Apple - Does force closing apps have any benefit on iOS devices?

There's been much debate and discussion around this topic. I believe it was beneficial for iOS back in the v3 and v4 days but now it's not.

Craig Federighi even came out recently saying it's not necessary and it doesn't increase the battery life. Apple has built-in their memory management the proper time to suspend and/or kill an app when necesssary. The only time you should force-close an app is if it has become unresponsive.

In one circumstance, a force quit can have a benefit to iOS that outweighs the cost of more processing needed to clean up the process, restart it, and purge any files that are cached/open.

The negative to doing this is that apps don't run in the background - so once you switch to a new app or the springboard / list of icons / lock screen - iOS has already stopped / paused / flushed all filesystem activity for the app.

It signals to a frozen app that it needs to fully reinitialize itself from scratch - disregarding any saved state or cached results. It signals to Apple in the form of a crash report (and optionally to the developer) some breadcrumbs exactly where the app was in the code when it was "killed" by the user.

  • In terms of performance - force quitting apps makes iOS and the app perform worse - measurably worse in many cases.
  • In terms of battery life - force quitting apps makes iOS and the battery life perform measurably worse as well.

Think of it like surgery - you are doing clear harm in the short term - unless you are sure surgery is needed, don't take the performance hit and force quit.

Lately this subject is a hot item again. I strongly believe it's useless to force quit apps on iOS devices. It's only helpful to restart apps when they crashed. Here more information.


It's been a long-standing belief in some circles that using the multitasking feature of iOS to force quit apps can help save an iPhone's battery life, or improve the speediness of the software when the smartphone becomes slow.

Earlier in the week, an iPhone user decided to email Apple CEO Tim Cook to put the issue to bed once and for all, and instead got a reply from Craig Federighi, Apple's senior VP of Software Engineering (via 9to5Mac).

Email Conversation


Here, from the official support document on forcing applications to close, is Apple’s own advice on when to use this feature:

When you double-click the Home button, 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 when it’s unresponsive.


MacDailyNews quotes a 2010 email from Steve Jobs:

Just use [iOS multitasking] as designed, and you’ll be happy. No need to ever quit apps.


Just in case you don’t believe Apple’s senior vice president for software, Apple’s own official support documentation, or Steve Jobs, here are some other articles pointing out how this habit is actually detrimental to iPhone battery life:

  • Fraser Speirs (back in 2012!): “Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking”
  • Thorin Klosowski: “Quitting All Your Apps in iOS Can Actually Worsen Battery Life”
  • Kendall Baker: “Stop Force Quitting Your iPhone Apps”
  • The Wirecutter: “What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life”
  • Kyle Richter: “The Force Quit Fallacy”