After getting multitasking on my phone, one thing became pretty clear right off the bat. It’s great that I can now listen to pandora, surf the internet, answer my phone, and stay connected to chat programs all at the same time. It’s what we asked for, and it’s exactly what we got. In hindsight, I’m not sure that I want it, at least in its current iteration.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I’m going to be terrible at shutting down my applications that are running in the background. Open, open open, close, close, close. Forget long enough and you have seven programs running all at the same time, draining your battery life, increase your data usage, and kills the response time of your phone.

To start, you have to enable your multitasking tray by hitting the home button twice. From there, you have to tap once and hold, until a minus sign pops up. Once that little glorified push notification icon comes to life, you then release the tap, and tap again to close out the application, simple enough. But, the problem isn’t how easy it is to close out an application, it’s how often I’m going to forget to close out programs I don’t need any more. For the last three years it’s been handled for us, and now it’s our responsibility to make sure the applications have closed out entirely.  Sure, iOS will close out applications if it realizes the phone’s resources are running in short supply, but who knows when that might be.

There needs to be a philosophical shift here, at the consumer level. On the whole, consumers don’t move too quickly.

A quick aside about MultiTasking

Before we dive deep into geekery, we need to take a moment a think about this from a typical consumer experience on the iPhone. For four years now, Apple’s been conditioning us to close an application by pushing the home button. Much like Pavlov’s dog, it’s become second nature to us, and now the less than geeky public, who were used to Apple’s procedure for closing an app, has to figure out a completely new way of closing applications.

The solution

Even after knowing that applications are running in the background, I find myself forgetting to close applications. If i’m having a hard time, others are surely having hard times. What can be done to combat the backlog of application running on the iPhone? Noam Bardin from Waze thinks he has an answer, and after speaking with him, I agree whole heartedly.

The challenge is falling directly on the shoulders of developers, but once he expanded his ideas for me, it made a ton of sense. Letting the application determine when a program should close, and at what point, will help solve the problem. For instance, Waze is a GPS application, and like most of us know, GPS applications can be huge resource hogs, and now that they’re able to run in the background, things are only going to get worse. What Noam suggested was using algorithms to determine whether or not an application should continue running in the background. For his specific application, he recommended determining the speed that a phone is travelling at, whether or not the phone is idling, or if the phone loses its GPS signal to determine if a consumer should be running his program.

So, if you’re parked at a restaurant for more than five or ten minutes, the application would close out, and your system resources would be restored. Run away apps would no longer be around to slow down your phone.

Now that’s a smart move. The application is available in the appstore for free, but an updated version with this new functionality is awaiting approval. It has been submitted, so it’s only a matter of time until we hear if Apple will endorse the idea.  We’ll keep on top of the news as it develops.

I’m hoping they do, because the less I have to manually manage my multitasking the happier I’m going to be with my iPhone.