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What Are Background Apps in Windows 10 and Should You Turn Them Off?

In Windows 10, apps can remain active in the background, even if you’re not using them.

The reason such functionality exists is because while you may not care about notifications or live updated data in the moment (because you’re not presently using that specific app), you may still want to get the most recently available information for it, or that it’s ideal that you’re aware an activity has taken place (like receiving an email). In anticipation of that inclination, Microsoft created this nifty feature for its Windows 10 OS users.

Generally speaking, the less number of apps you have running in the background, the faster your Windows 10 device can be in addition to conserving power. Windows 10 lets you “choose” which apps you want to continuously stay up-to-date in the background and highlights the fact of energy savings if fewer are on.

Windows 10 shining light on the fact that turning background apps can conserve power
Windows 10 message about conserving power if background apps are turned off.

Should You Turn Background Apps Off in Windows 10?

As with many things in life, it depends. The real question to ask is how important is it for you for certain applications to keep syncing. If you rely heavily on such applications β€” especially for work, it may make sense for those to be turned on for productivity reasons.

Otherwise, in general, it’s pretty safe to turn all background apps off, in my opinion. Not only will it help reduce carbon footprint, but prolong your device life also.

How Can You Turn Off Background Apps in Windows 10?

There are two approaches to turning off the background apps. Either you completely disable it entirely, or you individually handpick the ones you want to switch off.

Taking action on any of the two methods involves going to the same system settings location. Simply search for “background apps” in the start menu and open it up.

Approach 1: Turning off all background apps

Within the main Background Apps settings Window, there is a toggle for Let apps run in the background. Power the toggle slider to “off,” and no apps will be active in the background.

turning off all background apps in Windows 10
Turning off all background apps in Windows 10.

Approach 2: Individually Selecting Which Background Apps To Turn Off

From the same Background Apps settings described in approach 1 above, divert your attention down the screen a little bit, and you will notice a similar-looking toggle for each app β€” that you can individually turn off or back on. Use that available choice as desired. (See screenshot below.)

turning off individual apps from the background in Windows 10
As shown, Windows 10 also offers a choice to individually select an app to be turned off from running in the background.

Other FAQs

Is It Safe To Disable Background Apps in Windows 10?

Yes. Turning it off from syncing/running in the background does not mean the app will stop working or the system will malfunction. You can easily launch the app in question anytime to catch up on the latest.

What Apps Are Running in the Background?

To see the list of apps behaving in this manner, go to the background apps system settings. You can search for “background apps” in the start menu to get there.

Do Apps Drain Battery in Windows 10 When Not in Use?

Anything making a request over the internet or requiring RAM or processor or any usage from the Windows Operating System will drain the battery. However, as alluded to, Microsoft’s own language suggests that turning off any background apps can help preserve power.

Do Desktop Apps Show in the Background Apps List?

No. Using the same Microsoft reference, we can read it clearly that they do not. (See screenshot below for context that is captured from the Microsoft support site.)desktop apps do not show in the background apps list

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Summary

Background apps in Windows 10 can play an essential role if the intent behind is genuinely on the productivity side of things or immense desire of doing so because of interests and hobbies.

For the most part, they put a load on the battery, so if power savings is your end goal, you can either disable all background apps or make that decision on an app-by-app basis. Windows 10 is flexible enough to allow for both choices.

As for the ultimate question of whether to turn off the background apps? The answer to that is really a personal preference. But is it safe to do so? Absolutely!