The best part of having an iPhone is using apps. Without apps an iPhone is just a phone, and not even a great phone. But with apps an iPhone transforms into a mobile computer, gaming device, radio, weather station, flashlight, GPS, internet browser, email server, camera and toothbrush. Okay, well, not a toothbrush, but you get the idea.
As we use/play with apps, darting from one app to the next, it’s easy to forget that we have a lot of apps open. On a computer you close a program to see the home screen, but on an iPhone apps seem to disappear when you go back to the home screen.
Your phone will run more smoothly and have longer battery life when you close apps. You don’t need to close them every time you use them, but closing them about once a day will make a big difference in the performance of your iPhone.
How to Close Apps
On the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch you can see what apps are open by double-clicking the home button. This reveals the Task Bar at the bottom of the screen which shows icons of the last four apps you used. Swipe the Task Bar to the left and you can see more icons. Keep swiping until you get to the end to see all your open apps.
To close the apps, press an icon until the icons wiggle and a hyphen in a red circle appears in the upper left corner of the icons. Press on the red circle to close the app.
Keep closing the apps until your Task Bar is clear.
Fact or Opinion?
My advice on closing apps is not without controversy. Last week, an app developer, Fraser Speirs, wrote that, contrary to the advice given by many experts, including Genuises at Apple Stores, people don’t need to close apps on the iPhone. You can read his article here: Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking. He states that the icons in the Task Bar show the last apps you used, not the running apps, and you don’t need to close them as they don’t drain your battery or use memory.
I respectfully disagree with him. Granted, I am not an app developer, but I have owned iPhones, iPads and an iPod Touch, and used apps since the opening of the App Store. I have seen the difference when I close my apps versus when I leave my apps open. Closing apps means my device will run more smoothly and have a longer battery life.
Free Memory Demo
But I also have other evidence for my claim that closing apps makes a difference in addition to being told by the Geniuses at the Apple Store that closing apps was advisable. I have an app called Free Memory that was briefly in the iTunes App Store until it was removed by Apple (it was re-launched as a similar app, Memory, in the iTunes App Store). Free Memory shows you how much free memory you have on your iPhone.
Free memory is memory your phone isn’t using. The less memory your phone is using, the more smoothly it will run and the less power it will use.
I launched Free Memory when I had 15 apps open on my iPhone. (Note that the Free Memory app also frees up memory on the phone, but I waited until this process was completed before taking these pictures of my screen.)
Here is the picture of my phone when those apps were open, showing how much unused memory I had on my phone:
I then opened the Task Bar and close 13 out of the 15 apps I had open. I left open Free Memory and a voice mail app. This is how much unused memory I had after I closed the 13 apps:
I freed up 138.71 mb of memory by closing 13 apps, increasing my free memory by 70.8%.
So, in spite of Fraser Speirs’ article, I am sticking by my advice:
Close your apps.
Do Your Own Research
If you are wondering who is correct, do your own research. You can download the Memory app from the iTunes App Store for $0.99 and check your phone’s free memory with apps open versus closed.
But you don’t need an app to show you how much better your phone will run when your apps are closed. You can also see how quickly the battery drains by testing your phone overnight. Leave the apps open on a fully charged phone overnight and see how much battery is left by the morning. The next night close all of your apps on your fully charged phone and then see how much battery is left the following morning.
If you try these experiments, please let us know your results in the Comments section below.
Do you close your apps? Do you notice a difference in battery life when you close your apps? Does your iPhone run more smoothly after you have closed your apps? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Image of floating iPhone apps by Rudy Herman