iOS Multitasking: Is There More to This Than Misinformation?

Last year my father ditched his ancient Palm Treo for an iPhone 4. He is without a doubt pleased with it, however I noticed an odd behaviour he’s been making a habit of. Frequently he will double-tap on the home button to bring up the multitasking tray — which begins a process of holding and tapping on an app until he can forcibly remove each and every one.

The peculiar thing about this habit of his is that he didn’t learn to do this because an uninformed Apple Genius told him it was beneficial. He’s been doing this ever since I taught him how he could tap and hold on an app to move or delete it. Out of curiosity, I asked him what made him think this was even necessary. His answer: “Things were slowing down, so I thought this would help if I closed all of these apps down.” My father has been a Windows user for most of his life — DOS before that in the 80s. The only explanation I can piece together is that perhaps he has been long used to Windows not being able to handle memory management very well — an old habit from the pre-NT days before protected memory. Of course even modern Windows operating systems handle things much better now, but old habits die hard.

I know there is a lot of misinformation going around these days about how iOS handles the suspending and resuming of apps — partly of which inadequate training at Apple stores is to blame — however, perhaps there are more people like my father out there who simply are holding onto old baggage from inefficient desktop operating systems (this goes for OS 9 and earlier as well).