How to Force Quit App on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Feb 14, 2012 - 17 Comments

Slide to Power Off as seen when Force Quitting an app iOS is generally very stable but every once in a while you’ll encounter a third party app that isn’t. Apps can freeze or become stuck, you’ll usually know instantly because the iPad or iPhone becomes unresponsive to touch behavior or something within the app is clearly running amuck. This is separate from a normal crash, which randomly quits an application, and it’s different from a full system crash which usually brings up the spinning wheel logo. When an app becomes unresponsive, the best thing to do is to force quit the app, which can then be relaunched and usually everything is in good working order again. If you’ve never done it before you will find the process is actually similar to turning off an iOS device, but you stop one step short of that. The whole thing only takes a few seconds and it’s extremely easy to do.

Let’s walk through exactly how to force quit unresponsive or frozen apps on the iPad and iPhone.

Force Quit an App in iOS

This procedure will be the same on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch:

  1. Hold down the Power button at the top of the device until the “Slide to Power Off” message appears and then release the power button
  2. Now hold the Home button at the base of the screen until the app forcibly quits, this can take several seconds

Force Quit an App on iPhone

You’ll know force quitting was successful because the app will immediately close and you will be returned to your home screen and icons.

At this point, you can usually just relaunch the app and use it as normal again. Most data should remain intact and you’ll be exactly where you left off, that is particularly true with apps that sync to iCloud, though you may lose some stuff on apps that are not

Force quitting apps should not be necessary most of the time, and often just hitting the Home button then returning back to the app can be enough to unstick an app that is seemingly paused or otherwise not responding. If you have tried that and discover the app is still completely unresponsive to user input or, as is often the case, stuck on a blank white loading screen of some sort, then force quitting and then reopening the app can often be a solution to get it working again.

iPhone and iPad apps should rarely freeze, but if you continuously encounter stability issues with certain applications you can try to delete the application, delete all of it’s user data, and then download it again with a fresh install from the App Store. That is often enough to resolve problematic app issues but if those steeps aren’t enough may want to consider making a backup of the device in question, and then resetting to factory defaults or restore the device from scratch to try and resolve the problems. Remember to make a backup beforehand with those methods, otherwise you would lose user data.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Scott says:

    Oops I usually just reboot my phone, LOL

  2. irnen says:

    I had no idea you could do this, nice.

  3. Nick says:

    Interesting one.

  4. RC says:

    Isn’t that the old trick? :D

  5. iBookmaster says:

    Actually this is a hard reset. To force quit an app, double press/click the home button at the bottom, a bottom shelf of apps pops up. Press and hold on the app you want to force quit. All bottom shelf apps wiggle with a minus sign over them. Press the minus sign on the app that you want to force quit.

  6. Tod says:

    “amuck” ?? Should be “amok” I believe.

  7. There are sh*t tips, funny tips and great tips. This one is great. It time to time happnes that some shit written App crashes and freeze the phone. When it happens, I finally know what to do. Thank you (and, please, charge it finally =) )

  8. Kaylee says:

    Thanks that just saved my life!!!!!!! I was so scared that it broke till i saw this tip!

  9. […] away at battery life. This is followed up with some recommendations on which apps should be quit, killed, relaunched, and some other helpful tips to improve and conserve battery […]

  10. Anna says:

    didnt work?!

  11. […] it turns out you can force quit any app this way, not just stuck apps. stLight.options({ […]

  12. […] always see the signal numbers rather than the signal bars, you’ll use the Force Quit app function to kill Field Test when it’s […]

  13. […] just about everything is disabled when the feature is on, even Force Quit won’t work. Yes that means you’ll have to reboot to escape from Guided Access in […]

  14. […] isn’t a way to force quit multiple apps though, if you need to do that you’ll want to just reboot the device, which […]

  15. […] first thing you can try is to force quit the frozen app, this works if the freeze is only app specific, and if you’re seeing the […]

  16. […] quite the Mac, but it’s useful to know for mobile users: from the iOS side of things, you can force quit apps on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, by holding down the Power button until the slide to power option appears, and then […]

  17. Momma'Licious says:

    Mucho gracias!! 😘 Recently switched to an iPhone after years of being a loyal Android user. I feel like I’m learning to use a smart phone for the first time all over again! Thanks for being helpful without making me (and others) feel like we rode the short bus to school.

Leave a Reply


Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates