The truth about iOS multitasking: not multitasking at all?

Are you confused about Apple’s multitasking functionality in iOS? You’re probably not alone. A lot of people, myself included, have made a lot of assumptions about what multitasking actually does in iOS. It seems that most of us have been pretty wrong.

Multitasking apps, the ones that exist in the multitasking bar, aren’t multitasking in the traditional sense at all for the most part. Instead, Apple’s definition of multitasking in iOS means more of a “quick launch” than two applications running at the same time.

Fraser Speirs on Multitasking:

Let me be as clear as I can be: the iOS multitasking bar does not contain “a list of all running apps”. It contains “a list of recently used apps”. The user never has to manage background tasks on iOS … Except in a few cases, which I’ll explain, the apps that appear in the multitasking bar are not currently running. When you press the home button, iOS will tell the app to quit. In almost all cases, it quits, it stops using CPU time (and hence battery) and the memory it was using is eventually recovered if required.

Speirs has an excellent write up about the Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking, and instead of rehashing his thoughts here, we thought we’d recommend giving the article a read. It’s a good one.

Jeff Cochin has more than ten years of experience in data recovery, management and warehousing. On Macgasm he mostly writes about Apple news and software reviews. Jeff's journey with Macbooks began in 2008, showcasing his enduring commitment to the Apple… Full Bio