In The Verge Forums, A User Mocks Up A Way To Quickly Clear All Apps Out Of The iOS Multitasking Tray

3 March 2013

make_dots, The Verge Forums:

I know that it’s unnecessary to close apps since it doesn’t use any resources aside from memory but when you decided to declutter, it’s too tedious to do it. Also, because the multitasking tray gets cluttered, doesn’t that makes it unappealing to use? doesn’t that makes us rely on homescreen even in switching between apps? especially on the iPad where multitasking is lot easier with the 4 finger gesture.. would’t be better if there’s a faster way to close apps?

I think this is just patchworking over a deeper issue in the iOS multitasking metaphor. The underlying problem is that too many users perceive the multitasking tray as a queue, when it is meant as a history.

Rather than making it easier to declutter all apps at once1, Apple needs to stop users from feeling like they have to clean out the tray; in an ideal design for multitasking a compulsion to “declutter” wouldn’t exist.

Of course, WebOS’ cards metaphor relied on constant maintenance by the user to swipe away cards. I would argue there is a distinction though, as it was a gradual process — cards didn’t ‘pile up’ so it didn’t feel like a chore to swipe them away one by one.

1 I don’t think the UI proposed by “make_dots” is very elegant either, relying on an arbitrary growth of the tray overlay, but that is ancillary to the point of this piece.