How to Close Apps on the iPhone

Kill apps that are locked up or using up data

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.

Quitting apps on iOS 13.

Knowing how to quit an app on the iPhone (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 stops those background functions from working.

The techniques for quitting apps in this article apply to all devices that run the iOS: the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. They apply to devices running iOS 6 and up.

How to Quit or Close Apps on iPhone X and Newer

The process of quitting apps on the iPhone X and newer models like the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 is a bit different from earlier iPhones. That's because it those models don't have a Home button, so the way you access the multitasking screen is different. 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. Swipe the app up off the top of the screen.

    If you're running an old version of iOS 11, the process is slightly different. On that, tap and hold on the app until a red - appears. Then tap the - to close the app.

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

How to Quit or Close Apps on iPhone 8 and Earlier

If you have the iPhone 8 or earlier, quitting apps is super simple. Here's what you need to know:

  1. To access the Fast App Switcher feature, 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, how 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. When you've closed 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 swipe up to three apps up the screen at the same time. All the apps you swiped will disappear.

How to Close Apps on Older iPhone OSes

If you have a very old versions of the iOS that doesn't include multitasking, or when you can't enter app-closing mode for some reason, 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.

Surprise! Closing 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.