Task managers used to be a really big deal. Back in the days of FroYo and Gingerbread there weren’t a lot of ways to deal with applications and if you opened one, it remained open to sap what precious RAM was available on phones back then. Since Ice Cream Sandwich and the inclusion of the stock Android task manager, the task manager apps ecosystem has kinda fallen into the background. That said, there are still a lot of people who prefer using third party task managers so we’ve put together a list of the task manager apps for Android.
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First on our list is also one of the most expensive on our list with Android Task Manager Pro. To its credit it does have a lot of features including a real-time process list, application management, backup capabilities including external APK file installation, CPU usage monitoring, and a lot more. It’s a solid option that does things other than task management which is always a plus. If you don’t mind the higher than average price tag, this is a pretty decent app.
ReChild really hit a home run with their Advanced Task Killer. It’s garnered over 50 million downloads and was one of the top apps back in the day when task killers were actually necessary. They’ve continued to update the app to this day and it’s still quite useful if you need a task manager. It does the standard task management things and also has extra stuff like an ignore list for apps you never want to kill and various levels of task killing. It’s free and it’s a solid option that’s helped millions of people already.
As is the case with task managers, this app has a very similar name to the last one. It’s called Advanced Task Manager and like the last Advanced Task Manager, this one also manages tasks. The feature set is a little more simplistic but it should be good for people who want something a little lighter. It kills tasks and manages apps like you’d expect. There are also some unique features like killing GPS. It does what you need it to do in a simple manner and it’s also free. Free is always good.
If you’re a fan of ES File Explorer and you want a task manager, you can get one from the same people. It’s one of the better designed apps on the list and matches the aesthetic of ES File Explorer so people who enjoyed the file manager will probably enjoy the look of the task manager. Unlike many of these, the feature list is ridiculously long and includes all the standard features of a task management app along with pretty much everything in ES File Explorer because it’s integrated into that as well. It’s a solid app, it’s free, and definitely worth looking into.
Much like ES File Manager having its own task manager, so too does GO Launcher. With GO Cleaner & Task Manager you can get an app from a trusted developer so you know for sure that it’s competently done. Like the launcher, the task manager is very popular, sporting a reported 40 million downloads to date. It features a slick interface, all the standard features, and a myriad of features that also help clean your phone up. This includes getting rid of folders that uninstalled apps left behind, clearing your cache, deleting browsing data, and others. It’s great for people who want a task manager that also does something else that’s useful and it’s free to boot!
[Price: Free / $2.99]
SystemPanelLite is one of the better looking apps on this list. It features a colorful design that outputs a lot of information in a small space. Using this you can do all the standard stuff like kill apps and manage tasks but you can also do things like view a variety of system stats. If you get the full version, it comes with more app management features and long-term app resource monitoring to see what is using up the most battery and RAM.
As we mentioned earlier, a lot of apps in this category have similar names. With that in mind, here is the second app on the list called Task Manager and this one is done by Balu. Much like the last one, this Task Manager omits the bells and whistles in favor of a streamlined experience. It kills tasks with a few extra features like set a time every day when the app clears out the processes and the cache along with some others. It’s highly rated so people that have tried it have liked it so far. It’s definitely worth a look if you need something simple.
Watchdog is the last item on our list and it boasts a unique offering. It doesn’t just kill your tasks all at once which actually goes against how Android works (it is a multitasking OS, after all). Instead what it does is monitor your opened apps and when one goes out of control, it sends you a notification so you can kill just that one app. That means this isn’t a task killer in the traditional sense like the ones above, but rather an app that keeps on eye on things for you and only prompts you to kill apps when they’re taking up too many resources. If you get the paid version, you also get a blacklist feature. The blacklist feature allows you to assign a CPU threshold to consistently misbehaving apps so they stop taking up so much of your CPU when you’re not using it. This is a phenomenal app and does a lot to augment the Android experience rather than kill it.
Stock Android Task Killer (Recent Apps)
Since Android 4.0, Android has had a built in task manager. Also known as Recent Apps, it allows you to view all apps that are open and close the ones you don’t need anymore. This has been proven a safe and effective way to end tasks without using a task killer as it doesn’t cause force closes or other potential issues that task managers can cause. It should also be noted that OEMs like HTC, Samsung, etc have added to this feature in their respective OEM skins with a native task manager –the Samsung Touchwiz task manager is shown below– which makes downloading more apps a little redundant. Of course, third party is still a reasonable way to go if you so choose, but if your phone is rocking anything from 4.0 or higher, you already have one of these task managers built in, albeit a rudimentary one.
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If we missed any of the best task manager apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.