Wednesday, October 30, 2019

iOS 13.2 Killing Background Apps More

Marco Arment:

I’ve noticed this since the first 13.2 betas, and Overcast users keep reporting it as well: background apps seem to be getting killed MUCH more aggressively than before.

(Especially on the iPhone 11 if you use the camera, presumably because it needs so much RAM for processing.)

Christopher Stephens:

Every single app on my iPhone 7 iOS 13.2 gets killed every time I close. No backgrounding. And each tab on safari when I move to a new one. So frustrating

Cabel Sasser:

This really affected Prompt. Extremely annoying to lose SSH connections when switch apps.

In yesterday’s update we rolled out a semi-cheesy but effective fix: “Connection Keeper” keeps a running GPS-based log of where you connect to servers. Side effect: connections stay alive.


Update (2019-10-31): Damien Petrilli:

Well this isn’t good. It means that because of the camera, iPhone 11 are undersized with 4GB of memory.


My Note 9 has 12 GB of RAM, 30+ hours battery life, no camera bump and is .03" thicker than an 11 Pro Max. I think apple could have figured it out. The biggest problem with Apple skimping on RAM is the longevity of the device’s usefulness.

Jonas Salling:

I see a lot of speculation that this is about lack of RAM. I doubt it. In our app, we are seeing problem with (some) WKWebView content (ads). App is silently killed after 30s in background. Critical log line attached.

Nick Heer (tweet):

I’m used to the camera purging all open apps from memory on my iPhone X, but iOS 13.2 goes above and beyond in killing background tasks. Earlier today, I was switching between a thread in Messages and a recipe in Safari and each app entirely refreshed every time I foregrounded it. This happens all the time throughout the system in iOS 13: 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.

Joe Rossignol (tweet):

A growing number of iPhone and iPad users have complained about poor RAM management on iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, leading to apps like Safari, YouTube, and Overcast reloading more frequently upon being reopened.


More complaints are found in this Twitter thread, in this Reddit thread, in the Apple Support Communities, and elsewhere on the web.

Stephen Warwick:

As mentioned Twitter is absolutely awash with reports of poor performance, memory management, and multitasking issues.


The underlying issue seems to be that Apple may have bitten off more than it can chew. in iOS 12 Apple took the time to relax its frantic feature release model and optimize what it already had in front of it. With iOS 13, it looks like Apple is back to shovelling out as many features as possible, without checking that they all work.

Marco Arment:

Major new bugs introduced in iOS 13.2:

- background downloads often hang forever and never run

- apps get killed in the background so aggressively that iOS effectively doesn’t offer multitasking anymore

…continuing the iOS 13 pattern of breaking long-held basic functionality.

I’m sure Apple has good excuses about why their software quality is so shitty again.

I hear the same thing over and over from people inside: they aren’t given enough time to fix bugs.

Your software quality is broken, Apple. Deeply, systemically broken. Get your shit together.

Marco Arment:

I hear the same stories repeatedly from inside Apple:

- almost no time to fix bugs

- literally zero time to fix older or non-urgent bugs

- far more layers of management since Cook

- problems don’t/can’t get communicated upward

- increased division so teams can’t coordinate


Update (2019-11-01): John Gruber:

This bug where apps are getting killed soon after they’re backgrounded is driving me nuts. Start a YouTube video in Safari, switch to another app, go back to Safari — and the video loads from scratch and starts from the beginning.

Matthew Panzarino:

iOS 13 feels like I’m back on iOS 3. Keeps dropping apps out of ram in the background at nearly the pace of 1:1 apps launched-to-quit. Makes drilling down to content or links and then losing them is rage inducing. What a crap ass behavior.

John Siracusa:

On this week’s episode of @atpfm, I compared it to a toddler under a blanket. “You can’t see me! I’m invisible!” But on iOS 13.2, it’s actually true. As soon as you’re not looking at an app, it disappears from RAM.

See this clip, in particular.

