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FAQ

Last Updated 12/20/2010
  • What is a No-kill
    • If you have a blacklist entry setup, and am app gets detected to be killed while you are on the phone, you kill get a NoKill notification. This was due to some phones dropping calls if you killed an app while talking.
  • I was told to add app X to the ignore list. Where is it?
    • Watchdog doesn't need an ignore list because it doesn't actively kill apps(unless you're using the blacklist feature, but then you should realize what you're doing).
      Its just going to keep an eye on app X and your other apps, and let you know if one of them is using a lot of CPU while in the background. If flagged, it would still be up to you to pull the trigger. All the whitelist does on Watchdog is keep that app from getting watched. 
  • Is there a mailing list?
  • Will this drain my battery?
    • If you have it set to check every 10 seconds, then it will. Every minute would be the bare minimum for daily use.
  • Will this affect my charge rate?
    • No. The charge rate is determined by your power source. USB will charge slower than wall outlet. See prior question about battery drain.
  • It didn't kill a thing!
    • With the exception of the blacklist feature, this is NOT an automatic task killer. 
  • Kill isn't working!
    • See notes about Froyo. From the beginning, kill was a mis-named feature. Kill is really called restart. It just so happened that it terminated the app in the past. Google has fixed that problem.
  • What is a blacklist(Paid version only)?
    • If an app is constantly being flagged and you constantly kill it, let Watchdog automate that task for you. You specify a CPU level, and the process will be killed if it exceeds that CPU level while it is not in the foreground.
  • How do I blacklist an app(Paid version only)?
    • On the CPU tab, find the app you want to blacklist, long press it, and on the popup menu, select blacklist. Pick the CPU threshold for blacklist kill, and hit ok.
  • How do I change a blacklist threshold(Paid version only)?
    • Hit menu, press Blacklist. Find the entry. Click it, and a popup will appear where you can change it. To delete, long press and select delete.
  • Doesn't having all these app running slow my phone down?
    • Only if they're actually running. There is a wonderful blog post here that explains in detail what is going on. The important quote is:
      The fact that you can see an application's process "running" does not mean the application is running or doing anything. It may simply be there because Android needed it at some point, and has decided that it would be best to keep it around in case it needs it again. Likewise, you may leave an application for a little bit and return to it from where you left off, and during that time Android may have needed to get rid of the process for other things.

      A key to how Android handles applications in this way is that processes don't shut down cleanly. When the user leaves an application, its process is kept around in the background, allowing it to continue working (for example downloading web pages) if needed, and come immediately to the foreground if the user returns to it. If a device never runs out of memory, then Android will keep all of these processes around, truly leaving all applications "running" all of the time.
  • Does WatchDog save battery/make my phone last longer?
    • Not directly. The purpose is detection and notification of conditions that would cause battery drain. The user will be alerted, and can deal with the app directly. 
  • The numbers in the CPU tab don't add up to what is displayed on the summary screen background number or the widget.
    • The background percent is the sum of all the apps that are not foreground and not system. They are colored blue on the CPU tab
  • If I put both Idle and CPU usage widgets on the screen, they don't add up to 100%
    • The idle percent is the idle number for the CPU. This is all the time the CPU spent not working. The usage widget shows the amount of CPU used in Android apps that are in the background AND are not core system tasks. This is effectively the only apps that you have control over. They are now colored blue on the CPU tab
  • What does the "display all data" preference do? 
    • There are many Linux level processes on a phone. This option allows you to see them all individually. If you do not select it and "include phone processes" is checked, it will sum them all up and display them as one entry. 
  • In real time mode, Watchdog shows up pretty high.
    • This is based on the amount of data required to be gathered, stored, and processed. Normally, this averages out pretty low. But when it runs every 5 seconds, a quarter of a second can be a high percentage of CPU.
  • Watchdog isn't updating.
    • If a task manager killed Watchdog(or you selected kill on Watchdog), it will cease to function. This is the problem with task killers. There is a menu item to restart the service.
  • What do all the categories in the CPU Information list mean?
    • Look here for the CPU definitions
  • I set the timer for 2 minutes, but it seems to poll much less frequently
    • The sleep times are not based on wall clock, but on CPU run time. When nothing is running, the phone stops the CPU, stopping time. If the CPU is off, there aren't any background tasks running that need to be monitored. Monitoring based on Wall clock time would lead to huge numbers for the app that ran during the sleeping window.
  • I installed the app, it doesn't seem to do anything
    • To verify operation, set the polling interval to 1 minute, and the CPU threshold to 1%. On a typical phone, something will exceed this threshold. 
  • Why use Watchdog instead of task killers?
    • Task killers simply kill phone background processes, whether they are sleeping or active. This can result in loss of functionality, and increased task switching times. This app monitors background tasks, and alerts you if one if misbehaving. 
  • The task killers free RAM, why doesn't Watchdog do the same?
    • That you need a lot of free RAM is a common misconception. Free RAM is wasted RAM. If a sleeping application is left alive, when you switch back to it, it will pop immediately to the foreground. If you kill it, it will have to be recreated. The OS prioritizes all applications that are in the background, and can kill them at any time. So if an app you launch requires more RAM that is available, the OS can quickly dispose of idle apps to deliver the memory needed.
  • What processes are monitored?
    • All processes that are not considered to be the foreground process. This includes invisible background apps, as well as applications that are "visible" - apps that have a notification icon in the Ongoing column of the tray.
  • I keep getting notified about Navigation. How do I prevent this?
    • Watchdog doesn't make any special allowances for any app, including itself. When you follow the notification, or launch the app, you will see a list of the applications that have been flagged as over threshold. Click on the entry, and you will be given an option to either whitelist or kill the app.
  • What is the whitelist?
    • Applications that will never be flagged as over threshold. 
  • I accidentally whitelisted an item, how do I undo?
    • Hit menu -> Whitelist.   Long press on desired item and a menu will appear to remove it.
Subpages (1): Cpu Info
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