How to Force-Quit or Close an iPad App

Screenshot of iPad

If you need to shut down an app because it is behaving erratically or you suspect it is causing other problems such as slowing down your iPad, simply clicking the Home button won't do the job.

How to Force-Quit an App

Open the multitasking and control screen by double clicking the Home button at the bottom of your iPad. This is the physical button just below the iPad's display. It is also used for Touch ID.

The multitasking screen will appear with the most recently opened iPad apps displayed as windows across the screen. Each window features an icon above it along with the name, so it is easy to identify a particular app. You can also slide your finger from left to right and scroll through additional apps, so if the app in question isn't your most recently used, you can still get at it.

Hold your finger on the app window you want to close and then slide your finger to the top of the screen without ever lifting your finger from the iPad's display. This gesture will shut down the app. Think of it as "flicking" the window off of the iPad.

To quit the app, you must drag the miniature window, not the app's icon.

What If Closing the App Doesn't Resolve the Problem?

The next step after force-quitting an app is rebooting the iPad. When you click the sleep/wake button at the top of the device, the iPad simply goes to sleep. To properly reboot the iPad, hold the sleep/wake button down for several seconds until you see the instructions to "slide to power down" the iPad. Follow these instructions and wait until the iPad's display goes completely dark before clicking the sleep/wake button to power it back on again.

If you are having problems with a specific app and rebooting doesn't solve it, you should try deleting the app and then download it again from the App Store. You won't have to pay for the app again. However, you will lose anything that you have saved in the app unless the app saves it to the cloud—such as Evernote saving your notes to the Evernote servers.  

Do I Need to Always Force-Quit Apps?

The iOS environment is intelligent enough to know when you are using an app or need an app to run in the background. When you switch apps, iOS tells the app it has a few seconds to wrap up what it's doing. Likewise, the app can ask iOS "Hey, I need more time to do this" or, in the case of audio, "The user will be all kinds of bummed out if I stop playing music, so I'll just be playing music, okay?" and iOS will grant those apps the processing power they need.

For all other apps, when you switch to another app, iOS suspends the app you were in and that app stops getting resources like the processor, screen, speaker, etc.

You do not need to force-quit apps unless the app misbehaves.