Apple semi-officially confirms that force-quitting apps won’t extend iPhone battery life

By , Mar 10, 2016

iOS 5 battery icon (full)

As our own Sebatien recently explained, force-quitting multitasking apps to save your iPhone’s battery life is a terrible idea because A) Apple is giving developers proper tools to have their apps work efficiently in the background; and B) users should trust the operating system is effectively managing apps that aren’t active.

Today, Apple has confirmed that users should not force-quit apps frequently and has said that doing so won’t help extend the iPhone’s battery life at all.

Responding to an email inquiry from a concerned customer, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, has made it clear that it’s completely unnecessary to close every app in the app switcher frequently.

Apple iPHone battery life email 001

“Do you quit your iOS multitasking apps frequently and is this necessary for battery life?,” asks the email sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who forwarded it to Federighi.

Apple iPHone battery life email 002

Federighi responded, “No and No.”

Force-quitting apps is not necessary because iOS takes care of managing system resources so that background tasks that don’t need to run do not waste resources.

RELATED: Tips for maximizing iPhone battery life

In addition, force-quitting an app removes it from RAM so the next time you switch to it iOS has to reload the app from flash storage, which consumes energy, meaning force-quitting multitasking apps on a regular basis may actually worsen battery life.

Source: 9to5Mac

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  • Rodney Coleman

    So I do it anyway… No reason to have certain apps open in the background.

    • iAdam1n

      I do it out of habit now but like to for Palaver so I don’t miss messages.

    • Same here and it definitely feels like the phone gets a bit faster closing those apps.

      • Nathan

        At the cost of battery life. The phone manages ram better than anyone could manually. Unless you’re on an iPhone 5s or easier, you really shouldn’t feel any difference.

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        I’m on 5s and I frigging feel the difference

      • The battery decrease is negligible. Have you looked at your app switcher? There’s apps in there you prolly haven’t touched in weeks. Having to run an app from scratch every few weeks I assume isn’t bothersome at all on the buttery.

      • Nathan

        Those apps were already purged..they aren’t ‘running in the background.’…

      • Are you agreeing or disagreeing with my statement that the battery is hardly affected in actual practice?

      • Manuel Molina

        If you use Springtomize, there’s a feature that blurs apps that background has closed. After awhile, the apps get killed to free ram. It shows up in the task switcher, but it doesn’t use resources. When you click the app, it opens as if you were clicking the app for the first time and uses battery anyways. It’s when you open, force quit, open, force-quit that kills your juice.

      • When My 6 gets sluggish I close the apps from the switcher and it gets much snappier. I can only speak for myself on this case but I’ve also tried with other phones and it does seem to also improve the Battery life.

    • indiekiduk

      Well it actually costs more battery life to restart every app from scratch than just un-pause it. People don’t quit applications on the Mac so why would you do it on the phone? If you don’t want apps doing background refresh you can disable that in settings.

      • Who doesn’t quit apps on the Mac? When I’m done typing my assignment up I exit Word. If I’m done watching a movie I close VLC. Only i things I may leave open are safari, mail, and iTunes.

      • Innes

        Having a load of applications open on the mac eats into the RAM and then it has to start using the hard drive as a virtual ram which slow stuff down.

      • Gary le

        Same for tabs like when I open multiple idb tabs on safari my ram usages go really high; on a windows pc I even receive a pop up indicating I need more ram (i have 8gb). Even though I dont use thise tabs at the moment it takes up ram… Is this same for iphone?

        I feel like if there are background apps that i dont use since a week ago then i should swipe up on it and leave the rest.

      • indiekiduk

        Most macs now come with 8GB which means the average “normal” user can leave everything they use open. On the 15″ pros with 16GB even professional apps can be left open too. Try it.

    • pegger1

      I guarantee you the majority of what you’re force closing was no longer open anyways. All you did was remove the shortcut from the app switcher. All apps you run will appear in the app switcher, doesn’t mean they’re currently running. iOS will close it and leave the shortcut there.

  • Rodney Coleman

    If that were 100% true they wouldn’t let you force quit apps and there wouldn’t be a need for multitasking. It’ll be like Windows OS. Just cards of previous screens you visted.

    • Also, if it were true rebooting your phone wouldn’t do anything either. There are apps that for some reason continuously run in the background even if you have the options off and will kill your battery off. It may not be useful to do it all the time but force quitting does provide some use.

    • JoJo

      Saving battery life is not the reason force quit exists. The name even says so: FORCE QUIT, not batterysave quit. You use force quit to terminate an app that is not responding or working as intended.

      • afterthefaux

        Or maybe has services running, which you dont want, which actually use the processor and thus wasting battery. These types of explanations aren’t for tech-savy users, they are for people who hold the phone with one hand and touch it with the other, alright? Quitting certain apps might help the battery. But you cant hand out this info to the public because it opens up a lot of questions, questions to things you cannot and will not explain your 90 year old granny.

    • indiekiduk

      We need force quit to kill apps that hang, usually because of badly coded ad frameworks that leave a blank full screen and no way to exit.

