How To Multitask in iOS4 on iPhone, iPod Touch

The free update for 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPod Touch is out, you can upgrade to the latest version by using the iTunes upgrade option. If you do not know how to upgrade to iOS4, read our earlier article on How To Upgrade to iOS4 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPod Touch.


One of the new features in iOS4 includes multi-tasking, this feature is available only for iPhone 3GS and certain iPod Touch devices.

iOS4 Multitasking

To multitask with iOS4 on an iPhone or iPod Touch, just double-tap on the home button when an app is open, this will bring up new apps for you to choose from at the bottom of the screen.

You can scroll through all the open apps by shifting it to the right or left of the screen. Once you click on the app it will seamlessly switch between the current one and the one you chose to multitask with.

iOS4 Multitasking Close App

To close an open app, just press and hold the icon and click on the "-" symbol at the left corner, this will close the app altogether. Have fun multi-tasking on your new iOS4 on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

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Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website.I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

  • psy232034i104e

    works on ipod touch 2g but not for games with lots of memory

    • didiss

      you can oly multitask with the apps that have been udated to ios 4

  • Person

    i heard that you can only multitask with certain apps. is that true?

    • @Person – Yes, you can multitask with several apps, however, only apps that actually make use of this new feature will be able to take full advantage of this feature

      • Ieuan Smith

        I learnt that just now and it's slightly annoying and kind of makes it useless but I understand it's purpose. I would still rather go to the home page and do it the longer way. lol.

      • Rock

        I see… I tested it on iPod 3G, but when change to other app and late go back to first app, this starts as new open…

  • EkDor

    I live in a permanent local roaming situation so I can't afford to have my data-network accessed even accidentally due to extreme costs involved. Will a backgrounded app, such as an app that only accesses the data-network to load ads (update ads in background), actually continue to utilise the data-network even when I'm using a different one?

    If so this will make my even more tedious life of switching to aeroplane mode when I want to use any app I know accesses the data-network, but requiring me to constantly quite background apps before turning the cellular network back on.

    Anyone have any hard facts about this. I haven't worked out how to test this without risking running my bill up!

    Also wondering if "persistent Wi-Fi" might be of benefit to me. If so how do I use it?

    Cheers,. EkDor

    • EkDor

      I read on Apples site somewhere that, although iOS4 will install on 2G it has limited features and i would be quite certain that multitasking is a prime candidate to be one of those features. In-fact I vaguely recall SJ saying that was the case during the keynote.

    • Hey! I called my cellphone operator and asked them to block my subscription to internett data. They did this and apps who needs data was rendered useless outside of wifi networks and my cellphone bill was a blessing after this! Call your operator, they should be able to help you out. (this was a local norwegian operator named "TalkMore".

      • EkDor

        I had called my provider and they agreed to do just that. Except that nothing actually changed. So either they did something else I haven't noticed, or they didn't do anything, or they did it someone else's account.

        But as it happens the other day I noticed a new feature I hadn't read about, despite looking for such information, the iOS4 actually has a switch to turn off the cellular-data-network, which is sweet.

        Now I can leave my cellular communications on (Phone, SMS and MMS) but not get access to the data side of it while away from Wi-Fi. This is exactly what I wanted and they delivered! This reinstalled my faith in Apple which was starting wane in this recent year.

        This switch is a bit out of the way though but is readily available to be toggled when desired so in an emergency you can turn it on for a few minutes if you're willing to pay the extreme cost of the roamed service, for me this is the dreaded Australian Telstra. Turning it on and off is not something you can do on a whim if the provider turns it off. Anyway I digress a bit, the switch is located at the end of the following path:

        (your iphone home screen)/Settings/General/Network/

        The switch is labelled "Cellular Data" [ ON | OFF ]

        Yay, I always liked my iPhone but now it feels different after finding this feature… now I LOVE IT!!! and my partner just ordered a new one for herself so now all that is wrong is mine is now out of date. :( hehehe Cheers,.

  • Leroy

    What certain iPod touch devices can multitask?

    • @Leroy – iPod Touch 3G supports multitasking for certain not sure about the iPod Touch 2G though

      • EkDor

        I responded, but mistakenly clicked the wrong reply link which was just by your name but was actually the bottom of my post above.

        • theboss1q2w

          i have an ipod touch 8gb 3rd generation and when i did the update and it finished i wasnt able to change the home screen wallpaper or multitask. anyone have any ideas?

      • Dfirst

        I have and iPod touch 3 g 16 gb and I updated it but it just goes to the homescreen when I press twice on the home button during an app not by apple.

        • Mine does the same! So annoying, if you find out let me know through fb please :)x

        • cole585

          this also happens to me :( is there an answer to this post if anyone can help id enjoy it :)

      • Yelow13

        There never were iPod 3rd gen 8gb made. Instead they sell the 2G (MC) still, which the only difference is the amount of RAM and the iOS4 incapabilities. The only other possibility is to jailbreak…

        • Gerad

          Apple Stoped making the 3g 16gb ipod touches so in return they also desided to screw all the people that own 3g 16gb touches and gave them the update but left out all the best yeah as some one else who has gotten screwed buy Apple WTF!!!….i hope they decide this was a mistake and bring out an update and fix this…so in short 16gb touches do not get multitasking or the background changing options.

