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  • Force Quitting iOS Apps does not Help Battery Life

    Earlier this week, an Apple iPhone user emailed Apple's own CEO Tim Cook, and instead got a reply from Craig Federighi, Apple's senior VP of Software Engineering (via 9to5Mac).

    He "Caleb" asked specifically whether Cook quits apps to save battery and if it's truly "necessary for battery life," Federighi jumped in and stated "no and no." Although far from an official condemnation of the force quit belief by Apple, it is the most the company has directly said about the myth in the six years since multitasking became available in iOS 4.


    [Image via 9to5mac]

    If it's an app you're going to often -- a weather or traffic experience, for example -- all of the forced closing and re-opening actually can worsen the life of an iPhone. Exceptions can be made by toggling off a feature called "Background App Refresh," which the Facebook app was found to be suspiciously circumventing in recent months, but in all other occurrences the process of force quitting each app to prolong battery life is erroneous.

    The nature of swiping apps off of the multitasking landing pad, and "quitting" them, helped create a widespread belief that an iPhone's battery could be preserved for longer. Many have pointed out over the years, doing so could in fact do the complete opposite: you could be shortening the battery life of your iPhone.

    Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you're doing something your device is already doing for you. You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor. The truth is, those apps in your multitasking menu are not running in the background at all: iOS freezes them where you last left the app so that it's ready to go if you go back.

    Unless you have enabled Background App Refresh, your apps are not allowed to run in the background unless they are playing music, using location services, recording audio, or the sneakiest of them all: checking for incoming VOIP calls , like Skype. All of these exceptions, besides the latter, will put an icon next to your battery icon to alert you it is running in the background.
    That was a rare case, however, and users should stick closer to Federighi's succinct advice today instead of continuing to put long-term strain on the smartphone. If you're ever really concerned about daily battery usage, Apple offers a simple but useful tool to keep on top of things. Go to Settings > Battery > and scroll down to Battery Usage.

    You can also restrict specific app access to Background App Refresh -- or turn it off altogether, although that can drastically hinder certain apps' key features -- in Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Force Quitting iOS Apps does not Help Battery Life started by Caiden Spencer View original post
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      I've been arguing this for years. So many people have this false logic that clearing your memory is helping your phone run faster and have better battery life.

      It's the opposite. Unless an app is using background refresh. It's in a frozen state using zero processing resources. Clearing memory just makes it harder for your phone to perform routine tasks.

      I never understood why people always want to see so much free memory. The whole point of memory is for things to be cached I'm memory to increase speed.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      @subywrex: Does it not depend on the device? There are still people using iPhone 4Ses and earlier, which had at most 512 MB of ram, which can grow a bit tight, especially when one factors in JB tweaks combined with having many apps left cached in the background. iOS will supposedly deallocate some apps when launching new ones and there is too little RAM to go around, but overall it does seem to help to clear out apps from the switcher (and/or SBSettings' process list) that haven't been used in a long time. Is this really incorrect?
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      Quote Originally Posted by szr View Post
      @subywrex: Does it not depend on the device? There are still people using iPhone 4Ses and earlier, which had at most 512 MB of ram, which can grow a bit tight, especially when one factors in JB tweaks combined with having many apps left cached in the background. iOS will supposedly deallocate some apps when launching new ones and there is too little RAM to go around, but overall it does seem to help to clear out apps from the switcher (and/or SBSettings' process list) that haven't been used in a long time. Is this really incorrect?
      iOS handles clearing memory when needed. Clearing memory only makes a phone run slower. Older devices may have issues running games that require lots of ram that the phone can't give out.

      I personally have never cleared out my apps and have always had some of the best battery life compared to friends


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      I totally agree with Suby here!
    1. bbrks's Avatar
      bbrks -
      I just checked on my iphone 6....17 apps in the background and my phone still does everything perfectly....that's all I need to know
    1. weazle23's Avatar
      weazle23 -
      little off topic but does closing all tabs in safari make a difference to battery?
    1. Sage I's Avatar
      Sage I -
      I was always under the impression that clearing background apps in the switcher wasn't about better battery life but about keeping things operating more smoothly... Every once and a while someone with an iphone asks me why their phone is acting up, apps freezing, slow load times, lagging keyboard etc... I first tell then to restart their phone doing the power and home button combo, often times that doesn't do anything so then I tell them to close out all apps in the switcher and then restart the phone again and everything will be fine after that... I've seen huge improvements instantly after closing all apps out and restarting...
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sage I View Post
      I was always under the impression that clearing background apps in the switcher wasn't about better battery life but about keeping things operating more smoothly... Every once and a while someone with an iphone asks me why their phone is acting up, apps freezing, slow load times, lagging keyboard etc... I first tell then to restart their phone doing the power and home button combo, often times that doesn't do anything so then I tell them to close out all apps in the switcher and then restart the phone again and everything will be fine after that... I've seen huge improvements instantly after closing all apps out and restarting...
      Once you restart your memory is fully cleared. Memory is only retained while power is on. Next time you reboot even though the apps look like they are there in switcher you'll notice that when you open the app it actually has to fully start up again rather than start from where you left off.

