Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

How to: Restart frozen iOS apps

iOS devices, such as my iPhone 4, are pretty good at handling apps that crash – the app is closed and you’re returned to the home screen (the app may detect that it crashed when you relaunch it and ask for a bug report to be sent). But sometimes apps just freeze, or stop working correctly. They’re still running, but perhaps stuck in an infinite loop. Sadly, this has happened to me recently with apps like the official Twitter and Facebook apps.

With the advent of multitasking on the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4-and-a-bit (the Verizon iPhone), apps don’t always close when you exit them – often they stay running in the background. So simply closing the app and then opening it again may not be enough to fix the problem.

Previously I’ve taken this further, and simply turned the whole phone on and off again. It works, but it’s a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut – so I set about finding a more elegant solution. And tcgeeks has one.

If an app misbehaves, double-click the Home button. This will bring the multi-tasking bar up along the bottom of your screen. Swipe left or right until you find the naughty app. Touch and hold your finger on it, until all of the app icons start bouncing around. Each icon will now gain a red minus sign – click the minus sign, and iOS will kill the app. Press the Home screen once you’re done. You’ll then be able to launch the app fresh.

This trick can also be used to kill apps that you don’t want to run in the background – a bit like the multitude of ‘Task Killer’ apps that exist on Android. You don’t want to kill them all, as some will need to be running for push notifications for example, but any that are seldom used can probably be safely killed to free up some RAM, and potentially improve your handset’s battery life.

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