How to use the Auto Start Manager app on the ASUS ZenFone 2

The ASUS ZenFone 2 sure comes with a lot of apps pre-installed. Some of us aren't happy about that, some of us love them being there, but most of us will use a few and do what we can do to get the others out of sight. Thankfully, that's pretty easy to do on the ZenFone 2. But some apps can only work effectively when they are pre-installed with special permissions by the manufacturer on a phone that's not rooted. The Auto Start Manager app on the ZenFone 2 is a good example.

it's a simple idea — select which apps are allowed to start on their own, with no interaction from the user (that's you and me). To do this, you need elevated permissions, but since it's a system app directly from ASUS it can have those permissions without you having to root your phone. Other apps are able to do the same thing, but they will need root to do it.

Open the Auto Start Manager app and you'll see it's pretty self-explanatory. You have two tabs — one with pre-installed apps and the other with apps you've downloaded and installed yourself. Beside each is a toggle. Slide the toggle to the left to deny the permission to auto-start, or slide to the right to allow it. There's also a "Master switch" at the top that will deny permission for all the apps in the list. You can also open the apps settings and revert everything back to the way it was before you started using the Auto Start Manager app. Also, by default, all apps are allowed to auto-start.

Auto Start Manager app

There's good reason for this. Oftentimes, a developer has to allow his or her app to start on it's own to do the things it needs to do. Checking for notifications, for example. Even push notifications often require part of an app to be alive and checking for whats called a heartbeat. If you don't allow these apps to start when they need to start, some of the features may not work. Ideally, these apps will be closed when they no longer need to be awake and free memory is needed. In theory, it's OK to let apps run when they need to run.

Apps that aren't in your phone's memory will take longer to open than apps that are. This is where people tend to want to micromanage their phone's memory. When apps you aren't going to be using very often want to stay open, they use memory that could be used by the apps you will use more often. When that happens, things can feel sluggish while waiting for a big app to load. There's a lot going on behind the scenes as far as memory management on Android goes.

If you're a casual user, you will probably never adjust these settings. That's OK, everything will work even if you're waiting a second or two for the YouTube app to open. But more advanced users — ones that know which apps need to stay open and which ones they can shut down — can fine-tune these settings by hand. That's what Android is all about.

Auto Start Manager

We're not trying to scare anyone away from tinkering with the Auto Start Manager app. In fact, if you're the type of person who likes to read about Android on the Internet, you should take a look at it. It's easy to undo all the changes if you think you've created a mess of things. Changing settings by hand is a far cry from apps that automatically kill every background task, so don't think of it as just another task killer.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I denied only Firefox and the Kindle app. Firefox is my backup browser and I don't use Kindle. Posted from my Asus ZenFone 2.
  • Kindle does use a bunch of memory in the background. Still using the Sprint GSIII on FreedomPop Unlimited for $19.99
  • It came pre-installed on the ZF2. I use Google Play Books. Posted from my Asus ZenFone 2.
  • The Zanfone sadly has tons of bloatware installed. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 2013
  • A lot of which can be deleted Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is true. Posted from my Asus ZenFone 2.
  • That's true but for an unlocked phone and the huge amount it already comes installed. Kind of a mess. But a majority can be uninstalled but still haha Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 2013
  • Which bloatware apps cannot be removed?
  • Greenify Posted via My G2
  • An interesting thing to look at is just how much certain things like this, Greenify, Amplify (an Xposed module to reduce wake locks) really have on a device's battery life. Unless something really drastic happens (once I had Plume decide to start going crazy for no reason), I'm convinced a lot of these are placebo. People think it's the use of these apps that is improving battery life, when in fact it could just be a slightly different usage scenario. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just because you have zero knowledge doesn't mean they are a placebo.
    Greenify "freezes" apps and they background operation to prevent them from using the CPU's while the main app is not in use
    It saves a lot of power, especially for root users.
    This ASUS app is good because it does similar things but doesn't involve rooting.
  • I do use Greenify and understand what it is designed to do, but I still question just how much battery it saves in the long run. Task killers in general have had a bad rep on Android, and while Greenify works a bit different, it's still designed to somewhat do a similar thing (kill background processes). I'm not saying it's completely ineffective, but just how much does it really help in the long run? Perhaps I'll do some tests with Greenify enabled and disabled and go from there. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It really depends on the app. Usually, "Devhux" is correct as apps don't use much of the battery "in the background". Most of the time, they only use RAM which is managed by the OS and is intended actually to save battery and load time (search for "android task killer myth") .
    Even the title of the tool isn't so great "disable ... to save memory". The moto of Android/Linux is "unused memory is a wasted memory". If you buy an expensive device that has tons of RAM (which is always turned on), why not use as much of the RAM as possible ?
    I keep seeing people swipe each task from the recent tasks just because of this myth.
    Those tweaker/booster tools usually don't help a lot. The only reason to use this tool is if you really think the chosen apps are problematic or have annoying bugs. In this cases, I'd prefer to actually disable/uninstall them.
  • Tell that to the people who subscribed to GPMAA and had the Play Music App starting up on boot and destroying their battery. Really, you're only half-right. You're also half-wrong. And "Unused Memory is wasted Memory" is not some Linux/Android Motto. It's something people have been saying for decades to explain the benefits of caching data in to free RAM. This is something every modern operating system has done, even before Linux and Android existed. You could even load applications like this on DOS machines (and TSR applications were popular back then for this very reason). But the fact that it's good to cache into free RAM does not mean that it's okay to load active application services into RAM and let them run in the background, on a Memory and Power-limited system like a smartphone or Tablet. There's a distinction that needs to be made between caching application data and loading + running background services. Google Play Music running on boot in the background and destroying people's batteries (something it did for MONTHS before Google Fixed it)... That wasn't "cached data" (i.e. similar to loading the executables into a RAM Drive for fast load times IF it's run by the user). That was the application loading and running on boot, like anything in the "Start Up" folder on a Windows Machine. Completely different situations. What this tool is there to do is stop application SERVICES from running themselves, because Android does not give the user ANY control over this process. On a desktop OS like Windows, you can do this through Startup section of the Task Manager (formerly in MSConfig). This is a tool equivalent to that for their Android phones. This is a good tool. A tool like this is not needed on a platform like Windows Phone or iOS. It is certainly useful on Platform like BBOS10 and Android. Those who don't care, will not care and will not use it. Those who do, will, and will benefit because of it.
  • Need this feature in stock Android. Almost every app installed from the play store runs during startup sucking on the memory uselessly. Posted via the Android Central App, Lollipop 5.1 / White Nexus 5 (32GB)