How stop background apps on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS

Many people have asked with the iPhone, iPad or iPod multi-tasking, is it possible to stop a background apps? With iOS 4, the iPhone, iPod and iPod Touch gained the ability to multi-task. Unfortunately while multi-tasking, the iOS devices keeps applications that you don't use in the background. These background apps are managed by the iOS device which keeps them in memory unless it runs out of ram. But these backgrounded apps can be a pain if you want extra memory for another app or if you want to stop an app that is running a service in the background like playing music. Fortunately, there is a way to stop any app running in the background on your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.

Step 1

Push the home twice quickly. This will bring up the multi-task bar which shows all of the apps running in the background on your device. If you select any application icon, it will be brought to the foreground.

Step 2

Push and hold down you finger on one of the application icons. The applications will start to jump around similar to when you re-arrange applications on the home screen. Also a minus sign will appear on the upper left hand corner of the application icons.

Step 3

If you push on one of the minus signs of an application, the app will be terminated and no longer run in the background. Terminate the applications that you want and push the home button to return your device to normal.

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Jon C 6 years ago

Excellent! Stopped my iphone from crashing mid call. Much appreciated tip.

Tim 6 years ago

Thank you! This was driving me nuts because on sleep mode it was draining my battery life with all the apps running in the background. This will help a lot!

mayur 6 years ago

good work ,! appreciate ! :) thanks

Saskia 6 years ago

Thank u very much, that was the information I needed

That Bloke 6 years ago

Very helpful and now bookmarked for the future. Thanks

roniphone 6 years ago

Excellent tutorial... thank you soo much man....

Hopefully this improves the iphone 4 performance...

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Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Good to know...

ChaCha96 6 years ago

Thanks! Worked great.

Just a note...when you open the app up again it will go back to running in the background so this procedure is not a one time thing.

radha 6 years ago

Thanks a lot for tips

md 6 years ago

wow great info,thank you very much

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timeread 6 years ago Author

Hemi: Did you make sure that the iPod touch was upgraded to OS 4 or above? Some of the older iPods cannot be upgraded.

qsdf 6 years ago

thanx for this!

Jean 6 years ago

Isn't there any way to stop all apps from running in the background? For me it's a waste of battery life and doesn't seem to help at all.

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timeread 6 years ago Author

Jean, Unfortunately the only way to stop all apps is to restart the iPhone.

Themapples 6 years ago

Having to go through extra and unituitive steps to do something users have been trained For several years to do with one press of the home button along with the portrait-but-no-landscape lock hidden in the same bar for no apparent reason are the dumbest most annoying changes ever. I actually lol'd.

Themapples 6 years ago

I mean really. This device already only barely makes it through the day on a full charge. At least give us some minimal visual clue that things are still running in the background.

Biandbou 6 years ago

Excellent ! After lots of searches I found your well-explained solution. Thank you.

Alex 6 years ago

Thank you so much this was very helpful. The Tom Tom application was draining the battery unnecessarily. Very grateful!

John 6 years ago

Thanks a lot. It's not the ideal solution but at least will solve some of the problems. Hope Apple fix this in the next update.

Tonya 6 years ago

Thank you SO much! I kept getting Facebook notifications popping up and couldn't figure out how to stop it from running.

Ernst 6 years ago

Thanx, just what I needed :)

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Davidd31425 6 years ago

Sigh. Apple. From one extreme to the other. My old problem was having to open apps on a regular basis to get them to sync. Pocket informant calendar, toodledo notes, evernote notes, etc.

Now I am stuck constantly killing apps to preserve battery life AND keep the list of apps running manageable. I am sure there will be apps I can buy that will kill tasks, close all tasks, open only certain tasks, ec, but come on..... With such a serious change to how you force your users to use their electronic devices did even one person at apple stop to consider this problem and how it Woud effect people?

Russ 6 years ago

Thank you, many of my apps were running.

Aumkatsfmdhdjks 6 years ago

What abt iPad it is not working

jose luis barra hernandez 6 years ago


gracias por el dato

muy util

espero que ahora la bateria me dure mas


Taisir 6 years ago

Thank you very much

very useful tip

i found more than 11 application consuming my batteryhope you the best

Mikey G 6 years ago

This issue was driving me nuts because I knew my battery should be lasting longer than it was. I followed the directions and EVERY SINGLE APP on my phone was running in the background HAHA! Jokes on me! I bet this cures what ails me.

