Apple granted patent for iOS multitasking user interface

“Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for a method which allows smartphone users to quickly switch between multiple open apps, a feature many iOS device owners have come to find indispensable,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“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.


  1. … first time around – thought it was talking about multiple USER interface. Maybe next gen. You might not want multi-user on a phone, but it would be handy on a tablet.
    As for “multi-tasking”, this doesn’t seem to be that. This seems to be a “pause” feature that lets you do something else while the program you were using waits for you to get back. That might be “multi-tasking” for an input-intensive app, but … seriously?
    Why could they not just add a “pause” button to the app’s top bar?

  2. I must be doing it wrong. Or maybe I’m not multi-tasking right. The system works great for me. I use the on-screen gestures to go to the open applications panel or to swipe through running applications. I can’t remember the last time i even pressed the home button. I feel so bad that I can’t even get up a good gripe. Curse my single processor brain!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.