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How to Close/Stop a Running App on an Android Device

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Android apps don’t actually stop running when you return to the Home screen or switch to another app. There is no real need to exit an app unless it is misbehaving or you want to uninstall it. Then, you can “force stop” an app.

Forcing an app to stop is easy using the Settings in the Android system. We will show you how to force stop an app on a Nexus 7 (a stock Android system) and on a Samsung Galaxy S4 (a slightly modified Android system) as examples.

Force Stop an App on a Nexus 7

Touch the right side of the navigation and status bar at the top of the screen and swipe down.

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Touch Settings on the drop-down window.

NOTE: On a Samsung Galaxy device, touch the menu button on the device and select Settings from the menu.

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On the Settings screen, touch Apps under Settings.

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Select the app in the list that you want to close or stop and touch it.

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The App info screen displays. Touch the Force stop button to force the app to stop running.

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A confirmation dialog box displays making sure you really want to force the app to stop. Touch OK to stop the app.

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You are returned to the App info screen and the Force stop button is grayed out now that the program has stopped running.

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From Apps screen, touch the Home button to go to the Home screen, or touch the Back button to return to the Apps screen if you want to force stop any other apps. Touch the Back button again on the Apps screen to return to the Settings screen so you can adjust other settings. From the Settings screen, touch the Home button or the Back button again to go to the Home screen.

Force Stop an App on a Samsung Galaxy S4

To get to the App Info screen on a Samsung Galaxy S4, touch the Menu button and then touch Settings on the menu.

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On the Settings screen, touch More on the toolbar at the top of the screen.

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Touch Application manager under System manager.

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Once the list of applications is generated (this may take a while if you have a lot of applications installed), find the application in the list you want to force stop and touch it.

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The App info screen displays. Touch the Force stop button.

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A confirmation dialog box displays making sure you really want to force the app to stop. Touch OK to stop the app.

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Once the app is stopped, the Force stop button becomes grayed out, just as it does on a Nexus 7.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 09/4/14