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★ Public Service Announcement: You Should Not Force Quit Apps on iOS

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The single biggest misconception about iOS is that it’s good digital hygiene to force quit apps that you aren’t using. The idea is that apps in the background are locking up unnecessary RAM and consuming unnecessary CPU cycles, thus hurting performance and wasting battery life.

That’s not how iOS works. The iOS system is designed so that none of the above justifications for force quitting are true. Apps in the background are effectively “frozen”, severely limiting what they can do in the background and freeing up the RAM they were using. iOS is really, really good at this. It is so good at this that unfreezing a frozen app takes up way less CPU (and energy) than relaunching an app that had been force quit. Not only does force quitting your apps not help, it actually hurts. Your battery life will be worse and it will take much longer to switch apps if you force quit apps in the background.

Here’s a short and sweet answer from Craig Federighi, in response to an email from a customer asking if he force quits apps and whether doing so preserves battery life: “No and no.”

Here, from the official support document on forcing applications to close, is Apple’s own advice on when to use this feature:

When you double-click the Home button, your recently used apps appear. The apps aren’t open, but they’re in standby mode to help you navigate and multitask. You should force an app to close only when it’s unresponsive.

Update: MacDailyNews quotes a 2010 email from Steve Jobs:

Just use [iOS multitasking] as designed, and you’ll be happy. No need to ever quit apps.

Just in case you don’t believe Apple’s senior vice president for software, Apple’s own official support documentation, or Steve Jobs, here are some other articles pointing out how this habit is actually detrimental to iPhone battery life:

This thing about force quitting apps in the background is such a pernicious myth that I’ve heard numerous stories from DF readers about Apple Store Genius Bar staff recommending it to customers. Those “geniuses” are anything but geniuses.

It occurs to me that one of the best examples proving that this notion is wrong (at least in terms of performance) are YouTube “speed test” benchmarks. There’s an entire genre of YouTube videos devoted to benchmarking new phones by running them through a series of apps and CPU-intensive tasks repeatedly, going through the loop twice. Once from a cold boot and the second time immediately after the first first loop. Here’s a perfect example, pitting a Samsung Galaxy S8 against an iPhone 7 Plus. Note that no apps are manually force quit on either device. The iPhone easily wins on the first loop, but where the iPhone really shines is on the second loop. The S8 has to relaunch all (or at least almost all) of the apps, because Android has forced them to quit while in the background to reclaim the RAM they were using. On the iPhone, all (or nearly all) of the apps re-animate almost instantly.

In fact, apps frozen in the background on iOS unfreeze so quickly that I think it actually helps perpetuate the myth that you should force quit them: if you’re worried that background apps are draining your battery and you see how quickly they load from the background, it’s a reasonable assumption to believe that they never stopped running. But they do. They really do get frozen, the RAM they were using really does get reclaimed by the system, and they really do unfreeze and come back to life that quickly.1

An awful lot of very hard work went into making iOS work like this. It’s a huge technical advantage that iOS holds over Android. And every iPhone user in the world who habitually force quits background apps manually is wasting all of the effort that went into this while simultaneously wasting their own device’s battery life and making everything slower for themselves.

This pernicious myth is longstanding and seemingly will not die. I wrote about at length back in 2012:

Like with any voodoo, there are die-hard believers. I’m quite certain that I am going to receive email from people who will swear up-and-down that emptying this list of used applications every hour or so keeps their iPhone running better than it would otherwise. Nonsense.

As Fraser mentions, yes, there are exceptional situations where an app with background privileges can get stuck, and you need to kill that app. The argument here is not that you should never have to kill any app using the multitasking switcher — the argument is that you don’t need to do it on a regular basis, and you’re not making anything “better” by clearing the list. Shame on the “geniuses” who are peddling this advice.

And don’t even get me started on people who completely power down their iPhones while putting them back into their pockets or purses.


