We've all had to deal with it at one point or another: a rogue app hiding out in the background, chomping away on the battery. Or perhaps a bunch of pre-installed junk is taking up all of your device's precious RAM. No matter how you slice it, unwanted background apps are a nuisance. Now, there are a number of ways to do away with these apps, but none of them are what we'd call "great." For example, you could freeze them with Titanium Backup Pro, but then you can't launch them without unfreezing, and that's a pain. Or you could use a  task killer(*shudder*), but those aren't good for anyone. Ever. Under any circumstance.

Screenshot_2013-02-15-16-30-34 Screenshot_2013-02-15-16-30-42 Screenshot_2013-02-15-16-30-54

So, what's the solution? Greenify. This new app lets users with rooted devices choose which apps should be hibernated when they're not running in the foreground. This is the best of both worlds, because it allows you to continue using your favorite apps, but prevents them from running all the time (I'm looking at you, Facebook.)

Using it is quite simple: once installed, you just choose which apps you want to hibernate, and that's it – you can even select from the currently running apps. Then you're free to launch them as you please. Once they're no longer in the foreground, they'll remain in the background until the screen is turned of for a short period of time (smart!). After that, they'll be kicked out of memory and into a hibernated state.

Of course, keep in mind that there are apps that should remain in the background; like alarm clocks or instant messengers, for example. If those are killed, they simply won't work. And that's not a good thing.

Overall, Greenify seems to be a very simple, elegant solution to a constant problem on Android. Best of all, it's completely free – hit the widget to grab it.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • John M. Lordo

    Sounds like a great app for devices with low memory. One question, though: If an app is hibernated, will one miss push notification of that app, or will they appear as usual?

    • Jays2Kings

      Yeah in the description it says it disables pushes too.

    • http://twitter.com/mike_b1993 Mike

      u will probably miss push notifications

    • cynojien

      Notifications are controlled by the apps. So if it isn't running, it can not create notifications.

    • Ryan Yakus

      you won't get it until you launch the app again, which is why you shouldn't use this for things like alarm apps and messengers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michaelgonzalez2012 Michael Gonzalez

      They won't appear because push notifications require background tasks to be frequently scanning. The only way to reduce usage on apps that require push is to reduce the frequency of the synch. I've found that if you change the synch to 15 minutes for most apps like facebook or twitter instead of their usual 5 min it greatly reduces their strain on your battery.

      • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

        Push notifications are different, they do not check the server every so many minutes (that's pull). Push notifications are actually sent to the phone. Instead of checking whether there's something new on the server, you maintain a low-memory connection to a server and the server will send the phone a command when something changed, then the app will pull the new stuff. It will still not work though because for a push system to work, there needs to be a background app running the connection to the server.

      • spydie

        "sync" not "synch"

        • Tyler Humphreys

          Kinda like how synchronize is pronounced "sinch-ronize"?

          • http://www.vinsonimages.com yamaha83


    • Wayne Randall

      Once the app goes into hibernation you shouldn't see any notifications because you basically are suspending app operations until the app is open again at which time notifications would show again because the app is no longer hibernated.

      • didibus

        Is this true even if the app uses Google Cloud Messaging for push. I thought that GCM ran it's own service to check for push, the only thing is, would it wake up an hibernating app?

    • Steevensk

      I Greenified GMAIL and still receive push notification about new mail, so it works at least for GMAIL.

  • moyaja

    This should have been implemented at the OS level. I think the "True Multitasking" "feature" of Android should improve and this app is a step in the right direction.

    • Ionuț Leonte

      I'd have to disagree, this 'solution' smacks of iOS - there's only so much you can reasonably expect software to do to preserve battery life before it becomes crippled. Manufacturers need to stop beating around the bush and simply invest more in researching batteries that don't suck.

      • PCSievers

        Battery technology probably wont improve much for a while and besides which the money is going into battery tech from all kinds of industries. They just need to use higher capacity batteries on the current tech and part of that means forgetting the bogus race to make the thinnest phone.

        Samsung makes a 3100mah replaceable battery right now for the Note 2 that isnt much bigger than the 1500mah battery I had in my previous phone. Even if you are sacrificing a couple mm of thinness it should fit in a "normal size" phone without much of a struggle. Once you are getting to that point in capacity you generally stop caring about battery life as you can do a full day with no issues at all doing whatever you want with the device.

        • Greg Bissell

          Its more than double in size so yeah that IS much bigger

          • PCSievers

            Bigger by volume/dimensions, not bigger by capacity.

      • http://twitter.com/TheChrisGlass Chris Glass

        But don't you believe the user should have the option to disable these services? I mean, ICS onward actually lets you straight up disable applications from the Settings. This is essentially just a tweak on that.

      • guest

        There is plenty of research going into better batteries.

        Unlike software, it takes years to get this new tech to market

      • Matthew Fry

        That's true to a point but there are *rogue* apps that are just known to keep your device out of deep sleep which will eat your battery up regardless of how big it is. A lot of Google apps are among them. I don't want to disable Google Maps but if I can force it not to wake my device up (even though I never opened it and all location services are disabled) that would be great.

      • Wolf

        I'd say it's not from a battery POV; it will be really helpful for phones with lesser RAM (like my Nexus S running JB - it just becomes slow after few days). I currently do this manually when the phone shows only 4MB RAM left!

      • hyperbolic

        This app is doing the exact thing as iOS, and iOS isn't a smart OS, which is why this app is for users that don't have money to buy iphone so they can get this app.
        If users want to control apps from misbehaving they need to turn off triggers.

