The INSIDER Summary:
- A popular tip to speed up your iPhone and extend its battery life is to quit all your background apps.
- However, this habit can actually drain your phone’s battery.
- Force quitting apps defeats the purpose of iOS’ design, which “freezes” apps you’re not using, so you can relaunch them quickly.
- Reopening apps you’ve terminated takes up more energy than switching between “frozen” apps.
It’s a safe bet that at some point, someone taught you how to double tap your iPhone’s Home button and swipe up to quit your background apps.
This tip — which is supposed to make your phone run faster and extend its battery life — has been around for as long as I can remember, and in a way, it makes sense. After all, when our computers lag, we’re used to closing extra tabs and windows to speed things up again.
Contrary to popular belief, however, force quitting your iPhone apps does the exact opposite. That is, repeatedly closing your background apps can actually hurt your phone’s battery and performance.
As Apple pundit John Gruber wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, iOS is designed to “freeze” apps that you’re not using, so you can relaunch them without using a ton of your phone’s CPU and slowing it down.
When you force quit an app, you take it out of your phone’s temporary memory, known as RAM, and send it to a terminated state that Apple’s developers call “Not running.” The next time you open that app, your iPhone has to load it back into RAM all over again, which takes up more CPU than if you were to relaunch the app from its “frozen” state.
Not only does this high CPU usage drain your phone’s battery, you’ll also have to wait longer for your phone to switch between apps and load apps that you’ve force quit.
Gruber first wrote about this at length in 2012, along with bloggers such as Fraser Speirs and countless other publications. In 2016, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi even confirmed in an email that closing out of your iPhone apps won’t extend its battery life.
Don’t worry. If your iPhone is particularly slow, there are other ways to speed it up instead of force quitting all your apps. You can try clearing your phone’s temporary memory, for example, or reducing motion effects.
You should also make sure you’re charging your iPhone correctly to maximize your battery’s lifespan.
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