Force-Quitting iOS Apps Saves Battery, Right? Nope

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Apple's senior vice president of software engineering doesn't shut down iOS multitasking apps, and neither should you.

Craig Federighi this week responded to a customer's email about exiting background applications—those programs still running but not currently in use.

"Do you quit your iOS multitasking apps frequently and is this necessary for battery life?" user Caleb wrote in a message to CEO Tim Cook. "Just wanting you to put this controversy to rest!"

Federighi intervened with a very straightforward "No and no."

Multitasking launched in 2010 with iOS 4; in the time since, iDevice users have become accustomed to closing background apps in an effort to save battery life or speed up the hardware. And while the practice has long been deemed futile, Federighi's Monday message is basically the only thing the company has said about the debate in six years.

According to 9to5Mac, which verified and published the email excerpts, Apple's official support pages say that force-quitting should be reserved for situations when an app freezes or otherwise misbehaves, not because you don't like digital clutter.

In fact, when you leave an app or open a new one, the previous programs become frozen in RAM, or stop running at all, 9to5Mac said. The only background applications eating up battery power are things like GPS navigation and music players, which are functioning only when when you are using them, and not once you've paused or reached a destination.

As many have pointed out over the years, force quitting could actually have an opposite effect by shortening your handset's battery life.

Apple did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

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