How to Close Apps on the iPhone

Screenshot of iPhone X multitasking and closing apps


Just like on desktop computers, iPhone apps sometimes crash and lock up, or cause other problems. These crashes are much rarer on iPhone and other iOS devices than on computers, but when they happen it's important to know how to quit the app that's causing the problem.

Knowing how to quit an app (also known as killing the app) can also be useful because some apps have functions that run in the background that you may want to stop. For example, an app that downloads data in the background could burn up your monthly data limit. Quitting those apps completely causes those functions to stop working.

The techniques for quitting apps described in this article apply to all devices that run the iOS: the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

How to Quit Apps on iPhone

Quitting any app on your iOS device is super simple when you use the built-in Fast App Switcher. Here's what you need to know:

  1. To access the Fast App Switcher, double-click the home button. In iOS 7 and up, that causes the apps to fall back a bit so that you can see the icons and screenshots of all running apps. In iOS 6 or earlier, this reveals a row of apps below the dock.

  2. Slide the apps from side to side to find the one you want to quit.

  3. When you find it, the way in which you quit the app depends on what version of the iOS you're running. In iOS 7 and up, simply swipe the app off the top edge of the screen. The app disappears and it has been quit. In iOS 6 or earlier, tap and hold the app until a red badge with a line through it appears. The apps will wiggle like they do when you're rearranging them. When the red badge appears, tap it to kill the app and any background processes it might be running.

  4. vWhen you've killed all the apps you want, click the home button again to return to using your iPhone.

In iOS 7 and up, you can quit multiple apps at the same time. Just open the Fast App Switcher and swipe up to three apps up the screen at the same time. All the apps you swiped will disappear.

How to Quit Apps on iPhone X

The process of quitting apps on the iPhone X is totally different. That's because it doesn't have a Home button and the way you access the multitasking screen is different, too. Here's how to do it:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pause about halfway up the screen. This reveals the multitasking view.

  2. Find the app you want to quit and tap and hold it.

  3. When the red - icon appears in the top left corner of the app remove your finger from the screen.

  4. There are two ways to quit the app (early versions of iOS 11 only had one, but as long you're running a recent version, both should work): Tap the red - icon or swipe the app up off the screen.

  5. Tap the wallpaper or swipe up from the bottom again to return to the Home screen.

Force Quitting Apps on Older OSes

On older versions of the iOS that didn't include multitasking, or when the Fast App Switcher won't work, hold down the home button at the bottom center of the iPhone for about 6 seconds. This should quit the current app and return you to the main home screen. If it doesn't, you may need to reset the device.

This won't work on more recent versions of the OS. On them, holding down the home button activates Siri.

Quitting Apps Doesn't Save Battery Life

There is a popular belief that quitting apps running in the background can save battery life even when the apps aren't being used. However, that has been proven to be incorrect and can actually even hurt your battery life.