iOS 7: Closing Background Apps

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In iOS 6 and earlier closing apps you aren't using was kind of a pain, and by that I mean a ridiculous process that shouldn't have made it beyond Apple's own labs. In iOS 7, however, it's a much easier process and The Mac Observer's Jeff Gamet shows you how.

In iOS 6, closing background apps takes far too many steps:

  • Double tap the Home button on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to show the app bar.
  • Tap and hold an app in the app bar to enable the jiggle mode.
  • Now swipe through the apps until you find the one you want to close, and tap the No Entry button in the corner of the app's icon.

In iOS 7, the process is much simpler:

  • Double tap the Home button to show your open apps.
  • Flick up on the app you want to close.

That's it.

Swipe up on background apps to close them in iOS 7Swipe up on background apps to close them in iOS 7

I'm all about economy of motion in iOS apps, and this is one area where Apple clearly dropped the ball before iOS 7. It would've been great if this is how closing apps had worked all along, but it's nice that Apple finally improved the process.

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I kept trying to flick the icon at the bottom up. Gotta flick the preview of the app up. Much faster than simply pecking at “x"s of the jiggling icons.
Cool tip.

Is there a way to close all apps? That would be useful since sometimes I may have 30 or so apps open and I might want to purge all at once just to get back to baseline.


paikinho: Is there a way to close all apps?

There NEEDS to be a way to do this.  Are you listening Apple (Federighi) ?


Interesting .... when I went to close an app I knew I had opened since installing the new OS… there were abouot 50 other apps open. Does the installation somehow preserve the state the iPad was in before the install? Most of the open ones were kids apps and I know the kids haven’t touched the device since the install.


I think the more appropriate term is “tossing” the app rather than “flicking” it, don’t you?  Since “toss” also means to put it in the garbage can.


Tried flicking, doesn’t work.  It did dim my screen, now everything is dark all the time and I can’t brighten it up.  Thanks a lot for giving me directions that disable my iPad.


Interesting… tried flicking.
Either the app got tossed or the app went to full screen.
How did you dim it?
Did you use more than one finger?
What was the motion like?


After some experimentation I discovered the dimming was due to the apps I was trying to flick (flashlight and a video viewer).  Also found out that you’re supposed to flick the window _above_ the app icon, not the icon itself.  That should have been mentioned as previously you used the icons.


Got voice turned on and what confusion trying to figger that one out, turn off. Then followed palenoue’s advice and flicked the top open forms. All seemed to go (though some were black pages) then came back? when just on desk page? Now seem gone.

Horrid experience but will over practice this till I know what works. For those without patience, frustration will be misery. (My prob, hate manuals and prefer just trying and doing.)

Typing seems to work better for me now. Hurray.

Lundberg Creative

Well you know what…I tried “tossing” instead of “flicking” and that worked much better! Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

Melissa Holt

You can also use multiple fingers to close more than one app at a time. grin


Since multitasking was introduced in iOS 4, it’s still causing confusion for some people, as evinced by some of the comments here.

It’s not possible to tell, just by looking at the multitasking UI, if an app is actually running. The multitasking UI (be it the row of icons in iOS 4, 5, or 6, or the full screen experience in iOS 7) just shows the last apps that were launched. If you don’t believe me, reboot your device (so nothing is running) and activate multitasking. You’ll see all the apps that you were running before the reboot there (or even apps that were running before you upgraded to iOS 7!).

There are (or were) apps (iStat and sysstat come to mind) that actually show you what’s running (or at least loaded in memory for fast switching), but they show you all the system processes as well, so can be confusing.

My advice since iOS 4 has always been to not worry about killing apps unless there’s some problem with the app (the app is in a weird state). The OS knows how to kill apps if needed for memory. Going on an app killing spree may speed things up slightly (insofar as the OS won’t have to free up that memory before doing something else), but the time wasted doing that will be far longer than any delays in launching an app.

Robert Kelleher

Melissa, I discovered this too very cool… but a little buggy (sometimes it leaves and icon hanging on for dear life at the end.

mlvezie: Great comment and good advice. One thing that may have been overlooked is battery life. Some apps that are running in the background draw a significant amount of juice. I don’t know if this is completely solved by the Background App Update setting or if killing your recent apps once in a while is useful in some cases, but this is something people may want to look at if they are having battery life troubles.

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