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What Happens When You Force Stop an App?

Phone App Settings For Force Stop

When you force stop an app, all its foreground and background operations end immediately. The app cannot access cache files and stops reacting until it can interact with the necessary resources again.

This article looks at what happens to an app when you force stop it and how this compares to other methods of dealing with application errors. We also address the safety concerns and point out additional benefits of Force Stopping.

The Difference Between Closing and Force Stopping an App

A common misconception is that closing an app stops its processes, but this is not true. Even if you back out of an app or clear it from the app switcher, many of these apps continue to run in the background.

Their goal is to close eventually, but many apps must wait until they complete any current processes. This poses a problem when your app is malfunctioning or frozen, and it will continue to eat up memory until you put a complete halt to its functions.

Force Stopping is the method used to accomplish this task. Force stopping ensures the app does not continue to sit in error.

Disabling vs. Force Stopping an App

Disabling is another feature you may consider with a malfunctioning app, especially as these options usually sit next to each other in the app’s menu. Still, it does not accomplish the same task.

Disabling is typically used to limit the effects of any unused bloatware downloaded to your phone, and you can use it to prevent unused apps from causing issues.

This completely turns the apps off, removes data from the cache and memory, and uninstalls any updates.

It is not useful for apps you intend to use or downloaded apps to your device. Force Stopping allows you to keep the app while solving your problems. Instead of deactivating the app completely, force stopping interrupts performance and forces dormancy until you reopen the application.

When to Force Stop an App

Force Stopping an application is not part of routine maintenance. You should only utilize this feature when an application malfunctions by:

  • Lagging.
  • Freezing.
  • Crashing.
  • Repeatedly restarting.
  • Refusing to open.

You may try closing an app or removing it from the app switcher, but if the problem persists then, you should try to force close the app.

Is It Safe to Force Stop an App?

For most applications, Force Stopping is safe to perform.

You may get a pop-up warning that the app may misbehave if you force stop, which triggers some concern.

This message refers to the app’s interrupted performance, pointing out that if you force the foreground and background opportunities to stop, the app will not perform as normal. In most cases, the app returns to normal function the next time you open it.


In most cases, Force Stopping an app will not cause it to perform poorly in the future.

This is primarily a concern if the app is downloading or uploading data. Force Stopping an app in these instances can cause the data transfer to corrupt, leading to issues down the road.

Force Stopping is usually your only choice in these moments, and it is unlikely to cause these issues.

Unsaved Data

Keep in mind that Force Stopping your app can cause you to lose any unsaved data. While most applications automatically update or backup your progress, those that do not will lose any data past your last save.

This is something to consider when Force Stopping apps without autosave capabilities.

Benefits of Force Stopping an App

On top of solving performance issues, Force Stopping an app usually positively impacts other functions of your phone.

Force Stopping frees up the RAM used by the app you offloaded, opening it up for other apps to use. This can lead to an increase in your device’s overall speed and performance.

This is on top of the benefits of improving the application’s performance you force stopped. You may find that the application performs better than normal after Force Stopping and working on its issues.

If the application you force stop has been eating up a large percentage of your battery, you should expect to get that portion of battery life back. Keep an eye on the application to make sure the issue does not occur again and start devouring energy.

Final Thoughts

Force stopping an app differs from other functions because it closes the app and renders it unable to access cache files. Until you restart the application, it will not and cannot complete normal processes.

While Force Stopping an app is generally harmless, you should only Force Stop a malfunctioning app. This prevents potential errors, such as data corruption or losing unsaved data, and keeps your device running in optimal form.

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