Maximizing the Performance of Your iPad by Closing Your Apps

Do I look tired? yeah! I guess this episode was recorded late at night and it shows. However, I think you will learn some good deal of information about closing down your apps from running in the background and therefore improving its performance.



(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.


  1. says

    This video is simply mistaken in its perception of how background tasking and multitasking works on the iPhone and iPad. This was called to Ms. Fernandes’s attention, and she subsequently published a brief retraction on GeekSLP, which has since been, sadly, removed.

    For further reading on how iOS multitasking actually works, and why this advice is not only completely mistaken but also goes against a painstakingly thoughtful and detailed system that the engineers at Apple designed specifically so we, the consumers, would not have to use our devices in such a fiddly fashion, I suggest reading the recent MacWorld article, written by prominent iOS developer Fraser Spiers entitled “How iOS multitasking really works,” which can be found here:

    The main application of that MacWorld link that relates specifically to this video can be found in the first point of its closing summary: “1. If someone tells you that all the apps in the multitasking bar are running, using up memory or sucking power, they are wrong.”

    I appreciate the work that Ms. Fernandes has done and continues to do, and I happen to own and love some of the Smarty Ears apps. With regards to this matter, though, she is clearly in error.

    • says

      I’m suprised to read this, because when I was having issues with my iPad’s performance, I took it to the Genius bar and was told that the device was “low on app memory” and advised to close all apps regularly and that doing so would fix the performance issues. I don’t really get what “app memory is” nor why my device would have been low on it, since it was a 64G iPad with pretty few apps installed on it, but that is definitely what they told me. I’m interested to read that article to see what it says.

      • says

        The discontinuity between the developer/engineer/power user community and the folks at the Genius bar regarding this very issue has been the topic of much discussion in the Apple community lately. The prevailing assumption is that because occasionally there may be an app with a memory leak, or an app that does make use of one of the background processes and the user might not be aware of it (e.g. an app that continues to access the user’s location in the background, and the user doesn’t notice the application arrow in the status bar)—which is precisely why manual termination of apps via this method is allowed at all—that the Apple Geniuses simply prescribe regular app termination as a matter of course to make their jobs easier (there is high customer churn at the Genius bar, and saying, “You need to shut down your apps” and leaving it at that gets people in and out faster, even if that advice is wrong).

        There are a number of troubleshooting scenarios in which one might want to manually terminate an app. To routinely terminate all of them as a matter of course, “hygeine” or “maintenance,” however, is misguided.

        With regards to your questions regarding “app memory,” the 64 GB you referred to is the amount of flash memory used for storage of apps, music, movies, email, etc. on your device. This is analagous to the hard drive on your notebook or desktop computer. The memory under discussion here is the iPad’s RAM, of which there are only 512 MB. This serves the same function as the RAM on your desktop/laptop, which is to say that it provides temporary storage for various bits of information being immediately accessed by an open application or the operating system. While it’s more complicated than this, the basic idea of RAM is that the more RAM there is, the more stuff you can leave running at the same time. It’s true that closing all open apps will leave more memory free, but the iOS user interface does not distinguish between open and closed apps. The apps in the switching tray are merely apps that _have been opened at some point_, rather than apps that _are currently open_. This list of apps has much more in common with your web browsing history than it does with the glowing lights under apps in your Mac Dock, or with open windows on your Windows machine. Removing all the apps from the switcher tray will guarantee that no non-system apps are executing in the background, yes, but odds are that very few—if any—of them were running in the background anyhow.