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I know applications don't actually run in background but I was wondering how many applications I can leave open. Has anybody tried? Is there a limit? What is it? If you reach a limit, it starts closing applications by itself to make room for new ones?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Fraser Spiers recently did an excellent article and follow-up video on this question on his blog.

In short, to paraphrase: you don't "leave apps open". By pressing the Home button, you signal them to enter the Background state, from where, depending on how they're written, they are either immediately moved to the Suspended (not-running) state, or are Suspended after completing a certain amount of background processing (such as completing a download).

As Fraser explains, there is no need to manage the number of apps in the 'multitasking tray' except in the case where a specific app stops working and needs to be forcibly restarted.

Indeed, that tray is merely a "recently running" list; there's no way to know at a glance which of those apps have been Suspended and which have not.

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I work in IT and have seen over 40 opened at a time on multiple devices - most people don't even know you can close Apps. I haven't seen or read of any finite amount anywhere. I've read the article mentioned and watched the video; but, from my experience, there is unquestionably an impact on having too many open. Now, perhaps it just depends on the Apps that are open, but I think for most people, the easiest solution to lagging or performance issues is to restart the device; and if that doesn't work, manually close each App.

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I don't think restarting the device would close the apps. How is this a solution to lagging? –  Jorge Jan 16 '12 at 22:13
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