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How to find out CPU usage on Android? Top 3 methods

cpu featured

Even though most users are focused on RAM usage, this is, in fact, something that shouldn’t bother you except in extreme cases. What is of bigger importance is CPU activity, as it is a vital factor in device performance, battery consumption, and even overheating.

But ways to check on CPU usage on Android are rather scarce. Today, we are going to show you a few ways to check CPU usage on Android, with third-party apps or system resources. Learn more about this below.

It’s important to know that we are here covering system-wide CPU usage as Google prohibits access to hardware usage of apps. So there’s hardly a way you can find out what’s the per-app usage. There are some alternatives, like rooting your device and installing certain modules that overwrite system limitations, but it can be a lot for a regular user to grasp and quite a cumbersome task if you are not sure what exactly you are doing.

How to find out which app hogs CPU on your Android?

(1) Use built-in resources

They are limited but should provide you with a basic insight into the background doings of certain apps. The readings are mostly oriented toward battery usage, but you can enable the CPU activity toggle. But, firstly, let’s make an important distinction.

For example, if you play demanding, graphically intensive games and your last registered CPU activity is high, that’s OK. However, if idle CPU spikes, you should consider taking some measures concerning third-party apps that work in the background. Limiting or uninstalling them is not the worst of ideas.

If you’re not sure how to enable CPU on your Android device, follow these instructions:

  1. Navigate to Settings.
  2. Open About and navigate to Build number.
  3. Click 7 times on the number to enable Developer options in Settings.
  4. Get back to Settings and open newly unlocked Developer options.
  5. Locate the Monitoring pane below and enable Show CPU usage.

Now, you’ll be informed of the CPU activity in real time. With that, you should be able to locate and disable certain background apps from hogging your CPU immensely.

If you’re uncertain how to forcibly disable apps, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Developer options.
  3. Tap Running services or Processes.
  4. Stop suspicious apps.

Have in mind that this is effective only before the restart. With the new restart, there’s a chance that the app process you terminated will emerge again like the phoenix from the ashes.

Because of that, you should take into consideration uninstalling the troubling app. Also, if you’re sure that the CPU usage is not showing unusual spikes, you can easily disable the on-screen CPU monitoring and continue using your device just like before.

(2) Use 3rd-party apps

Now, let’s move to the real deal. Most modern smartphones come with built-in maintenance tools. However, most of the time, they’re not properly suited for advanced readings, but rather for cache cleanup and all kinds of tools that are not of much use. Antivirus apps are not really all that important or useful on Android.

Therefore, the best way to check CPU usage on Android is through specialized third-party apps. Here are the top 3 picks:

Top Apps to see CPU Usage on Android

Droid Hardware Info

droid info

Pros:

  • Most readings and system information are just a few taps away.
  • Access to camera and other sensors for detailed information.

Cons:

  • A bit limited feature-wise when compared to some other solutions.

You can download Droid Hardware Info on Play Store.

TinyCore

tinydroid

Pros:

  • Well-designed and small in size as you would expect.
  • It more looks like a built-in tool since it integrates into the system and provides you with readings in real time.
  • Stats-bar is well-placed and informative.
  • Low system footprint.

Cons:

  • As same as most similar solutions, TinyCore is somehow underwhelming when compared with the premium version, especially when it comes to customization.
  • No advanced readings in the free version.

You can download TinyCore from this on Play Store.

CPU-Z

CPU Z

Pros:

  • Probably the best CPU monitoring app you can obtain for free.
  • This app mirrors most of the features available on the PC version of the app.
  • Supports most of the available handsets.

Cons:

  • It’s not as attractive visually as some other apps.
  • Too many ads. Including video ads with pop-ups and all that jazz that can drive you mad and diminish the overall experience.

CPU-Z can be downloaded by following this on Play Store.

Conclusion

Have in mind that these tools are there just for monitoring. They are just a first step. Once you’ve learned the cause of the CPU spikes, you must manually navigate and terminate and eventually uninstall the CPU-hogging apps.

That should conclude our list and instructions. We certainly hope that you’ll find those helpful. Also, don’t forget to offer your opinions, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2019. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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