  1. The other contributing factor to believing that force quitting is good for your iPhone are the handful of apps that have been found to be repeated abusers of loopholes in iOS, such that they really do continue running in the background, wasting battery life. Most infamously, Facebook was caught playing silent audio tracks in the background to take advantage of APIs that allow audio-playing apps to play audio from the background. They called it a “bug”. In those cases force-quitting the apps really did help, and I see no reason to trust Facebook. So if you want to keep force quitting Facebook, go right ahead. But don’t let one bad app spoil the whole barrel. The Battery section in the iOS Settings app can show you which apps are actually consuming energy in the background — tap the clock icon under “Battery Usage” and don’t force quit any app that isn’t a genuine culprit. ↩︎

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rakhesh
29 days ago
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Dubai
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5 public comments
walokra
5 days ago
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Good point.
tiglathpalasar
27 days ago
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IOS really sucks.
johnnysimmons33
27 days ago
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Noted! well we are all just clueless idiots I guess bc nobody ever told me that I should just leave my 800+ apps running and my phone will be better for it!
Nob Hill, San Francisco
arnabocean
26 days ago
Well, most of us come from a background of operating systems where *we* the users are expected to think about how the *software* should operate and handle memory. That's backwards, and yet we take a long time to be comfortable with the idea that an operating system should be mature and sophisticated enough to handle the "background" logistics. :-)
jhamill
30 days ago
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While it might be correct that you don't need to force quit apps or power down your phone or whatever. The bigger problem here, to me, is the people who feel the need to tell other people that they're using the device wrong. It's my device, I'll use it how I want, no matter what you say.

Quit wasting time writing the you're using your device wrong stories.
California
arnabocean
30 days ago
There's two sides to this, isn't it. There's one group of people who do things thinking "this helps me with whatever". With this, you can demonstrate that their actions don't achieve their goals, and then they change their actions. The other group of people are different. For example, they might choose to open Safari, type "google" into the search bar, click the first link to "google.com", type into the search bar in google, and *then* see their actual search results. You might show them there's a better way, and they might say, "well this is my phone, and I'll use it how I want, no matter what you say". Well, they're right, and in that case, you just walk away knowing they're idiots. But it doesn't mean you stop showing other people that there is indeed a better way. :-)
tewha
29 days ago
I have no problem being told I'm doing something wrong and could be doing it in a way that's better and easier, but I guess you do? That's unfortunate, but don't worry: Nobody will ever force you to be rational. You can use the device however you like. Just don't be surprised when there's people pointing out it's not only unhelpful but actually counter productive. And try not to get angry; they have every right to talk about such things.
jhamill
29 days ago
Congratulations everyone, we've "Well, actually" on the internet. That's just as good as the 'you're doing it wrong' article.
tewha
29 days ago
And congratulations, jhamill, for being an ignorant and aggressive asshole.
jhamill
29 days ago
Sure, okay @tewha I'm not the one calling people assholes on the internet but, you do you.
tdknox
30 days ago
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The one app I do force quit regularly is Waze, because if you don't it continuously monitors your location even when you're not driving or using it.

iOS 11 makes that much more clear with a giant blue bar at the top of the screen 'Waze is using your location', which miraculously goes away after I punt Waze.

But otherwise, Gruber is completely correct.
Cupertino, CA
Repton
28 days ago
Go go settings ➡️ privacy ➡️ location services, and set it to only have access when you are using the app?
neilcar
25 days ago
The problem with that is, when I'm actually navigating, I may be using other apps (to play music, for example). If I have Waze only use location services when the app is in the foreground, it isn't going to work well. Like tdnox, I force-quit Waze when I'm done with it.

Mozilla Delivers “the Best Firefox Ever”

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Mozilla Delivers "the Best Firefox Ever"

This week, Mozilla announced Firefox 54, which provides multi-processing capabilities for "remarkably" improved performance and memory usage.

The post Mozilla Delivers “the Best Firefox Ever” appeared first on Thurrott.com.

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rakhesh
65 days ago
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“Relayd and Httpd Mastery” is out!

