iOS4 Multitasking flaw, troubleshooting.


I spent some time on the phone yesterday with Apple Support discussing an issue with the multitasking feature in iOS4 that I was aware about beforehand — each and every program stays open indefinitely.

Regardless whether you turn your phone off or not (or how frequently), each app that you run on your phone remains running in the background, regardless of how compatible that app may be with the multitasking feature itself. Each program remains open indefinitely, drawing upon the battery life and system resources of your iPhone or iPod Touch.


You’ve likely seem this view before — press on the home button twice and the multitasking tray opens, displaying all the apps you’ve recently used, in order. Each of those apps, however, is still running in the background on your device, a fact that can cause your battery to drain slightly faster, or apps to behave in ways they’re not supposed to.


To properly close these apps, touch and hold on any icon in the tray, and you’ll see this — a small ‘–’ badge appear over every icon. Pressing on that button will close the apps, one by one, instead of allowing them to run indefinitely.

My issue began when Safari would no longer respond on my iPhone; I could attempt to follow links through email or Twitter, but the screen would simply show a blank page, and the controls of the app itself would not respond to my touch. Tapping the address or search bar proved ineffective, as did trying to manage the open pages or access bookmarks. Additionally, no content would load.

Such was the situation for me for nearly a day and a half, so I scheduled a phone appointment with Apple Support, who guided me to closing all of my apps in the multitasking tray. The Support representative told me that each program stays open, and I personally had so many that I had used that it caused Safari to stop working entirely.

According to the representative, everyone using iOS4 on an Apple device should periodically perform this action to close out all the excess programs indefinitely running in the background. I hope that this message proves helpful to some, because I had no idea that this was an issue with multitasking — slightly annoyed, I kind of feel that it should have been mentioned some time ago.

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  • About

    My name is Bobby.

    I write about random things a lot. I write a lot about random things.

    I write occasionally for Smashing Magazine and the London Community News online, and weekly for Interrobang, the student voice newspaper at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

    I've also been published by the Canadian University Press.
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