Apple’s software SVP: Quitting multitasking apps in iOS not necessary

“Somehow, it has become a part of mainstream culture for iPhone and iPad users to quit all their apps in multitasking as some kind of regular tech maintenance ritual to improve battery life or speed up the hardware,” Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac. “An understanding of how iOS multitasking works however, shows that this is completely unnecessary to close every app in the multitasking view frequently.”

“A 9to5Mac reader decided to ask Tim Cook for an official stance on whether he quits all his apps and if it’s necessary,” Mayo reports. “Although Cook didn’t answer, Apple iOS chief Craig Federighi did with an unambiguous answer ‘no and no.'”

“Apps that do affect battery life are only things that actually do perform background operations, things like GPS navigation, background music playback and similar. However, you only really have these running when you are using them,” Mayo reports. “As such, using force quit (swipe up gesture) should generally only be necessary when an app needs a hard reset as it has glitched or got stuck somehow.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, if you’re doing it, just stop.

Just use [iOS multitasking] as designed, and you’ll be happy. No need to ever quit apps. – Steve Jobs’ email, June 29, 2010

Steve Jobs on iOS multitasking: ‘Just use it as designed and you’ll be happy’ – June 29, 2010
Why is my iPhone 4 running 42 apps? Don’t worry, it’s not – June 28, 2010


  1. There is a flaw with the argument as a catch-all, and it’s to do with the way that iOS allocates memory for apps, not battery life.

    Musicians who use iPads use multiple music apps at the same time, working together at the same time, and have become accustomed to doing so out of necessity. This is not a matter of battery life but of memory usage. We even reboot iPads before starting work as well on occasion.

    One of the issues that we run in to frequently is the need to close other apps before starting a recording session. If we don’t then the time required to remove other apps from memory as their memory is reclaimed by audio buffers when the audio buffer requirements force iOS to kill them anyway can cause stutters, crackles and glitches because of the relatively low memory of the iPad.

    So, while it may be useful for the Safari and Mail app users, it is quite a different matter when peforming serious work like professional music creation on the iPad, in order to obtain a glitch-free recording.

    No we’re not talking GarageBand here (although it applies to that as well, especially when used in combination with other music apps), but apps like Animoog, Auria Pro, FLUX:FX, iSEM, iMini, iVCS3, iMS-20, DrumPerfect Pro, Tonestack, Audiobus, Sunrizer, Z3TA+, Cube Synth, microTERA, iM1, Gadget, Thumbjam, Cyclop, Laplace, Soundscaper, Turnado, AltiSpace, Notion, AudioShare etc. etc.

    A further problem exists with Inter-App audio. Some IAA client apps can remain around after the host app closes. They continue to consume memory. It’s been a problem with IAA all along. It *used* to be possible to use an app like Sytem Status to show the running apps and find out if an IAA app was “hiding” (i.e. not presenting its GUI to swipe away). The trick then was to “re”start the app and the swipe it away to close.

    Unfortunately, Apple removed the sysctl() system call access from sandboxed apps in iOS 9 which means that apps like System Status can no longer show a ps-like listing. So, now its guesswork, and a reason that musicians using iPads on iOS 9 tend to reboot for the cleanest environment before starting.

    So, although the advice is useful for ordinary users doing lower-level tasks like browsing or checking mail, iPad power users like musicians take more care. 🙂

    Many also typically work in Airplane mode to reduce interrupts from wifi and BT.

    $0.02 from another point of view that the average user does not experience. 🙂

    1. While at your home screen, press and hold the power button until you get the swipe to shut down message. Don’t shut down..but instead press and hold the home button (home button only). After a few seconds, your phone/iPad will return to the home screen.

      This resets memory without having to reboot or do a hard reset.

      The idea that iOS can handle multitasking without issues looks great on paper…but it relies on developers writing clean code.

      1. Unfortunately this does not work consistently across all iOS versions M.

        For example. I just started an Auria Pro project with AltiSpace as the convolution reverb in the AUX send slot.

