AMAs at Reddit often have a treasure trove of information with some of it hidden amongst the 600+ entries. The first topic that you see when you look at Google’s Android AMA hosted by their engineers is about killing background apps. Many manufacturers kill apps that are designed to run in the background by default to speed up their phones and clear our memory. This stops apps form behaving the way they are designed to by their developers.
XDA Developer Editor Mishaal Rahman has found the changes that Google is proposing to make to the compatibility definition document for Android 11. The changes are designed to make manufacturers alert their users when they are killing background apps as a result of their Android OS skin’s power management — and allow the users to override the stopping of the app.
The main points to take out of this aside from the documentation changes listed above are that Google will require manufacturers to NOT create “allow” lists for top apps:
It is damaging to the ecosystem as it decreases innovation and the option for new exciting developers to step up.
Google have also created a new API that will allow developers to check why their app was stopped by the system — is it a crash, killed by users or did the OS decide to kill it.
The Android engineering team admit that this will not solve everything regarding background restrictions but that they are not done with their changes and solutions. They say that:
Committed to continue working on it, balancing making it easier for the developer community while ensuring our users get the best battery life possible.
It will be interesting to see just how far Google are willing to go to stop manufacturers stopping background apps and thus interfering with how Android should be working. It is definitely a problem within the Android ecosystem but Google say they are working on it and if they push hard enough manufacturers will surely have to toe the correct line — what other option do they have? Develop their own ecosystem? That doesn’t seem to be working out all that well for some.