CAUTION- Do this BEFORE upgrading  iOS or before getting a new iPhone
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(Note, this article was originally published September 17, 2013 when the iPhone 5 was released.  It has been updated for newest iOS 10–steps haven’t changed since iOS7)
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How to Use Multitasking -iPhone iOS4 & iOS5 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S

Submitted by on June 23, 2010 – 5:21 am22 Comments

If you have updated your iphone to OS4 (available today and way cool)…You MUST learn about multi-tasking and how to close apps! If you don’t exit apps completely, they will keep running in the background and drain your phone battery in just a couple of hours.

Multi-tasking is the feature that allows you to keep one app running while you do something on another app.  Say you are surfing the net on Safari, and you want to check an email, you can have both running at the same time.  When you go back to Safari, the page will have loaded in the background.

(Previously, you could be on a phone call and check your email, but couldn’t switch back and forth between two apps.  Note: only certain apps that have been updated for OS4 will work with multi-tasking.)

With OS3, until today, when you pressed the round home key below the main screen, you exited the app you were in.  Now, it doesn’t necessarily exit. And running more than one app at a time will EAT UP your battery life (drain it faster).

There are no manuals so here’s

HOW TO USE MULTI-TASKING

From any screen–the home screen or while in an app–double press the home button  (the home button  is the rounded square button below the touchscreen).

This will bring up the multi-task app dock at the bottom of the screen.

You’ll notice that the home screen and icons will appear faintly in the top half of the screen. (In the picture above, you notice that OS4 lets you use a photo–like the one of us at the falls–as a background on your home screen that sits behind your icons.)

You want to pay attention to the apps at the bottom.  All apps that are running will appear here in the multi-task dock.

Here you can switch between apps by single tapping the icon. Be sure to swipe left or right to see more than the four icons at the bottom if you have more than four apps running.

To switch back to another program, double press the home key to bring up the multi-task dock and tap on the app you want to return to.

More importantly, you want to close all apps you are not using! Because they are wasting precious battery.

To check which apps are running and close those you don’t need:

1. Bring up the multi-task dock by double-clicking the home key.

2. Tap and hold any icon (like you do to move icons around the home screen).  A minus sign (-) will appear near each app icon.

Tap on any app in the multitask dock..then press on the app you want to close

3. Tap on the minus (-) sign to close the app.

I can’t emphasize enough to close all apps that you are not presently using.

That should do it.

so…I’ll keep giving you tips as I learn them…

Next up:  Easy iPod and Pandora control.

22 Comments »

  • Murta says:

    Now I have to close all my apps twice!…
    All the time I go to mulitask bar, a have a lot of apps.
    There is some way to make some apps not multitask?
    tks
    Murta

  • I’ve talked to the support people at Apple and no one seems to know that there is a way to turn off multi-tasking. I just make a habit of double clicking the home button when I’m done with an app. I agree…it’s a pain. Hope they’ll give us options.

  • Wayne Davies says:

    Wow, thank you for that. I had no idea, and had loads of the damn things running! I wanted to find out how to get folders up and running, and am amazed there is no manual for OS4 (as far as I can tell).

  • Wayne Davies says:

    Whoops, just found the OS4 manual. It’s here just in case anyone else is looking.

  • Thx Wayne…will be posting a video on files shortly

  • Tas says:

    There is no point in closing out your apps. They do not use more battery life because OS4 multitasking is not actually real multitasking. The state of these applications is just saved in cached memory, they are not actually running until you active them.

    Think of it more like a “Recently used applications” list rather than true multi-tasking.

    Don’t worry about how many you have open, closing them all out is just a waste of time unless you’re obsessive compulsive. (I sometimes find myself closing them anyway).

  • Tas says:

    This article explains in depth what I am talking about for anyone who is curious:

    http://furbo.org/2010/06/21/iphone-multitasking/

  • Steve says:

    I was hoping that apps stuck in multitask bar would timeout after a while and just close… then at least I can use the iPhone like I used to, and also have the option of multitask.

  • Thanks for the link. I understand the article but don’t understand why my battery drained so fast in the first day I used the phone and is doing better now.

  • christoMac says:

    Well, actually, those icons in the Multitask bar, are just recently used apps, according to the manual anyway. Tapping the minus button just removes them from recent apps. The way you know an app is running is its either on the screen, or not. Its fudged up multitasking really. I think the battery draining problems are related to using too much stuff at once, like location services, bluetooth, wi-fi, 3G.

  • Suresh says:

    I believe if you leave any app open that uses gps location service (a lot o them do) it eats up the battery life. Example, I left the camera app running last night, and when I woke up in the morning my phone had 40% less battery.

  • mighty says:

    I am using a iphone 3gs with os4 . An my phone is a prepaid . last night i put 30$ an in the morning when i work up there was 0.0 . an i found that there was safari an itunes in Multitask bar . was safari running on the background !! or is it some other problem ..

  • wow…if your phone was using the 3G and not some wifi…it does make you wonder. I’d call AT&T, unlike others, I’ve always had luck with them helping me straighten it out. (Probably because I’m a long time customer, not because I write about it.)

  • Zand says:

    Please note that if you switch off the phone app, you won’t receive calls.

  • Dr Jaffery says:

    I have just tried ringing in and ringing out with the phone switched off from multitasking bar. In fact I had not a single program running in MTB( Multi TASk BAR). I can confirm that I CAN RECEIVE AND MAKE CALLS. Strange thing that after receiving and making calls when I go back to MTB the phone is still not running in it.

    SO I believe that if you guys want to turn off multitasking completely and use like old OS3 system them remove every single icon from the MTB and it will shut off the MT( Multi TASKING). Couldn’t find anything in the manual about this.
    Thanks

  • Sean says:

    The problem I have found with multitasking is this. If I check my email the email remains in the so called multitasking.. However, it never, until closed in multitasking, goes off and does the push email back to my phone – I have to manually check.

    Facebook app. If run, when I go into it again it doesn’t do a refresh, I have to do manually. However, when removed from multitasking it does refresh automatic.

    So, seems this multitasking is messing up apps + in build functionality like email

  • Great info…thanks Sean!

  • Dimitry says:

    When I double press the home button my phone takes me the camera and not the Multitasking window. When I go to Settings, I can change the destination of a double tap, but Multitasking is not one of them. Is there another way to close Apps.?

    I have Qik Video open right now and I assume it’s open because there is a pulsating red banner at the top of the screen which says Quik Video in white lettering. It’s annoying and I am sure it’s an error.

    Thanks.

  • First, do you have an iphone 4 or have you updated to OS4 on your iphone 3GS? If not, you don’t have multitasking. If you still see the “home button” option in your settings, I doubt that you have updated since the home button setting is missing from the iPhone 4.

    As for Qik Video, if you see any type of banner, click on it to go to the program. If you are in OS3, just click on the home button. In OS4, the multitasking bar should come up and you can close it as I have described.

    If you think you have updated your phone, go to settings>general>about and look at the version. If it’s OS 4, the version number will start with a 4.

  • […]  The procedure for multitasking on an iPad is the same as for iphones.  Here’s the easiest step by step instructions to multitasking on an iPhone and now, iPad. This will take you through how to switch between apps and how to close apps. […]

  • Bonnie Tritel says:

    Thank you so much! My battery was disappearing in just an hour or so. I had almost all my apps running at the same time!

  • […] Also, if you need to know the difference between exiting an app and closing an app, be sure to read about Multitasking on an iPhone. […]

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