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iOS Basics: Quit an App or Restart Your iPhone

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Even iOS apps misbehave occasionally — they can crash, freeze, or otherwise stop working. If you’re new to iOS or haven’t experienced this before, you may not know how to close an app (rather than just swiping it off your screen). Here’s how to close an app and, if necessary, shut down your phone. (We were using a phone with iOS 16 beta, but it works just as well with previous versions of the operating system.)

Close an app

  • Open the App Switcher by either swiping up from the bottom of the screen and then pausing in the middle or (if you have a Home button) double-pressing the Home button.
  • You will see an overlapping view of all your open apps. Swipe right or left until you find the app you want to close.
  • Swipe up on the app to close it.

Open the App Switcher and swipe sideways to find the app.

When you find the misbehaving app, swipe it up to quit.

When you find the misbehaving app, swipe it up to quit.

While there’s no way to close all your apps at once, you can swipe away up to three apps at once with the right number of fingers. Otherwise, if you have a lot of apps, just swipe them one by one.

Turn off your phone

If, for whatever reason, wiping the app didn’t resolve the issue, then turn off your phone by pressing and holding the side button and either volume button until you see sliders appear. Drag the one who says: Drag to turn off to the right. (If you have an iPhone with a Home button, press and hold the Side or Sleep/Wake button instead.)

You should then be able to restart it using the power button.

If it gets worse and you can’t shut down your phone this way, you can force it again. If you have an iPhone 8 or later:

  • Quickly press the volume up knob.
  • Quickly press the reduce volume knob.
  • Press and hold the power button on the side. After a while the screen should go black; keep holding the button until you see the Apple logo, which indicates that the phone has rebooted. Then you can release the button.

Update September 1, 2022, 10:11 a.m. ET: This article was originally published on June 4, 2021 and has been updated to add information about force restarting an iPhone.

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