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How to force quit apps on iPhone and iPad

How to force quit an app on iPad in iOS 11
How to force quit an app on iPad in iOS 11

Ever since iOS 7, you've been able to open the app switching interface on your iPhone or iPad and swipe up on an app in order to force it to close completely. Now, with the arrival of iOS 11, that process has changed, but only slightly thanks to the addition of a new option.

How to force quit an app on iPhone 8 or earlier

On iPhone 8 or earlier, force quitting apps hasn't really changed in iOS 11 compared to iOS 10.

  1. Double click the Home button to bring up the fast app switcher.
  2. Navigate to the app screen you want to quit.
  3. Swipe up on the app card you wish to shut down by flicking it up and off the screen.

Battery troubleshooting showing how to force quit apps on an iPhone with a Home button by double-clicking Home button and swiping up on an app (Image credit: iMore)

With the release of iOS 11.1, you can also use a gesture to activate multitasking on 3D Touch-capable iPhones, except for the iPhone X.

  1. Press firmly on the left edge of your iPhone's display.
  2. Move that same finger toward the center of the screen.
  3. Swipe up on the app card that you wish to force quit by flicking it up and off the screen.

How to force quit apps on the iPhone X

If your apps are working like they're supposed to, you really shouldn't force quit them. However, if you ever need to, you should know that force quitting has changed a bit on the iPhone X.

  1. Touch your finger to the gesture area at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Swipe up and hold your finger in place for a moment until the card-like multitasking interface appears.
  3. Tap and hold on the app you want to quit until the red circle with the "-" symbol appears in the top left corner of the app.

  1. Flick the app up.
  2. Alternatively, tap the red circle.

How to force quit an app on iPad in iOS 11

Force quitting an app on an iPad running iOS 11 still follows the same process as before, but it looks a bit different thanks to the new multitasking layout.

  1. Double-click on your iPad's Home button
  2. Find the app you want to quit in the app switcher.
  3. Swipe up on the app that you want to force quit.

Double-click Home button, find the app, swipe up on it

How to force quit an app in iOS 11 on the iPad using a gesture

On an iPad running iOS 11, you can also use a gesture to help you force quit an app.

  1. While in an app, swipe up from the bottom of the screen with one finger.
  2. When the Dock appears, keep swiping to open up the app switching interface and Control Center.

Swipe up from bottom of screen, keep swiping
  1. Find the app you want to quit in the app switcher.
  2. Swipe up on the app that you want to force quit.

Find the app, swipe up on it

That's all there is to it. Now you have one more option for starting the force quitting process, and you can also access Control Center during this process if you need to.

Questions?

If you've got any questions about force quitting apps on your iPad in iOS 11, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Updated January 2018: Added information on force quitting apps on iPhone 8 or earlier and iPhone X.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

14 Comments
  • this doesn't work for me... nothing happens when i press and hold on an app in the switcher, swipe up to close still works though
  • Are you using iOS 11? For now iOS 11 is only a developer beta, not for the public.
  • It doesn’t work!! What are you talking about?
  • This is for iOS 11 which is due to release to the public this fall.
  • This is not even remotely true. You swipe up like you always have to close an app. Not sure what version you are using??
  • iOS 11 which will be available to public this fall.
  • The reason I force close apps is because otherwise the app switcher gets too cluttered to even be useful. It would take longer to find the app in the switcher than to go click on the app icon. If they want people to quit force-closing they should make it easier to find the open app you want, not harder to force-close.
  • Spotlight search is the easiest way to find apps. No need to swipe to find it, even if there are only a few open apps. Pull down on your Home screen from the middle of the screen to pull up Spotlight search. Sometimes, the app will already be listed in the suggested apps section. For example, whenever I connect my iPhone to my bedroom speaker dock, MyNoise is one of the suggested apps because I always use it with the dock. WAY WAY WAY better than using the app switcher, IMHO.
  • I agree, I always find my app using spotlight search. It's the easiest and fastest way!
  • That's a good point Lory. I definitely under-utilize search, but I still think they should improve the app switcher. It sounds so lazy thinking about it, but I really don't want to type to find the app I want when I know it's open and in the app switcher. I'd be enthusiastic about them making the app switcher just a bunch of app icons - and *heck* throw Search in at the top while they're at it.
  • Well if it is actually "open" and not just present in the switcher but already closed by the OS it'll be among the 6 most recent apps or something. Certainly wouldn't mind if they put spotlight search in control center or the multitasking screen though.
  • I think maybe a Pinch on an App in the App Switcher would work a lot better than this Touch-Hold-X stuff.
  • Pinch gestures are very easily accidentally activated, I know because I've seen this in several apps, so not a good idea. Plus the App Switcher needs to fit in with the UX of "deletion/clearing" which is always an "X" at the top right corner
  • Testing app...