Minimize on Back

App Cloner 2.3 offers a new navigation option called Minimize on Back, which you can use to control the behavior of apps when pressing Back on the app’s main screen.

By default Android will finish the app’s root activity. This doesn’t immediately kill the app’s underlying process but it does terminate the app’s activity instance. If you launch the app again it will start from scratch. We all know that some apps are better at restoring the previous instance state than others (think of a news app that first needs to reload the latest news articles).

If you clone an app with Minimize on Back set to Enabled, pressing Back will not finish the app’s root activity. Instead, the activity will simply be moved to the background. When you return to the app, it will be in exactly the same state that you left it in and nothing needs to be restored or reloaded. In other words, it’s behaving the same as switching between apps.

Of course, this does not mean the app’s process is allowed to run forever (for this you should use the Persistent app option). When Android needs memory for other apps, it will remove background processes at some point, but it’s more likely for this to happen to apps that no longer have any activities, so using this option increases the chances that your clones remain in memory for longer.

On the other hand, there are apps (such as the Firefox browser) that intercept Back events and instead of finishing their root activity they already move it to the background. This can interfere with some App Cloner options such as Clear cache on exit since the app never terminates properly. By cloning such an app with Minimize on Back set to Disabled you can force the app to be finished when pressing Back on the root activity. This in turn allows other modding options that depend on the app exiting to be executed.