Why Does The Alexa App Keep Running In The Background?

Although Alexa works as an independent home assistant, the app works quite differently – you have to open it each time you want to get something done.

The normal routine for the Alexa App includes running in the background. While everything is okay, this particular behavior can be trouble for some users.

When the app keeps running in the background eve­n when you’re not using it, it uses up your de­vice’s memory and even makes your batte­ry run out faster.

In this guide, we’ll explain why the Alexa App keeps running in the background and give you some helpful tips to stop it from doing so.

Key Points

  • There are a few different causes why Alexa devices sometimes keep running in the background.
  • Enabling the wireless hands-free and guest modes are the most typical reasons why this happens.
  • Additionally, it could be due to the app settings, technical glitches, or outdated software.

Why Does the Alexa App Keep Running in the Background?

Your Alexa App can keep running in the background for several reasons. It could be because you use the wireless hands-free or guest mode to control the Alexa app. It could also stem from technical glitches, outdated software, or settings you previously had on your Alexa App.

An active background app like Alexa can sometimes eat up your phone’s memory, slow it down, or drain its battery. To fix these issues, we’ll guide you on how to stop the app’s background operations in the following section.

What to Do When the Alexa App Keeps Running in the Background

Here’s what you need to do. 

1. Reboot Your Smartphone

Reboot Your Smartphone

If a smartphone glitch makes the Alexa App keep running in the background, a simple reboot can fix the issue. Rebooting the device helps clear the faults an app is facing, free the RAM, and close any background running apps.

The simplest way to restart your phone is to turn it off for 10–15 minutes, then switch it back on. Do this by pre­ssing and holding the power button until a menu appears on your screen—choose the power off option. After it’s off, wait a while, then pre­ss and hold the power button again to turn it back on.

3. Disable Starting Auto Mode on the Alexa App

Yes, enabling Auto Mode to start automatically can indeed cause this issue. So, it might be time to re-configure this setting.

Turning off automatic start will ensure your Alexa App doesn’t run without your permission. You can turn off the automatic start by opening your Alexa app and clicking “More” to go to settings.

Disable Starting Auto Mode on the Alexa App

Under the Alexa Preferences, click “Auto Mode,” select “Start when you open the app” and turn it off.

Auto Mode
start when you open the app

3. Remove Background App Refresh

Usually, the background app refresh set for Alexa can make the app continue gathering data in the background even when you are not using your phone. The feature is great for the app constantly updating the weather, playing your favorite music, or navigating to help you get around town.

But if the Alexa App running in the background becomes a big deal, you should consider turning this feature off. To do so on Android, open Connections on Settings, go to “Data Usage,” and click Alexa to turn off background data.

data usage
allow background data usage

On iOS devices, open “Settings” and click on General. From there, select Background App Refresh, click on Alexa, and toggle it off.

background app refresh

4. Force-Stop the Alexa App

Though this is an aggressive way of closing an app, it is another helpful tip to stop your Alexa app from continuously running in the background. The good news is that this method fully shuts down the Alexa App and reduces high CPU usage.

To force stop your Alexa app, long-press the Alexa App Icon, click the Info Button, and select “Force Stop.” Once done, restart your phone to check if the issue is fixed.

Force-Stop the Alexa App

5. Clear App Cache

Alexa App usually stores bits of data and information that help improve its performance. But sometimes, the cache gets corrupted and does not work as intended, so we recommend clearing the Alexa App cache.

Clearing the cache can help refresh the Alexa app by preventing it from running in the background. Do this by navigating to Se­ttings on your phone, selecting Apps, and finding the Alexa App.

Clear App Cache

Now select Storage and tap “Clear cache.”

Clear cache

6. Disable Alexa Hands-Free and Guest Connect

Here is yet another interesting fact. The Alexa App keeps running in the background because it has hands-free and guest connect activated. These features grant the app permission to access your phone’s mic and device audio whenever necessary.

So, if none of the solutions works so far, the next fix is to turn off hands-free and guest-connect on your Alexa App. In addition to keeping the Alexa app from running in the background, turning these features off can greatly reduce your phone’s battery consumption.

