Here’s How to Close iPhone X Apps, and Why You Probably Shouldn’t

iOS is smart when it comes to task management.

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

The iPhone X is here, and with it there’s a baffling list of new gestures to learn. Apple’s $999 smartphone ditches the home button in favor of a swiping mechanism to return to the app screen, which also means learning a new way to manage apps. There’s also a new gesture to learn for seeing your recent apps, but with the switch to gesture controls, you might want to ditch the habit for good.

On previous iPhones, users could see their recently opened apps by quickly double pressing the home button. Swiping up on an app removes it from the list.

To reach the same screen on the iPhone X, you need to swipe up from the bottom as if you’re returning to the home screen, but pause before you reach the top. This should take you to the switcher. Then you press and hold on the apps until a red minus appears, which you then tap to remove apps.

With that said, it’s not something you really need to worry about in most instances. Unlike most computers, iPhone apps aren’t all running simultaneously. Those apps are just the most recent, and the switcher just shows you apps that are held in a suspended state.

iPhone app switcher.


There are legitimate reasons why you’d want to remove an app. If it’s frozen, for example, you might want to force iOS to forget the last state it was in and run the whole thing from the beginning. Most of the time, though, removing an app from the app switcher and forcefully purging its last used state from memory will not help your phone go faster. If anything, forcing the app to return to the beginning could make your phone feel slower.

Apps can only perform a subset of tasks if they’re not on your screen right now. iOS will aggressively push an app to finish up what it’s doing and place it in a suspended state. This means that apps will continue doing useful things like play music or check for incoming calls, but useless tasks are purged with speed.

This doesn’t always work perfectly. Facebook is an example of an app that abused the system by pretending it really needed to play audio. That stopped iOS from claiming back the resources, which meant the app loaded faster but drained the battery.

However, trying to second guess these resource management algorithms is normally a bad idea:

Proceed with caution.

Related Tags