How to Restrict Background Activity of Apps in Stock Android

Android is generally lenient with how apps behave on its platform, and some apps take advantage of this by running wild, dragging down your phone’s performance, battery life, and spamming notifications. Bad luck if it’s an app that you can’t do without.

Many customized versions of Android, like Xiaomi’s MIUI, include settings to tame unruly apps by preventing them from running without your permission. Stock Android was lacking in this respect for a while, however starting with Android 9 it includes a nifty little switch to restrict apps from using battery in the background. To enable background restriction for an app, go to Settings > Apps and notifications > App info > select the app > Advanced > Battery > Background restriction > Restrict. Repeat for all apps that you want to keep under control. This will effectively prevent the apps from running in background, although they may still be able to send notifications through the system-level Google Play messaging services if they are configured to do so.

There are a few apps for which you can’t set background restriction, like your default phone and messaging apps, Google Play services, and some other system level stuff. Obviously restricting these can cause issues, so Android is smart enough to not allow it. There are also few other category of apps, like music and podcast players, work email, etc, for which you probably shouldn’t enable background restriction, as the audio might get cut off or you may miss important mail notifications.

This is a small but useful Android feature that helps your phone run faster and last longer between charges. What’s your favorite tip to keep your Android phone running at top speed? Let us know in the comments below.

comments (add yours)

  1. That’s real nice of them to make you do this individually for each app instead of providing an option for all apps…

    • While that’d be nice, it’s better to have this than not have any option imo. A one-click option would also be problematic because some apps simply must not restricted. Beyond the usual phone/sms/work apps/music, etc, this list of important apps will be different for different people.


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