Stop swiping up to kill your iPhone apps…

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Many people with an iPhone (and that’s a lot of people) have the wrong idea about closing apps. And once you know why, it might change the way that you use your iPhone completely.

iPhone apps don’t need to be ‘killed’

All the time, I listen to people say that they close their iPhone apps when not in use with an upwards swipe in the app switcher (you know, the list of apps that appears if you double-tap the home button).

These people close their apps completely (rather than just exiting back to the home screen) in order to remove the app and stop it running, hopefully improving battery life in the process – as the phone has less to do, right?

That all sounds great, except that pretty much none of those apps that you’ve been swiping up on are actually open. They’re just images of apps that you have opened up before. You can think of it just like a list of graphical bookmarks for moving between apps.

iOS, which is the mobile operating system that runs on iPhones and iPads, is intelligent enough to kill the open apps on its own, and it always has been.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t occasions when you should manually close an app, but generally there’s no need to force an app to close unless it’s unresponsive, says Apple..

“Some apps will run for a short period of time before they’re set to a suspended state”, Apple’s documentation states. “This means they’re not actively in use, open, or taking up system resources. When you return to these apps, they’ll open instantly”.

In fact, here’s a great article from Lifehacker that explains why manually killing apps may make your battery life worse:

By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM. While you think this may be what you want to do, it’s not. When you open that same app again the next time you need it, your device has to load it back into memory all over again. All of that loading and unloading puts more stress on your device than just leaving it alone. Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you. You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor.

So next time you’re tempted to close all your ‘open’ iPhone apps, just don’t…

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5 Comments

  1. effingreat on

    I’m sure Apple has no hidden agenda to keep us from closing processes. Rrrriiigggghhttt.

  2. So what if I want to manually increase the available RAM for a memory intensive application I’m starting? Personally I never close apps to increase battery life, I do it for performance reasons.

  3. And that is the frustrating thing about the supposedly “advanced” IOS operating system. A 64 bit OS that doesn’t multi-task because it “intelligently closes” what it decides are unused apps. I can’t download a movie from Vudu while reading email or talking on the phone because it stops the Vudu app when I switch. I have to leave the app open and on the top. Background processing is something a “dumber” Windows has allowed me to do since at least the early nineties. I did the idiot move of “upgrading” from my Windows phone to the top of the line iPhone 6 Plus 128 gig because I believed the BS about how wonderful it is and I have never been so frustrated in my life with how junky and clunky this OS is. (I don’t have all day to list all of the frustrations like the autorotate that doesn’t….) Now I’m stuck with this POS for two years.

  4. Apple – “This means they’re not actively in use, open, or taking up system resources.”
    Lifehacker – “By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM…iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you.”

    So my understanding is that it is not “actively taking up resources” but it is taking up resources. Then you are dependent on iOS to close apps as you need more memory. At the time you need more memory, it is quite possible you have to wait for that process to occur, possibly causing unusual lag. I say, let people be janitors if they choose. Heck, even give them a “close all apps” button at the top of the close apps screen. Nope, do it Apple’s way and then get their following to say, “Do it Apple’s way – they know best.”

  5. Sean Buckman on

    Great article, this can be said about any mobile platform. Check the apps that are using memory, those are the only ones that would affect the phone by closing them and only if most of your memory is being used. Although, it does get a bit crazy looking for a single app in a giant list, I usually clear mine just so it isn’t so haywire.