How to Force-Quit or Close an iPad App

iPad multi-tasking screen

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, 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. The home button is the physical button just below the iPad's display that you use for Touch ID. You can also use Multitasking gestures by pinching in with four or five fingers anywhere on the screen.

Multitasking in iOS 12

The App Switcher 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. You can also slide your finger from left to right and scroll through new 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.

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 goes to sleep. To restart 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 dark before clicking the sleep/wake button to power it back on again.

Powering off an iPad

If you're 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 to reinstall it. 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 knows when you're using an app or need it to run in the background. When you switch, iOS tells the app it has a few seconds to wrap up what it's doing. Likewise, the app can continue what it's working on before it goes inactive, and iOS will grant those apps the processing power they need.

Apps like Apple Music can play music even when they're inactive. They'll keep doing so unless you force-quit or return to them and stop the playback.

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

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