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I’m pleased to say that Relayd and Httpd Mastery is now available in print and ebook.

Sponsors should be able to log into their accounts and download the updated book.

I don’t have a print copy of the book in my hands yet, but they’re on the way. Unless something goes wrong, I’ll a) have copies mailed to all the print sponsors before I leave for BSDCan, and b) have a few copies for BSDCan.

Now to put in some quantity time for the third edition of Absolute FreeBSD before BSDCan…

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rakhesh
87 days ago
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Random Notes from a recent trip to Japan

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It isn’t hard to fall in love with Japan. It happens slowly. In 2015, it was a trip to distant Naoshima Islands that hooked me on the Japanese sensibilities. But it was on this most recent trip, the small seductions of Japan — its people, its landscapes, its food and its culture left me completely besotted by this island nation. What I like about Japan is its subtlety. It is aloof, it is shy and almost silent. And yet when you slow your rhythm to its ways, the slow hypnotization starts to take control of your sense. There wasn’t just any one thing that took control of my senses, though if I had to pick, it would be the juxtaposition of people and its landscapes. The country is crowded and yet there seems to be enough beauty in between the gaps left by people.

I am already planning my next trip to Japan — Hokkaido in particular. I am going to download courses to learn the language enough to order food and get around the countryside without resorting to sign language. Apart from Iceland, it is the only place which has had that pull. But that would be in the future — for now I am going to share some photos and random vignettes from an eight day trip in March 2017.

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All hail the King Zuckerberg

In a small farming community — where they grow seaweed among other things — we ran into an elderly farmer. He had worked for Toyota in Japan, Europe and the United States. He had returned to his original profession — farming — and has been enjoying the rigors and joy of growing things by hand. He took a photo of our group on his iPhone 5SE and posted it to his Facebook account to share with his friends and family. In Silicon Valley we might like to think Facebook is “over” but that one action of our farmer friend showed: Zuck is still the king of the Internet.

The Car Choices

Driving around Japan’s countryside through small towns, what stuck me the most was the sheer choices of car models: colors, shapes, types and brands. Most of them are small. Many of them are boxy. But they are unique in their design. They feel as strange to our alien eyes as those colorfully festooned trucks of Africa and South Asia seem to visitors. Design is a reflection of local culture and realities. Japanese roads are small, which in turn is because the country is small and people have a defined sense of self, despite being conformist.

Very Auto-Economy

The sheer size of the auto industry and its role in Japan’s economy is visible everywhere in the country. Dealerships, repair shops, garages and gas stations dot the countryside. Infact they are visual elements that seem to dominate and remind auto-industry’s importance to Japan. I was left wondering what would happen to this fabric of society woven around the car-ecosystems when autonomous and self driving vehicles start to dominate. I wondered what happens when car ownership becomes less prevalent. For some odd reason, I feel the Japanese are going to figure this out — perhaps having learnt from losing their lead in semiconductors, electronics and mobile technologies.

Good GPS

We were driving around in a strange, boxy Nissan van. It was spacious, if not big and powerful. What impressed me the most — the fantastic GPS system, which was rarely wrong. If you followed the rules — speed and lane changes, it got you to your destination without as much as a hissy-fit. Enter the phone number of the destination you were headed to and the GPS did the rest. There was little or no latency in performance. I compared with Google Maps and Apple Maps – they got spanked like boarding room prats. Apparently, other car makers have their own interpretations of the GPS and create unique interfaces and different voices. That said, I still like to use paper maps — only to see if I am as good a navigator as I used to be back when I was younger. Incase you wanted to know — I am!

Ramen Everywhere

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Good Ramen Noodles are my kryptonite. I can’t help myself and need to have them. In big cities like New York, or places like San Francisco, good ramen can set you back by about $20-$25 dollars. Ouch! However, in Japan, 10 dollars is more than enough to enjoy a great, fresh bowl of noodles. The best bowl I had on this trip was in a small mom-and-pop shop. Their eyes must have seen many summers: he smoked and cooked up the noodles. She smiled and took my order. I didn’t speak a single word of Japanese, but somehow they spoke the language of the stomach and heart. Ask any cab driver in Toyohashi and he will take you to them.

