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How to Close Apps on iPhone 12, 11, XS, XR and X

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When Apple launched iPhones without Home buttons, a whole new set of gestures were introduced, changing the way that we were used to interacting with our iPhones.

One of these changes involved the App Switcher and the way open apps are found, with Apple introducing a gesture to reach the App Switcher on devices with a Home button.


How to close an app on iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR, iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max

  1. At the Home screen of the iPhone, or while in an app, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pause while still pressing the screen.
  2. When the App Switcher comes up, swipe left and right through the different app cards to find the app that you want to close.
  3. Use a quick swipe upwards to close the app.
Using this gesture exits out of an app and effectively closes it, which is useful if you need to restart an app for some reason. There's generally no need to close your apps to improve performance, though, as Apple has built-in management systems for dealing with all of the apps that you have open on your device.

Most apps that are not active are in a suspended state and are not using up any resources, but some apps can run in the background for a period of time if background refresh is activated.

According to Apple, force quitting an app will not improve your battery life, and it's possible that doing so can actually drain battery because it causes the iPhone to load it all over again.

Article Link: How to Close Apps on iPhone 12, 11, XS, XR and X
 
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atton

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Dec 16, 2016
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Quick question, what’s that notification at the bottom? Looks like some sort of hand off notification but I’ve never seen it on my devices. Anyone have any clue?
 
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OC40

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Sep 20, 2013
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Quick question, what’s that notification at the bottom? Looks like some sort of hand off notification but I’ve never seen it on my devices. Anyone have any clue?
Yes, it’s a handoff. My wife uses the iPad, which I am logged into. I always receive those notifications in the app switcher.

Also, thank you. I have been awaiting this change.
 
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iGeek2014

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Jun 29, 2014
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=== Nowheresville ===
Yes, that’s a Handoff notification.

You need to go to Settings>General>Handoff on each iDevice and if you open an app like Messages on, say, your iPad it’d appear on your iPhone etc.

From Apple:

Use Handoff with any Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch that meets the Continuity system requirements. Handoff works when your devices are near each other and set up as follows:
Each device is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.
To see the Apple ID used by Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then go to General > Apple ID.
Each device has Bluetooth turned on.
Each Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch has Wi-Fi turned on.
Each device has Handoff turned on:
Mac: Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click General. Select “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.”
iPhone, iPad, iPod touch: Go to Settings > General > Handoff, then turn on Handoff.
Apple Watch: In the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap General and turn on Enable Handoff.
Apple Watch supports handing off from watch to iPhone, or from watch to Mac using OS X Yosemite or later.
 
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OlliFlamme

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Interesting...

Quitting apps used to be a thing which folks weren’t really aware off. As a somehow geek person, I used to advise people to do so. It became an act that showed that someone knew the logic of background activity draining battery performance, especially apps that were using GPS, or that were constantly connected to the internet to receive push updates.

I am somehow sceptical about the text in the OP, since perhaps the OS is smarter att handling performance, but ... some principles must pertain with regards to battery performance and awareness of apps, with regards to being able to log your online presence or your location or whatnot.

Can we take the statements above with a grain of salt, or do I really need to rethink my understanding on the matter?
 
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jclo

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Interesting...

Quitting apps used to be a thing which folks weren’t really aware off. As a somehow geek person, I used to advise people to do so. It became an act that showed that someone knew the logic of background activity draining battery performance, especially apps that were using GPS, or that were constantly connected to the internet to receive push updates.

I am somehow sceptical about the text in the OP, since perhaps the OS is smarter att handling performance, but ... some principles must pertain with regards to battery performance and awareness of apps, with regards to being able to log your online presence or your location or whatnot.

Can we take the statements above with a grain of salt, or do I really need to rethink my understanding on the matter?

Here's proof right from Craig Federighi:

https://www.macrumors.com/2016/03/10/force-quitting-apps-doesnt-help-battery/

Edit: More documentation from Apple.

https://developer.apple.com/library...e.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40007072-CH2-SW1
 
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dchdch

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Oct 17, 2017
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Uhm, that's not all that different than what I do now. It's not necessary in iOS 11, for example, to use the red minus (I don't get a red x ??) but just swipe up on the desired app to close it.
 
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shamino

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Apple has been saying that for years, but it doesn't change the fact that some apps (especially Facebook) are notorious for running in the background and draining your battery when (according to Apple press releases) they are supposed to be suspended.

Killing the offending app is the only way to make it stop. And since you have no way of knowing which apps are good and which are bad, it's far easier to just kill them all when you're done with a session.
 
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taikahn

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Jun 7, 2017
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Apple has been saying that for years, but it doesn't change the fact that some apps (especially Facebook) are notorious for running in the background and draining your battery when (according to Apple press releases) they are supposed to be suspended.

