Tech

Almost everyone has been making this battery-draining iPhone mistake

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Matt Tate
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There’s something decidedly therapeutic about sinking a few minutes every couple of days into swiping closed your seemingly endlessly reel of open iPhone apps. It just feels productive, organised – an efficient use of a toilet break that might otherwise be spent staring longingly at someone else’s 10/10 brunch on the ‘gram.

But here’s the thing, friends: YOU ARE WASTING YOUR DAMN TIME. 

So says knower of all things Apple, John Gruber, whose recent post on the Daring Fireball blog explains why force shutting apps is actually a bad idea. Titled ‘Public Service Announcement’, the article begins by highlighting the common argument in favour of routinely getting rid; that leaving apps running in the background consumes precious battery life.

“That’s not how iOS works,” he writes. “The iOS system is designed so that none of the above justifications for force quitting are true. Apps in the background are effectively “frozen”, severely limiting what they can do in the background and freeing up the RAM they were using. iOS is really, really good at this. It is so good at this that unfreezing a frozen app takes up way less CPU (and energy) than relaunching an app that had been force quit. Not only does force quitting your apps not help, it actually hurts. Your battery life will be worse and it will take much longer to switch apps if you force quit apps in the background.”

Gruber reckons a lot of people buy into the myth because of the sheer speed in which they unfreeze when prompted. It’s reasonable to assume, he says, that they never stopped running, and therefore it’s reasonable to assume that they’re slurping away at your phone’s juice.

“They really do get frozen, the RAM they were using really does get reclaimed by the system, and they really do unfreeze and come back to life that quickly,” he adds. 

“An awful lot of very hard work went into making iOS work like this. It’s a huge technical advantage that iOS holds over Android. And every iPhone user in the world who habitually force quits background apps manually is wasting all of the effort that went into this while simultaneously wasting their own device’s battery life and making everything slower for themselves.”

So there you have it. Resist the swiping, and be grateful that you’ve earned a few extra minutes of meme-browsing. 

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Matt Tate

Matt Tate is a freelance journalist

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