Apple Exec: This Trick Won’t Improve Your Battery Life

March 11, 2016, 5:41 PM UTC

A top Apple executive has put one, long-held rumor (and wish) to bed.

An iPhone owner recently emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook asking whether quitting background apps in iOS would improve the platform’s battery life. While Cook didn’t respond, he forwarded the customer’s message to Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi, who responded with a simple answer: “No.”

“Thanks for being an Apple customer,” Federighi said to end the email, according to 9to5Mac, which obtained a copy of the email.

Ever since Apple (AAPL) added multitasking to iOS several years ago, questions have surfaced on forums and websites across the Internet over whether having apps running in the background reduces battery life. Some have posited that although apps are not being used at a given time but are still on behind the scenes, they could be using an iPhone’s or iPad’s precious battery life.

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A simple Google search reveals just how many people have questioned the idea. Indeed, there are countless Apple forums, as well as forums on other Apple-focused sites, that include users asking if they should shut down background apps to save battery life. Despite many people responding that it doesn’t matter, the myth has lived on, perhaps due in part to Apple’s devices not coming with removable batteries, forcing customers to find a wall outlet whenever the battery is running low.

While Federighi, who runs Apple’s iOS platform, didn’t say why killing background apps wouldn’t affect the iPhone’s battery life, some have said closing background apps could actually harm the battery’s duration.

In 2014, Scotty Loveless, who claims to have been a former technician in Apple’s support service, the Genius Bar, said that quitting background apps is actually a drain on battery life.

“By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM,” Loveless said, using ‘RAM’ to refer to the device’s onboard memory. “While you think this may be what you want to do, it’s not. When you open that same app again the next time you need it, your device has to load it back into memory all over again. All of that loading and unloading puts more stress on your device than just leaving it alone. Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you.”

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Several other reports have cropped up since Loveless wrote about the iPhone’s battery, saying that quitting apps is a bad idea. Still, questions remained.

Now that a top Apple executive has chimed in, however, perhaps the issue is put to rest.

So, stop closing all of those apps. It turns out it really does nothing for you.

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