Killing the offending app is the only way to make it stop. And since you have no way of knowing which apps are good and which are bad, it's far easier to just kill them all when you're done with a session.

EXACTLY.

You absolutely do and can save battery by closing the apps that use background battery (aka, facebook and instagram among others, but those are the two worst offenders). They are 100% NOT in a frozen state and they 100% use resources.
 
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OlliFlamme

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Uhm, that's not all that different than what I do now. It's not necessary in iOS 11, for example, to use the red minus (I don't get a red x ??) but just swipe up on the desired app to close it.
Erm... are you on an iPhone X? ‘Cause that’s the thing here: it used to behave differently before iOS 12. (I got rid of my X for such illogic reasons)
[doublepost=1532118465][/doublepost]
One step forward, one step back. It’s a shame that they did away with the red minus sign. Made rapidly emptying the task switcher a breeze.
Did you try to close two apps at the same time, with those red x’s? Well, a cool thing with the swipe is that you can grab two apps and close them simultaneously. That may perhaps be a bit less obvious on the long iPhone X... i use my two thumbs to swipe two apps at once, and I don’t need to travel upwards that much on my iPhone 7 Plus...
 
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bob122989

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Sep 26, 2007
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Killing the offending app is the only way to make it stop. And since you have no way of knowing which apps are good and which are bad, it's far easier to just kill them all when you're done with a session.

Restarting the device, in my opinion, does much more towards system resource recovery than force closing all apps, with the added benefit of not losing the recently used order of apps in the switcher.

I can agree with you on a per-app basis, I close certain offending apps such as YouTube and Safari, they both tend to hog RAM longer than they should. But I only close them if I don’t intend to reopen them for several hours.

Why waste the battery life completely reopening all apps all the time?
 
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iapplelove

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Nov 22, 2011
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Apple has been saying that for years, but it doesn't change the fact that some apps (especially Facebook) are notorious for running in the background and draining your battery when (according to Apple press releases) they are supposed to be suspended.

Killing the offending app is the only way to make it stop. And since you have no way of knowing which apps are good and which are bad, it's far easier to just kill them all when you're done with a session.

I don’t care what anyone says, I usually kill all the apps running each morning,pretty much from the day before and start clean..

Why keep apps running if they don’t need to be.
 
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OlliFlamme

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Thanks for the references. I can conclude that my scepticism belongs to those threads instead.

Nevertheless: users should use common sense and close apps as they feel for doing. The principle of the oposite being true (it would more drain your battery than preserve it) is a long shot. If you relaunch an app, you are intentionally adding load to the processor and therewith asking for battery power. I can never believe that the loss of power trough intentional processes would be higher than the gain of battery by not doing so for a good while.

Off course, if you pick up the phone every minute, open an app and close it, it would not be so smart for battery life.

My point being: we as a user should be fully entitled to close apps to our likings, as you never know what happens when they are lurking in the background.

For macrumors to pertinently stress on a statement by Frederigi, is quite off the hook. Commons sense will prevail amongst us users.
 
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jclo

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Thanks for the references. I can conclude that my scepticism belongs to those threads instead.

Nevertheless: users should use common sense and close apps as they feel for doing. The principle of the oposite being true (it would more drain your battery than preserve it) is a long shot. If you relaunch an app, you are intentionally adding load to the processor and therewith asking for battery power. I can never believe that the loss of power trough intentional processes would be higher than the gain of battery by not doing so for a good while.

Off course, if you pick up the phone every minute, open an app and close it, it would not be so smart for battery life.

My point being: we as a user should be fully entitled to close apps to our likings, as you never know what happens when they are lurking in the background.

For macrumors to pertinently stress on a statement by Frederigi, is quite off the hook. Commons sense will prevail amongst us users.

Of course, that's why the feature exists. You can close apps, and there are absolutely valid reasons to do. In the post, I'm just saying that you don't *need* to for reasons like preserving battery life because it is a common myth that if you don't close apps they're constantly running in the background or eating up too much memory.
[doublepost=1532119816][/doublepost]
EXACTLY.

You absolutely do and can save battery by closing the apps that use background battery (aka, facebook and instagram among others, but those are the two worst offenders). They are 100% NOT in a frozen state and they 100% use resources.

I'd argue that it's ultimately more efficient to turn off background refresh on these apps rather than to worry about closing them each time you use them. I have background refresh off for Facebook and some other apps that are notorious for using system resources.
 
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smbu2000

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Oct 19, 2014
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Uhm, that's not all that different than what I do now. It's not necessary in iOS 11, for example, to use the red minus (I don't get a red x ??) but just swipe up on the desired app to close it.
On the iPhone X, swiping up just minimizes the app on ios11. To close it you have to hold it down until the red x appears and then click on it to close the app. On other iOS devices, swiping up closes the app.

