iOS 13.2 Might Have Broken App Multitasking

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Users are finding that their iPhones need to reload apps in the background much more frequently after updating to iOS 13.2. That’s according to a slew of reports spread across social media and various Apple forums. Here’s what you should know.

Aggressive App Killing

According to a large and growing number of user reports, iOS 13.2 may be too “aggressive” at killing apps or tasks in the background.

“Every app on my iPhone 8 iOS 13.2 gets killed every time I close. No backgrounding. And each tab on Safari when I move to a new one,” Twitter user Christopher Stephens wrote. “So frustrating.”

Another Twitter user, Marco Ament, chimed in and also corroborated that background apps are being killed “MUCH more aggressively” than before in iOS 13.2.

One user wrote on the MacRumors forum that they were watching a YouTube video and quickly switched to Messages to respond to a text. Less than a minute later and YouTube had reset and lost their video.

A slew of other users also reported the exact same issues on a handful of Reddit posts.

While reports of aggressive background app closing first surfaced early on in iOS 13’s lifecycle, the issue appears to have gotten worse after iOS 13.2.

It’s not clear how widespread this problem is, but it appears to impact a not-insignificant number of users. It also appears to affect users running iOS 13 regardless of which device they’re using.

The problem also appears to come up much more frequently if users run a memory-intensive app, such as the Camera app on an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro.

Is This Intended Behavior?

While we can’t say for certain, this definitely looks like an issue with the memory management systems in iOS. In other words, iOS is killing off apps much more frequently as part of its efforts to conserve or reuse RAM.

Issuing memory management updates isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. But based on how aggressively iOS kills apps, it appears that this is a bug.

Developer and designer Nick Heer, using an iPhone X running iOS 13.2 wrote, that “Safari can’t keep even a single tab open in the background, every app boots from scratch, and using iOS feels like it has regressed to the pre-multitasking days.”

That certainly doesn’t sound like intended behavior. We’ve noticed the problem on an iPhone 8 running the latest software, too.

How to Fix It

You can’t prioritize RAM usage, so there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix for this issue. On the other hand, one helpful Redditor pointed out a workaround: Background App Refresh.

  • Specifically, you’ll want to disable Background App Refresh for any apps that you don’t need running in the background.
  • Leave it on for apps that you’d like to come back to quickly (YouTube, Messages, Safari, etc.).

Other than that, it seems that a fix must come from Apple. So we recommend downloading the next software update as soon as possible.

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