        When the project is closed, reopened and closed again, AltiSpace continues running without ever presenting a GUI.

        Using your technique above does not stop AltiSpace running on the iPad I was testing on. Not only that, System Status, which I am using to monitor whether AltiSpace is still running – (BTW: AltiSpace is not the culprit or some badly behaved program, IAA is the real problem as I mentioned above) – System Status is also still running.

        You may have observed that I said I was running System Status to check – and I said in the original post that one cannot use System Status to check on iOS 9. Correct 🙂 I did this on iOS 7.1.2 which more stable for music production overall.

        iOS 9 has several severe problems for music production, some of which appear to have been addressed in the latest 9.3 beta 4, but until that’s out a good many iPad musicians have stuck with 8, or even 7. (I, as others, have a mixture on various devices – yes musicians who use iPads often have more than one iPad 🙂 )

        On iOS 9, although System Status (and similar apps) can no longer use sysctl(), such musicians have found a partial clever workaround to check whether an app is still running – it’s a kludge but it’s sometimes helpful – in that starting an app, like MIDIBridge, that can monitor live MIDI end points presented by music apps like synthesizers, DAWs, etc, will show that app as still present even though there is no GUI to swipe.

        Running the above suggestion on iOS 9 *does* appear to clear the memory there (stop the apps running truly).

        However, as I noted, a good number of musicians using iPads still use 7.1.2 (or 8 – I haven’t tried it on 8) owing to the better audio throughput and generally better stability.

        We are the holdouts in Apple’s stats of those who have not upgraded! 😀

        Anyhow – appreciate the suggestion; it may help some. It’s not a universal fix, and, again, should not be necessary, but it is.

        One or the other approach.

  2. That’s interesting. If I leave Waze running in the background, it kills my battery. There was one other app (I can’t remember) that I left in the background and it drained my battery as well. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but, at this point, I don’t take the chance.

    1. Exactly as intended by Apple…

      Waze uses GPS in the background. GPS is an allowed background task along with other things as described like background music playback.
      Although, Waze I have found does not act like a good digital citizen an it is treating itself as if it is constantly doing GPS navigation usage as a background task. It is why I stopped using Waze… Poor implementation and coding.

    2. I have been using Waze for years and I have not knowingly ever ‘shut it down’. My battery life is great and you might want to look at other factors rather than insist on ‘shutting down’ apps. You don’t have to do it.

  3. The thing is, most of the stuff in the multitasking view isn’t even actually in memory, much less running, After the first few apps, what you’re seeing is just a history of recently used apps for your convenience.


  4. iPad Musicians have known for a long time that background apps take up resources, gamers will also be affected and anyone else who needs the full cpu and memory available. It’s easy todemonstrate this if you run a music sequencer and keep adding tracks until it starts to glitch. Quit your background apps and you should be able to add a few more tracks. All the proof you need

  5. I call B.S. on Federighi’s statement on this!
    Most apps still running in the background DO use iOS resources and can cause the current app you are using to either slow or just arbitrarily crash after a time.
    Quitting background app DOES improve performance.
    I see the difference everyday running my iPads.
    It”s always better to keep background running apps to a minimum.
    Especially if your iDevice only has 1GB of RAM or less.

  6. I’ve got to say it’s much nicer using iOS on my iPad Pro with 4 GB RAM. Much less time waiting for apps to restart. That’s a major difference from my 1 GB iPhone 6 Plus where apps frequently have to restart when I switch back to them.

  7. As to “Waze”, why does it keep checking GPS when in the background? You do know that Google bought them some time ago. As soon as I learned that, I stopped using Waze.
    Google tracking your every move.

  8. In either case the app switcher view in iOS9 is useless. Why did they have to break a good thing from the previous versions? Cards covering eachother makes quickly glancing at them without opening the app useless. Since they are so close together I often press the wrong app. Change for the sake of change.

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