Force stop Vs. Disable on Android (Everything you need to know)

Force stop Vs. Disable on Android (Everything you need to know)

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Your phone freezes when you’re playing your favorite game, watching a movie, or going through your social media feed. You attempt tapping or swiping the screen, but nothing happens. The app suddenly and unexpectedly froze.

If you look at the app settings on your Android device, you’ll notice two options: force stop and disable. Many consumers are unsure which is the best one to utilize.

The numerous apps operating on your Android phone may cause excessive alerts, as well as overuse of resources such as RAM and storage, slowing down your device. You can force stop or disable some apps to assist address this problem. But which one is a better and more appropriate option? 

The answer to this lies in understanding what each of these mean individually and what are the differences. This is exactly what the article is about!


Force Stop on Android – What is it?

The Linux kernel is at the core of Android, controlling memory, processes, and many other resources. Every time you run an app, a Linux process is started.

A process is a program’s container (app). The kernel starts it and uses it to distribute system resources (memory and CPU time) among all running programmes. Each process has its own PID (Process ID), priority, address space, and physical memory pages, as well as information on its state: running (or runnable), sleeping, stopped, and zombied.

The kernel’s job is to schedule CPU time and memory for the process. The kernel allocates CPU time to each running process. A process that is sleeping (for example, waiting for network data) does not get any CPU time. 

This juggling of processes occurs at a millisecond level, giving the appearance of fluidity and numerous programmes operating simultaneously.

When an app exits, the kernel cleans up all resources used by the app (open files, RAM, etc.) and deletes the app’s process.

Each app has three states: running, paused, and stopped. These are distinct from the Linux process states and represent the Android “Activity Lifecycle”. Activities in your app go through multiple states as a user navigates through, out of, and back into your app, according to Google.

Android is unique in that it never immediately kills an app. Instead, it terminates the process in which the activity is running, killing both the activity and the process. It may do this to free up RAM, or a user may force stop a process via the Application Manager.

After transitioning to the paused state, an app will either be destroyed by Android or remain in the background until the user brings it back to the foreground. But if something goes wrong, the app may misbehave. It may cease responding to particular events, become trapped in a loop, or simply behave erratically.

This may necessitate killing the app and restarting it. Force Stop destroys the app’s Linux process and cleans up the debris!

Force Stop is suggested when trying to solve a misbehaving program because it 1) kills the presently operating instance and 2) prevents the app from accessing any cache files, leading to step 2: Clear Cache.


Disable on Android – What is it?

Disable simply means to completely shut off an app in a mobile phone, and it will look as if the app no longer exists in the phone.

On an android phone, you can only disable pre-installed apps like the Google apps. You cannot disable apps you downloaded from the Google play store or any other third party website.

Immediately you disable any of the pre-installed apps from your android phone, the app will be partially removed from your phone. This simply means that you cannot see the app in the app drawer but rather when you go to the app manager.

This defines the difference between force stop and disable on an android phone.

For example, you want to disable the google play store on your android phone. You get started by opening the settings app, scroll down to apps and click to open it.

Locate Google Play Store on the list and tap to open, below you will see three options which include open, disable and force stop.

Tap on disable and it will give you a warning notice, tap disable app and that’s it. The Play Store will be disabled from your android phone.

If you go to your app drawer, you will see that the Google play store won’t be there, and if you search the play store app on your android phone, still you won’t be able to find it.

You can only view the play store app when you go to settings >> apps, and locate the google play store app. On opening the app, you will see the turn on option.

Turn on the play store app, and it will start running in your android phone, and you will see the app in the app drawer.


Force stop Vs. Disable on Android

What’s the difference between “disable” and “force stop”? Disable will completely close an app on a mobile phone and the app will also disappear from the “Apps” menu. Force stop only stops an app from running on a mobile phone background.

A disabled app won’t get updates, but a forced app will get updates even though the app is stopped and can’t run in the background.

In this case, when you disable an app, that app is completely turned off. You can’t use that app anymore, but you can still use it if you turn it back on.

Force stop, on the other hand, stops the app from running. You will still be able to get to the app drawer and use the app whenever you want. Something to keep in mind is that some system apps will restart even if you force stop them.

if you disable an app on your mobile phone, the app won’t work at all on your phone. It won’t run while you’re using your phone, and you won’t be able to see it in the app drawer.

Looks like you have removed the app from your mobile phone, and you can only see it when you go to the app manager.

As soon as you force stop an app on your mobile phone, the app won’t be running in the background. You can still see the app in both the app drawer and the app manager.

If you force stop an app on your phone, the app won’t work until you open it in the app manager. When you’re in force stop, you can open the app from the app drawer or even the app manager.

