Force Quit a Stuck Application on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Sep 17, 2009 - 7 Comments

iphone

The iPhone and iPad are amazingly stable, but every once in a while you may run into an app that misbehaves itself and seems to become stuck in some infinite loop of iPhone-frozen madness. Thankfully, if you find yourself in that situation you can force quit a frozen application on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

The secret to force quitting on an app in iOS is by holding down the Home button for 10 seconds from the shut down screen. We’ll detail the steps below for completing this procedure.


Note this method is aimed at older iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad models. The newer devices, particularly iPhone X and newer can not use this method because there is no Home button. But for devices with a Home button, this can work fine.

Force Quitting Frozen Apps on iPhone, iPad, iPod

1. Hold down the sleep button until the red “slide to power off” slider appears (don’t swipe it)

2. Release the sleep button, but then hold down the Home button until you see the “stuck” application disappear, and returns to the App icon menu screen.

I have noticed that after force quitting some applications the whole iPhone seems to have slowed down a bit, whether it’s from a memory leak or mystery cpu cycles, I have no idea, so I will often reboot the phone to get things back to normal again.

This is primarily aimed at models of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that are now considered to be outdated despite many still being in use, iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, and the tip is courtesy of reader Jim C. But the technique works for many newer iPhone and iPod touch models too so don’t just assume it only works on old devices.

As it turns out, you can actually force quit any iOS app this way, not just frozen or stuck apps. Just keep in mind if you don’t have a Home button then it will not work, and instead devices like iPhone X rely on a different approach to quitting apps.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

7 Comments

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  1. Jim C. says:

    Force quit on the iPhone 3GS is slightly different, since holding down the Home button for any length of time will only cause Voice Control to activate. On the 3GS you do the following with the “stuck” application still onscreen:

    1. Hold down the sleep button until the red “slide to power off” slider appears (don’t swipe it)
    2. Release the sleep button, but then hold down the Home button until you see the “stuck” application disappear, and returns to the App icon menu screen.

    It’s one extra step over force quit on the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod touch, but achieves the same effect for those of us with the iPhone 3GS.

  2. Dave M. says:

    I don’t understand why this procedure is never reported correctly.

    With OS 3.0 and higher, no matter what phone (and probably iPod touch) you have, you have to hold the sleep button down until the red “Slide to power off” slider appears, then press and hold the Home button.

    My wife has the original iPhone 1G and I have the iPhone 3G. Both phones are running OS 3.1. We also have an iPod touch, but it’s not been updated to OS 3.0. On both of our iPhones, the sleep button has to be used to force quit an application.

    The use of the sleep button is due to the iPhone 3GS’ Voice Control feature, but its an OS thing, not a hardware thing.

  3. Vance says:

    Thx Dave you were spot on and big help.

  4. Ahdom says:

    Is there a way to do this on the iPhone X?

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