Google has done a lot to better manage Android’s background resource usage over the last few updates, and Oreo brings another enhancement to the table with Background Execution Limits. Simply, this limits what an app can do when running in the background—both in resources used and broadcasts requested.

Background Execution Limits are designed to be automatic in Android Oreo—you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of them…as long as your apps were developed with Android 8.0 Oreo in mind, and coded to take advantage of this feature.

Sadly, not every developer goes through the trouble to add that code. And if any of the apps you use are old and no longer in development, well, they won’t automatically limit themselves either. The good news is that you can essentially “force” this feature to work with older apps thanks to a toggle provided in Oreo.

Note that this is different than Android’s stock Battery Optimization feature—these two things really work together, but Background Execution Limits is designed to better control resources (like RAM and CPU cycles) for an improved overall experience, especially as apps start to “pile up” in the background.

How to Force Background Limitations on Non-Optimized Android Apps

First off, if you want to force these restrictions on apps that haven’t yet been updated for Android Oreo, you’ll need to do it for each app. So first, open the notification shade, then tap the gear icon to open the Settings menu.

From there, tap on Apps & Notifications.

Choose “App info” from this menu, which will open the list of all currently-installed apps.

Pick an app from this menu—any app will do to start off with. From there, tap the “Battery” option.

If the app is already optimized for Android 8.0, you’ll only have one option in the “Manage battery usage” section, which reads Battery Optimization. Like so:

If the app isn’t optimized for Oreo, you’ll have a second option: Background Activity. By default, this toggle is set to “On”, which allows the app to run in the background when you’re not using it.

Go ahead and slide that toggle to the off position to limit its background activity, putting it more in line with default Oreo apps.

While I can’t speak for how dramatically this will improve battery life, I’m certain it won’t hurt. Also, doing this to multiple applications should provide a noticeable bump in system performance, because less going on in the background means more power for anything in the foreground. I’m into that.

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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