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What happens when you force stop an app?

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  • 4 min read

Smartphones have gotten way more powerful in the last decade and now are pretty capable machines. As smartphones get more powerful, so do the apps and operating systems.

That said, we still hit the limits of our phones from time to time. General practice when this happens is to close some of the apps running in the background to free up some memory and get the phone running again. That said, what actually happens when you force close an app?

This article looks at the process of force closing an app, what happens when you do, and how it impacts the app, you’re closing.

Also read: What happens when you reset Network Settings on Android and iOS?

Force closing an app

Force closing apps themselves is a rather easy process. Here’s how you do it on iOS and Android. 

On Android

If you want to force close an app on Android, follow these steps. 

What happens when you force stop an app?
  • Open your phone settings and tap on Apps.
  • Tap Show all apps.
What happens when you force stop an app?
  • Find Speech Services by Google in the list and tap it to proceed. 
  • Tap the Force stop button. 

On iOS

On iOS, all you have to do to force close an app is simply swipe up from the home screen to get to the recent apps and swipe up on the app you want to close. Doing the same on Android removes the app from the recent apps list but continues running in the background. On iOS, doing the same completely kills the process.

What does force closing the app do?

When you dismiss an app from the memory, generally the app will not be terminated until it completes all ongoing processes and prepares itself for shutdown to prevent loss of data. 

When you force close an app, it’s immediately terminated from the memory. This means that any processes the app was running (downloads, showing notifications, playing music) are immediately stopped, and the app is closed. This often means you’ll lose whatever unsaved data or ongoing process was running at the time. 

Is force closing an app safe?

Generally speaking, yes, it is. Any data that’s already been saved to the system memory will remain there the next time you open the app. Force closing only terminates all ongoing foreground and background processes and removes the app from the memory.

Does force closing an app free up space?

That depends on what you call space. The app will continue to take up the space it usually does in your system storage, whether running or not. However, it is removed from your system’s memory (RAM), freeing up the space for other apps to run smoothly. 

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When should you force close an app?

It’s generally recommended that you only force close an app when it’s malfunctioning or not responding, as it’ll give the app a fresh start the next time you launch it, resolving any errors in the process.

If you’re force closing apps to save system storage, you’re doing the wrong thing. For that, you will have to clear the app’s storage and cache or remove the entire app itself. 

Also read: What is Everything you need to know

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: