Android: improve battery life and free up RAM by disabling services

Martin Brinkmann
May 12, 2013
Apps, Google Android

So called background services are running on any Android device. They can be divided up into services run by system apps and applications that you have installed on the device. These services have a wide variety of purposes, from retrieving data from the Internet to running as a widget on the device. These background services are usually needed for the application or system to function properly, and disabling them would render the functionality useless.

Sometimes though you may want to disable select services for the time being or permanently in the case of system apps that you can't uninstall but do not use at all.

That's where the free Android app Disable Service comes into play. It can be installed on all Android devices running version 2.2 or higher of the operating system. Note that while you can use it to display all the background services that apps use on the device, it requires root to actually disable them.

android background services

When you start the application for the first time you will notice that it takes a second or so before the list of apps with background services is fully displayed on the screen. Each app is listed with its name and information about the services it makes use of on the right of it.

The gray value indicates the number of total services, blue those that are running, and red those that have been disabled. You can swipe to switch to the system apps listing instead which uses the same layout and formatting.

A tap on any app listed in either category displays all services that it makes use of. It is often sufficient to look at the name of each service to get a basic understanding for what it does.

android disable services save battery

MMSReceiver and SMSReceiver that you find listed when you open the official Facebook application are likely retrieving MMS or SMS messages when the app is running.

The core different between disabling services and uninstalling is that you can disable services without losing all of an application's functionality. It may take some tweaking to get it right though but it can be well worth it in the long run.


  1. It is safest to disable services that you know you will never make use of. If you never use an apps' upload feature, you can disable that service without losing any of the other functionality it makes available.
  2. The blue numbers are a good starting point. They indicate services that are currently running. Check out the apps that have active background services and start disabling those that you do not need all the time.
  3. You can turn services back on at any time, for instance if you need to use an app again or functionality that it makes available.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on July 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    this app requires root access.i dont know how to root my device…please tell me…

    1. WolfgangT said on November 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Ever heard of google(tm) ??

  2. nz said on May 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks Martin for the review.Also feature similar to this in Rom Toolbox Lite(Free),but will give this a try also,thanks.

  3. Virtualguy said on May 13, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Don’t know if I saw it here, on the blog, or somewhere else, but I did install Service Killer a while back from the Play store. It doesn’t do a great deal without root, either. However, it does kill the socialGraphservice and socialCallGraph services, which was my number one priority, anyway.

  4. Ayush Gupta said on May 13, 2013 at 2:21 am

    App works well if you have rooted your Android device. Works well on my Samsung Galaxy S3.

    Recommended app for those who want more free RAM :P

  5. Virtualguy said on May 13, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Downloaded this app to try it out. Every app or service I tried to stop failed due to lack of root access. :-(

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 13, 2013 at 1:56 am

      I mentioned that in the review. Never really got around to root my Note II and while I would really like to give it a try, I do not really know where to start and do not have the time right now to investigate it.

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