Force close, swipe from recent and active apps: how these ways to close apps on Android are different

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As if this were not enough, in Android 13 a new active task manager arrives that makes it technically possible three ways to close apps, with subtle differences between them. We explain them below.

force close

Force closing

Force closing is the most obvious way to do exactly that, closing an application. Unlike other methods, this is the most intuitive and effective: For the root app, remove its notifications and remove it from the recent apps stack, canceling its scheduled tasks.

Forcing an app to close stops it on its feet, though it doesn’t prevent it from being reactivated under certain circumstances. It’s the most efficient and radical method of shutting down an app, and the only reason it’s not more popular than other methods is simply because getting to the stop closing button is much less accessible than simply sliding the app into the recent view, having to go to the Android settings.

when we press Force closing in an app, the system warns us that the app “may not work properly” after doing so, though we shouldn’t worry too much about that. Unless it’s halfway through a task, it’s quite likely that it already saved its status as soon as we switched to another app.

Remove from “Recents”

recent tasks

The crown jewel of app closing is the recents view, as many people believe that force closing and removing an app from recents are equivalent. They are not. They are quite different concepts and, in plain words, when we remove an app from the recent view, what we do is tell the system that we do not have much interest in returning to said app. It will be the system that decides when to release its resources using that information.

Removing an application from the recent view does not remove it from memory at the moment and a proof of this is that if it’s a music app, it will still work, just as your system notifications are not deleted nor are your scheduled jobs or alarms canceled. Therefore, despite what all kinds of “cleaner” apps and some layers would have us believe, cleaning the recent list does not really give us a performance advantage or free up memory per se.

This is the most common way to “close apps” on Android, even though it doesn’t technically close them, or at least not completely. If force closing closes the application completely, it could be said that a recent app closes it “a little”. Instead of force, asking please. When an app gives you problems, force closing will be more useful to you. For the rest of the cases, removing it from recent works for you.

Active Android Apps 13

active apps

Just in case there was little confusion on the matter, Android 13 includes its own foreground task manager, or FGS, in the quick settings panel. It shows the active applications and, in some cases, you can stop them.

This list focuses on apps with foreground services, though if you tap Having the app will close completely and not only its services. In practice it is similar to force closing, although with the difference that it does not cancel scheduled jobs or alarms, nor does it remove the app from the history, making it easier to reactivate than with a forced closing.

The big difference is that from this task manager you can only close apps that are actively doing something at the time (for example, a download) and not other apps that are technically in memory, but without any specific task at the moment. To do this, you must continue to resort to the previous methods.

How are they different from each other?

Did you get lost with the explanation? Normal. Here is a summary table about what each method does and does not do. As you can see, the most radical closing is the one that happens by force closing, while the most gentle is removing the application from the recent view.

Force closing

remove from recent

Close on active apps

what can you close

Any app installed

Activities (the same app can exit several times)

Apps with active foreground services

Remove the app from memory immediately

Yes

Nope

Yes

For media playback

Yes

Nope

Yes

Associated notifications are removed

Yes

Nope

Yes

Removed from the back stack

Yes

Yes

Yes

Remove the app from the app history

Yes

Yes

Nope

Scheduled jobs are canceled

Yes

Nope

Nope

alarms are canceled

Yes

Nope

Nope