I tried to reboot my iphone according to the guidelines here, but after the phone is started, I found that all the apps are still there at the bottom of the screen when I tap on the home button twice.

Any idea why this is so?

5 Answers 5


The only real way to be certain that you have killed apps off is to jailbreak.

Jailbreaking lets you install a piece of software called SBSettings, which includes a real task manager that lets you force-quit any app, including the Apple apps.

enter image description here

Jailbreaking is awesome for lots of other reasons too!
I got this picture off my iPad by starting the Samba daemon I have installed, and just browsing to the image using windows explorer.
No cable or iTunes needed,

  • 1
    Jailbreaking is terrible for lots of reasons, too. Best of luck with it. Mar 15, 2011 at 7:12
  • 1
    Bricking the device if the jailbreak fails. Breaking your warrantee, such that if you have a hardware problem and can't restore it to a non-jailbroken state before taking it to Apple, you'll pay full price for any repairs, even if they're due to a manufacturing defect. Apps run outside the sandbox on jailbroken phones, so they can do anything they want, including sending your personal information (including call records, all text messages, your email, many app passwords, etc.) to anyone. Malware disguised as cool apps. And much, much more. Mar 15, 2011 at 8:49
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    @Fake Jailbreaking also brings your battery life to a halt (if you go too coo-coo installing daemons and stuff). I have a couple of iPhone 2G and 3G that were jailbroken "for fun" and their battery lasts less. But I believe Matthew hit the nail. Jailbroken is "ok" but it's far from being "awesome". Mar 16, 2011 at 18:04
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    jailbreaking turns the iOS in what it should be from beginning - I doubt there's anyone who believes Jobs uses iOS with all those restrictions.
    – cregox
    Mar 22, 2011 at 20:57
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    Interesting thread. Matthew makes a error in judgement, the app store is secure from anyone who's money Apple won't take. Right now, pretty secure. 2 bad quarters, Jobs passes away? Not so secure then. What I want from this device is to use it to the max. Like the computer it is, not the phone it pretends to be. Now, carriers and (RI|MP)AA won't let that happen from apples standpoint. No way. I don't see things from apples standpoint however, I see them from mine. I pay, it's mine. I brick, I pay again. Gotcha. Jailbreaking is the freedom to choose. That is awesome.
    – chiggsy
    Apr 24, 2011 at 2:24

As a developer I can assure you that if you reboot the phone, those apps are no longer running in any way. At that point it's literally just a list of apps that you've launched in the past in reverse chronological order.

Edited to note: I've since verified (as @ughoavgfhw pointed out) that backgrounded apps can in fact have their services restarted after a reboot. You can still kill all non-Apple services using the method I describe below.

If you still don't feel comfortable, you can manually quit the apps any time. Simply double-press the home button to reveal the list of "running" apps -- the multitasking bar -- and tap-and-hold on one of them, the same way you rearrange you apps in Springboard.

They'll begin to wiggle, and instead of the black circle with an "x" in it that appears in the upper-left corner of each app icon (used to delete apps off the device entirely) you'll see a red circle with a "-" in it. Tap the red circle and the app will be completely forced from memory, killing an associated processes. After you've quit the first several, even if you haven't restarted your phone you're in the "totally suspended" territory.

Press the home button again to stop the wiggling, as normal.

Deleting an App: Black Circle with x
Deleting an App: Black Circle with "x"


Quitting an App Red Circle with dash
Quitting an App: Red Circle with "–"


Empty app list after quitting all of them
Empty multitasking bar, all apps have been dumped

