Alcides Fonseca

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Killing apps on iOS

The single biggest misconception about iOS is that it’s good digital hygiene to force quit apps that you aren’t using. The idea is that apps in the background are locking up unnecessary RAM and consuming unnecessary CPU cycles, thus hurting performance and wasting battery life.

That’s not how iOS works. The iOS system is designed so that none of the above justifications for force quitting are true. Apps in the background are effectively “frozen”, severely limiting what they can do in the background and freeing up the RAM they were using.

John Gruber at daring fireball

I really hate to see smart people making this mistake. But it’s understandable how Gruber, always owning the last iPhone models feels this way. Let me introduce you to the cheap iPhone owner.

I have owned a 3G, a 4 and a 5. Usually I buy a new iPhone every two years, like it’s supposed to, but I am cheap and I buy the iPhone that was launched two years before the current one (eg, the 6 came out and I upgraded from the 4 to the 5, complaining about how much bigger 5 was). Right now I am still rocking the 5, despite its slowness.

On today’s iPhone 5, I need to kill apps that I am not using. It does make my phone faster. I can’t really measure it, but at the end of the day I can end up with 16 open apps, and I don’t have that many apps because I am limited to 8GB and I also want my music there. Of course, if I am opening that app in the next hour, I won’t close it, but there are several apps you use once a day or even less often.

So Mr Gruber, if you have a really old iPhone (it’s more common outside the US and other countries with good plans) and it’s slow as hell, killing apps you won’t use in the next hours does make your iPhone snappier.