Stop Force Quitting Your iPhone Apps

It’s a complete waste of your time and it’s only harming your battery life.

Ever since I got my first cell phone in 9th grade, I have been absolutely terrible at remembering to charge it.

So terrible, in fact, that I’ve considered making it my go-to answer to the classic “What’s your biggest weakness?” question that always gets asked on job interviews.

(note: I’m kidding. I would never actually consider making that my answer. It’s embarrassing. Plus, we all know the only way to answer the weakness question is with something really vague like “organization” or just totally flip it on its head and go with, “I work too hard.” Such a weird question.)

In all seriousness, though, a perpetually dying cell phone sucks. So, I do what I can to combat the problem. And for years, the main weapon in my arsenal has been the good ol’ “Force Quit Swipe.”

Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Open the “app switcher view” or “multitasking menu” by double-tapping the home button.

The “app switcher view” or “multitasking menu”.

Step 2. Swipe through your apps like it’s a game of Fruit Ninja

Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe.

Whether you’re the guy whose phone is always dying like me or the girl who somehow never drops below 50%, chances are you do this, too (if you have an iPhone).

Sadly, as I only recently discovered, we’re all completely wasting our time. The “Force Quit Swipe” doesn’t do shit.

The Misconception

Most of us believe the apps that appear in our multitasking menu are still running in the background, draining battery and slowing down our phones in the process.

Not true.

According to a former Apple technician, “The truth is, those apps in your multitasking menu are not running in the background at all: iOS freezes them where you last left the app so that it’s ready to go if you go back.”

Diving Deeper

For a more thorough examination of what actually occurs inside your phone, take a look at this diagram from Apple’s app programming guide. It depicts the various execution states for apps on iOS:

And here is a description of each state:

The three that we’re concerned with here are Active, Background, and Suspended.

When using an app, it is active. It’s using CPU and memory.

Once you press the home button, that app enters the background state, where it stays for a very short period of time before transitioning to the suspended state.

(note: some apps have exceptions and will remain in the background state for longer. These would include an app downloading a podcast, music being played, and a navigation system keeping track of your location)

So, basically, anyone aggressively force quitting every app in sight is treating suspended apps like active ones.

To add insult to injury, there’s reason to believe that force quitting apps actually worsens battery life. Here’s that same former Apple technician to explain:

By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM . While you think this may be what you want to do, it’s not. When you open that same app again the next time you need it, your device has to load it back into memory all over again. All of that loading and unloading puts more stress on your device than just leaving it alone. Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you. You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor.

It’s like turning off your car and restarting it for no reason whatsoever. All you’re doing is wasting gas.

What’s With That View After Double-Tapping The Home Button, Then?

As for the multitasking menu, think of that as a “Recently Used” section, as opposed to a “Currently Open” one.

Here’s a quick little experiment to prove it:

Restart your phone. When it comes back on, double-tap the home button without launching anything. APPS EVERYWHERE, despite you having just rebooted your phone completely and opened nothing.

Takeaways

So, force quitting apps is a pretty crappy idea. Hopefully, we can all agree on that now.

(If you’re still skeptical or just want to learn a bit more, this article goes into much more detail.)

How were so many of us oblivious to this fact for so long, though? That’s the question that really gets to me.

I mean, all it would have taken was a single google search to ensure even the firmest believer in the “Force Quit Swipe” that it was completely unnecessary and ineffective.

This is Google’s way of saying, “No, it does not.”

Personally, I think it comes back to the fact that, when we’re provided information that seems logical (of course closing that app running in the background will save battery!) and the source of that information is someone we trust (a friend or family member), we rarely question it.

Even in this digital age, when every answer is just a click away, we can all still fall victim to believing in a myth.

What else do I believe in just because I was told it was true?

How about you?

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