How To: The Fastest Way to Clear Apps from Your iPhone's App Switcher

The Fastest Way to Clear Apps from Your iPhone's App Switcher

If you like to keep your iPhone's app switcher clean, you don't want to hear what Android phones have. Pixel, OnePlus, Galaxy — these phones let you quit all running apps at once. Apple omits the option on iOS because apps are optimized to stay there and only be force-closed when acting up. But if you like a slim app switcher profile, there's a faster way to force-quit them than one by one.

While Apple doesn't let you close all apps at once, it doesn't stop you from closing multiple apps simultaneously. You likely know already that you kill an app — whether it's running, in a suspended state, or refreshing in the background — by swiping up on its card in the app switcher. But you can do so for two, three, even four apps at once. All you need to do is swipe up on as many app cards as you can at the same time, and you'll fly right through your list in no time.

You can use this trick whether you're in portrait or landscape orientation.

Want to take things a step further? You can automate the entire experience using a custom AssistiveTouch gesture. On your iPhone, go to:

  • Settings –> Accessibility –> Touch –> AssistiveTouch -> Create New Gesture (iOS 13 and higher)
  • Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> AssistiveTouch –> Create New Gesture (iOS 12 and lower)

From here, recreate the motion you'd normally use to quit multiple apps, choose "Save," then name the gesture. Tap "Save" when finished. Now, enable AssistiveTouch by:

  • Toggling it on in the AsssistiveTouch preferences.
  • Asking Siri to "turn on AssistiveTouch."
  • Triple-clicking the Side button or Home button if you have Accessibility Shortcuts enabled.

You'll see the AssistiveTouch button appear on the screen. Now, open the app switcher. Touch the AssistiveTouch button, choose "Custom," then tap the gesture you just made. Tap-and-hold on your screen to move the icons into place, then let go. If your apps are aligned right, you can swipe away the cards just like you would by hand.

If you want to make the AssistiveTouch gesture even faster, you can customize the top-level menu for AssistiveTouch so that you can activate your gesture right after tapping the AssistiveTouch button. You can do so by opening up "Customize Top Level Menu" in the AssistiveTouch preferences, then swap one of the shortcuts out for your custom gesture.

Alternatively, for an even faster way to trigger it, you can assign your custom gesture in the AssistiveTouch preference so that when you double-tap or long-press on the AssistiveTouch on-screen button, the gesture will run. On iOS 12 and under, you can also assign it to 3D Touch. At this time, you cannot assign it to the single-tap action on iOS 13 or later.

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Cover image, screenshot, and GIFs by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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