Understand Multitasking in iOS 7

Multitasking IconOn the iPhone or iPad, multitasking is a way to quickly switch between recently used apps. Multitasking has been available on iOS devices for several years, but has been significantly updated as part of iOS 7.


The old multitasking interface was accessed by double-clicking the Home button. The on-screen display would slide upward, revealing a row of icons from the most recently used apps. Tapping on an app icon would load that app in its last-used state. Apps could be deleted from the multitasking bar by tapping and holding on the icon until it wiggles, then tap the red minus button in the top left corner of the app.

Multitasking in iOS 7

In iOS 7, multitasking is still accessed by double-clicking the Home button, but the interface has been completely redesigned. Instead of the row of icons at the bottom of the screen, you now see a full-screen card-based interface. Each app is represented with an image of the actual app screen as it was when you last used the app. The app icon is also shown below the screen image.

Multitasking Display


An image of the Home screen appears on the left followed by the most recently used app with less recent apps becoming visible as you scroll to the right. Tapping any screen image or the app icon will take you to that app. This new interface makes it easy to find the app you need and the screen images allows you to see information in a previously used app without opening it.


Overall, the entire implementation is more intuitive and user-friendly than it was in previous versions of iOS.


Background Updating of Apps

As part of the multitasking updates in iOS 7, all apps can now receive background updates to make sure the latest information is readily available. Apple has tried to optimize the background updating process so it doesn’t adversely impact battery life. The iOS will consider things such as network connection strength, time of day, push notifications, and how frequently the app is used to determine when it should update apps.


If you are concerned about battery life and want some additional control over which apps can be updated in the background, go to Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh. You will see a list of apps that will receive background updates. Set the slider to the off position for any app that you don’t want to receive background updates. You can also deactivate background updates entirely.

Background App Refresh


Removing Apps from the Multitasking Display

Occasionally, you may want to remove an app from the multitasking display. Simply tap and hold on the screen image of the app, then swipe upward. The image will slide up and off the top of the screen. The app is now closed and removed from the multitasking display.

Close App


If an app doesn’t seem to be working properly, you may need to force-quit the app by removing it from the multitasking display as described above. The next time you launch the app, it will restart fresh and may run correctly.


As an interesting note, you can remove two apps at once by using two fingers to tap and hold on two different app screen images. Simultaneously sliding both images upward will remove both apps.