How to kill or force quit apps on your iPhone or iPad

iOS is designed to manage its own multitasking. When you leave an app, the interface pauses, background tasks that need to finish are allowed to do so, and a very few — like audio streaming, turn-by-turn navigation, and voice-over-IP calls are left running. Periodically, iOS will even check new content while the app is in the background.

If you start forcing apps to quit, you mess with this process, prevent background tasks from completing, new content from getting updated, and require the app to launch from scratch the next time you hit the button. And that can use more power and take more time than just letting iOS handle it.

But some apps — especially the Facebooks, Snapchats, Pokémons Go, and big media apps of the world — don't always behave perfectly. Sometimes they even abuse things like the audio stream to stay active in the background beyond what they should be allowed. Other times, an error happens that causes the app to crash over and over again.

Either way, once in a while, you may really need to force quit an app. Don't do it often. Certainly don't do it regularly. But know how to do it when you need to.

How to force quit an app on iPhone

  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.

    Double click Home button, find app, swipe up on app

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.

    Press firmly on edge, move finger toward center, swipe up

If you suspect an app like Facebook, Pokémon Go, or Skype is causing an excessive amount of power drain and needs to be force quit more often, you can check Settings to make sure.

How to force quit three apps at once on iPhone or iPad

If you can't find the source of a rogue battery drain issue or are otherwise pressed for time and just need everything to stop, you can force quit multiple apps at once. Again, don't do it regularly, but know how to do it when you have to.

  1. Double click the Home button to bring up the fast app switcher.
  2. Navigate to the apps you want to force quit—up to three at a time.
  3. Using three fingers, swipe up on the app cards you wish to shut down by flicking them up and off the screen.

    Double click Home button, find apps, swipe up on apps

How to force quit an app on iPad

Force quitting apps on iPad looks different than doing so on iPhone, but it's still the same basic process.

  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 on the iPad using a gesture

Of course, you can also quit apps on the iPad without pressing a single button.

  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

  3. Find the app you want to quit in the app switcher.
  4. Swipe up on the app that you want to force quit.

    Find the app, swipe up on it

Any questions on force quitting apps?

Have any questions about troubleshooting your iPhone or iPad? Drop them in the comments below!

Update December, 2017: Added information about using 3D Touch to activate the app switcher on compatible iPhones.

iOS

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