        • Greg Bissell

          That made no sense

        • http://twitter.com/Letsan Rodrigo Chiong

          Tell that to the Facebook app that keeps running 25MB+ of processes even with chat, location, notifications and media uploads turned off.

    • GraveUypo

      it kinda is already and i hate it with passion. sometimes the OS hibernates the sixaxis app when i open the game i want to play. and when i open sixaxis again, it closes the game. only way to get out of this vicious circle is to reboot the device. it's awful.

      though when i have to open the game, open my screenshot app and six axis at the same time to map a touch emulation profile, it's a nightmare. one of the three will almost always get shut down in the middle of the process. so annoying.

      what i wanted is to lift the stupid limit on running applications (which seems to be four by default), not limit that even further.

      this wasn't noticeable on my motorola defy, but it doesn't help that i need to have directory bind and lucky patcher running at all times on my gs3.

    • Jason Murphy

      This is at the OS level. It's a Linux kernel and the app is simply issuing a "kill -STOP" on an app.

  • Thomas Steinbrüchel

    They are probably lost until you delete it from the list. They need a service running I think but I'm not absolutely sure. Try it out

  • RB

    Looks promising, trying it out now.

  • http://geniousatplay.blogspot.com/ Bikram Agarwal

    Interesting concept. But I see no difference between killing the app and what is being called "hibernate" here. "they'll be kicked out of memory and into a hibernated state". Kicked out of memory = killed. After something is kicked out of memory, how does it enter any state at all on mobile devices? Are we actually 100% using the term hibernation, as we use it in PCs? i.e. app's state is saved in sdcard and next time we launch the app, it'll start from where we left off??

    • Harsha

      Nope the hibernation is not used here per se. This app does kill the = kicked out of memory. But it won't let hibernated app to come back to life until and unless you run the app manually. I did this test with WhatsApp and Greenify is doing its job perfectly. So in other words, the hibernated app is as good as not running for eternity until you run it manually later on.

    • Greg Bissell

      Killing an app doesnt do anything, it can restart again a minute later

  • http://www.keithwoo.com/ Keith Woo

    "Or perhaps a bunch of pre-installed junk is taking up all of your device's precious RAM."

    Lol. This app requires root. With root, I'd just uninstall said junk app. Problem solved. Hehe.

  • Nicolás Rezzano

    Let me see if i got this. If i greenify Facebook, goodbye push notifications?

    • Harsha

      Yes. Good bye push notification.

  • Harsha

    Awesome app! XDA thread for this app by me http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=38052735

  • http://twitter.com/skinggzyq リン

    I wanted to greenify Google Maps and Google +, but it says system app is impossible to be greenified for safety reason...

    • Harsha

      What you need to do is install TB and convert the Google and maps to user apps.

  • James Adamson

    On board with MIUi and def gonna use this when I go back to touchwiz

  • Ricardo

    Seems to have some issues with superuser. Hibernation isn't working. It suggest that you install supersu. This app needs improvement.

    • Greg Bissell

      What kind of moron still uses superuser instead of supersu?

  • http://twitter.com/LiamEllington Liam Ellington

    why is the App not available on lower end android devices? i have the galaxy ace which runs Gingerbread and it cannot be installed or run on the device ? help? Tweet at me @LiamEllington

    • http://revanmj.pl/ Michał Jakubowski

      Because it requires at least Android 3.1 (Gingerbread is 2.3, so it's too old).

    • ChumbleSpuzz

      If you are looking at this app, I assume you are rooted. Dude, it's time to flash that puppy! Life is too short to run Gingerbread. Quick Google search for "Samsung Ace Cyanogenmod 10" returns many videos to walk you through it with links to everything you need. So, it's not stock, but its not Gingerbread!

    • oesjmr

      I'm running Gingerbread on my OG EVO since there are some things I use that isn't supported in ICS or JB ROMs. I would love to have a Gingerbread compatible version of Greenify for older devices. After all, the older devices really could use something like this to enhance their performance.

  • FrillArtist

    Surprised no one said this yet but the icon looks like marijuana leaf. Lol.

    • Tico J

      It looks nothing like a marijuana leaf.

  • Evgeny Kosakovich

    It works! Much better than any other task killer I've tried...

  • lisandro101

    Autostarts for Android is similar but allows you to control each event that starts the app. I found out that a lot of apps starts when the cellphone change the status of the internet conection...

  • http://www.facebook.com/darrien.glasser Darrien Glasser

    An astoundingly good app. It's great for killing the ever-wakelocking Chrome Beta (and Chrome too I suppose), it can also be used to hibernate your media player which stops the mediaserver wakelock on the Nexus 4. It should be stated though that it only works if you have Super Superuser though, regular Superuser won't work though.

    • ranova

      if you hibernate your media player, wouldnt it stop music when you screen is off when greenify hibernates it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/darrien.glasser Darrien Glasser

        Not if it's running in the foreground (i.e. playing music)

  • http://twitter.com/Letsan Rodrigo Chiong

    This is great, I always wondered why this isn't available as an Android setting somewhere. Time to try the Facebook app and see if it doesn't bog my system with his background services

  • Elias

    I'd love if I could set how often apps should go out of hibernation to pull notifications. I'd be happy using intervals of 5 min for gtalk and whatsapp, 15 min for gmail, 2h for Facebook, 12h for foursquare... Anyone aware of a way to do this?