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How To Open Background Apps (and Close Apps) in iOS 8 Devices

Last updated: September 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm

If you are new to the iOS 8 world, and you are wondering how to see the apps running in the background or switch from one app to the another then this is the tutorial you should follow. In this how-to tutorial you will learn the right way to open background apps and close these apps (or games) to improve the performance of your Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Note that this is a beginner’s guide and some of you might be familiar with how iOS software handles apps hidden in the background. Still, we decided to write this tutorial to refresh your memory (see Quick Note).

iOS Multitasking Explained

Multitasking is in the heart of iOS devices. Be it iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch… you can open multiple apps in the background and instantly switch between them. This feature was introduced in iOS 4.0 and it is available in every iOS firmware released till date, including iOS 8.

Before we dig into the steps you need to perform for checking background apps, it is important to understand how it works. Here is the short version: whenever you open an app or a game on your Apple device, it runs in the foreground. In simple words, the app is visible on your screen.

Press or touch Home button (physical button below the screen) once and the app disappears. Where does it go? No, you did not close the app. The app is running silently in the background, but it is not visible on your screen.

Here’s a key point: With iOS 7 and iOS 8 firmware, Apple introduced a new built-in feature that allows you to run multiple background apps which automatically suspend (not close) after a certain time. Let me explain this.

For example, if you have opened a Facebook app and can you guess what happens when you press the Home button? That’s right – the app goes in the background and runs continuously consuming Internet data and battery life. Now open more apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger and you are going to slow down your device. This is a massive problem that was solved in the new iOS 7 and iOS 8 firmware.

In iOS 7 and iOS 8 firmwares, after a certain time the iOS apps will stop consuming data and battery life automatically. In other words, the apps are suspended. This is possible only if you have turned OFF the “refresh” option which we will explain at the end of this article.

Quick Note

So far we have covered the basics of multitasking and how it works on your device. Want to know why we did this? Well, my mom uses an Apple iPhone and she doesn’t know how to check, open, or close the apps running in the background.

She only presses the Home button once on her iPhone 5s and switches to another app by tapping on the icon. All the previously opened apps run in the background. This is why this tutorial was written. Now, let’s move on the main section:

How To Open & Close Apps on iOS

Opening Background Apps

To view or open apps running in the background of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device, follow this step:

  • Press the Home button twice

That’s it! Remember you have to perform this step when your screen is not locked. In other words, pressing Home button two times on an unlocked screen shows all the currently running background apps.



Note 1: After pressing Home button twice, you can swipe left or right to see all the apps that were running in the background. Just tap on any app to switch to that particular app. For example, if you see Safari, Facebook and WhatsApp apps in the background, just tap on any one app to switch. That’s how multitasking works on your Apple device. Here is what happens when you press Home button twice:


Note 2: You have to be quick in pressing the Home button. I have seen many (including my mom) pressing the button slowly. It will not work, if you do it that way. You should be able to use your thumb and press the it quickly, just like you click a pen (do it twice).


Closing Background Apps

Now that you have learned how to open the apps, it is time to close them permanently. This involves the following steps:

Step 1: Open background apps by pressing Home button twice
Step 2: Identify the app you want to close
Step 2: Swipe your finger up

Note: Instead of tapping on the app, you have to swipe up. In simple words, you have to first find out the app you want to close and then put your finger on it. Now slide your finger to the top of the screen. Here is a picture showing how to swipe up to close the Facebook app:


Stopping Apps From Consuming Data & Battery Life

Remember we promised you that you can stop apps from consuming your Internet data even if they are running in the background? This also saves battery from draining quickly. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Tap on the Settings icon
Step 2: Go to General
Step 3: Turn OFF Background App Refresh

When you disable the option from Step 3, you are essentially telling your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to suspend the app even if they are running in the background.


We explained how multitasking really works, then shared with you the reason why we wrote this tutorial. Next, you learned how to open apps, close apps, and even stop apps from using Internet in the background. So far, we have covered the essential basics you need to know about your device.

It’s time for you to try all these methods. Read them again, if you want. Just remember that it may take a little bit of practice to correctly close and open apps. I didn’t knew my mom never ever closed any apps and games ever. It is, of course, easy, but only if someone tells you there is a way to do it. We hope this tutorial helps you in many ways.

Share this article with anyone who is new to Apple and is looking for the a complete guide to open and close iOS apps.

Note: Articles written at are valid for every Apple device running iOS 8.0, iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, iOS 8.3, iOS 8.4 / 8.4.1 firmware
  • Joan

    I just got the Iphone 6 and I am having trouble closing the apps. I read all your instructions but cannot swipe the app up like you are saying. It just isn’t happening. I don’t know if there is something wrong with my phone or its me but I can swipe other things. I did find the hint for saving data when apps aren’t close by going into settings and closing refresh setting. So hopefully until I figure out this swiping thing I am not wasting data. Help???

  • Joan

    Whoops – just figured it out. I was swiping the app icon instead of the actual application. ok – I’m good. no need to respond. thanks!

    • iOS8Release

      So glad to know you figured it out.

  • Sverre Munthe

    When I go from Safari to Facebook Facebook will refresh in 90% of the cases, the same happens the other way. I have turned off background refresh, and this looks more like the app has lost connection to the source. It’s not only Safari and FB, but those are the worst because I use them so much. This will actualy happen when I click another tab in Safari as well. It happens on WI-FI as well as 3G.

  • MVF

    Thank you AND your Mom.

  • WarthogCC

    Actually he is only explaining THEORETICALLY how it’s supposed to work. But in most cases, KEEPING apps running in the background like ios 6 did, is non-existent.

    I am a tech that has a side biz that provides support for mobile devices. And I myself as well as several of my customers, have seen that true backgrounding (as with ios 6) is gone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game or an document editor or reader, they never stay in the background when you put your device to sleep.

    I have 3 examples:

    1st is a “live” game (a text game with very little graphics) that I like to keep open to a certain spot that requires some tedious navigation through the menus to get there. So I can check on its status once in a while. When waking the device, the game relaunches as if I actually closed it and reopened it, forcing me to navigate to that spot again.

    2nd is a customer that uses Bluefire reader to read books. He constantly tells me that the app relaunches forcing him to browse for the book he was reading and find the page he was on. This also in turn forces him to tediously make a bookmark every time he puts his device to sleep.

    3rd is a document editor that one lady uses. She edits her document on the fly when needed and keeps the editor open so she can simply wake her device and start typing. She has reported on several occasions that she woke her device to find the editor relaunching and she lost all her previous edits. As with the 2nd person, she is forced to apply a “workaround” (saving her document EVERY time) to keep from losing her data.

    I can give you several more dozen examples but these are the most obvious. It has nothing to do with how “updated” the app is, nor does it have to do with the user’s device-operating habits. Nothing stays in the background anymore. The only way to keep your app from closing is to keep your device awake all the time. And who does that?