Did you know: how Android multitasking works and the changes in L release


Android is the world’s most popular operating system, running on thousands of different devices and many different software versions, but one of its core strengths remains universal - its multitasking.

Some of you will be point out that multitasking on a smartphone is nothing new. After all, we’ve had Nokia’s Symbian operating system, allowing for apps to run in the background. That was way before the industry-transforming iPhone arrived in 2007 (and it took Apple a few more years to implement multitasking in iOS).

In this regard, Android is similar: it allows multitasking that is often described as being full, as in not limited, most often when compared with multitasking on Apple’s iOS. Basically, this means that multitasking on Android allows any program to run in the background, without any set time limits.

An app can run in a few different ways: a service, that is fully in the background; scheduled at startup, or depending on events, and so on. A key difference is that while an Android app is running in the background it can do anything that it has been granted permission for.

Android also runs processes depending on their priority. For instance, an app running in the background might not be of a high priority, but if it receives push notifications, the sound of the notification that you receive (a process) might have a higher priority, so it stays active even when the app is in the background. Other apps that don’t require such always-on ‘listeners’ are either killed and start from scratch when you try to re-open them, or get ‘frozen’ and restored when you try to reopen.

The good part is that all of this is decided by the Android system itself and by the developer of the app, so that users don’t need to worry and go into the task manager to manually kill apps.

Multitasking in Android L

With Android L comes the first big change to Android multitasking from its inception. The change is easy to see - now, you have a card-based list that you scroll through and that represents not apps, but tasks. What this means is that while previously every app had a single icon in the multitasking view, now an app can have more than one card. In practice, this means that apps like Chrome with multiple tabs open will have every tab as a separate item in the multitasking card view.



1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Android is the king of multitasking...

4. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

This new multitasking reminds me of Samsung's TouchWiz on Note 4 :p

5. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Google plan to take even more great features from TouchWiz

7. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

That's a fact. I feel sorry for those who have been bashing Samsung for TW. In reality TW has great features over any other skin and Google is probably going to take it to the whole new level. I would be bored if I'll be using stock everyday but if you have Android why not customize it and add some cool features :)

10. DefinitiveKid

Posts: 264; Member since: May 15, 2013

Sorry I have nothing against TW and I actually like it, but regarding these multitasking "cards", Samsung just got it from Android L, not the other way around. It makes sense anyway since TW is heading towards an Android 5.0 facelift, as seen on the S5 footage.

14. Awalker

Posts: 1977; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

The reason why I dislike Touchwiz is that it's filled with a lot of useless crap that slows down the phone and it looks like a child designed it. And that new multitasking was taken directly from the L preview.

29. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

I never said Google copied it. All I said it reminds me of Note 4 :)

63. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

i know the stock android as very low on feature like cutom skin but thank god google is not copying lag from Samsung TW;)

6. VyktorJonas

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

I remember reading on AP that Samsung stole it, makes sense actually cuz the Note 4 was released months after L presentation

51. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

How could Samsung "stole it" from Android , when Samsung use Android???? You iboys are pathetic. By the way L will have many things from TW but I'll never say "stole it".

66. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 889; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

FACEPALM.... Are you listening to yourself??? TW uses Android as OS.. It will have all what Android has.. "Stole???" LOL

75. jadoredez

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

You guys can't be this stupid. Just because TW uses android doesn't mean anything. Samsung uses TW, if you remember before KitKat was released, Samsung released updates to just their TW layout, it even made frontpage news on Yahoo. The update of course added features to Samsung devices through TW that were not a part of Android. So, as far as your statement, that's completely wrong.

82. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 889; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

TW is just a skin.. Without an OS underneath, TW cannot function at all.. Just like your skin cannot do any movement without muscles & bones. Android powers & drives TW. Instead of stock Android skin, you see TW. Samsung can add any number of features in its Android+TW combo which are not present in stock Android. Those features are exclusive to TW. Since all of stock android is available to Samsung, there is no stealing of any feature from Android. Samsung can also remove some features but Google will not allow that.... The update wherein only TW was updated is the update where TW gets added to the existing Android OS on device and works like normal. Consider Its like any other app update. You update the app and some new features are added. But app runs with new features because of Android underneath. And mind you.. Stop calling names.....!!!!!!!!!!!

59. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

it might be part of Google-Samsung deal...

74. manuel1992

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 18, 2013

We saw this on June 2014 on Ggoogle I/O conference, google released a developer preview of android L and touchwiz got it a month ago how can you say google took it from TouchWiz????

8. mturby unregistered

thats if Android users ever get the L update! haha!

25. bob_monkeywarts unregistered


76. jadoredez

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

That's so true, I'm an android user and one of the expectations I had was that Android would be updating their software consistently as long as you have the latest and greatest phone. However, I just read an article talking about those who will and will not get it. Remember, it took some phones like 6 months to get KitKat and they were already on Jellybean for what...like a year. That's a year and a half to almost 2 years between updates. Now iOS has already released its update, it's released two smaller updates to fix the problems they had and working on two more updates to release soon. So you mean to tell me, that iOS releases their updates, releases minor updates to fix problems, then plans on releasing two more updates afterwards and Android has yet to release Android L, which has features already seen on iOS??? Good thing I have a top of the line phone but this also means they will release the software and there will be some bugs they will have to fix and release updates fixes for, which we don't know how fast they can do so.

15. Mxyzptlk unregistered

No it isn't.

23. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's the king of multitasking in smartphones.

33. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Don't get butthurt. From the core of your heart you know that you are nothing but a sick troll.

55. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I'm not butthurt at all.

34. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Are you saying that iOS does better multi-tasking?

54. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I'm saying it isn't the king of multitasking.

58. bendgate unregistered

What you say doesn't mean anything.

64. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Nice name lolz ;)

65. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I don't take you serious

78. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

And no one takes you series in this website!!

2. amiaq

Posts: 509; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

Damn! Those back, home and recent apps icons look ugly.

3. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Having onscreen buttons is the stupidest thing, ever.

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