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I often have many apps running in the background. I have heard this can cause the battery to drain faster (especially location-aware apps) as well as generally slow the use of the device down.

Is there a fast and easy way to shut down all running apps in iOS?

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Really, you don't need to quit the apps at all. See apple.stackexchange.com/questions/33290/… –  Nathan Greenstein Jan 16 '12 at 17:15
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You don't need to.

See iOS Multitasking in Detail and iOS: Understanding multitasking

Basically, if you're using an app (you can see it on your screen) then you're app is running. When you press the home button and leave the app or switch to another app then the app is NOT running. It may be in one of a few other states (see first link) but it is not consuming any processing power or memory. There are very few situations where closing the app will save you any time or effort and it's best forgotten.

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John Gruber of the "Daring Fireball" blog has had a running commentary highlighting this very misconception (see http://daringfireball.net/2012/01/ios_multitasking)

His final word was to point to Fraser Speirs"s excellent post “Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking”.

Part of John Gruber's summary was; "Bottom line: the iOS multitasking bar is not like the command tab switcher on Mac or Windows. It is not a list of currently “running” applications. It is simply a list of your most recently used applications, whether they’re running in the background, suspended in memory, or completely inactive...Emptying this list of applications is simply needless, mindless, busywork. It was absolutely never intended to be used this way and anyone who does this is just wasting their time."

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