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Apps on your iPhone or iPad might occasionally freeze or start to behave erratically. When this happens, you can close the app using the built-in App Switcher feature. Restarting the app is your best bet for fixing most issues—here’s how to do it.

First, Launch the App Switcher

To close an app on an iPhone or an iPad, you’ll need to open the built-in App Switcher. This feature is essential for multitasking. It allows you to manage which apps are running and switch between them easily.

Here’s how to launch the App Switcher:

  • On iPhone X or later/iPads with iOS 12 or later: Swipe upward from the bottom edge of the screen, pause near the middle of the screen, and then lift your finger.
  • On iPhones and iPads with Home buttons: Double-press the Home button quickly.

Swipe upward from the bottom of the screen to launch the App Switcher on iPhones or iPads without Home buttons.

Using the App Switcher, we’ll force an app to close. This means the app will have to restart and reload the next time you tap it. This method can fix some temporary problems you might be having with an app.

Closing an App with the App Switcher on iPhone

Once the App Switcher is launched on your iPhone, you’ll see a screen that looks similar to the one shown below. Large thumbnails of all the apps you’ve recently opened will be visible on the display; you can swipe left or right to look through them.

Swipe through the thumbnails until you find the app you want to close and center it on the screen.

An App Switcher open on an iPhone.

Swipe upward quickly on the app’s thumbnail until it disappears from the screen.

Swipe upward on an app's thumbnail.

Afterward, the thumbnail will no longer appear on the App Switcher screen because it’s now closed.

App Switcher on iPhone after app was closed

To restart an app, find its icon on your Home screen and tap it.

Closing an App with App Switcher on iPad

After launching the App Switcher on your iPad (as covered above), you’ll see a grid of thumbnails of all the Apps you’ve recently opened. If you’ve used many apps lately, you can swipe left or right between them until you find the app you want to close.

App thumbnails in the App Switcher on iPad.

Swipe upward quickly on an app’s thumbnail until it disappears. If you prefer, you can use more than one finger to dismiss more than one app at a time.

Swipe upward quickly on an app's thumbnail until it disappears.

After you swipe away an app’s thumbnail, it’s closed and will no longer appear on the App Switcher screen.

The App Switcher on an iPad after an app has been closed.

To restart an app, tap its icon on the Home screen. This should relaunch the app, and (hopefully) it will work properly this time.

Still Having Trouble with an App?

If, after all of this, an app is still crashing, freezing, or otherwise giving you trouble, try restarting your iPhone or iPad. If that doesn’t help, there are some other techniques you can try, including updating or reinstalling an app. You might also try contacting the developer of the app and explaining the issue. Good luck!

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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