Watchdog‎ > ‎

Getting Started

To see Watchdog in action after installation, go to preferences and change the polling interval to 10 seconds and the threshold to 1% or 10%. This is a good demo mode since something will likely be flagged in a relatively short period of time. 

When complete, set the CPU polling interval and threshold to a less intensive setting. A longer interval will allow the phone to go to sleep, saving battery life. A recommended starting point is 2 minutes. The threshold is less important to battery life, but can cause extra warnings if set too low. 

Recommended settings

There are 2 starting settings to experiment with. 
  • One option would be to pick a higher CPU threshold with a low polling interval. For example, 50% at 1 minute. This will catch programs quickly, but cause higher Watchdog application usage.
  • A close equivalent would be a lower CPU threshold and a higher polling interval. 30% over 2 minutes is effectively the same as the first option, with fewer polling wakeups. 
Having a higher polling interval will cause more averaging to occur. This will allow spikes of usage to be averaged down by a quiet period immediately after.


At times, an app will have a legitimate use for background consumption of CPU resources. If Watchdog should ignore this app in the future, it can be added to the WhiteList. On the "Alerts" tab, select the app alert, then select the option to WhiteList, and never have a warning about that app again.


The BlackList feature(paid version only) is used to deal with an indispensable app that routinely screws up. Simple find the app on the CPU tab, long press on it, and select blacklist. It will ask for a threshold, which is the CPU usage that will trigger a kill.

Version differences

The lite version has advertisements. It also lacks the following features:
  • The blacklist: This is a setting you make for a particular app about when it should be auto killed.


The widget displays the idle CPU percentage from the last collection, and the number of Android apps in memory. If you select CPU usage, it will show the usage of CPU by Android apps that were not in the foreground.

Application Walkthrough


This tab includes basic stats collected during the monitoring process.
  • Last Collection - The time the collection process last ran. This can be longer than the current polling interval due to CPU sleep time.
  • CPU % spent in background apps - Sum of all CPU consumed by apps in the last collection period that is qualified as "background". This includes all the apps that are blue on the CPU tab
  • Time CPU spent off(sec) - The CPU goes to sleep quite frequently when the screen is off and the charger is unplugged. This is the observed amount of time the CPU was not running.
  • Memory - This shows the free and total RAM on the phone. Free will usually be relatively low, which is a desired feature. Free RAM is wasted RAM. Android can quickly kill idle processes if free RAM is needed.
  • CPU information - This is the summary of all CPU usage on the phone over the last collection period. The numbers are described here, and are the same as reported by top on a unix system


This tab lists all processes that were flagged as over the CPU threshold. Clicking on a listing brings up 3 options. Ignore deletes the alert. WhiteList deletes the alert, and adds it to the WhiteList. Kill will attempt to kill the process.

Whitelist is a list of apps that are excluded from setting off alerts. No matter how much CPU these apps use, they will not alert you.

When you first get an alert, you should probably just ignore it, since it likely could be a one time thing. When an app continually sets off alerts, and it is an app you want to keep, you can WhiteList it. Kill is a temporary solution, since it will be respawned by the OS shortly. And if the app misbehaved once, it will happen again.


This tab shows the list of all Android processes on the phone, foreground and background. Each entry shows the last state of the app, along with the CPU and memory usage. There is a menu option to change to sort options. A star on the entry shows that it exists in the WhiteList. A red X shows blacklisted items. Blue entries are apps that are considered by the system to be a background app. Green entries are foreground. White indicates a system level process.
Real time CPU updates the CPU page fairly often to get a good idea of current CPU users. This will cause an increase in CPU usage of Watchdog. There is also a freeze option which will pause the UI updates so you can look through the list with out it moving on you. It is still monitoring, just not updating routinely.


  • Preferences - Takes you to the configuration screen
  • WhiteList - Shows the current WhiteList contents. Long press on an item to manipulate it.
  • BlackList - Shows the current BlackList contents. Long press an item to delete. Click it to modify the current setting.
  • Help - Brings up a sub menu with various help items.
  • Restart - If the app isn't updating, as indicated by the last update being extremely old, press restart to restart the service. It is likely a task killer that killed the monitoring service.
  • Sort - Various options used to sort the CPU list.