Now on ios12, swiping up closes the app just like on other iOS devices.

I don’t know why they made it that way on ios12 for the X, but it is really inconvenient. ios12 is much better on the X and it’s one reason I’m running the beta on my X.
 
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Cosmosent

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RE: "Apps that are not active are in a suspended state and are not using up system resources. "

That is 100% wrong !

Backgrounded apps do consume precious DRAM ! ... i.e., the main memory that ALL software programs run in !

Backgrounded apps do NOT consume processor cycles, but they do in-deed limit the amount of available DRAM for apps !

Everyone who works for macrumors.com should know that !
 
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dchdch

macrumors newbie
Oct 17, 2017
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Erm... are you on an iPhone X? ‘Cause that’s the thing here: it used to behave differently before iOS 12. (I got rid of my X for such illogic reasons)
Yes, I am. I'm using an iPhone X with iOS 11.4.1.

1. Swipe up.
2. Tap/hold app until red MINUS shows up
3. Swipe up OR tap red minus, they do the same thing
On the iPhone X, swiping up just minimizes the app on ios11. To close it you have to hold it down until the red x appears and then click on it to close the app.

There is no difference between tapping the red minus or swiping up (once the red minus shows up). Which is my point, it's not all that much different than iOS 12...
 
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OlliFlamme

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Jan 2, 2018
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Yes, I am. I'm using an iPhone X with iOS 11.4.1.

1. Swipe up.
2. Tap/hold app until red MINUS shows up
3. Swipe up OR tap red minus, they do the same thing


There is no difference between tapping the red minus or swiping up (once the red minus shows up). Which is my point, it's not all that much different than iOS 12...
Oh well, that’s odd. I hadn’t understood that the x was still there. I get your point at last :)
 
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Icy1007

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Feb 26, 2011
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“Apps that are not active are in a suspended state and are not using up system resources.”

Um, yes they do. Background apps still use resources like memory. Many are also still processing location data and using the network potentially. Closing apps when you’re done using them can save immense amounts of battery life.
 
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Kram Sacul

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Jan 10, 2018
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Southern California
Did you try to close two apps at the same time, with those red x’s? Well, a cool thing with the swipe is that you can grab two apps and close them simultaneously. That may perhaps be a bit less obvious on the long iPhone X... i use my two thumbs to swipe two apps at once, and I don’t need to travel upwards that much on my iPhone 7 Plus...

I know you can swipe away two apps at once but it’s not possible when using only one hand. Tapping the red minus sign was a lot quicker. I understand removing the touch and hold to allow closing apps(you get used to it in the first 15 minutes) but it’s lame to remove the option to tap away apps.
 
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jclo

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Dec 7, 2012
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RE: "Apps that are not active are in a suspended state and are not using up system resources. "

That is 100% wrong !

Backgrounded apps do consume precious DRAM ! ... i.e., the main memory that ALL software programs run in !

Backgrounded apps do NOT consume processor cycles, but they do in-deed limit the amount of available DRAM for apps !

Everyone who works for macrumors.com should know that !

“Apps that are not active are in a suspended state and are not using up system resources.”

Um, yes they do. Background apps still use resources like memory. Many are also still processing location data and using the network potentially. Closing apps when you’re done using them can save immense amounts of battery life.

Just to be clear, I am talking about apps that have entered a suspended state, not apps in a background state. The different app states are explained here: https://developer.apple.com/library...e.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40007072-CH2-SW1

Background: "The app is in the background and executing code. Most apps enter this state briefly on their way to being suspended. However, an app that requests extra execution time may remain in this state for a period of time. In addition, an app being launched directly into the background enters this state instead of the inactive state. For information about how to execute code while in the background, see Background Execution."

Suspended: "The app is in the background but is not executing code. The system moves apps to this state automatically and does not notify them before doing so. While suspended, an app remains in memory but does not execute any code. When a low-memory condition occurs, the system may purge suspended apps without notice to make more space for the foreground app."

Apple manages suspended apps and closes them dynamically when more system resources are needed. This doesn't need to be done manually.

If closing apps seems to help with your battery life or gives you peace of mind, it's totally fine to close them. I'm not arguing that. Apple's documentation and statements from Apple executives suggest that leaving apps open does not have a significant impact on iPhone battery life or performance, and that's all I'm pointing out in the article.

Shutting off background refresh all together is likely going to have a more meaningful result if you're concerned about apps refreshing in the background and using system resources.

Edit: To avoid confusion and to clarify what I meant, I've updated the wording in the how to.
 
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B4U

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Oct 11, 2012
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Sure, apple. It might drain more battery by closing the app.
But it is my damn phone and if I want to close the app, I sure as heck shall be allowed to force close it easily.
(Not to mention that sometimes the apps are crashed!)
 
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