Switching between apps
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: On the iPhone 3G, is there a quick way to switch between applications in the same way that I use ALT+TAB on my computer? For example, if I am playing a game while listening to music from the iPod app and then receive a text message, when I select reply I am switched over to the SMS application. The only way that I know to get back to the game is to use the home button and then select the game again, which causes it to have to reload. Is there a way to toggle between open apps without having to start over?
A: Unfortunately, no. However, it’s a bit more complicated than simply not providing a fast way to switch between apps. The actual problem is that the iPhone development kit (SDK) that third-party developers use to write applications for the iPhone does not permit these applications to run in the background at all.
This means that as soon as you leave an application for any reason, it must save its state and shut down completely—there is no way to keep the application running in the background when you switch to another app. How well the application later returns to where you left off is entirely dependent on how the developer wrote that particular application. Some applications will return to exactly where you left off, while others will save your current state and give you the option of returning, while still others completely lose track of where you are entirely. We have discovered a wide variation in this behaviour between different iPhone games, so there are no guarantees that any given game will behave well when you exit it to switch to another application.
Note that some of Apple’s own built-in apps on the iPhone do have the ability to run in the background—or at least leave a portion of themselves running so that things like background mail fetching and iPod playback can continue to occur. However, this is the reason why other music playback applications such as Tuner and AOL Radio cannot continue playing once you have exited the application.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple to sell limited-edition Olympic Apple Watch bands exclusively in Brazil
- Report: iPhone 7 will include Lightning adapter instead of Lightning EarPods
- Edward Snowden designing device to prevent iPhone wiretapping
- Report: Apple Car team running into challenges, launch may slip to 2021
- Corning announces Gorilla Glass 5
- Apple under fire for providing refurbished replacements under AppleCare+
- Report: Apple acquires cloud music provider Omnifone? [Update: No]
- Apple releases second iOS 10 public beta
- India clears the way for Apple to open retail stores
- Apple Pay launches in Hong Kong
- Netatmo Tags for Welcome Smart Home Camera
- iDevices Socket HomeKit-enabled Light Adapter
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartPlug for Apple HomeKit
- Marbotic Smart Letters for iPad
- Ecoxgear Sol Jam Bluetooth Speaker
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case + Hand Strap for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Braven BRV-1M Bluetooth Speaker
- Braven BRV-Blade Bluetooth Speaker
- Invoxia Voice Bridge
- Incase Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app