How to quit and kill (force quit) apps in iOS 7

From iOS 4 to iOS 6 you quit apps apps by double clicking the Home button, holding down on the icons in the fast app switcher tray until they jiggled, and then tapped the X to shut them down. Now there's not fast app switcher any more, there a card view, and holding down creates no jiggles and presents no X. So how do you kill apps in the new, carded, iOS 7 world?

  1. Double click Home to launch the multitasking cards interface
  2. Touch and hold a card and then toss it up and away.
  3. Touch and hold multiple cards to toss multiple cards away. (Up to three - the maximum shown on screen at any time).

Any app tossed off screen is shut down. There's still no option to "quit all apps", because you don't ever need to "quit all apps" even if sometimes it's a fast way to troubleshoot rogue processes. But given all the new multitasking APIs, and the higher chance for weirdness post update, it's worth knowing how to do.

Watch the video above to see how it works.

Killing (force quitting) an app in iOS 7 is probably the same as it's always been. (I haven't had an app freeze yet, so I haven't tested it.)

  1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until the Slide to Power Off control appears
  2. Hold down the Home button until the screen blanks and you're returned to the Home screen

I haven't needed to do that in years, so if you ever do, let me know if it works for you.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How to quit and kill (force quit) apps in iOS 7

30 Comments

Hmmm not working on my mini had a difficult time,like many doing the upgrade. I'll do a restore. Thanks

Sorry out of topic, anybody having problems accessing iCloud? Got this pop-up notif on new iCloud terms and conditions but am unable to access the iCloud server...

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This is the single most feature I am enjoying in iOS 7. It's more intuitive than the old way of multitasking and force quitting apps. Digging the webOS flavor in the new update. Definitely liking what I see so far.

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How is it more intuitive than being the same way you delete applications? You hold until shaking then press the X. Now it's different and not clear... Shall we have a different way of swiping screens now in different areas too? Maybe up and down instead of left and right depending on where you are? Swirly? Maybe a different way of cutting and pasting depending on the application? It's not a good decision IMHO.

Rene, In the last part of your article you talk about Killing (force quitting) an app in iOS 7. Did you mean a soft reset? If so there is an easier way to do this. All you need to do is hold the home button and the sleep button at the same time until you see the apple logo then release both.

"There's still no option to "quit all apps", because you don't ever need to "quit all apps"
Reason to quit all apps: OCD.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm of the opinion that OCD is a perfectly valid reason to want something. If I want all these apps out of my iPad's memory, then why not give me a way to do that? I am apparently not the only person to have this thought.

I understand the line of thinking that the only way to please nobody is to try and please everybody... but, if you can add a function which makes some people happy and doesn't bother anybody else, then why wouldn't you do it?

If my battery goes to 20% (Which happens) I want to be able to kill everything running in the background to stretch out the remaining battery. Thus a KillAll would be great!

Does anyone know how or IF I can have both first and last name show up during a text message? I have multiple friends named Amy and it's very confusing now that only their first names show up.

it's however you've stored their names as contact. I have even added emoticons to some of my friends/family (red heart, blue heart, etc...) and it shows up in my texting, too...

I've actually had a freezing issue. I use Tweetlogix. Whenever I try to open a link within a tweet, it freezes. The actions you describe brings me back not to the home screen, but does unfreeze it and go back to the application's main screen. Thanks for providing it!

I definitely need to kill all of the running apps. My son will run 20 leave games running on my phone which sucks the battery. I have to kill each app individually. Argghhhh!!! No the "experts" say I don't need the kill all feature. Spoken like a true engineer.

Rene,

You should share one important distinction when posting about killing apps in iOS 7. Unlike iOS 6, killing an app in iOS 7 disables any background processing that app might be able to do until the user launches the app again by tapping it's icon. In iOS 6, killing an app would terminate the process, but iOS would launch it again if it needed to in order to let the app respond to a system notification. That's no longer the case.

Killing an app in iOS 7, using the multitasking switcher, will cause problems for many apps. Here are some examples of the kind of things that won't work if you kill the app this way:

1. Geofencing. Any app that is monitoring a geofence will not respond to fence crossings if you kill it.

2. Significant location monitoring. Any app that registers for significant location change monitoring (cell tower triangulation) will not be woken up to respond to such a change if you kill it.

3. Background Refresh. Any app that uses the new iOS 7 background refresh APIs to do things like update your feeds will not be given any time slices if you kill it.

4. Push notifications. Any app that uses the new iOS 7 APIs to be able to actually respond to a push notification with some kind of action (instead of just posting the notification to NC) will not be given any time slices if you kill it.

There are countless more situations, surely. These apps will not do any of these features until the user launches them again. That means, if you ask an app (a 3rd party app, using normal APIs, not an Apple app) to remind you about something when you are near it, but then you kill it from the multitasking switcher, *it will not remind you, ever* until you launch that app manually again.

Now, the apps that appear in the multitasking switcher, they are not apps that are running and "in-memory." This has *never been the case* not even in iOS 6. They are the apps that are "runnable." That means, they are expected to be active. iOS can terminate them at any time due to memory or other resource pressure. Going through the switcher and killing all apps to "free up memory" is a silly thing to do. The OS already does that as needed.

In iOS 6, there was no difference between iOS terminating an app to save resources and the user killing it themselves. That's no longer the case. In iOS 7, when the user terminates an app, the app is effectively disabled from executing ANY CODE, for ANY REASON, until the user launches the app via its icon again.

I've already had many support emails caused by this poorly communicated change in behavior of the multitasking switcher. Combined with Apple's failure to train users about how the OS already manages memory intelligently and how they don't need to mess with killing apps for resource management issues, this new behavior is causing many users to have geofencing failures in my app, HoursTracker, because they are so used to killing apps "just to be sure" and they don't know that now in iOS 7 that disables HoursTracker from responding to any fence crossings. In fact, the app never receives the geofencing notifications *at all*

This was all discussed in detail at WWDC 2013 in the multitasking talk. I urge you to watch it, Rene, and maybe put up a story to help your readers avoid these pitfalls :)

Thanks!
Carlos

Interesting Carlos, does this mean if I kill Skype it won't be launched on system boot (as with other VOIP apps)?

Hi Marc,

That's a good question. The way it was described at WWDC, the answer would be yes. No code from Skype's app bundle will run after you kill it and before you launch it yourself. That would rule out launching it on boot. But, maybe there's exceptions to these rules. I don't use Skype, but I'd love to hear what the behavior is...

This is certainly the case for apps registered for background location... they are not launched on system start if you kill them. They are as good as uninstalled until you run them again. I believe in the WWDC talk it was described that the user expects killing an app will prevent it from doing anything so that's how it works now.

Thank you so much I needed to know this I have been trying to figure it out and couldn't and it's something so simple!! Now I know why my phone has been running slow too!!

Open safari.
Double tap the home button.
Hold down the lock button until slide to turn off comes up.
Hold the home button for about 8 seconds.