If you're like most people, you get a great sense of satisfaction when you "spring clean" your house. Your family and you spend a day or two doing a deep clean.
You vacuum, scrub your bathtubs, mop floors and get seriously sweaty packing up boxes of old electronics for Good Will. If you're really ambitious, you'll also de-tangle all the wires that connect your TV sets, laptops and routers.
This annual spring cleaning can take up a whole weekend. And with good reason - there's nothing quite as satisfying as feeling like you're taking care of your home and ensuring everything is working to its maximum potential.
Which explains why a lot of people needlessly try to "spring clean" their smartphones and tablets. Whether you're using an Apple iPhone or Google's Android operating system, you probably spend time closing apps.
You may think that you're improving the performance of your smartphone or tablet by doing that. You may think that you're improving its battery life.
The scoop on Apple apps
Do you know how to force close Apple apps? You may do this so often that you don't even think about it.
On most iPhones, including iPhone 8, you start by double-clicking the Home button. That will show you the apps you most recently used.
Then you find the app you want to close by swiping right or left. Swipe up on an app to force it closed.
But do this only on rare occasions, according to Apple. In fact, here's what Apple Support says: "You should force an app to close only when it’s unresponsive."
Why? Well, it turns out that Apple's iOS operating system is designed so well that apps are frozen when they're not being used.
Here's what Apple expert John Gruber said about closing Apple apps over the summer, "Apps in the background are effectively 'frozen,' severely limiting what they can do in the background and freeing up the RAM they were using."
The point is, you simply do not need to close Apple apps. But what about Android?
What about Android apps?
If you've been using Google's Android operating system for some time, you know this. But it's important to note that, unlike Apple, which oversees the manufacture of all its iPhones, Google doesn't make most Android smartphones and tablets.
So, the way your smartphone works may slightly differ from another Android user's smartphone. The point is, these tips most likely apply to you, but any step-by-step instructions may be different for your smartphone.
When it comes to force closing apps on your Android device, the good news is, you don't need to do it. Much like Apple's iOS operating system, Google's Android is now so well designed that apps you're not using aren't draining battery life like they used to.
Google executives like Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems for Android, Chrome, Chrome OS and Play, has advised people not to force close Android apps. He says that Android is designed to maximize app performance, so you don't have to do it.
If you do need to force close an Android app, you'll follow steps similar to this, depending on which brand you're using: Apps >> Settings >> Applications >> Application Manager >> open the app you want to force close >> click on Force Stop.
What About Always-Listening Apps?
Now that we've told you that you don't usually need to close your smartphone apps, you may be wondering about always-listening apps like Facebook and Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa. You don't need to turn off these apps, but you may want to stop them from listening.
Here's what we're talking about. The apps that let you speak to them, or interact with them verbally are often always on.
You do not need to force close these apps. However, you may want to stop them from listening to you. The way to do this will vary by the device you're using and the app that's always listening to you.
For example, if you want to stop Facebook on Android from always listing, try this. Settings >> Applications >> Application Manager >> look for Facebook >> Permissions >> Turn off the mic.
One mistake you should never make with your apps when trying to save battery power
There is something satisfying about closing apps on your smartphone or tablet. It's that feeling you get when everything is in its place and working to its maximum potential.
Fortunately, your smartphone and tablet do most of the work for you, so you don't have to close apps. In fact, you may be doing more harm than good if you do that.