Stop force-closing apps

Explanation courtesy of Lifehacker:


My friend does this compulsively. I would send her this video but that would only entrench her further. Total polarity responder.

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Hey, it’s Apple’s fault for making the gesture so pleasant. (I don’t actually force close apps.)


I do it every once in a while as a means of fidgeting, even though I know better.

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I only close apps when the leave private or sensitive information visible.

I suppose it’s not surprising that a 90 second video on this would be oversimplified.

I still force close “bad actor” apps - ones that run too often in the background and consume more power than I’d like. Apple Notes is one of the worst offenders here. I have an iPad mini that I use for ebook reading and, occasionally, for taking notes on what I’m reading. I’ve seen Apple Notes, brought up once and then left in the background, halve the battery life of the device. Of course it depends on the usage pattern, what else is running, and more. But, still, force closing is only mostly a bad idea, not always one. Another app that I see occasionally being a problem is Spark. Why? No idea. Maybe it gets confused by the intermittent connectivity around here.

Overall apps like these that have gotten a lot better over the years. The great thing about the Battery section in Settings is that there are tools now to identify the exceptions.

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I want a force close all gesture!


I force close apps on my iPad all the time. It’s not because I think that I gain any performance benefit from it, but it’s because the way that app spaces are ordered by most recently used. If I am working with a set of apps and have to one one that’s not a part of that work, then after that the latest one is sitting at the head of the list, which I find bothersome at times. It’s easy to get rid of the problem by just flicking the interloper away when finished with it.

Also, some apps simply don’t refresh properly unless they’re forced to restart.


That hasn’t been my experience. I suspect that the problem with Notes is that it just Never Shuts Up. Second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day it’s doing its sync thing in the background. On a device that sees a lot of other use and gets charged at least daily it may not be that noticeable. On a device like the one that I’ve repurposed as an eReader that sees more casual use and charging it can be (and is for me if I leave it running) the dominant source of battery use. Even on my phone, which may have dozens of apps listed in the battery section, Notes is always one of the top few entries. It’s low on screen time but high on background activity.

Articles with advice on decreasing energy use at home always emphasize the importance of “energy vampires.” Those are devices that may not use much power at any given time but are always using something and so have an outsized impact. Notes, for me, is the energy vampire of iOS. Get out the garlic!


Aren’t the resources that the phone uses to shut down/restart negligible?

That said, my phone used to always get hot when I left the camera app open, closing it would immediately cool the device. This has since been fixed, but I still close it if I notice its open.

Just checked and the camera app was open/frozen and I left it there…

I usually explain it to people like this:

Yes, you can close apps like that, but I can also put you to sleep by hitting you over the head with a baseball bat. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you. There is a good chance you’ll forget something and never be the same afterwards. It’s best to let you decide when you are ready for sleep.


One thing I always try to keep in mind with these discussions is that it all depends on how the software has been written. iOS has been designed to put apps to sleep and save energy. iOS apps should be designed to behave gracefully if force-quit. Some apps might try and abuse things, true, but even if everyone is playing ball it just doesn’t work out as intended all the time because of bugs in both the software and in iOS, (and also due to corruption of system memory etc… I think…).

If I am using an app that needs all the resources my iPhone 6 has to offer then I get noticeable, repeatable, improved results by force-quitting other apps. Sometimes life just doesn’t follow the plan.

I force-quit Instagram when I am “done” using it because it mentally helps me switch away from social media mode and also I don’t trust Facebook apps not to do a lot of things in the background :eyes:


Hi guys, first time commenter here! I’m revisiting a commonly debated issue among some friends. I was just participating in a recent Zoom webinar and was noticing my MacBook Pro fan was going a little bit nuts. I was running a bit of audio processing at the same time, but nothing too big. The moderator in the webinar suggested I close any “unnecessary” apps on my laptop, which of course made a lot of sense to me. I’m not really questioning the difference between iOS and macOS processing, but it just seems like closing anything that could “possibly” be working in the background (especially social media type apps) would be beneficial - no matter the OS! Any further thoughts on this older thread? Thanks and stay safe!

I wish there was a way to pin specific apps into a certain scene and have it remain that way. I also wish there was a way to setup a shortcut to put it back together after my 4yr old decides to play with the iPad for a while.


Closing apps can be helpful on macOS because macOS apps can do whatever they want in the background, use all the CPU, mess with window switching, etc. It’s a much more permissive environment. And that’s good — you want to have computing environments like macOS where an app can do intense work in the background for you! It just means you also have to manage it a bit more.

IOS doesn’t allow that at all, just very limited work like responding to location data and maybe downloading files from a sync notification. Apps that don’t obey the rules get killed by the system, if they even make it through App Store review in the first place. You would never see a benefit to the app you’re currently running from closing other apps, and you typically would hardly save any battery life from preventing background syncs. You would save a little more battery by denying background location access to an app, but that would happen regardless of whether you closed it.

Also, the list of recent apps in iOS doesn’t show you whether the app is suspended or killed. It’s different from the cmd+tab list in macOS which will only show open apps.

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Nah. I’m gonna keep doing it. It’s my ultimate figit spinner.

Now that I just found out you can do a multi-touch force close the goal is to
force close 4 apps at a time on a 10 S Max screen. It’s tricky but so rewarding.

Someone should create a game based on force closing. It’d sell like crazy.

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Apple’s iOS chief Craig Federighi disagrees with you.

Apple: own support document says, “When you double-click the Home button, 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 when it’s unresponsive.”

Also see ‘The Force-Quit Fallacy’:

As Gruber wrote,

In fact, apps frozen in the background on iOS unfreeze so quickly that I think it actually helps perpetuate the myth that you should force quit them: if you’re worried that background apps are draining your battery and you see how quickly they load from the background, it’s a reasonable assumption to believe that they never stopped running. But they did. They really do get frozen, the RAM they were using really does get reclaimed by the system, and they really do unfreeze and come back to life that quickly.1

An awful lot of very hard work went into making iOS work like this. It’s a huge technical advantage that iOS holds over Android. And every iPhone user in the world who habitually force quits background apps manually is wasting all of the effort that went into this while simultaneously wasting their own device’s battery life and making everything slower for themselves.

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I support that reason. :slight_smile: I like to drag the black bar up just enough to get the haptic click when the line of app screenshots join together, let go, and repeat.

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For at least one app I use I force quite it multiple times a day. If I don’t the display stats to get weird as in buttons not displaying etc. Developer can’t quite figure it out, it’s not a repeatable bug but it does happen so I just get in the habit of force quitting after I use it. The app is Solitaire City by Peter Wiseman.