How To Close Apps On An iPhone (Because You’re Doing It Wrong)


Closing apps on the iPhone is the simplest thing in the world, yet many people follow a convoluted process to “close” an app–but that process actually does no good.

The Right Way To Close Apps On The iPhone

I’m going to keep this short: there are only two right ways to close an app on an iPhone (despite what you see everyone else doing, but I’ll get to that in a second). You close an app on the iPhone by doing one of the following two things:

  • Press the Home button (Touch ID button) on your iPhone, or swipe up from the bottom of the screen on iPhones with Face ID and return to the home screen.
  • Alternately, launch right from one open app into another app. The first app you launched from is the one that gets closed.

So got it? These are the ONLY two official ways to close an app on an iPhone. This is ALL you need to do to close an iPhone app.

The Wrong Way To Close Apps On The iPhone

Yeah, yeah, I know…we’ve all seen the “real” way to close apps on the iPhone. This supposed way is to double press the Home button or swipe of from the bottom of the screen and hold so the multitasking window appears that shows all of your supposedly “open” apps. Then from this multitasking window swipe up on any app you see and push it out of the screen to close it.

That’s how you really close apps on iPhone, 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 needed 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.”

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 is it 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.

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