opened Facebook.
Of course this doesn’t come without some dangers. If you hibernate the wrong apps then you might miss alarms or notifications or worse, so be a bit careful.
All in all Greenify *ROOT* is easy to use, and if you’re a bit of a battery miser like myself, well worth having a play with to see what effect it’ll have on your battery life. And best of all it’s free (though there is a donate version available as well. )