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Doug Bell and Ken Getz: Kill iPhone apps to save battery power?

Doug Bell and Ken Getz
Special to The Union
Photo for The Union John Hart
Jorn Hart | The Union

My iPhone has been running out of power quicker than it used to.

I asked a tech-savvy friend about this, and she suggested that I “kill” running applications if I’m not currently using them; she said this would preserve my battery power.

I don’t know how to “kill” applications, and will this even improve my phone’s battery performance?



Clearly, there are two questions here.

Starting with the first: How do you kill a running application?




In modern versions of iOS, it’s simple: Double-click the Home button (the round button at the bottom of the phone), and you’ll see a graphic representation of each running application.

Flick upwards on an application, and the iPhone will remove it from the list of running applications, and force it to quit.

You can repeat this for as many applications as you’d like to kill.

The second question is more important, however: Is it worth killing applications in order to improve a phone’s battery life/performance?

The answer to this one is simple, as well: No.

You’ll find no benefit in killing a running application that you aren’t currently using because of the way iOS manages applications and their usage of the phone’s resources.

When you switch away from an application (for example, you’re browsing Facebook using Safari and you need to check your email), once you switch from Safari to the Mail application, iOS quickly suspends Safari, saving its current state.

When you switch back to Safari, iOS restores its previous state and starts it up again.

In general, you won’t save any battery power by killing applications.

On the other hand (there’s always another hand), some applications, like the Facebook app, some GPS applications, and more, consume battery life even when they’re running in the background.

For these specific apps, you might save battery life by killing them when you’re done with them.

If you’re really worried about preserving your phone’s battery life, there are many other things you can do (lowering screen brightness, disabling background refresh, and more).

For more information, check out this article (and read the comments, which also provide interesting insight): http://goo.gl/QxU81S.

Remove Flash Now

I recently heard about some Windows malware that used Flash as a means of infecting the computer.

I don’t know what Flash is, but I’d sure like to make sure I’m safe from this sort of thing. What can I do?

What can you do?

Remove Flash, and now. Just say “no.”

Any site that uses Flash deserves to not get your business.

For the record, Adobe Flash is a technology/Web browser plug-in that allows website designers to create animations, display videos, mobile applications, and more.

Developers can create sites and applications that use Flash, and the sites and applications can run on any computer that has the Flash runtime software installed.

It seems like Flash would be a useful technology, and for years, developers counted on the fact that the Flash runtime software was installed and available (or could be installed and made available) on just about every computer.

Windows PCs can run it, as can Mac computers.

This ubiquitous nature of the Flash runtime is also its downfall, as “evil” developers can flaunt security issues in Flash that make it possible to inject malware onto your computer through the running of a Flash application.

Because of the widespread use of Flash to create, well, “flashy” Web sites, it’s relatively easy for Flash to infect computers worldwide with malware.

It’s also easy to solve the problem: Remove Flash from your computer, and do it now.

Check out the article we found (http://goo.gl/CKdnE0) that describes how to remove Flash, and just do it.

Some sites will no longer work correctly, or will prompt you to install Flash.

Our suggestion? Don’t use those sites any more.

Not only is Flash a distribution vector for malware, it also can cause your computer to run slower.

Our suggestion?

Put down the paper now, turn on your computer, and follow the instructions in the reference article to remove Flash from your computer.

It may take a few minutes to do it, and you may miss the sites you were visiting that counted on Flash to make themselves look all pretty, but you’ll be removing a simple route for malware to infect your computer.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.


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