      The images of the apps in switcher are written to a cache file that is stored in a temp location on the phones storage. The state of the app is written to memory.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. Checksum47's Avatar
      Checksum47 -
      What about a gps app like Nike + or TomTom? When I use those apps my phone gets moderately warm to the touch. So youre saying that by running those apps while Im using another app isnt sucking my battery?
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Checksum47 View Post
      What about a gps app like Nike + or TomTom? When I use those apps my phone gets moderately warm to the touch. So youre saying that by running those apps while Im using another app isnt sucking my battery?
      If your using a gps app in the background (tracking something or getting turn by turn) then yes it is using processing power. It is running. If you were to close out Tom Tom while using it, then your directions would stop. But when you are not getting directions the. Tom Toms app state will get cached to memory so you can pick up where you left off.




      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. Checksum47's Avatar
      Checksum47 -
      subywrex, No Im talking about Battery life. If I have either of those 2 programs running, and then switch to something else. My phone will stay warm like its still running the Nike + app. So in that situation is it still eating up my battery or can I leave gps style programs open?
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Checksum47 View Post
      subywrex, No Im talking about Battery life. If I have either of those 2 programs running, and then switch to something else. My phone will stay warm like its still running the Nike + app. So in that situation is it still eating up my battery or can I leave gps style programs open?
      Anytime your phone is using processing power to do any task it is consuming battery. So if you are tracking something like a run in Nike plus even when you get out of the app it's still in use I would imagine


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      The big offenders are things like Facebook which constantly run in the background. Closing those will save battery, very little else will.
    1. Pinoy's Avatar
      Pinoy -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiderManAPV View Post
      The big offenders are things like Facebook which constantly run in the background. Closing those will save battery, very little else will.
      Actually no it won't. It pains me to admit Suby is 100% correct. Apps like Facebook refresh in the background even if closed. Only option is to turn the Background App Refresh toggle off in settings. And with FB even that doesn't seem to work. You can see in settings what apps are refreshing in the background.
    1. Pinoy's Avatar
      Pinoy -
      I'm still gonna close all my apps in the switcher though because I know it bugs Suby.
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pinoy View Post
      Actually no it won't. It pains me to admit Suby is 100% correct. Apps like Facebook refresh in the background even if closed. Only option is to turn the Background App Refresh toggle off in settings. And with FB even that doesn't seem to work. You can see in settings what apps are refreshing in the background.
      Or you can just by pants that go all the way to your shoes, a shirt with sleeves, get a haircut and a job, grow up and delete fb. ( not you per se, I'm just speaking hypothetically not meant to offend)[emoji3][emoji3]
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      Quote Originally Posted by rolandgabor View Post
      Or you can just by pants that go all the way to your shoes, a shirt with sleeves, get a haircut and a job, grow up and delete fb. ( not you per se, I'm just speaking hypothetically not meant to offend)[emoji3][emoji3]
      I did that, but now Alien Blue takes even more battery than Facebook did... Not because it runs in the background but because I canít close it
    1. Pinoy's Avatar
      Pinoy -
      Quote Originally Posted by rolandgabor View Post
      Or you can just by pants that go all the way to your shoes, a shirt with sleeves, get a haircut and a job, grow up and delete fb. ( not you per se, I'm just speaking hypothetically not meant to offend)[emoji3][emoji3]
      Lol, I like FB. Don't judge me. [emoji23]
    1. NewD's Avatar
      NewD -
      It's never been about battery life for me.. It's always been about impaired system flow when memory is near maxed out. We did tests in iOS 5 - last time we had this debate - and proved conclusively that iOS' animation smoothing and other aspects of the phone ran more sluggish when 512MB of RAM was maxed out. Clearing the switcher made things run smoother. So I never heard the argument about battery..

      Now with 2GB of RAM I never worry about it. Phone runs smooth all the time. In iOS 5 days.. Different story completely..
    1. Sage I's Avatar
      Sage I -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewD View Post
      It's never been about battery life for me.. It's always been about impaired system flow when memory is near maxed out. We did tests in iOS 5 - last time we had this debate - and proved conclusively that iOS' animation smoothing and other aspects of the phone ran more sluggish when 512MB of RAM was maxed out. Clearing the switcher made things run smoother. So I never heard the argument about battery..

      Now with 2GB of RAM I never worry about it. Phone runs smooth all the time. In iOS 5 days.. Different story completely..
      When I first jailbroke an iphone back in the earlier days I would always install SB settings and would use the kill background button to free up RAM... Not only could I see the difference in the avaliable RAM but definitely could feel the quicker responsiveness with UI animations and app load times... Numerous times a day I would clear out the switcher and kill background processes, never killed the background processes without closing out the whole app switcher first... Never was about battery life for me either, was always trying to speed things up and run things smoother...