Much Obliged Stranger!

Jazzy J 6 years ago

So simple...but so gratifying to stop the battery drain. Thank you for posting one of the most useful posts I have read in a long time!

argonaut 6 years ago

Is there a way to tell the ipod touch to *NOT* background a given app?

That'd be really handy (at least until we get a full-featured task manager).

sihaab 6 years ago

Very easy operation explained well.

Jordan Riley profile image

Jordan Riley 6 years ago

Valuable hubpage that you have made. I run out of adjectives

cs 6 years ago

thank you...this really helped. i was wondering why i had battery drainage after installing a new game for my was the culprit.

Happy Guy 6 years ago

Yay! Now Infinity Blade doesn't lag! Woot!

saxabi 6 years ago

Well explained excersise. Thanks a lot.

It is a bit annoying way to close apps though... Apple should've done better on this.

iPad owner's daughter 6 years ago

Thanks :) stuff like this comes in handy when the iPad and the iPhone get handed to me and I am asked to "figure it out", lol. I own neither but have had to learn how to operate both. Tutorials such as this make that easier on me, so thank you!

Lisa 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing! Just what I was looking for

Thank you again!!

Kishore 5 years ago


Becaz of these Opened application, battery also draining fast.

Thanks Buddy

Bravery 5 years ago


NyceguyCt 5 years ago

Doesn't work on my iPad version 3.2.2

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fritteritter 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Thanks, this will be very handy while our clients are previewing their new app. Regarding other comments saying that these must be closed to get good battery performance... most apps in the background are not doing anything whatsoever. Most just have a bit of memory reserved so that they can restart from where you left off.

henry amin 5 years ago

Install Activator and RemoveBG and with a single click Remove everything....

Tracie 5 years ago

Does it hurt your battery life by keeping your ipad plugged in at all times while not in use?

Aashish 5 years ago

Cam across the below explaination, it's claimed that recently used applications are nnot necesarrily running in background and using your battery -

We’ve been getting some email lately that all asks the same question about iPhone 3GS and 4 multitasking. There seems to be some confusion, so in an effort to clear this up:

On iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, you can quickly switch between the applications you’re using; multitasking also allows certain applications to run in the background.

Double-clicking the iPhone’s Home button lets you view the most recently used applications.

The four most recently used application are shown at the bottom of the screen. Flick left to see more applications, if you have recently used many different apps, you may see 10, 20, 30, or more apps in that list. Our test phone currently shows 42 apps in the recents list. We are not sure what the limits (number of apps and/or amount of time before an app is not considered “recent”) – if anyone’s hit any limit(s), please let us know.

Anyway, the basic point is: Don’t worry, not all of these apps are “running.” In fact, most of them are not. Those 42 apps are the last 42 apps you used, they’re not churning in the background, sucking up your battery life. Think of them sort of like Han Solo encased in carbonite; they’re in suspended animation, so they spring back to life right where you left them when tapped. So, that app list is there for your convenience, not to stress you out, so don’t worry, be happy! You’re running iOS4 on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, you lucky son-a-ma-batches! Your iPhone is taking care of multitasking, so you don’t have to.

If you don’t want anyone to see how many fart apps you’ve been running lately, you can easily remove an icon from the recents list: Simply touch and hold the application icon until it begins to wiggle, then tap the red minus sign icon for each app you wish to remove. The application is added to recent applications again the next time you open it.

AW 5 years ago

Great Tip

roie E 5 years ago


Val 5 years ago

when I do the instructions, my favorites come up. I have the most current version of Iphone 3 & tried this several times. my battery life stinks as the apps are draining it. Do I need to take it in for something to be fixed??

djaant 5 years ago

brilliant :)

chasingu 5 years ago

Thanks. Very helpful.

dim 5 years ago

nothing happens when i 2click on my home button, i donnow what you re talking about (iphone 3g, 4.2.1, jailbroken)

A-dog 5 years ago

Very helpful.

clint 5 years ago

didn't work on my ipad?????

Ana 5 years ago

Oh my GOSH!!! I had EVERYTHING opened, no wonder my phone was opening contacts when i hit messages and music when i tried to dial on my phone. wow, bit difference, thank you thank you, much love

HA 5 years ago

what a life savor. thank!!!!!

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