How to Force Quit App in iOS 6 on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Feb 14, 2012 - 26 Comments

How to Force Quit iOS Apps Rarely, you will need to force quit an iOS app. While iOS is generally very stable, every once in a while you’ll encounter a third party app that misbehaves. iOS apps can freeze or become stuck, and you’ll usually know instantly because the iPhone or iPad becomes unresponsive to touch behavior, or something within the app is clearly running amuck. A stuck app is different 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 iOS app becomes unresponsive, the best thing to do is to forcibly quit the app using the trick we’re going to demonstrate here, the app can then be relaunched and usually is sufficient to remedy the apps situation back to 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. As you will see, this is not the same as normally quitting out of an app in iOS.

How to Force Quit an App in iOS 6

This procedure will be the same to forcibly quit any app on any iOS version for any iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Assuming you’re in the app that you wish to forcibly quit from, do the following:

  1. Hold down the Power button of the iOS device until the “Slide to Power Off” message appears, and then release the power button
  2. Slide to Power Off as seen when Force Quitting an app

  3. Now hold the Home button at the base of the screen until the app forcibly quits, this can take several seconds

This is what the second combination looks like:

Force Quit an App on iPhone

You will know force quitting was successful because the iOS app will immediately close and you will be returned to your home screen and icons on the iPhone or iPad.

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.

It does not matter what version of iOS is running, this will always force quit the app, whether on a much older iPhone or iPad or a brand new model with the latest versions of iOS.


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


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  1. Terri says:

    Thank you for these instructions. I always had just shut off my phone. And these instructions didn’t leave out a step nor they didn’t have a step that didn’t tell me to click on a button that I didn’t have, which is usually the instructions from others. Great instructions and I’ll save this site for others.

  2. David Smith says:

    Amazing thanks so much!

  3. Thank you says:

    Thank you so much for this helpful troubleshooting guide! Worked like a charm to unlock a dropbox interface glitch!

  4. classified says:

    My IPod is stuck on instagram. The app works fine but the home and reboot button is not working.

  5. James says:

    This tip did not help at all got any other ones to get out of guided access

  6. Bill B.... says:

    Actually there is a much easier way, all you do is double tap home button, the screen will change and every running app will appear, then you swipe up to force close app. Do this regularly to keep apps closed, this will save you battery life and your phone will run smoother 👍…

  7. Scott says:

    I’m so happy to have a great way to get the best results. Why haven’t you been better promoted and marketed to the world. It will be nice to see you gaining respect for your efforts. Thank you. I found you by accident searching a term called reversetemplated from my Status app.

  8. 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.

  9. […] 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 […]

  10. […] 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 […]

  11. […] 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 […]

  12. […] 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 […]

  13. […] 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 […]

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

  15. Anna says:

    didnt work?!

  16. […] 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 […]

  17. Kaylee says:

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

  18. 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 =) )

  19. Tod says:

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

  20. 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.

  21. RC says:

    Isn’t that the old trick? :D

  22. Nick says:

    Interesting one.

  23. irnen says:

    I had no idea you could do this, nice.

  24. Scott says:

    Oops I usually just reboot my phone, LOL

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