How To Quit Apps On the iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max

Since the iPhone X-series models have no Home button, new users sometimes struggle with how to exit apps and get back to the Home screen. The Home indicator line at the bottom of the screen is the key to doing this. However, it is important to realize that this line is at the bottom of the screen in any orientation. So it won't appear on the right when you are playing a game in horizontal mode, but at the bottom of the screen under the game or sometimes over the graphics at the bottom of the game.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: How To Quit Apps On the iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. MacMost is brought to you by the more than 300 people that contribute to the MacMost Patreon Campaign. Find out how you can become part of it at macmost.com/patreon.

So when the iPhone X came out it had a very big design change in that there was no Home button. The Home button is the main way that you exit or quit apps. So now we have a lot of iPhones that don't have a Home button. You've got the XS, you've got the XS Max, and you also have the XR which is more reasonably priced. You have tons of people buying the new iPhones that don't have the Home button.

When this first happened with the iPhone X a lot of people were like, well how do you quit apps. Apple explained it and there was a lot of videos that explained how to do it. People were talking about how to do it. But a lot of people who didn't get the iPhone X kind of ignored that and now they're getting the iPhone XR and iPhone XS and are confused about how to Quit.

The way you Quit is there is this white button at the bottom of the screen. It's actually a white line. You have to drag up on it. So you drag your finger up on that white line and if you continue to do that it exits the app. It's not actually quitting. The apps are always running. So it's still running but you're basically exiting it and going back to the home screen. It's the Home indicator is what it's called. You can do it a little easier if you're having trouble with it. Just position your finger below the bottom of the screen and drag up. A little flick and it gets rid of it.

You can also do it slowly and pause and now you're in the Switcher and you can switch between other apps or go back to that existing one.

Now here's where people run into trouble. It seems to work find and they're using it for awhile and then they run into an app that is in horizontal mode. So a game app is a common one that people run into this. So here's one of my games. Now you can see clearly here, because we're talking about it, there's a white bar at the bottom of the screen. But the bottom of the screen is different now. It's horizontal orientation. A lot of times people will still look for the white bar on the same side where it was before. So in other words basically by the lightening port or on the right side of the screen in this case. They don't see it there and they don't notice the home indicator at the bottom.

Sometimes games aren't as clear about this. I made a little space there so you can see the home indicator clearly. But sometimes games are using the entire screen and the white bar almost gets washed out. You use it in the same way but now you're kind of swiping from the side which is now the bottom in horizontal orientation. So you move it up and that's how you dismiss the app that is horizontal.

There are a lot of questions about this at Apple discussion groups. I've gotten some and other places. So I know some people are missing this which is why I'm making this video. Of course once you see it, once you understand that this bar shifts to be at the bottom of the screen no matter what orientation you're holding your iPhone, then you understand where to look for it. But until you make that leap you may miss it and be trying to go from the right side of the screen to exit the app.

Comments: 13 Responses to “How To Quit Apps On the iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max”

    Robert
    4 weeks ago

    This pushing up slowly does not work on my iPhone X because for years I have kept all my few apps in two folders in the middle of the Dock. Closing my apps requires pushing all the way up the screen. I don’t want to cover up my background picture on the screen with apps. Phone on the left & Calendar on the right. Most commonly used apps (2 pages) next to Phone and less commonly used apps (3 pages) next to Calendar.

    Richard
    4 weeks ago

    I do not think this is how you quit apps on the iPhone X. The method demonstrated only pushes the current app to the background but it is still running. If you go to the switcher after pushing the current app you will see it is still there. The way you “quit” an app on iPhone X is actually two parts. One you need to push the app up and slightly left to get to the switcher. From there you “grip” the app with your finger (thumb usually) and flick it up. The app is now gone from the switcher.

    4 weeks ago

    Richard: I point that out in the video. Most people refer to this as “quitting” but it actually isn’t. What you mean is actually force-quitting the app, which is something typical users should never have to do in practice. In fact, it can be bad as you may lose data such as your place in a game and such.

    Greg
    4 weeks ago

    This also works on my iPad although there is no bar or line at the bottom. Sometimes easier than using the home button. Thanks.

    Ian MacGregor
    4 weeks ago

    Gary, I’ve heard so much conflicting information on this. When you use an app and then swipe up the home Indicator, is the app you just exited still in RAM and using battery power? Is it suspended and not using any CPU or battery? From what I see between my Mac and iPhone (same iCloud account), exited apps on iPhone are suspended from activity.. though many people say they are still running, consuming CPU and battery.

    4 weeks ago

    Ian: Apps are very dynamic today in modern operating systems. It isn’t like decades ago when they would get assigned a block of memory and hold it until they are quit. In general an app that is not on screen is suspended and not using memory or processor power. But some apps will use a little bit, such as an app that tracks you bike route or streams some music. Typical users never have to force-quit apps or worry about any of this.

    Lynda Farabee
    3 weeks ago

    Ahhh….video made for me! Thanks.

    So I apparently I am “force quitting” my apps? Quit them using the white bar, then flick them out of switcher. This is bad? You’re suggesting to just leave them in switcher area “forever.”

    3 weeks ago

    Lynda: Force-quitting apps is unnecessary in almost all cases and could mean you lose data (game state, document progress, etc) by force-quitting. Just go to the next app.

    John.P.
    3 weeks ago

    Something i might add is that if you are on one of the other app screens and you want to get back to the first one, A quick swipe up from the bottom will take you straight back there : )

    Margaret B
    3 weeks ago

    Gary I have an iPhone 6S with the latest iOS. On an older iPhone (4S) Apple Shop told me to quit any Apps I had finished using by double tapping the Home Button and then swiping the resulting Apps upward. I was told this properly quit the Apps so they were not continuing to use up battery power. I have got into such a habit of doing this at regular intervals. Do I continue to do this please?

    3 weeks ago

    Margaret: No. There is no need to do that unless an app is misbehaving. It was a little more common years ago, but even then I wouldn’t have recommended it. You can always look in Settings, Battery to see which apps are using battery and weight that against how much you are using them. But a typical user doesn’t need to force-quit apps or worry about energy use details.

    Lynda Farabee
    3 weeks ago

    If I’m understanding this correctly, we just let the switcher fill up with apps? Don’t ever flick them away (unless the app gets wonky)?

    3 weeks ago

    Lynda: Right. That’s how the vast majority of people use iOS. It is designed for that.

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