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App Vs. Widget… What’s the Diff?

Peter from Florida writes “What is the difference between an App and a Widget? Do Widgets take up more resources (memory and battery life) than Apps? Also, if I kill an App/task with an Advanced Task Killer, why does it start back up on its own? Android user.”

Hi, Peter.  Thanks for the great questions.  I’m sure that you’re not the only one who’s wondered about these things.

First off, for your basic question. 

A widget is an item on your phone’s home screen that stays open all the time so that you can just glance at it and get the information that you need without opening an app.  Many times these widgets will remain minimized until you tap them, when they will reveal much more information.  The two most common examples of these are the clock and the weather.

Frequently, for example, the weather widget will simply show the current temperature until you tap on it, then it will display more weather details.

An app, on the other hand, has to be opened to give up its goodies.

As far as your resource question goes, widgets will use somewhat more of your resources than apps, simply because your widget uses memory and battery life every time you wake your phone and view the home screen. Apps only use the resources when you open them. 

Finally, the reason that your apps may reopen after you’ve killed them is typically because they are tied to starting your phone up, or tied to another app that will cause them to automatically open when another app is opened. 

I hope that this helps!

Randal Schaffer