Is Closing iPhone Apps A Bad Idea? No, And Here’s Why

Is Closing iPhone Apps A Bad Idea? No, And Here’s Why

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After double-clicking the Home button, you swipe your apps off the top of the screen: Is this a good or poor idea? Recently, there’s been some debate over whether shutting apps on your iPhone and iPad is beneficial or bad, particularly in terms of battery life. It’s something I’ve always thought was a good idea: Close Your Apps is tip #4 in my article on how to extend the life of your iPhone battery.

This article will explain why shutting apps can enhance your iPhone’s battery life, present examples from real-world testing I conducted using Apple Developer Tools and my iPhone, and provide passages from Apple Developer documentation to back up my claims.

When I write, I want the knowledge I give to be useful and understandable to everyone. I try not to get too technical because my experience working at an Apple Store has shown me that people’s eyes glaze away when I start talking about processes, CPU time, and the app life cycle.

We’ll delve a little deeper into how apps function in this article so you can decide whether or not closing out your iPhone or iPad apps is right for you. First, we’ll go over the App Life Cycle, which outlines what happens from the time you start an app until it closes and is erased from memory.

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The App Life Cycle

The app life cycle is made up of five different phases. Every app on your iPhone is in one of these states, and the majority of them are not operating. Each one is explained in detail in the Apple Developer documentation:

Key Takeaways

  • When you exit an app by pressing the Home button, it goes into the Background or Suspended mode.
  • The app closes and goes into the Not Running state when you double-click the Home button and swipe an app off the top of the screen.
  • Modes are another term for app states.
  • Background apps continue to run and waste your battery; however apps in Suspended mode do not.

Swiping Up Apps: Closing or Force-Quitting?

Double-clicking the Home button on your iPhone and swiping an app off the top of the screen closes the app to clear up any misunderstandings. Force-quitting an app is a distinct procedure that I’ll cover in a later article.

This is confirmed in Apple’s iOS Multitasking support article:

“To close an app, double-click the Home button. To display previously used apps, double-click the Home button.” Then, you wish to close on the app, slide up.”

Why Do We Close Out Our Apps?

I’ve always said this in my articles about how to extend the life of your iPhone battery:

“Closing out your apps once or twice a day is a smart practice. You’d never have to do this in an ideal world, and most Apple staff would never recommend it… When an app is supposed to close but doesn’t, it causes battery loss. Instead, the software fails in the background, draining your iPhone battery without your knowledge.”

In brief, I recommend closing off your apps to prevent your battery from being drained when an app does not properly enter the background or suspension state. I likened your iPhone’s CPU (central processor unit; the brains of the operation) to a car engine in my post about why iPhones get hot:

The car engine overheats and consumes a lot of gas if you press the pedal to the metal for an extended period of time. The iPhone overheats, and your battery drains quickly if the CPU is turned up to 100% for an extended period of time.

All apps use your iPhone’s CPU. Normally, when an app first launches, it consumes a significant amount of CPU power for a second or two before switching to a lower-power mode as you use it. The iPhone’s CPU frequently remains at 100% when an app crashes. When you close your apps, you ensure that this does not happen by returning the app to the non-running state.

Is It Harmful To Close An App?

Certainly not. Unlike many programs on your Mac or PC, iPhone apps do not save your data until you click “Save.” The importance of apps being ready to terminate at any time is emphasized in Apple’s developer documentation:

“Apps must be ready for termination at any moment and should not wait to preserve user data or accomplish other vital functions before terminating.” Termination by the operating system is a natural aspect of an app’s life cycle.”

It’s also fine to close an app:

“In addition to the system stopping your program, the user can use the multitasking UI to terminate your app directly.” The consequence of a user-initiated termination is the same as that of a suspended app.”

The Argument Against Closing Out iPhone and iPad Apps

There is a case for not closing down your apps, and it is well-founded. It is, however, based on a very limited interpretation of the facts. The long and short of it is this:

  • It takes more power to resume an app from the background or suspended state than to open it from the not running state. This is completely correct.
  • Apple puts a lot of effort into ensuring that the iPhone operating system manages memory efficiently, which reduces the amount of battery usage by apps left in the background or suspended. This is correct as well.
  • If you close out your apps, you’re squandering battery life since it takes more power to start iPhone apps from scratch than it does for the operating system to resume them from the background and suspended state. This is sometimes the case.

Let’s Look At The Numbers

Because CPU time directly impacts battery life, developers frequently utilize it to determine how much effort an iPhone has expended to complete tasks. I measured the impact of many apps on my iPhone’s CPU using Instruments, an Apple developer tool.

As an example, consider the Facebook app:

  • The Facebook app takes roughly 3.3 seconds to start up from a stopped state.
  • Closing an app removes it from memory, puts it in the not-running state, and takes only a fraction of a second on the CPU – let’s say.1 second.
  • The Facebook app is put into the background when you press the Home button, and it takes about.6 seconds of CPU time.
  • The Facebook app takes about.3 seconds to resume from the background state.

As a result, it takes 6.7 seconds to launch the Facebook app from the not running state (3.3), close it (.1), and open it again from the not running state (3.3). It only takes 4.1 seconds of CPU time to start the Facebook app from the not running state, push the home button to send it to the background state (.6), and resume it from the background state (.3).