What Camera? Smartphone, Obviously 

I had been desperate to buy a Fuji x100F camera — it has been in-short supply and my friends at Fuji USA couldn’t really help. So I ended up in many camera stores. BIC Camera is one of the biggest electronics chains. The camera options at most of the stores were far fewer than smartphones — a somewhat telling comment on the hard times that have fallen on the camera business. That said, the BIC Camera in Ginza, Tokyo is a whole different experience all-together. You can buy anything in that store. By the way, Sony smartphones are exceptional in quality — as long as you don’t mind the Android OS and rectangular shapes. I was blown away by their cameras and screens. Too bad they have retreated from the US market.

Randomly…

  • Japanese Hotels – no matter how small — provide a dental kit, shaving kit and other necessities as part of their service offerings. I don’t understand why we can’t have that as a standard feature at all hotels in the US: it makes so much sense. And it is so civilized.
  • The after effects of Tsunami are everywhere. There are broken piers and rusted metal. But you see debris and garbage on the beaches in far flung areas — plastic bottles, coke cans and all such stuff spewed by the ocean. It is jarring because Japan is a culture obsessed with cleanliness.
  • I saw a gentleman vacuuming the space infront of the gate of a small hotel. So yes, they like their country nice and neat.
  • Mount Fuji is something else… especially when you get to see it at 6 am in the morning with the sun starting to give the white snow at the top a pinkish hue.

April 16, 2017, New York

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rakhesh
124 days ago
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The most exciting iPhone 8 schematics leak to date teases game-changing features

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It’s mid-April, which means we have about five months to go until Apple unveils its 2017 iPhones, but we’ve seen a tremendous amount of iPhone 8 rumors so far. The iPhone 8 is going to be the flagship iPhone of the three models Apple is tipped to launch this year, and a new schematics leak might be the most exciting one we’ve seen yet. If accurate, the schematics posted by Chinese blog iFanr , explains some of Apple’s new design concepts for the iPhone 8. It’s unclear where iFanr got its info from, but the same site posted images of the 12-inch MacBook well ahead of its launch, and posted the first video showing the iPhone 6’s purported screen design. iFanr’s image above suggests the iPhone 8’s screen will dominate the front side of the handset. The home button should be embedded in the display, and all the front-facing sensors, including a dual lens 3D selfie camera, will be placed under the screen, invisible to the user. The iPhone 8’s screen has 5.8-inches according to the drawing, and it’s flanked by a 4mm bezel on all sides. We’re still looking at 2.5D curved glass protecting the screen, as is the case with every iPhone since the iPhone 6. The schematics also mention other measurements for the phone, including a height of 137.54mm tall and a width of 67.54mm. In such a case the iPhone 8 would be almost as tall as the iPhone 7 (138.3mm) and slightly wider (67.1mm). The report notes that Apple’s front-facing sensors will force the company to change the alignment of the rear dual lens camera, which will have a vertical orientation. Apparently, the internal space occupied by the front camera and sensors is what dictated the change. Furthermore, the site says the rear camera will have a different flash position than the iPhone 7 Plus’s dual camera as each lens will have optical image stabilization. The drawing also indicates the power button on the side of the phone will be longer than in previous iPhones. It’s unclear what determined this design change. iFanr also notes that the side rockers may not be physical. Instead, they may be powered by the same Taptic Engine that makes the iPhone 7’s home button feel like a physical button, even if that’s not the case. Assuming this leak is indeed based on Apple’s iPhone 8 design, then the iPhone maker might be sitting on some game-changing smartphone features that won’t be available on any other phone from the competition, at least at launch.



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rakhesh
124 days ago
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Nice!
Dubai
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