How to Enable or Disable Apps running in Background on Android Devices

With over 450,000 apps and counting on the Play Store, there are many applications which run in the background without the permisson of the user, making the phone much slower and also sometimes, by collecting some data in the background etc.

For this purpose, one could use Task Managers or Task Killer applications which are available aplenty in the Android Play Store or even some widgets which can kill all the running apps in the background in one click. However, sometimes it might be disadvantageous. Say Skype is running the background and you want to kill it, one could do so manually or use a third party task manager app. However, some of these apps from unknown developers do not kill just the app but also some processes that are used by the app which are also required for the phone’s normal functioning. By disabling the app, it totally disappears from the app drawer as well and no third party app can execute it.

Thus, it is recommended to use trusted Task manager applications or the default one in Android, which is the best alternative. To use this, follow these instructions :

  1. Open the App drawer from your homescreen and choose Settings. Alternatively, ICS devices also have a quick shortcut to settings from the notification bar when pulled down from the top.
  2. Once you’re into settings, choose ‘Apps’ from the list there.
  3. Here, you will see three tabs on the top namely ‘On SD Card’ , ‘Running’  and ‘All’ .
  4. Tap on All and you’ll be taken into the screen displaying all the installed apps on your phone along with default stock apps of Android.
  5. Choose the app that you want to stop and you’ll get two boxes named ‘Force Stop’ and ‘Disable’ .
  6. Tap on the ‘Disable’ button and a warning notification pop-up box might come up asking if you’re sure in executing this action. Tap ‘OK’ .
  7. Now the app is disabled and is pushed towards the end of the list. To enable, choose the app again and choose Enable.

Note that by disabling the app, the app will disappear from the App drawer until it is enabled once again in the settings page. To temporarily stop apps, you should choose the ‘Force Stop’ button while disabling it totally stops the app from being executed or functioning till it is enabled manually by the user.

18 Comments
  1. Reply ano June 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Of you use the home button to stop your apps you use more power. Your phone must restart the apps and that takes more power (Facebook, twitter, snapchat).

  2. Reply Tash May 29, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Wat do I do if I have accidently forced stop apps and disabled them??? How and can I enable them again???

  3. Reply eBangali May 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I install severall apps like clean master, du attery saver to stop background work. But my galaxy grand duos still work very slow. What should i do? Please help.

  4. Reply David October 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I have two android phones and i must say ANDROID is just junk. Theres a lot of unnecessary stuff to run and eg. virus, malware (apps loading unecessarily eg. free texts, free this or that ) and third party killer apps etc even though im running 3 apps (the background apps running are like 32 and so it was killing my RAM on two new samsung phones of different models ..
    therefore … calls drop, cant make calls etc .. WHAT A JOKE.

    Adroid software is poorly crafted.
    1. Need third party apps (virus cleaners, malware cleaners, task killers etc)
    2. apps that dont work on the phone are downloaed on playstore – crashing get what you pay for id rather pay 99c than waste time
    3. advertising — designed to be clicked — hey id rather pay for advert free apps

    Im going back to apple – sleeker, classy.
    better to drive an older european car than a new Korean piece of Samsung junk!!

  5. Reply hmmmmm February 23, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I forced restart, but I can’t see anywhere to restart the programs. All it says its force stop. When I click on it it says that the program will now restart…but it doesn’t. Using Samsung Galaxy Y

  6. Reply enki September 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Comparing “Task Killers”, is unnecessary. If you are using android 4.0.+ then one should Do This Instead:
    Hold down the home button.(Don’t tap. Hold.) User applications will appear. Swipe Applications (left or right) to turn them off.

    Here is where i learned that.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE7iH8jsgOc
    Enjoy

  7. Reply lilly September 18, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I have an evo 3d and i disabled facebook and i cant find where to ebable it on my settings but it does show it in the play store when i search the app but when i press enable it says the goole play store has stopped working and closes it self. So idk how to enable it?

  8. Reply Steph August 31, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Hi, does this work on even the xperia xu phone? I tried it but there is no ‘enable’ button. Do you know what i can do? I accidentally hit force stop on keyboard and now it wont work. Thanks.

    • Reply Pradeep Neela August 31, 2012 at 11:06 am

      just force stop the app and restart the same from apps manager

  9. Reply Arun August 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks. Followed your instructions & it worked.

  10. Reply Colesy August 12, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I hav a Sony experia u and where do i find the place that says force stop or disable???

  11. Reply compliance2012 June 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I don’t get disable! The only options I get are force stop and cancel! What do I do now?!

  12. Reply mohammad May 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I disable email app on galaxy note but i lost it in setting.
    no where? what should i do???

  13. Reply nandkumar May 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    On my Samsung Galaxy Fit S5670; when I tap on the App, I get ‘Force Stop’ or ‘Uninstall’ as options. Is ‘Uninstall’ same as ‘Disable’?

    • Reply Pradeep Neela May 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      yes disable the same!!!

    • Reply James Nokik June 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      No. Uninstall will remove the application from your device. You will then need to re-install. If you just want the app to stop for a time-being, you should FORCE STOP not UNINSTALL.

      • Reply Pradeep Neela June 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

        you can force stop the app and check with the same

        • Mick July 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm

          Some apps, like Chrome Browser for instance take up 70MB of storage space. If you perform an “Uninstall Updates” before “Disabling” it will be reverted back to it’s factory state, which will only take up 2MB of storage, freeing up a massive 68MB of space. My RAM used to get swallowed up by the bloatware apps constantly cacheing.
          You have to make the decision if you’re ever going to use that app again. I was totally frustrated with Chrome, so I now use Maxthon.

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