How to Quit Apps on the iPhone

iphone multitasking
The Fast App Switcher multitasking interface in iOS 9.

Just like desktop computers, iPhone programs sometimes crash and lock up your system. These crashes are much rarer on iPhone and other iOS devices than on computers, but when they do 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 be useful because some apps have functions that run in the background that you may want to stop (for instance, if an app downloads data in the background and you don't want it to burn up your monthly data limit).

Quitting those apps completely causes those functions to stop working.

These techniques apply to all devices that run the iOS: the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Quitting the App

In iOS 4 or higher, it's easy to quit the offending or unwanted app by taking advantage of the built-in Fast App Switcher.

  1. To access it, 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.
  4. 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
  1. When 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 tap and hold on up to three apps and swipe up the screen at the same time. All the apps you swiped will disappear.

Force Quitting Apps

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.

Quitting Apps Doesn't Save Battery Life

There is a popular belief that quitting apps or processes running in the background can save battery life even when the apps aren't being used. That has been proven to be incorrect. Check out this article to find out why.