Wow! In this example, shutting and reopening the Facebook program takes 2.6 seconds of CPU time. You’ve saved roughly 39% of your battery life by leaving the Facebook app active!

And The Winner Is…

Not so quickly! To gain a more realistic understanding of the situation, we need to look at the big picture.

Putting Power Usage In Perspective

39 percent sounds like a lot, and it is until you consider how insignificant the amount of power we’re talking about is compared to the amount of electricity required to utilize your iPhone. The case for not closing your apps sounds wonderful until you learn it’s based on a meaningless statistic.

Leaving the Facebook app open rather than closing it saves 2.6 seconds of CPU time. But, when you use the Facebook app, how much power does it consume?

I used the program for 10 seconds of CPU time to browse through my newsfeed or 1 second of CPU consumption per second. I would have spent 300 seconds of CPU time after 5 minutes of using the Facebook app.

To put it another way, I’d have to open and close the Facebook app 115 times to get the same amount of battery life as 5 minutes of use. This entails the following:

But that’s not the only reason why you should close your apps. Now let’s go on…

Slow And Steady CPU Burn In Background Mode

Even when your iPhone is napping in your pocket, an app in background mode continues to eat battery power. This happens even when Background App Refresh is switched off, according to my tests of the Facebook app.

Even though the iPhone was turned off, the Facebook app continued to use the CPU after I closed it. It had used throughout the course of one minute. Additional CPU time of 9 seconds. Leaving the Facebook app open for three minutes would consume more electricity than closing it immediately.

The moral of the story is not to close an app every time you use it if you use it every few minutes. It’s good to close the app if you don’t use it very often.

Many programs transition from background mode to suspended mode right away, and apps in suspended mode don’t use any power. However, because there’s no way of knowing which apps are running in the background, it’s good to close them altogether. Remember that the power required to start an app from scratch pales in contrast to the power required to use it.

Software Problems Happen All The Time

Apps on iPhone crash more frequently than you might think. The majority of software crashes are mild and have no visible consequences. It’s something you’ve probably observed before:

When the screen suddenly blinks, you’re using an app, and you’re taken back to the Home screen. When apps crash, this is what occurs.

In Settings -> Privacy -> Diagnostics & Usage -> Diagnostic and Usage Data, you can also see the crash logs.

Most software crashes are unimportant, especially if you close your apps. Often, an app with a software issue just needs to be relaunched from the ground up.

An Example Of A Common Software Problem

It’s lunchtime, and you’ve noticed that your iPhone’s battery has depleted to 60%. You checked your email, listened to music, sighed over your bank account balance, watched a TED lecture, scrolled through Facebook, wrote a Tweet, and looked up the score from last night’s basketball game while eating breakfast.

Fixing A Crashing App

You recall that a crashing program might cause your battery to deplete quickly and that stopping the app can solve the problem, but you’re not sure which app is to blame. Even if I’m not using my iPhone, the TED app consumes CPU in this situation (and this is true). You have two options for resolving the issue:

  1. Connect your PC to a Mac, download and install Xcode and Instruments, build up a custom test to investigate the individual processes running on your iPhone, arrange them by CPU utilization, and shut the app that’s keeping your CPU cranked up to 100%.
  2. Shut down your apps.

Option 2 is my default setting, and I’m a geek. (I used option 1 to acquire information for this article.) Reopening your apps from the not running state consumes more power than opening them from the background or suspended state, but the difference is insignificant compared to the massive power loss that occurs when an app fails.

Why I Believe Closing Out Your Apps Is A Good Idea

  1. Even if you close your apps every time you use them, you won’t notice a change in battery life because the power required to start an app is negligible compared to the power required to utilize it.
  2. When you’re not using your iPhone, apps that stay in background mode consume power, which builds up over time.
  3. Closing apps is an excellent approach to avoiding significant software issues that can cause your iPhone battery to drop fast.

Close Out This Article

This essay is a little longer than normal, but I hope you found it interesting and learned something new about how applications work on your iPhone. I close out my apps several times a day to keep my iPhone working as efficiently as possible. I can confidently say that closing out your apps is a good technique to save iPhone battery life based on the testing and my first-hand experience working with hundreds of iPhones as an Apple engineer.


I hope you found this guide useful. If you’ve got any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the shape below.

User Questions

1. Is it ever a good idea to close apps on an iPhone?

In fact, forcing an app to close on your iPhone slows down your app experience and consumes more battery life. When you reopen an app after it has been entirely closed, it must relaunch and reload all of its resources.

2. Is it better to close or leave apps open on an iPhone?

In the App Switcher, you shouldn’t swipe away all apps. This hinders iOS from functioning properly, consumes battery life by forcing apps to reload without cause, and makes switching between apps more difficult. You should cease doing it because Apple has repeatedly emphasised that it is unneeded.

3. Is it true that dismissing apps on the iPhone saves battery life?

Close background programs do not conserve battery life. People conflate ‘open in the background’ with ‘running,’ which is why this misconception about stopping background programs exists. When your apps are running in the background, they are in a condition where relaunching them is simple.

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4. Do you leave your apps on open or do you close them? – Reddit

Do you leave your apps on open or do you close them? from iphone

5. Is Closing iPhone Apps A Bad Idea? No, And Here’s Why

Is Closing iPhone Apps A Bad Idea? No, And Here’s Why. from apple