Android apps.

Battery life is very important, but some Android phones try a little too hard to stretch it out. You may notice apps running poorly or missing notifications from being killed in the background. We’ll show you how to stop that.

Why Does Android KIll Background Apps?

Android manufacturers have a choice. Allow apps to freely run in the background, which may harm battery life, or judiciously kill apps running in the background they think you don’t need. If your phone takes the latter approach, you’ve probably missed notifications from apps being killed. It’s very annoying.

This problem is so well-documented that the website “Don’t Kill My App!” was created by app developers. They were sick of hearing complaints from users about their apps not working correctly when the culprit is the phone’s battery “optimzations.” The site ranks Android manufacturers by how bad they manage this. Samsung is a top offender, while Google is one of the best.

RELATED: Pixel Phones Could See Battery Health Improvements with Android 12

How to Stop It

The Don’t Kill My App! website has specific instructions for a number of device manufacturers, but we’ll show you the universal method that works across all of them. This method alone may not be enough to solve all your problems, but it’s a good start. We’ll be demonstrating on a Samsung phone.

First, swipe down once from the top of the screen and tap the gear icon.

Open the settings.

Scroll down and find “Apps.”

Select "Apps."

Next, tap the three-dot menu icon and select “Special Access.” If you don’t see it, there will be a section on that screen titled “Special App Access.”

Tap "Special Access."

Now select “Optimize Battery Usage.”

Now select "Optimize Battery Usage."

First, it will display all the apps that are not optimized. These apps are allowed to run in the background. Tap the drop-down arrow next to “Apps Not Optimized” and select “All.”

Tap the drop-down arrow next to "Apps Not Optimized" and select "All."

Now you can find any app that has been misbehaving or missing notifications and switch the toggle off.

Toggle off to stop optimizing.

That’s it! The app will no longer be “optimized”—in other words, killed in the background—if you don’t use it enough.

There may be some other things at play here, but this method will work on every Android device. Simply find the app you are having trouble with and make sure it’s not being optimized.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »