“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,291,344 for a ‘Device, method, and graphical user interface for managing concurrently open software applications,’ otherwise known as multitasking,” Campbell reports. “Ultimately, the patent describes the system iOS users have come to know, which is the double tapping of an iDevice’s home button, which brings up a row of icons on the bottom of the screen. Each icon in the multitasking bar represents a recently opened app, and can be scrolled through and selected as wanted by the user.
Campbell reports, “It should be noted that the Exposé-like iOS multitasking bar does not technically represent a list of running apps, but instead shows those programs that were recently opened by the user. Background tasks are still managed by the OS itself, and usually have a max time limit in which to complete a task… There are instances when this time limit does not apply, such as when music player apps or first-party software are functioning.”
More info and Apple’s patent application illustrations in the full article here.