Apple doesn’t like for users to be able to see what’s “under the hood.” OS X and iOS are very design and aesthetically driven. Apparently, Apple feels that “viewing processes” is an archaic feature. There is no real way in iOS to get a bird’s eye view of everything that’s running on your phone.

There are, however, some of us out there who would like to know things like which processes are running and the current distribution of system memory. Luckily, App Switch, by XCool Apps, is here to remedy our need for total control…

AppSwitch is the first app of its kind to display all background processes on iOS. Its functionality extends so much farther than iOS’s built-in multitasking.

XCool App’s summary of AppSwitch highlights their utility, “AppSwitch’s Switch to App technology harnesses one of iOS’s most powerful features to let you quickly switch to another app, while Shortcuts lets you quickly switch to a feature within another app (e.g. switch directly to Twitter’s compose message screen).

The “specific feature” is very interesting: for instance, you can fire up AppSwitch, check your processes, and jump straight to the Twitter app’s compose screen. I don’t know how the developers managed to do this, and I’m surprised that Apple hasn’t said that it breaks some kind of rule. Seems too controllable to be true.

AppSwitch, like most system utility apps, allows you to view all of your iPhone’s system information. You can see your model, build, MAC address, IP address, uptime, free space, etc. There is also a nifty feature to copy your phone’s UDID and MAC address to your clipboard.

There’s a nice pie chart of the different aspects of your system memory. Viewing your system memory usage can be excellent for troubleshooting and doing tech support.

The console feature of AppSwitch allows you to dig deep into your device’s internals. You can see messages sent back and forth between the OS and certain apps and services. Looking at this list can be a little overwhelming, but hardcore utility geeks should feel right at home.

But remember, AppSwitch is a viewing and troubleshooting utility only. Don’t think that you will now be able to manage and kill processes like Activity Monitor on OS X.

AppSwitch does have good support for app icons. There are currently three available icon packs that cover all of the stock apps and most of the popular apps in the App Store. I am very impressed with the design quality of this app. While the app icon could be a little better, the interface is clean and easy to use.

I recommend downloading AppSwitch. Pick it up for only $0.99 in the App Store.

What do you think? Would you like to be able to view all of the processes running on your phone? Does this app sound like a good troubleshooting tool for you?

  • chris

    Sbsettings is better.

  • Eric

    Absolutely pointless. Sbsettings. Let’s you kill the apps which is much more important than a shortcut to them. That’s what the task switcher is for. This guy is a fool

  • King

    This App won’t last in the App Store.

  • Tony

    I can’t even get it to work

  • Chris

    I think some of you are missing the point: this is available on iPhones which have NOT been jailbroken!

    • Whatthefuss

      Ah. Point +

  • Z

    @Alex Does it let you kill unwanted processes?

  • @Z As I clarified in the article, “AppSwitch is a viewing and troubleshooting utility only. Don’t think that you will now be able to manage and kill processes like Activity Monitor on OS X.” It is not a process manager, simply a shortcut and troubleshooting tool.

    @Eric I realize that SBSettings lets you kill processes, which is helpful. I use SBSettings all the time. AppSwitch serves a different purpose, as I tried to clarify in the article.

    • Z

      Thank for the clarification

  • guitarfreak13

    i just bought it, and it´s good iin my opinion, but not awesome. the only thing i can use it for, is to view how much cpu my 3gs is using. and it´ll soon be pulled from the app store anyways 🙂

    • why do you want to view CPU usage? all other third party apps that are in the background are put into a “suspended” mode by the OS… during which it won’t be using any CPU cycles at all… 🙂

  • Martin

    Ok, i’ve had a little more time with it now, and after Reading the manual i find it really useful. For example, when reporting a bug to a developer, it is a HUGE help to include the data from this program to an email. It Can be easily done in the program

  • Ty

    Mail us constantly running in the background even though I’ve killed the app and disabled fetch data. Is this normal?

    • Yes, its normal. The only way I managed to really kill Mail is to set your Fetch settings to Manual. However, once you run Mail, it will continue to run in the background until you manually kill it.

  • Ty


  • Orangesn0w

    The twitter new tweet is run by a JavaScript code that is actually built in to the app. It was originally put in by tweetie to be saved as a bookmark in safari as a quick way to share your current page URL.

    • it’s not JavaScript but an API provided by Apple called openURL.. 🙂