Force-quitting apps on the new SE doesn't work

G’day Folks

Wondering – how does having all these apps “open” in the background affect:

  • data use with background refresh running
  • privacy with location/tracking services running in the background

Thanks n cheers, Gobit

Data use will be minimal for most all such apps and if that’s a concern then simply disable background refresh for any apps you don’t feel need to in your case or just disable it completely.

Your location is far more likely to be a function of cellular towers triangulation or GPS use than an app. Again, if you don’t need an app to know your location just disable location services for that app.

Thanks Al – as I thought.

A key point here is that the app switcher is showing you recently used apps, not apps that are open. Some of the apps shown might be performing background tasks, some of them are not.

Excellent point. In fact, every once in a while you can see that for backgrounded apps that do not update, the switcher is essentially just displaying a picture of its last state. As soon as you select it and the app becomes foregrounded the displayed picture is replaced by the updating app. For a split second you can see that transition.

I’m going to make an embarrassing confession. :woozy_face: I didn’t realize that I was force-quitting apps on my iPhone and iPad, nor did I realize it was not a good thing. My first iPad was inherited when my hubby passed away, and I’ve used it the way I saw him use it – and that behavior has continued until I read this thread. :scream:

The good news is that I’ve stopped this behavior. I open apps and leave them alone (background refresh is off). I now find that I can go several days before having to recharge my ithings, instead of nightly recharging. My iPad has gone 4 days since its last charge, and that’s with gmail, a card game, facebook, camera, photos, messages, and instagram running. Two apps that auto quit on their own are 1Password (security I’m sure), and the app for the local Fred Meyers (Kroger). Move it to the background and I have to relaunch it.

I don’t use as many apps on my iPhone, but I have now messages, the phone, camera, and photos all running – again with background refresh off. Oh, and it’s way easier to snap a photo in a “hurry up before the bird moves” moment since the camera is always ready. I guess I’m never too old to learn something new. Love this place.


So, is it really a bad thing to close one’s apps? Like andKim74, I have never thought of the ‘home-button double-click + icon-swipe’ as force-quitting…just putting things away. This is a habit developed from using the MacOS over the years…keeping the Finder screen tidy. After all, what is the procedure for quitting an app? Force quitting implies a malfunction or an issue of some sort. Does it do any harm—other than some battery behavior—to close apps in this manner?

Using iOS is a different paradigm from using a computer OS like MacOS or Windows. Apple designed iOS deliberately without a procedure to quit an app. Instead the OS is designed to suspend an app when it is in the background but leave its state intact, and when you bring it to the foreground and activate it, to have it waiting where you last left it.

There is probably no real harm in force-quitting an app, as it is suspended and any data that it was processing or updating online should be complete by the time your force-close it.

FWIW, just to reinforce the advise previously given, Apple has a support page for force-closing iOS apps:

Where it says,

When 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 if it’s unresponsive.

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I usually force-quit my financial applications (banking, credit card, investment) after logging off. I’d rather not have them accessible via task switching after I’m done with them.

I would do that too if I had any indication the app didn’t sign off properly. Fortunately, the three banking/investment apps I have offer a logout button that does indeed work. Once pressed, the app won’t display anything anymore until you’ve authenticated again with TouchID. Is that not standard practice for banking apps?

I do this after logging off. I’d rather force myself to either find the icon or use Spotlight when I need to open it again. In this case, I’d rather forego convenience for a a tiny bit of security.

I’m not advocating this as a general rule for others, but I don’t see it doing any harm in doing it.

For several years now my usual shutdown routine has been to force close all the open apps with the understanding that keeping them open occupies valuable system RAM. Not so? My reasoning was to start the next day with a clean iPhone or iPad, fully charged and ready to go.

Not so. Please read the Apple documentation referenced above to understand what you actually did.

Thanks, Al. I’m going to change my ways.

When you say “shutdown routine,” are you actually powering off your iOS device? If so, there’s no need for it, and all it will do is waste time shutting down and starting back up. Powering down a device is necessary only for significant troubleshooting, or if you’re not planning to use it for a long time.

Yup. I do indeed shut down my iPad but, of course with so many here telling me it’s not needed, I will stop. However, I have alway left my Macs running, occasionally doing a restart just because…

Thanks, everyone—I’ll turn this into a TidBITS article since it seems that a fair number of people have stumbled on approaches that are less than ideal.

I’m awed that my original note—sparked by confusion over “Reachability” vs. force-quit; I’ve turned off Reachability and everything is now as (I assert) it should be on my new SE—has inspired so much discussion.

On my iPhone6 which runs the latest available update I have problems with Messages. It shows there is a new message but it will not allow me to access it, so I shut down the phone and, upon restart, it allows me to access the new message. This happens almost daily.
When I save up some money, I will get me a new phone…
Until then I will live with the short battery life (original battery) and cracked screen!

The battery in my (old model) iPhone SE was very weak before I had it replaced. I would sometimes turn the phone off completely to make it last a little longer if I did not need to use it for a few hours. Probably turning it back on was more of a drain than some amount of normal use. It did sometimes seem to give me a little more life, but I’m not sure of that.