For you to disable the hands-free mode, select the settings and click on “Alexa App Settings.”

alexa app settings

Scroll to the Hands Free-Mode and turn it off. The setting will turn off after removing the permissions.

enable alexa hands free

Then, go ahead and open the settings on your Alexa app, click account settings to open the guest connect, and toggle it off.

open the guest connect, and toggle it off

When done, save the adjusted settings and reboot your phone to ensure the changes take effect.

7. Update Alexa App

Amazon often releases free updates for their Alexa App. They do this to fix bugs or errors and boost the app’s performance. So, always make sure­ you have the newe­st version of the app from either the Play Store­ or App Store.

You must go to the Play Store to update the Alexa App on an Android phone. Click Profile, then click on Manage Device and Apps. Next, head to Manage, select “Updates,” scroll down to Alexa, and click on Update.

Manage Apps

For an iOS device, open the App Store, and on the Search bar, type Alexa and enter. Then, click on the Update when the screen loads.

8. Update Your Smartphone’s OS

People always blame the Alexa app, but you should consider your phone’s operating system. OS updates often include performance upgrades, bug fixes, and battery improvements. All these make for a more efficient device capable of improving how your phone handles background apps.

This is why you should regularly update your device to the latest software version. Before downloading the latest OS, ensure your phone is well-charged and connected to a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Once everything is in order, open your phone Settings, scroll down to “Systems,” and click on Software Update. Select “Search for Updates” and click “Download and Install”.

software update

9. Use Battery Optimization

The battery optimization feature is only available on recent Android phones and is enough to keep any app from running in the background.

For this reason, consider adding the Alexa App to the battery optimization feature. The process is quite simple! Simply open your phone settings and type optimize battery on the search bar. Next, run the battery optimization and wait to load the available apps.

Use Battery Optimization

Once the device loads the troublesome apps, select Alexa and click Allow. Note that the battery optimization settings vary from phone to phone.

10. Put Alexa In Data & Power Saving Mode

The next fix to prevent Alexa from running in the background is to deny the app permission to use data and battery unconditionally. For this fix, you’ll enable the data and power saver mode.

To allow the Alexa App data saver, open settings on your phone and search “data saver” from the search bar.

Put Alexa In Data & Power Saving Mode

Click on the data saver to load the apps on your phone. Now select Alexa and toggle it off.

select Alexa and toggle it off

Search “battery” in the settings search bar for the power-saving settings. Click on it and open App Launch.

app launch

Scroll on the list and toggle manage automatically for Alexa. Once done, restart your device for the settings to take effect.

toggle manage automatically for Alexa

11. Remove Alexa As the Default Assistant

By default, Google Voice Assistant is the digital assistant on your Android Phone. So, as the final solution, consider disabling Alexa as the digital assistant on your smartphone. 

To do this, open the settings on your phone and access Apps. Click on “Default Apps”, and tap on “Digital Assistant”.

Remove Alexa As the Default Assistant

Find Google Voice from the list, select it, and switch from the current digital assistant. Once done, restart your device.

digital assist app

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Force Quit the Alexa App?

To Force Stop your Alexa App, open your device Settings and click on Apps. Find Alexa, launch it, and then click “Force Stop” at the bottom of your screen.

If you want to force quit the app on WebOS, open your Alexa App and then long-press the three-dot button on your remote controller until a menu pops up on your smart TV. Now select the “Quit App” option to finish.

How Do I Turn Off Alexa?

At this moment, Ale­xa lacks a built-in setting for turning it off. However, you have two options to turn it off: One is by pulling out its power plug from the socket. Another is by pushing the microphone button on its top to mute it.

Why Won’t Alexa Shut Off?

The device could have some active settings preventing it from doing so. It could be muted, not connected to the internet, or simply in sleep mode, preventing it from accepting the command to turn off.

Is Alexa Always Listening and Recording?

Alexa only listens and records your voice when you speak directly to it. This means you have to use your wake word for it to start officially recording. When recording, a light ring will glimmer briefly on the device. However, the light might also come on when the device’s system is updating.

Bottom Line

Today, gadgets like Alexa are key in our day-to-day routine­s. So, if your Alexa app keeps running in the background and becomes a big frustration, you can successfully fix it by following this guide correctly. But, should the issue persist after following these instructions, consider reaching out to Amazon’s Customer Support for additional help.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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