iOS 4 Fast App Switching, the (ahem) Task Manager, more.. [iOS 4 Tour Pt. 3]
To continue the earlier post on Multitasking with Pandora, iOS 4 introduces two new “concepts” with this update: fast app switching with a task manager (okay, they are really one in the same, but shhhh!). But, we won’t call it a “task manager” since Steve said if we needed a task manager then they already failed and multitasking, funny though they built it anyways…
So what is fast app switching? It’s actually, supposedly, just as it sounds: the ability to switch from one app to another quickly – fastly! How do you do this you say? you bring up the task manager, of course! (oh, if Mr. Jobs ever read that he’d be upset, I’m sure!).
Fast app switching, like any other multitasking feature introduced with iOS 4, requires that the app developer implement the functions into their application. In essence, it allows the OS to better handle an applications state so that when it is paused (home button, incoming call, etc), the OS can bounce back to it quickly and the app doesn’t have to load from scratch again. At least, that’s the general idea. Today we are seeing a few apps that are now adding this feature available as an update in the iTunes App Store. Check your updates, you may already have some of these!
The other feature of the new iOS that I am teasing about is the task manager. In reality, this is the “fast app switcher” for the user. It’s how you bounce quickly between already “running” (or previously started) apps. To get there, double tap the home button. You will now see 4 app icons appear at the bottom of the screen. These are the four most recently used apps. To bring one back up just touch the icon. Now, I call this the task manager (as do many others) because you can also “kill” running apps by the touch-and-hold action then touch the “X” to kill it. Now, I know by Jobs’ keynote that this isn’t a task manager, but it serves the same function and besides, I like to poke fun occasionally at the Apple!….
There’s two more features on the not-the-task-manager screen worth mentioning: iPod functions and rotation lock. If you double click the home button and bring up the app switcher, just swipe to the left to reveal these easy-access functions. If you read my earlier post on Multitasking with Pandora you would know that if you are using Pandora (or other music streaming service that has implemented the multitasking APIs) that these controls would function on the Pandora app the same as they would with the iPod app and the iPod icon would be replaced with the Pandora one. Lastly, on this screen is the – also much desired – screen rotation lock enable/disable icon. Touch this and the screen will no longer auto rotate while in any app (touch again to disable).