Meek Geek:

Turns out this bug has existed since the 1st beta of iOS 13.2, and yet Apple released it (probably due to AirPods Pro’s launch). Marketing-driven releases, again and again. 🙄

It’s so bad I can’t even scroll a web view without it being killed and reloading.

Update (2019-11-02): John Gruber:

If I could downgrade to 13.1.2 I probably would, even though it’d mean losing AirPods Pro support until 13.2.1 comes out -- which perhaps erroneously presumes that this overzealous process reaping is a bug and not a “feature”.

M.G. Siegler:

Yeah, this is driving me insane. Truly bonkers. It’s like Apple is finding new and interesting ways to make iOS 13 worse with each passing update. Can they recall an OS?

Marco Arment:

Why will iOS 14 be any different?

What significant, systemic changes has Apple made?

Do they even think anything is wrong?

Peter N Lewis:

I wonder if the iOS 13 background app massacre issue also affects Find My Friends tracking? I was trying to locate my wife while on the phone with her as she was driving home (to check traffic) and her location remained her start point for the full 20km, no change. Infuriating!

Nick Heer:

I just don’t understand how iOS shipped with this multitasking bug. Surely someone inside Apple with some semblance of power thought “hey, this thing where Safari displays an error and needs to reload every time I switch to it — that’s not good.”

Update (2019-11-05): Dave Murdock:

In addition to the overzealous background app killing issue in iOS 13.2, I’ve experienced & seen on other phones a complete UI freeze for 1+ seconds. IDK what it is, wife is seeing this in Photos, I’m most acutely aware in Safari, all iOS 13 releases have done it, 13.2 worst

Steven Aquino:

I generally don’t gripe about these kinds of things, not in public anyway, but iOS 13.2 is not great performance-wise. It’s even worse on the iPad.


Wow! #ios 13.2 kills background processes so aggressively that it even kills the webkit process for safari view controllers while you are looking at the page forcing a reaload.

Juli Clover:

Apple today released the first beta of iOS 13.3 to developers, and based on early reports from those who have downloaded the new update, it fixes the frustrating multitasking bug that is impacting many iOS 13.2 users.

Update (2019-11-08): Nick Lockwood:

I’ve seen a few mentions of how aggressive iOS 13.2 is about killing background apps, but this is ridiculous - if I start typing in a web form and let my phone go to sleep even for a second, when I unlock it again it’s killed and reloaded the page, and discarded what I’d typed 🤬

Juli Clover:

According to Apple’s release notes, the [iOS 13.2.2] update fixes an issue that could cause apps running in the background to unexpectedly quit, which led to background apps refreshing more often than normal.

Update (2019-11-25): Josh Centers:

To address complaints about apps quitting unexpectedly in the background after the iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 updates, Apple has released iOS 13.2.2 and iPadOS 13.2.2.

Nick Lockwood:

This is absolutely not fixed in 13.2.2 😔

Peter Steinberger:

13.2.2 doesn’t seem to fix the multitasking issues. 13.3b1 does.

Josh Centers:

Seventh time’s the charm? In its continuing cavalcade of updates, Apple has released iOS 13.2.3 and iPadOS 13.2.3 to address four specific bugs.

Adrian Hon:

If you’ve ever bought an IAP or subscription via Testflight, there’s a good chance you’re no locked able update any iOS apps. It’s affecting me, and it looks like it’s spreading fast #appleupdatefail

There is no workaround and Apple’s suggested solutions of signing in/out, resetting Network Settings, wiping device, etc. have not worked for anyone and are a complete waste of time.

Marco Arment:

SeeThe latest iOS 13.3 beta brings back the Mail bug where the inbox often stops updating with new mail until you go back to the folders screen, then return to the inbox.

Glad it’s just a beta… but scared to see a 13.0 bug return to a late-stage beta several releases later.

Update (2019-11-26): Sean Heber:

App was suddenly crashing over and over again whenever I went to the background. I plugged it in and managed to catch it in the debugger and see this stack trace. It seems like it’s hanging waiting to talk to a BGTaskScheduler helper process or something? Everything is so buggy.

