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

Updated on October 12, 2011

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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    • profile image

      HA 6 years ago

      what a life savor. thank!!!!!

    • profile image

      Ana 6 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

    • profile image

      clint 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      A-dog 6 years ago

      Very helpful.

    • profile image

      dim 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      chasingu 6 years ago

      Thanks. Very helpful.

    • profile image

      djaant 6 years ago

      brilliant :)

    • profile image

      Val 6 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??

    • profile image

      roie E 6 years ago


    • profile image

      AW 6 years ago

      Great Tip

    • profile image

      Aashish 6 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.

    • profile image

      Tracie 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      henry amin 6 years ago

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

    • fritteritter profile image

      fritteritter 6 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.

    • profile image

      NyceguyCt 6 years ago

      Doesn't work on my iPad version 3.2.2

    • profile image

      Bravery 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Kishore 6 years ago


      Becaz of these Opened application, battery also draining fast.

      Thanks Buddy

    • profile image

      Lisa 7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing! Just what I was looking for

      Thank you again!!

    • profile image

      iPad owner's daughter 7 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!

    • profile image

      saxabi 7 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.

    • profile image

      Happy Guy 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      cs 7 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.

    • Jordan Riley profile image

      Jordan Riley 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      sihaab 7 years ago

      Very easy operation explained well.

    • profile image

      argonaut 7 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).

    • profile image

      Jazzy J 7 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!

    • profile image

      Mikey G 7 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!

    • profile image

      Taisir 7 years ago

      Thank you very much

      very useful tip

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

    • profile image

      jose luis barra hernandez 7 years ago


      gracias por el dato

      muy util

      espero que ahora la bateria me dure mas


    • profile image

      Aumkatsfmdhdjks 7 years ago

      What abt iPad it is not working

    • profile image

      Russ 7 years ago

      Thank you, many of my apps were running.

    • profile image

      Davidd31425 7 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?

    • profile image

      Ernst 7 years ago

      Thanx, just what I needed :)

    • profile image

      Tonya 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      John 7 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.

    • profile image

      Alex 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Biandbou 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Themapples 7 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.

    • profile image

      Themapples 7 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.

    • profile image

      timeread 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jean 7 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.

    • profile image

      qsdf 7 years ago

      thanx for this!

    • profile image

      timeread 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      md 7 years ago

      wow great info,thank you very much

    • profile image

      radha 7 years ago

      Thanks a lot for tips

    • profile image

      ChaCha96 7 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.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Good to know...

    • profile image

      roniphone 7 years ago

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

      Hopefully this improves the iphone 4 performance...

    • profile image

      That Bloke 7 years ago

      Very helpful and now bookmarked for the future. Thanks

    • profile image

      Saskia 7 years ago

      Thank u very much, that was the information I needed

    • profile image

      mayur 7 years ago

      good work ,! appreciate ! :) thanks

    • profile image

      Tim 7 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!

    • profile image

      Jon C 7 years ago

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