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How to Quit a Multitasking App in iOS 4

By Louis Trapani - Posted on 22 June 2010

Multitasking has come to the iPhone, well it was there all along, but only for Apple apps, now with the release of iOS 4 any app can be developed to take advantage of it (if your iPhone supports multitasking).

This is great. Just double tap the home button to switch between running apps (and recent apps). After a day using iOS 4, I realized I did not how to quit an app that remains multitasking in the background. For example, an app that is geared for traveling has no real benefit running in the background while at home.

After poking around the net, I discovered you can quit an app by doing the following: Double tap the home button to bring up the multitasking tray or dock. Tap and hold the app you want to quit and remove from the tray. After a second or two, a red badge with a minus symbol will appear on the icon. Tap the minus symbol to quit and remove the app(s) from the multitasking tray. You can also swipe your finger left or right to quit all the current apps altogether.

This is good to know. Even though Apple has optimized how multitasking works in iOS 4 not to drain the battery much, there is no sense leaving apps running in the background if they are not needed.

Posted via email from Louis Trapani's Posterous

Yes, I absolute agree that there is no sense to leave apps running in the background if they are not needed. After using iOS4 for less than a day, this has become very annoying and counter-productive.

I can't figure out why apps like Phone, Messages, Calculator etc are left in the multitasking bar and not totally quit. If the multitasking bar is also a place to find the recently opened apps, I feel that this is so unnecessary because who cares which about recently opened apps on a small mobile device? It is not difficult to find the app I want so no need to keep the recently opened apps in the phone memory.

I think most apps do really quit after closing them. Their last state just gets saved somewhere in the memory, but they don't use any more CPU cycles and therefore don't drain the battery. Also less frequently used apps will get pushed further to the right as your are using different apps and will not be in your way when switching between the most important apps.
I still find it very useful to always have access to the list of the most recently opened apps for copy & paste purposes. That saves me some time.

Still it should be possible to be able to see which applications are really running in the background using up resources.

Louis Trapani's picture

Yes, I agree. It is handy having access to recently used apps. The apps that save their state are the ones that are iOS4 aware and have that feature enabled. Otherwise, it is simply a list of recently used apps unless they are doing some sort of task in the background.

That was the case for me when I first sought out how to quit apps staying in the background unnecessarily. By this I mean, I was using a certain app used for street navigation that would monitor your location even after you close the app, running in the background so it could alert you of situations as you drive. While useful on the road, I felt it was just wasting processes and battery by running in the background if I was at home. So I wanted a way that I could quit the background task of monitoring my location when it was no longer needed.

Am I the only person that sees the fact that you cannot close an app without being in the "Multitasking tray" a complete failure on the execution of this feature? It's now like the way Windows Mobile was where you didn't actually quit a program when you closed it. You had to go to running tasks and close it from there. (Yes I am aware that there were program mods that allowed you to close it right away, but that was not how Windows Mobile was originally programmed) I use on average about 13-15 apps daily (when you include the Apple Apps like Mail, Calender, Phone, iPod, etc, the programs you could already multitask with), and most of them do not need to be running, albeit paused, in the background. They better figure out a way to choose to close the program without it just minimizing to the multitasking tray. Make it an option in the Settings or make it when you hold down the menu button for 2 secs when you're closing an app it will close completely. Like I said before, if they don't fix this, I personally consider not a beneficial feature.

I totally agree. I even tried holding down the home button, like you said.

C'mon Apple! You got this together on the Mac!

...hoping we're all just missing some simple thing...

Louis Trapani's picture

Most apps are not running in the background when not needed. iOS4 aware apps will save their state (if the developer enabled it) in the background when is not running or multitasking. Most other apps you see in the multitasking tray which are not multitasking in the background or in a saved state are simply aliases to most recently used apps. You can use the multitasking tray as a feature to access your most frequently used apps that way without having to page through screens or open up folders now.

So far the only time I really needed to quit an app that was multitasking in the background unnecessarily was an app that was using location services (for mapping or navigation on the road) after I got home. Since I didn't need that app's services anymore, I didn't need it multitasking in the background. Other than situations like that or if an app is not behaving as expected, are the times I actually need to quit them for sure using the multitasking tray x-out option.



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  Posted via email  from Louis Trapani's Posterous  © 2009 Louis Trapani© 2010 Louis Trapani© 2009 Louis Trapani It took a few attempts, but I finally got a clear shot of the Statosphere at night without using a tripod.

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