I just adopted the new iOS 13 BackgroundTask API to do app refresh and now I see this happening. 😡

Steve Troughton-Smith:

w/ iOS 13.2 breaking multitasking outright, BackgroundTasks crashing apps in the background, spitting out errors all the time, you start to wonder if Apple has discoveryd’d multitasking in iOS 13… 😅 Apple doesn’t have a good track record of revamping previously-working systems

13 Comments RSS · Twitter

[…] his weblog, developer Michael Tsai has rounded up related complaints on […]

[…] Arment again highlights the reports that iOS 13.2 appears to be extremely aggressive in killing off background apps. The reports have also been noted by blogger Michael Tsai. […]

[…] Keyboards. Catalina. iOS 13. Bricked HomePods. Broken multitasking. […]

Why is this even an issue with ANY recent version of iOS? iPhone hardware has been just as good as Mac hardware for a while now, yet I can run Safari on a 10 year old Mac with a dozen tabs open, and 8 other apps running, and Safari NEVER has to refresh a tab. Why is iOS so broken that on the most advanced hardware (even before the iOS 13 fiasco) you can never be sure a tab will still be loaded when you switch to Safari? (e.g. if you want to load a tab when you're on wifi, and then look at it later when you're offline... it might have been nuked by iOS! But on a Mac it will always be there.)

>iPhone hardware has been just as good as Mac hardware for a while now

You're running a Mac with 3GB of RAM? Apple is underspeccing their phones in every way except *maybe* CPU speed.

No but come on, how far back do you have to go to get to a version of Mac OS where it would completely drop a tab just because you switched to another app? Surely long before 3GB of RAM was standard. Maybe even Mac OS 9. And iOS is supposed to be the future?

Since iOS 13 we have had untold errors with our Delphi/UniGUI/Sencha web apps.

Connection starts out as SSL perfectly then for no real reason at some random event the Session IP is swapped out for another IP for the current session and future SSL handshakes produce all sorts of errors syncing with the new IP.

What is interesting is that on any other platform this does not happen nor did it happen on iOS prior to 13.

There are modern webpages that use more memory than any MacOS 9 Mac shipped with out of the box. Also, Apple tends to put unusably small batteries into their phones, and then try to make up for it with software, so that's probably another reason why iPhones now aggressively close background tasks.

I'm not saying any of this is good, but I do think Apple's software people are trying to do the best with the terrible hardware they have to deal with.

"You're running a Mac with 3GB of RAM?"

I am and have been running a Mac Pro with 2GB of RAM for years. Yes, I can have multiple tabs, running applications (even Xcode). What I can't have is good performance at some point because of swap on HDD and Apple underspeccing the GPUs.

That being said, Mac OS X does not also handle well some edge case, like the startup disk free space getting close to 0 bytes. This is a good way to break/reset the preferences of some applications.

[…] iOS 13.2 Killing Background Apps More […]


”Apple tends to put unusably small batteries into their phones, and then try to make up for it with software, so that's probably another reason why iPhones now aggressively close background tasks.

I'm not saying any of this is good, but I do think Apple's software people are trying to do the best with the terrible hardware they have to deal with.”

You keep bringing upp battery life and bashing Apple hardware. Apple do not have "terrible hardware” in iPhones, they have broken quality control in software. They prioritize new features and aggressive schedule over bug fixes, stability and reducing technical debts. That much has been painfully obvious for a while, especially this year.

The killing of background apps is not a feature designed by Apples software people as you suggest, it a serious bug that should never have been shipped.

Yeah, this has been an iOS weakness for years. Nothing this aggressive of course, but the amount of data I lost on half filled forms or comments in mobile Safari because I dared to switch tasks before finishing was staggering. Android sometime has this problem too, usually because the device is RAM starved, I had a Nook HD Plus many years ago that killed background music if I started a web browser (only had 1GB RAM) or if an OEM tuned their power settings too strongly. However, that too was never as bad as the reported problem in iOS 13.2.

[…] Michael Tsai har en snabb genomgång från flera personer på Twitter, inklusive Marco Arment och Christopher Stephens, som var och en […]

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