A hand holding an iPhone X.
Khamosh Pathak

Sometimes, an app gets stuck on a screen or stops responding. If you force quit the app on your iPhone or iPad, it “unsticks” everything. We’ll show you how!

What Does Force Quitting Do?

When you close an app on your iPhone or iPad and go back to the Home screen, you don’t actually quit the app; it’s still running in the background. You can think of it as “pausing” the app.

If an app crashes, is stuck, or generally behaving badly, force quitting is likely the best option. This actually quits the app, and when you open it again, it loads up fresh. Any temporary issues you were experiencing with that app should be fixed.

RELATED: How to Force-Quit an Application on Any Smartphone, Computer, or Tablet

How to Force Quit Apps on an iPhone

The process of opening the App Switcher and force quitting an app on an iPhone is slightly different depending on which model you have and which version of iOS it uses.

First, let’s talk about the newer iPhones (X, XS, XS Max, XR, or later) which have the notch at the top of the screen and don’t have a Home button.

On your iPhone, stay in the troublesome app or open the one you want to force quit. Swipe up from the bottom (the Home bar) of the iPhone screen.

Swipe up from Home bar.

Hold your finger on the display as you approach the middle of the screen. When you see a preview of the app in card size, lift your finger to open the App Switcher.

Swipe up from the Home bar and hold to reveal the App Switcher.

You can now scroll horizontally in this interface to see all the previously opened apps. When you see the app you want to quit, swipe up on its preview. The card should disappear through the top of the display.

When you see the app you want to quit, swipe up on its preview.

If you use an iPhone X that runs iOS 11, you have to tap and hold the app preview, and then tap the red “-” (minus sign) button to quit the app.

If you’re iPhone has a physical Home button, just double-press it to open the App Switcher, and then swipe up on the app preview to quit that app.

How to Force Quit Apps on an iPad

The method to force quit apps on an iPad is similar to the one for iPhone, but the interface is different.

If you have a newer iPad Pro with Face ID (that runs iOS 12, iPadOS 13, or higher), swipe up from the bottom of the screen to the middle area, hold for a second, and then let go to reveal the App Switcher.

Swipe up from bottom of the iPad screen to reveal the App Switcher.

You see a grid of previously opened apps. Find the one you want to force quit and swipe up on the preview to dismiss it.

Swipe up on an app's preview to quit it.

If your iPad has a physical Home button, double-click it to open the App Switcher. If you run iOS 12 (or iPadOS 13) on an older iPad with a Home button, you can still swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the App Switcher.


After you quit the app, find it on the Home screen (or use Spotlight search to locate it), and then tap on it to open it again. The app should now work fine.

If you still have issues, try our tips to fix a crashing app. If all else fails, we recommend you restart your iPhone or iPad.

RELATED: How to Fix Crashing Apps on an iPhone or iPad

Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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