iPhone and iPad Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials
View of Apps Running in the Background

iPhone And iPad Multitasking Use And Maintenance

– Posted in: How To

Multitasking for the iPhone and iPad was a fantastic addition when it was introduced.  And it still is.  But as with anything, there is a little maintenance that goes along with it.

Have you heard (or never heard) of multitasking but have no idea what it is or what its used for?  Keep reading because I’ll cover that too.

What is Multitasking?

When you open an application from your home screen, and then get out of it by clicking the Home button, the app moves to the multitasking bar and is running in the background.  This allows the app to open right where you left off.

View of Apps Running in the Background

Double-clicking the Home button reveals your apps that are running in the background.

How do you use Multitasking?

This is a very handy feature that allows quick access to a recently used application.  Simply double-click the Home button to reveal your multitasking bar.  There you will see the last 4 apps you used with the most recent on the left.  The iPad will show you the last 6-7 apps depending on the orientation you are viewing it in.

Swiping from right to left will show you even more apps that you have used in the past.  When you have found the app you want to access, just tap it and you are back in.

iPod Controls and Orientation Lock.

When you double-click the home button and slide from left to right, you will find a handy little set of controls.  At the far left is the orientation lock button.  Tapping this will lock the orientation of the screen.  For the iPad, it will lock the screen in its current orientation (either portrait or landscape).  If you do this on the iPhone, it will lock the screen in the portrait orientation.

Multitask swipe from left to right

If you swipe the opposite way (from left to right) you’ll find basic iPod controls and a button to lock your screen’s orientation to portrait.

At the far right is the iPod app.  Tapping this will take you into your iPod and music.  The icons in the middle of these outer two differ some between the iPhone and iPad.  So I’ll explain those by device.

iPad – To the right of the orientation lock, you’ll find a brightness slider which, as you probably guessed, controls the brightness.  Next are the three iPod controls which are: Back/Rewind, Play/Pause, and Forward/Fast-forward.  Tapping the back button will start the song over.  Holding the back button will rewind the song.  The same holds true for the forward/fast-forward button.  Next to those is your Airplay button.  Tapping the Airplay button will give you a list of capable devices for watching/listening on.  And finally, a volume button.

iPhone – The iPhone controls are just a stripped down version of the iPad.  The iPhone only gives the iPod controls.

 Maintenance for Multitasking.

Everyone knows spring cleaning is a good thing, right?  Well the same goes with your iDevice.  Except you should probably do it more often then once every April.

Delete Multitasking Apps

If you touch and hold an icon in the multitasking bar, just as when done from your home screen, a minus sign will appear allowing you to delete what you want.

Remember, all of those apps that you are seeing in the multitasking bar are running in the background.  And, while not using much processing power on their own, a lot of them running in the background can add up.

This is also the first thing I recommend to people who are troubleshooting a buggy app that just isn’t working right.

Enter you multitasking bar and touch and hold an app icon.  After a second or two you will see the apps start to jiggle with a minus sign at the top left.  Tap the minus sign to close the app and delete it from you multitasking bar.  This does not delete the app from your device.  It merely closes the app completely.

If you are troubleshooting an app, just delete the one causing the problems.  If you are cleaning up, which I do about every 4-6 weeks, delete them all.

Once you are done deleting them, give your phone a quick restart.  Hold the On/Off button down until you see the red “slide to power off” slider appear at the top.  Slide it and wait for your iPhone or iPad to power off completely.  Once it’s off, hold the On/Off button again until the Apple logo appears.

Have any multitasking maintenance tips or questions?  Leave them in the comments below.  Or you can reach me on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy iOSing.

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Steve Doty February 16, 2013, 3:20 AM

After deleting the icon(s) from the multitask bar, how do you add the icon(s) back to the multitask bar? I have iOS 6.1.

Thank you.

Ryan February 24, 2013, 4:50 PM

So sorry for the delay.

The icons add themselves back to the multitasking bar when you open the app from where ever it resides on your device.