  • Linton Findlay

    Only reason I quit apps now is to restart them if they have issues or to conserve ram(not much of an issue on my 6S+, but is on iPad Air)

  • BooBee

    I NEVER force quit my apps unless they are not behaving as expected, then in those rare cases a force quit is necessary. Otherwise if you check my multi-task window it has every single app on my phone displayed in the carousel.

    • coLin

      same here lol. too lazy to slide up on apps. I let the iPhone manage apps for me

  • Joonyaboy

    I think it depends on the app. Put your phone in airplane mode during the night and see how much battery you lose. Then try again with all apps force-closed. For me it was a ~10% difference

  • Gregg

    Was there an “official” press release? If so, I missed it… Unlikely, but anyone could doctor up an email exchange.

  • joro_abv

    Well … that is definitely not true. Just try Viber with and without force quitting. Yeah, I know Viber is crappy as hell, but this just proves you can never trust a developer nomatter what tools you put in his/her hands (I’m a dev myself) :-))).

  • indiekiduk

    What a dumb thing to email Tim about. Some people also wash dishes before they put them in the dishwasher! It’s best just to ignore some strange human habits.

  • Fear1ess

    Guess they are not using Messenger or Viber.Leave those two open and their background activity will eat your battery.

  • Merman123

    Of course their not going to say yes.

  • Innes

    I do it to save RAM not battery power. A habbit from the 3GS days.

    • pegger1

      You’re not saving anything. iOS frees up memory as needed.

      • The Guy

        The hell it does… iOS is horrible with memory, I usually get a few hours more of battery by quitting apps because apps require memory less being used equals less juice needed…

  • igobythisname

    iDB and Apple can say ALL they want about not force quitting apps (as they have been for a while now), it doesn’t change first hand user experience.. Having all your apps open in the background CLEARLY reduces available RAM and noticeably causes apps to run slower than if they were running without any or fewer apps running in the background.

    • the hood

      Spot on!

  • Sohail Wahab

    So all this time, you mean. Nooooooooo!!!

  • Hotrod

    it may not help the battery but it definitely makes the device run smoother sometimes

  • Technically true but if applications are left open in the background they do eat up your data plan in some cases. So I’d rather get them out of memory so I don’t have to worry about it.

  • TheShade247

    I turned off Background app refresh, and i close apps all the time on iPad air, cause if apps are opened in the background my browser tabs refresh more frequently which is really annoying, and i think Craig Federighi is trying to defend iOS here, in my case iPad air runs alot smoother when all apps closed.

  • rahnolds

    The reason I do it is so that the app switcher isn’t so cluttered, which in turn makes it easier for me to bounce between the few apps where I actually desire that functionality.

    It’s funny because the “new” app switcher encourages me want to purge all my open apps much more frequently than the last design. It was easier to multi-task with the old app switcher in my opinion.

    • indiekiduk

      you could try search, thats what I use to launch apps. And now it lists 4 apps it thinks you might want without even needing to type, possibly according to past usage, time of day, etc.

  • iPhoneWINS

    lol

  • raulortiz318

    Disagree with this.

    First, on iPad Pro, it is pretty obvious to me when you have apps like Pixelmator, GarageBand, and Adobe Lightroom open in the background, the device loses responsiveness, webpages will load as you scroll (this site is a good example, where each time you scroll you will see a block of white, and then when you stop scrolling content appears), and animations get slower.

    Closing some of these apps, and it starts responding as normal.

    Second, sometimes the multitasking UI gets incredibly cluttered, becoming impossible to find what app you want.

    Closing out the ones you don’t use helps tremendously.

  • Rares

    I left some apps opened on my iphone back when i was on 7.1.2, I had a 5s. Anyway, I ran geekbench and noticed that the scores dropped with about 300-400 points. Even after about 10 minutes, the scores were low. So, why leave the apps opened when they make my iphone slower??

  • Galaxy_Surfer_007

    Well, Craig should know, but then what is it that Battery is showing, especially background activity?! And, with all the advice of quitting apps that are using lots of background battery time?!

    I thought Facebook was a notorious offender.

    Isn’t there an interaction between the app–and how well it’s been developed–and the Apple iOS?

    In any event, maybe it doesn’t save battery life, but it certainly does make some apps more responsive–and avoids unusual behavior, crashed, and hang ups with others!

    It’s worth doing every now and then, for sure!

  • M_Hawke

    Sorry, I disagree. There are some apps that are battery hogs, like Waze. I force quit it as soon as I’m done with it. When left on in the background, my battery life goes down. An email can’t tell me otherwise.

    Also, with the new app switcher, leaving apps open makes the app switcher useless to find the app you want. It is 10 times faster to just find the icon on your home screen and “launch” it again that to weed through 6 or more open apps. Clutter, clutter, clutter.

  • the hood

    Do you quit your ios multitasking apps frequently? No
    Is that necessary for battery life? No.

    I don’t read any other explanation that provides any info that makes any claim about managing system resources or otherwise. One can conclude any sort of assumption based on these two dare I say lazy responses.
    As usual Zibreg your credibility sinks lower than a snakes belly.

  • The Guy

    Funny how when you put 2 iPhones side by side, one with no BG apps and one with a few BG apps, the one with BG apps drains faster… I guess reality doesn’t agree with a persons word… sigh, close your apps, morons.