Force Quitting iOS Apps…. Yes Or No?

Something that I come across from time to time are people who insist of force quitting iOS apps which is done by double clicking the home button, and then swiping the app or apps that they want to force quit. The word on the street is that you save your battery life, RAM and CPU power by doing so. But is that true or not? The answer is perhaps a bit more nuanced than a simple yes or now answer. Let’s start discussing this by looking at what Apple says in this document:

When you double-click the Home button, your recently used apps appear. The apps aren’t open, but they’re in standby mode to help you navigate and multitask. You should force an app to close only when it’s unresponsive.

In other words, the apps that are in the background aren’t consuming that much RAM and they aren’t using any CPU or battery life. And the thing is, iOS is exceptionally good at making sure that these apps behave. In fact, it actually takes more CPU and battery power to force quit and restart an app than it does to simply leave it there. Thus you shouldn’t force quit an app unless it’s crashed or something.

Now there is one scenario where I can see where that you might save some CPU and battery power by force quitting an app. It is possible that an app that uses location services functionality that is set to always active may not be put into standby as it is periodically polling for your (or more accurately the iPhone’s) location. Thus logic suggests that force quitting one of these apps may actually save you battery life if you don’t need the functionality that the app provides.

Now you’re likely wondering what I do. I will admit to force quitting apps like Garmin Connect, Runtastic Pro among other fitness apps that I have on my iPhone for the reasons that I stated above. But most of my other apps like Maps, Calendar and the like are always running. I can’t say if that makes a difference or not and perhaps someone should take a look at this empirically to see what the truth is. In the meantime the question of whether you should force quit an app on the iOS platform is not a yes or no answer. At least not at the present time.


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