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When Apple introduced multitasking in iOS 4.2, we hailed it as a great boon. Now, apps would continue to run and do their thing so that we could switch back and forth between them with ease. Double-clicking the Home button presented us with a panel along the bottom of the screen showing all the active processes, so it was just “tap and go.” Unfortunately, apps don’t come with a “Quit” (or “Exit”) command, so everything just continues to run, using up memory and eventually slowing our iPad down.
We can, however, terminate processes that we no longer need or want to have running — it’s just a matter of presenting that process panel, pressing on an app icon until they start to jiggle and present their little circled minus buttons in the top-left corner. Tap the minus and the process terminates, freeing up a little memory (tap a few more and free up even more memory). I make it a practice to clean up in this manner at least a couple of times a day, but I use my iPad pretty heavily and run a lot of different apps in the process. You might not need to clean up as often or you might need to do so even more often, depending upon how many different apps you run and how much of your iPad’s resources they exploit when running in the background (apps that are network-intensive tend to use the most).
Of course, you can also turn your iPad off (i.e. completely off, not asleep) and then turn it back on, but that consumes a fair amount of battery power and quits all your processes rather than just the ones you want stopped. In its favor, though, is that a full restart frees up the maximum amount of memory.
Dennis Cohen is the co-author of The iPad 2 Project Book.