If your iPhone or iPad is running slowly, it’s tempting to “force quit” any apps you’re no longer using. It seems to make sense: manually close apps in the App Switcher so they don’t keep running in the background, using up precious system resources. This is a common practice amongst iOS users, and even occasionally advised by a bona fide Apple Genius. But here’s the secret, folks: not only will manually closing apps do nothing to improve performance, it will actually slow down your device and waste battery life.
This is not breaking news; it’s been known for years now that manually shutting down backgrounds apps does nothing for the speed of iOS. But as noted by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, it’s a concept that just won’t die: “The single biggest misconception about iOS is that it’s good digital hygiene to force quit apps that you aren’t using.” Unfortunately, that logic is just plain wrong and misunderstands how iOS works. All those apps you see in the App Switcher aren’t using up system memory; they’re “frozen,” freeing up resources for other things.
It’s not necessary to understand the technical details, or the systems iOS uses to pause and unpause background apps to automatically free up system memory. All you really need to do is trust iOS to handle this stuff for you. Apple has put a lot of effort into making its multitasking systems super efficient, and the result is that apps can reload from paused much quicker than Android devices can. It’s a huge selling point of iOS, but is effectively negated every time you manually force quit your apps.
Removing paused apps from the App Switcher forces iOS to load them from scratch next time, which is a much bigger drain on system resources (and battery life) than simply using your device as intended.
Of course, if an app freezes up and becomes unresponsive, it can be useful to manually quit and reload it using the App Switcher – but that’s the only real use case. There’s no need to do it all the time.
Tell your friends, and let’s kill off this long-running misconception about force-quitting apps.