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    Even after a reboot, some could be running. Apps which say they use certain background services can be restarted automatically when that service becomes available (I think location and voip do this).
    – ughoavgfhw
    Mar 14, 2011 at 18:48
  • This does NOT work with all apps. I closed the Mail app this way, and it is still present in the SBSettings task manager. Its possible Apple has special rules for their own apps, or that certain apps can circumvent this. It did work for several other apps I tried.
    – Fake Name
    Mar 15, 2011 at 5:00
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    Ah, Mail probably is a special case, as are Messages (SMS) and Phone, which obviously keep running. I suspect that nothing will kill the Mail process permanently. Mar 15, 2011 at 7:04
  • Yeah, I think the built-in apps tend to be able to do more stuff than App Store apps (including Apple’s App Store apps). That’s pretty much just based on vague memories of John Gruber saying things on The Talk Show though. Mar 15, 2011 at 16:16
  • @Matthew: actually yeah — if the user could kill the Mail process, Settings.app would presumably have to switch the option for checking mail regularly to “Never”. That might not be what the user expected when they removed Mail’s icon from the app-switching list. Mar 16, 2011 at 8:54

Very few of those apps actually have running processes, even if you don't reboot. Only if they're finishing a download, streaming audio, tracking your location or handling a VOIP call. Otherwise, they've just saved their session state, and have no running processes associated with them.


all the apps are still there at the bottom of the screen when I tap on the home button twice

I don’t think that means the processes aren’t killed off. As far as I know, the apps listed when you double-tap the home button are those that were most recently running, not necessarily those that are currently running.

See further two recent blog posts on the subject:


I noticed the same thing myself a little while ago. This is annoying. Apple claims that the apps are in "stasis" and not eating processes, but I find that hard to believe that is true with EVERY app. Especially ones that are in the background waiting to alert you of something (like Skype telling you that you have an incoming call or a GPS app)

I really wish that a "hard reset" would clear out all the background apps but the ugly truth is that the operating system just doesn't work that way.

There is nothing you can do about this until Apple changes how this works with an OS-level update.

(p.s. When I took my iPhone an Apple store to get it looked at with a problem with the sleep wake switch, the Apple rep told me that he "cleaned out all the background apps" to make things run smoother. Which makes me think that these apps aren't working as exactly as we think that they are)

  • “I really wish that a "hard reset" would clear out all the background apps but the ugly truth is that the operating system just doesn't work that way.” — If by “hard reset” you mean “turning the phone on and off again”, then you’re saying you think third-party apps can launch at startup? Mar 14, 2011 at 17:13
  • And if by “ugly truth” you mean “I wish Apple would let me inspect all the processes running on my phone’s CPU”, then I think you probably want a phone from another manufacturer. Apple’s entire design approach seems focused on hiding everything apart from the most high-level stuff from the user, and taking care of everything else automatically. Mar 15, 2011 at 16:19
  • You are totally missing the point here. Firstly, a "hard reset" is defined by the user holding down the home and sleep button (bypassing the red swipe bar) until the phone shuts off. Secondly, Apple isn't trying to hide the multi-tasking apps, in fact, THEY FLAUNT IT every chance they get. And they have been doing so since they released it. What I am saying, is that instead of tapping my screen 20 times to close all the apps in the multi-task bar, there should be one button to clear them all at once. Or a "hard reset" should do it instead. So, what the hell are you talking about?
    – Alex
    Mar 15, 2011 at 20:37
  • @Alex: Sorry, I didn’t phrase that well. I meant their philosophy is that the user only needs to know they can switch back to apps really quickly. Whether each app is still running isn’t something Apple wants the user to have to think about — hence the app switching list isn’t a list of running apps. As far as Apple’s concerned, apps will stop running in the background when necessary, no user intervention required. This is why Apple doesn’t have, and mocked the need for, a task manager. Mar 16, 2011 at 8:47
  • @Alex: Obviously it’s cool if you’d rather know exactly what’s going on with your pocket computer — on my Mac, I’ve got a bunch of monitoring stuff running in the menu bar. I’m just saying that Apple’s entire approach to their consumer products is focused on abstracting this stuff away, so if you’re waiting for them to change this (“until Apple changes how this works with an OS-level update”), you’re probably going to be disappointed, and you might want to consider an Android phone. Mar 16, 2011 at 8:51

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