Aside from its wonderfully awful name, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro is actually one pretty amazing Android device. At $230, the ZTE’s BVP is a tremendous value, offering a mixture of solid hardware and a healthy helping of software features to dive into. Unfortunately, not all of these software features actually benefit the user, the biggest issue most people having with the phone relating to its overly aggressive RAM management.
Why “screen-lock cleaning” is such a problem
Just like we saw in EMUI 4.1 running on Huawei/Honor, ZTE’s custom Android software (MiFavor) closes all background apps every time you turn off the display — yes, even music apps — severely handicapping the phone’s ability to multitask. They call it “screen-lock cleaning” and you might be asking yourself, “Why on earth would ZTE do this?”
Well, like other Chinese manufacturers, ZTE also has the false notion that too many apps open in the background can slow down your device — even drain battery more quickly unless they’re promptly closed. It’s one of Android’s biggest myths and the reason we saw so many people recommending those awful “Task Killer” apps back in the day. What people don’t understand is that the Android OS already manages RAM perfectly fine on its own, closing the app you haven’t used in the longest time as new apps require resources. Again, Android doesn’t need the help of 3rd party software to function properly.
There’s a reason our phones have RAM in the first place: so more apps can stay open in the background and do what they need to. Whether you’re downloading a video in the background, listening to music, or simply want to pick up exactly where you left off inside an app, having apps open in RAM is a basic smartphone function and the reason why having more of it is better to the user experience.
Ironically, this aggressive approach to RAM management can have the exact opposite effect. Here’s how your Android device suffers when background apps are closed:
- Performance – Because apps take longer to open from a cold start (instead being kept open in RAM), your device feels slower.
- Battery life – Having to open apps from scratch (as opposed to them being kept open in RAM) puts more strain on the CPU, thus negatively impacting battery life.
- Productivity – When apps are killed off prematurely in the background, you have to start apps all over again, losing your place. This can be especially problematic while playing games, attempting to multitask (listening to music), or using navigation apps.
If you head on over to the ZTE Blade V8 Pro’s listing on Amazon, you’ll see more than a few complaints about the way the phone kills music apps when the display is turned off. Whether you frequently listen to music on your device or not, this is a huge issue and effects every application.
How to stop the ZTE Blade V8 Pro from killing background apps
The good news? ZTE gives you the option to disable this terrible software “feature” for the most part, you just gotta know where to look. Here’s how you stop the background app killing madness:
- Open the Settings app
- Tap on the Power manager tile
- Select Power management for apps
- Tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right and select: App protection list
- Tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right again and select: Set all to off
This will prevent all the apps you have installed on the device from being closed immediately when you lock the phone. Now, whenever you wake up your phone, you’ll be able to pick up exactly where you left off inside of apps and games without missing a single beat. This will greatly increase your enjoyment using the ZTE Blade V8 Pro with virtually no downside.
Still doesn’t help Spotify, Pandora, and other music streaming apps
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always stop the Blade V8 Pro from killing some music streaming apps prematurely. When the screen is off for more than 15 minutes, some streaming apps like Spotify, Pandora, or others will still be automatically closed. It appears to be some kind of additional power saving feature — outside of the ones listed above — hardwired into the OS with no way to turn it off. It’s incredibly frustrating for anyone trying to listen to music longer than 15 minutes and is something that is sure to be a deal breaker. It’s entirely possible a future software update for the Blade V8 Pro will fix this issue and we’ve already reached out to ZTE to try and get something more definite.
Get rid of those annoying “high-power-consumption” warnings
Now that you’ve stopped the Blade V8 Pro from killing (most) background apps, your work isn’t over. The phone will still pester you to close apps they feel are using “excessive battery” just like what we saw on Huawei/Honor devices. I’m sure they mean well enough, but the problem is that in almost every case the notification shows you the apps you’re most frequently using.
Spend most of your day browsing Facebook? Expect to see the “high-power-consumption” notification popping up to warn you about Facebook. Watch a lot YouTube videos? Yup, you can expect to get a notification about that as well. It’s annoying at best, and only serves to make the user more paranoid about every app they have installed on the phone. Our advice? Turn it off. Here’s how:
- Open the Settings app
- Tap on the Power manager tile
- Select Fast battery drain apps
- Select Display high-power-consumption apps in status bar
- In the top right, tap on the toggle button to switch it to the OFF position for all apps (or toggle off for each app individually)
It’s always a tad bit frustrating when OEMs handicap their devices in an attempt to deliver slightly better battery life. The ZTE Blade V8 Pro is no exception. Like most smartphones to come out of China these days, the only thing holding the phone back is its software, but at least you can do something about it (mostly). We hope this tutorial will help maximizes your enjoyment with the phone and get the most you possible can out of it.