I am looking for a good way to stop all apps in the background without manually stopping each of them individually. Something straight from the OS would be preferred, but I would not mind using a management app either.
Some apps are taking a lot of battery and I would like to kill them with as few as possible steps in the evening.


Since you mentioned GPS apps specifically, you can turn off Core Location ("Location Services") in the settings app.

Each app runs in it's own sandbox and is totally oblivious to other apps. There's no way with public APIs to know of other apps, so a "task killer" such as you might have on Android isn't possible on iOS.

Generally, a well-written app will not use excessive background resources. If you can find out which app is sucking resources, I'd recommend sending a support ticket into the developer and let them know what's going on. From my own personal experience as a developer, I'd love to know what I'm doing that makes my users upset, so this is win for both you and h(im|er).

The bottom line, though, is that you're stuck manually killing them. :(

  • Good answer. The best thing to remember is that the OS is really supposed to be handling this for you.
    – jmlumpkin
    Apr 16 '11 at 19:10

Restart your iphone. What I do every night is turn brightness down, and turn airplane mode on. If it's charged, it will last overnight with an app like Sleep Cycle open. I don't feel the need to close anything.

Apps have no knowledge of each other, and there's nothing like this in Settings. I haven't heard of a jailbreak app able to do this, but I'm not a jailbreaker so I wouldn't know for sure.

  • 1
    Unfortunately restarting the phone won't solve the problem: any iOS 4+ app that had a background process running at restart -- a local notification timer, GPS region tracking, etc. -- will have its process started back up again automatically. Annoying, but true. Manually force-quitting is the only sure way to stop them. Apr 11 '11 at 8:01
  • 1
    Really? Local Notification I can understand, but surely that doesn't take much CPU time. GPS tracking (e.g. Google Latitude App) really turns itself back on automatically after rebooting? Apr 17 '11 at 19:05

While I still hope for a better solution, I'm using SBSettings after jailbreaking. I can see available memory and press "Process -> Free Up Memory" when needed as well as see the apps that are actually taking up memory.

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