How do you close iPhone apps? Is it different on an iPhone with Touch ID and an iPhone with Face ID? As always, it is A LOT simpler than you think…

Closing apps on the iPhone is the simplest thing in the world, yet many people follow a convoluted process to “close” an app, whereby they go through each individual application and swipe up to close it inside the multitasking carousel.

You don’t need to do this. It is a complete waste of time. And this applies to ALL iPhone models – up to and including the new iPhone 15 series.

Why You Actually Don’t Need To Close iPhone Apps

So why don’t you need to close iPhone apps? Simple: if an iPhone app isn’t displaying on your screen it is effectively dead anyway. Aspects of it might be stored in memory, but the app itself is not using ANY of your iPhone’s CPU or battery power – not really, anyway.

This means you do not need to close apps on the iPhone 12, 13, 14, 15, or any iPhone for that matter. If an app isn’t displaying on your iPhone’s screen is it technically closed.

When you’re not using an app, it exists in a kind of purgatory; it’s neither here nor there basically. It just sits in your iPhone’s memory awaiting reactivation. The only exception to this rule is if an iPhone app has “Background App Refresh” toggled on. If this is the case, the app in question can reactivate itself to check things like your location data and other data.

Bottom line? Any app that isn’t being used does not take up any processing power unless it uses Background App Refresh. And even then, you can switch off Background App Refresh on iPhone by doing the following: Settings > General > Tap Background App Refresh & Toggle It To OFF.

How People Think They Are Supposed To “Close” iPhone Apps

Let’s take a look at how people often close apps on iPhones with a notch (ie: Face ID iPhone), and then, after this, we’ll look at how people close apps on iPhones with a home button (ie: Touch ID iPhone) – even though they DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS.

And as noted earlier, it is NOT possible to close all iPhone apps at once or to even close apps automatically. Your iPhone’s software takes care of all of this in the background, requiring ZERO assistance from you.

Still, you’ll often see people activate the app switcher in iOS and then swipe up on an app to get it out of the app switcher – and thus “close” the app. But this is actually unnecessary since iPhone apps don’t need manual closing. Instead when people do the described they are actually force-quitting the app, which can help if the app has become frozen.

How To Force Quite Apps on iPhones With Face ID

How in the heck do you force quit apps without a home button? Ever since Apple did away with the home button aboard the iPhone X, people have been scratching their heads over the correct way to properly force quit applications on Apple’s newer iPhones.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to force quit apps on the iPhone X and beyond. Just follow these steps:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, but pause mid-way through the gesture without taking pressure off the screen.
  2. The app switcher will now pop up.
  3. Swipe through the apps you want to force quit and swipe upwards to force quit them.

However, as you’ll find out below, there really is NO NEED to close apps on your iPhone. If the application isn’t displaying on your screen, it’s essentially not in use, so you don’t need to worry about it.

Still, if you MUST close apps on the iPhone X and beyond, this is the best way to do it (even though you don’t need to)…

How To Force Quite Apps On The iPhone SE, iPhone 8 Or Older (iPhones With Touch ID)

It’s also easy to force quit apps on iPhones with Touch ID. Just follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the Home button.
  2. The app switcher will now pop up.
  3. Swipe through the apps you want to force quit and swipe upwards to force quit them.

And that’s it!

Even Apple Says You Don’t Need To Close iPhone Apps

Yeah, yeah, I know…we’ve all seen the “real” way to close apps on the iPhone – using the force quit method outlined above. That’s how you really close iPhone apps, right?

WRONG. This couldn’t be more wrong.

“Closing” apps this way is something people who think they know something about technology close their apps and they are quick to tell their friends that this is the only real way to close an app on the iPhone. But they couldn’t be more wrong. When you “close” an app this way you are simply force-quitting an app that is already closed.

It is a myth that this is the “true” way to close apps on an iPhone and claims that closing an app this way will free up more CPU or memory or prolong battery life are completely false.

This is because these supposedly “open” apps you see in the multitasking view aren’t actually open. They’re in standby mode–all their processes shut down. Even Apple explicitly states this on their website:

“When your recently used apps appear, the apps aren’t open, but they’re in standby mode to help you navigate and multitask. You should force an app to close only if it’s unresponsive.”

You see, iOS is a very capable operating system and it can expertly manage all open and closed apps without a user needing to manually do anything. This is why iOS is the best mobile operating system on the planet.

Even Apple guru John Gruber dispelled this myth years ago (and others dispelled the myth even years before him). Writing in 2017, Gruber said:

“The single biggest misconception about iOS is that it’s good digital hygiene to force quit apps that you aren’t using. The idea is that apps in the background are locking up unnecessary RAM and consuming unnecessary CPU cycles, thus hurting performance and wasting battery life.

“That’s not how iOS works. The iOS system is designed so that none of the above justifications for force quitting are true. Apps in the background are effectively “frozen”, severely limiting what they can do in the background and freeing up the RAM they were using. iOS is really, really good at this. It is so good at this that unfreezing a frozen app takes up way less CPU (and energy) than relaunching an app that had been force quit. Not only does force quitting your apps not help, it actually hurts. Your battery life will be worse and it will take much longer to switch apps if you force quit apps in the background.”

John Gruber

Don’t take Gruber’s word for it?

What about Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi? You know, the guy responsible for iOS who knows the operating system better than anyone on the planet.

When a customer emailed asking if Apple CEO Tim Cook quits his iPhone’s iOS multitasking apps frequently and if it is necessary to do so, Federighi replied, “No and no.”

Bottom line: STOP force-quitting apps thinking you are closing them. If an app isn’t on-screen on your iPhone, it’s already closed.

Also, don’t forget to check out how to run iOS apps on Windows PCs and Macs! check out The 5 Best Note-taking Apps For Your Mac!