iOS Users – Swiping Apps To Close Them Is A Waste Of Time

iOS Users – Swiping Apps To Close Them Is A Waste Of Time
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I’m not a compulsive app closer but my partner is. According to Mac blogger and publisher John Gruber, the practice of manually “killing” apps when they are in the background is counter-productive. He also says that Apple’s approach to managing processor and memory with inactive apps is one of the iOS’ big advantages over Android.

According to Gruber quitting applications that are in the background with iOS is actually detrimental to battery life and performance.

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.

The article also points to some benchmarking that’s been done to demonstrate how effective Apple’s approach is when it comes to handling background apps.

The main reason I don’t close them is that I can’t be bothered. I use my iPhone a lot. If I stopped to kill apps after using them I’d waste a bunch of time.

Are you an iOS user that closes apps when you’re not using them? If you are – why? Is there are a reason other than saving battery life for doing this?


  • I admit to doing this, but not as compulsive obsessive behaviour. Some apps and games I have just don’t start up properly or not at all after a freeze, so I even have to hard reset with home and on buttons sometimes for stuff to work again. Pokemon GO is a good example of this. I am on iPhone6 and this game crashes constantly. If I don’t swipe the game away it restarts itself, but not properly so I have to swipe it away regardless. In the process I swipe the rest away too just in case.

  • Is this article actually based on technical fact fro Apple or just an opinion as I am a tech support engineer and used to get many users coming to me with issues or inability opening apps and it was because they had 20+ open

  • If you have so many apps open what is the point of the app switcher, may as well just open the app from its icon again rather than search through all my open apps. I close all my apps once I completed a “task” on my phone, this is so that is easier to start a new “task” next time I pick up my phone.

  • There’s a bit of B.S. here. As Gruber states, it is quicker for the OS to switch to a suspended app then to load it fresh. That is because the OS must have the image of the suspended / running app in storage. In order for the OS to do this it must have saved the running image to storage and kept details about it in lists in working memory; this includes a screen shot of the running app. If you have 120 apps in this state, you’ll have to store all these running but suspended app images to storage and maintain a list of structures that point to those images in running memory. Now on a system that has constrained memory and storage, you will get a significant degradation in performance. Perhaps the newer phones and iPads that have more RAM, the issue is less noticble, but if you have an older iPhone with only 16GB of storage, you’re going to notice a hit.

    In summary, it depends on how much RAM and space you have available.

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