Managing your applications

Managing your applications

There’s an old joke about Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Lee Iacocca (Chrysler) sitting next to each other at a charity event.

Gates: “You know, if the car industry was like the computer industry, cars would cost $1000 and get 100 miles to the gallon.”

Iacocca: “Yeah, but who wants a car that crashes three times a day?” ;

Well, our hardware has gotten a lot more reliable…I haven’t seen the infamous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) in some time, and most of our devices work pretty reliably. I’d say one exception is our Wink hub, which needs to be unplugged maybe once a week so it can reset, and our

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which resets itself multiple times a week (interestingly, our Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) almost never does that).

However, I take action on our applications quite often: I would guess every day.

I recently got a question from a reader about Amazon’s native web browser on Fire tablets, Silk. This person never used Silk, but it was spontaneously showing undesired content. I explained a way to do something which was likely to help, and it looks like it did.

That got me thinking that a post like this probably made sense.

While this definitely applies to my readers who use Fire tablets and Fire TVs, it also applies to people who use the Kindle reading app on other devices.

Exactly how you get into the settings to do this varies a bit by device, but you typically get to your settings (it may be a Settings Gear, which some people think looks like a sun) and then go to Applications.

There are basically four things you can do:

  • Force stop (or more colloquially, “kill” the app)
  • Clear the cache
  • Clear the data
  • Uninstall

Force stop (no, it has nothing to do with Star Wars 😉 ) means to turn it off. This can be effective. When my CNNGO app gets stuck, force stopping it will fix it. It’s like restarting your hardware, or flipping a light switch off and then back on (the latter when you re-open the application).

The risk is quite low on this one. Conceivably, you could be in the middle of something and lose that progress, but that’s about it. On an iPhone, when it is unlocked, double push (push-push) your home button. You’ll see all of your open apps. Find the Kindle app, for example, and swipe it up towards the top of the screen.

Clear the cache means to remove what is being stored in temporary memory. Think of your app as your kitchen table: the cache is what you put on the table…food, or in our case, usually mail and packages. 🙂 This can be an issue for you. If you were halfway through a video on YouTube and clear the cache, it won’t remember you were watching it. Video apps, like Hulu and Netflix, store how far you were into a video in the cloud, so it will usually still remember. However, everything will need to reload, so it may take longer to start watching a show.

Clearing the data is a strong action, and you should use it with caution. If you have set up your account in an app, and you clear the data, you’ll have to set up that account again. The data are the kitchen table itself: clear the data, and you’ll need the build the kitchen table again. My reader didn’t use the Silk app, so clearing the data was fine. For someone who used daily, clearing the data can mean a lot of work. If you clear the data, think of it as if you just downloaded the app for the first time.

Uninstalling the app removes the app from the device. For apps you got from the Amazon Appstore, they will still be in the cloud where you can download them again. It may also say that you are going to remove it from the device. If you don’t want to own it at all any more, you would do that in your cloud typically, not on your device.

That’s about it. 🙂 I have to force stop more than one app a day, I’d say.

Update: I meant to mention that if you have “active content” on a Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader…not a tablet), you don’t have the same kind of controls. You can remove them from the device, which can help, but you don’t have the force stop, clear cache, clear data options. Also, with some things, like browsers, you may have additional granularity: removing “form data” (which autofills things like your address), cookies (little programs installed on your device to let the internet identify you…it’s why sites like Amazon can know who you are without you logging into the site each time), history (a listing of where you’ve been…the cache stores the actual data temporarily, the history just says where the data was found)…those will all be wiped out if you clear the data.

Hope that helps…

Bonus story: Amazon Instant Pickup means you can get your order…in two minutes! In this

press release

Amazon explains the new program, which you can see here:

Amazon Instant Pickup (at AmazonSmile*)

In five cities now (“… fully staffed pickup locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, Calif., Columbus, Ohio, and College Park, Md.”) with more to come, people can order drinks, snacks, and electronics, including especially some Amazon devices in the Amazon shopping app and pick up the item(s).

You also have to be an

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

member…and especially Prime for students, which is really where the marketing focus is on this.

Barnes & Noble’s college stores may take a further hit from this…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

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