Disabling an app means that you don’t use the app on your phone at all. It doesn’t show up on the Home screen or in the app drawer. You have to turn it back on in the app settings to be able to use it again.

In most cases, when you disable an app, all of the app’s data is removed from the app’s cache and memory. This usually means that the app’s updates are also removed. The result is that only the original version of the app is still on the phone, which stops the app from working properly.

The term “force stopping an app” means to stop it from running on your phone or tablet. Applying the option will stop all the things that are going on with the app right away.

Force stop doesn’t remove the app from the Home screen or the app drawer.


Clear Cache on Android – What is it?

Cache files are used by applications to store temporary files, pre-processed files, or local copies of files downloaded from the internet. Each app has its own working directory.

Here’s the idea. If an app downloads files or data from the internet, downloading the same assets repeatedly would be a waste of bandwidth and time. Instead, any Internet files can be downloaded once and then cached. The app can periodically check for valid temporary copies and refresh the cache if necessary.

Another example is if the programme wants to process a file, possibly decode or decrypt data. Rather than decoding or decrypting each time the programme launches, the app can do it once and keep the result in the cache. If the programme needs to refresh its cache, it could check the file’s validity.

Because Android can erase temporary files when a device’s storage is limited, the app shouldn’t rely on them being present. It merely re-downloads the data or processes the files again, creating fresh ones in its cache.

The app data directory allows apps to store files permanently. Unlike the cache directory, this is for app-owned files. Since Android can delete cache files without telling the app, users can safely delete them using the “Clear Cache” button!

This can assist fix problematic apps by forcing them to recreate their temporary files, giving them a fresh start. This usually fixes the issue if the problem was with a temporary or cached file.

Tap on “Storage” or “Storage & Cache”, depending on Android version and OEM skin, to find the Clear Cache button.

Clearing the cache also frees up storage space. If you are low on internal storage, deleting all cached data can assist.



In the case of user-installed software, you should use force stop rather than disabling. Disabling is not suggested for apps that are so often used. Despite the fact that you may uninstall unwanted bloatware (pre-installed software), don’t do it for essential system apps.

Rather than disabling an app on a mobile phone, it is best to force it to stop it, as disabling it is a step closer to removing the app from the phone entirely. In the event that an app is disabled, it will no longer get updates from the Play Store.



When is it okay to force stop an app?

When you try to force stop an app, the confirmation prompt usually includes a warning saying, “If you force stop an app, it may misbehave.” This is ironic since you force stop an app in the first place because it is misbehaving, and the operating system isn’t doing anything about it.

Normally, when everything is working the way it is supposed to, an app will jump from one activity to the next as you use it. When you’re done using it and close it, the operating system removes it from memory because it’s no longer needed.

Some apps, like weather or WhatsApp, can stay running in the background and come to the foreground when prompted. But if something goes wrong, the app can lag, freeze, crash mid-use, constantly restart, not open, or any combination of these unpredictable actions.

In such a case, force-stopping a misbehaving app can be handy because it kills all currently running processes of that app. This renders the app unable to access its cache files. Since the app can no longer interact with the resources on your device, it stops reacting.

Will I lose data if I force stop an app?

If an app is misbehaving, force-stopping it usually solves the problem. However, you should think twice before pressing that button. If you’re doing something essential, you’ll almost certainly lose any unsaved data in the programme.

For example, suppose you’re playing a game and the app crashes. You kill the programme by using the Force Stop button. In that circumstance, whatever game progress you made right before closing the programme may be lost since it was unable to be saved to the app directory or cache files.

Simply waiting is a simple approach to avoid this. Excessive RAM utilization can frequently cause your device to stall, which is likely if you’re playing a graphic-intensive game on a mid-range phone. To avoid this, simply waiting a few minutes can unfreeze the device without causing you to lose your progress.

Can I force stop all apps at once on Android?

There are apps available on the Play Store that allow you to terminate and force stop numerous apps at the same time.

Though you can use these apps, it is recommended that you look through the list of apps in your phone’s settings and force stop only those that you are certain you do not need. It’s a better option than downloading “app killers” from the Play Store.

How do I disable an app that cannot be disabled?

You can check whether the option to disable an app is available or has been grayed out by the manufacturer. It’s also possible that the disable option is not there.

If you need to disable an app that can’t be disabled particularly the system app, you may have to root your device first. This can prove to be risky such as voiding your phone’s warranty and rendering the mobile useless.

Is disabling an app the same as uninstalling it?

Disabling an app on Android is different from removing it.

In order to disable an app, you must remove it from the app drawer and the home screen. However, the software remains in the phone’s memory and takes up space. To get it operating again, all you have to do is enable it in your phone’s app settings.

When an app is uninstalled, it is completely removed from your smartphone and the occupied space is freed up. In order to get an app to work on your phone, you must reinstall it.

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