  • Rashi

    I upgraded my iPod touch but i can't multi-task, i don't know why…i click twice the home button and the app just close…i bough my iPod in march and i received the free upgrade

    • @Rashi – Which version of iPod Touch are you using? You will be able to see that info on iTunes, also multitasking will work when you have more than one app open, did you try opening more than one app and then double clicking the home button?

      • Rashi

        I'm using an 8Gb model…i saw that it's only for 32 and 64Gb iPods…sad to know that :( i was so happy when i was downloading it…thanks

        • yo, Vinny!


          Using multitasking isn’t because of gb size, Apple says that Multitasking can only be used on iPhone 3Gs or 4.

    • Praseed

      Rashi iPod touch 2G doesnt support multitasking . 3G and 3GS suppports . yours iPod may belong to 2G. Inorder to know to which generation your iPod belongs to, look at the model number printed at the backside of your ipod . A1288 belongs to 2G and A1318 belongs to 3G

      • Rashi

        yes it's A1288 :(

        guess i have to jailbreak it

        • Steven

          Will jailbreaking it let you multi task? Oh, and DO NOT jailbreak your iPod. I have the 8 gb (which only has 7.1gb to mess with b/c of pre-installation) and the jailbreaking software took up ~4 gb of my memory. I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR 200 SONGS AND 5 PAGES OF APPS!

        • Name (required)

          Steven you must have done that wrong it didn't do that when I jailbroke mine. It was a tethered break tho which was a bummer.

  • craig van loggerenbe

    it wont let me bring it up just takes me to the search page……. its 3gen itouch and updated so whats going on..?

  • Bas

    How to multi task with skype??

    After I double-click home while logged on to skype I start email. But it logs me out of skype. So others so me going offline


    • Bas

      Switching on notification…..

    • @Bas – Skype is not yet ready with multitasking. Even if iOS4 supports multitasking the app in itself should be updated to make use of the new features. You might see an update to Skype which might allow you to stay logged on into Skype soon.

  • blake


    • blake

      ahahaha FAIL

      • Phil

        because that’s useful

  • adam

    why can't I still listen to i heart radio and check my email…pisses me off..the simple things

  • Benwa

    on my ipod touch when i double click the home button it just brings me back to the first page that i have on my ipod. i cant figure out how to get it working. please help

  • EkDor

    Might be of interest!


  • EkDor

    Oops forgot the link:


  • tea

    I have an iphone 3gs and i updated it also but my phone won't multitask at all. When i double click on the home screen nothing happens plus my camera doesn't have the zoom in feature

  • Gabriel

    Hey , I have an I pod 3rd gen I touch but I can't multitask . I open e buddy double tap home I close the app same with fb . How ? Thanks

  • xdinokidx

    i cant for the life of me figure out how to do the multitask, when i do the step it just takes me to the home screen! please help!

  • keenan

    multitasking doesnt work on ipod touch 3g…why? idk.

    its funny how on the itunes website it says you can multitask and change the wallpaper but you HAVE to jailbreak it……makes no sense

    • Danny


      You can change the background by going to wallpapers, and selecting a picture it then says "Home screen" or "lock screen" – unless thats a feature not available for iTouch?

      • Meg

        It Says ON THe Apple WEbsite That The Update For Ipod Touch Allows you To.. Multitask.. Change backround….

  • jamie

    yeah, um, i have an ipod touch, and ive tried everything you said, but it still oont let me multitask!

  • Bill

    When I double-click the home button on my iPod touch 3rd generation, it just goes back to the home screen. Every other aspect of iOS4 is working, except multi-tasking. Please help.

    • read the explanation above: “I’m assuming you have the 8gb model Ipod Touch, there is no 3G model for the 8GB, only 2nd gen. I was having the same problem and found that only the 32 and 64GB are considered 3G Ipod touches. You can verify that on Apple’s website. I know it sucks…”

  • Christian

    Why doesnt the multytask on my ipod touch doesnt work if i already had the update?

    • Don

      I have an ipod touch 3rd gen. Put OS 4.0 on it yesterday. It works fine and the multicast does work as described above. The only glitch I had is there was a restrictions tab under general that was On. I swear I never saw or set a passcode for it. I had to reimage the touch as a new Ipod to open it up becasue it did not use my passcode. If somebody else finds this too let me know. One other nice feature is the lock is now alpha numeric.

      • Don

        Wrong email

  • Carrie

    Multitasking does not work on my 2G 32g iPod touch. Lame.

  • sebastian

    i am unable to do it altogether y is that

  • My 3G 8g with IOS 4.0 will not multitask. Double tapping closes the app. I tried this with the new Pandora w/o success. If it's true that I need a 3G model that is bigger than 8 gig, then I'm through with Apple and their ludicrous technical marketing ploys. From a programming perspective, there is no reason an 8 gig will not multi task. Windows for workgroups multitasked in the 1990’s. Android multitasks. C’mon Apple! This is why people jail break your devices.

    • Rashi

      I AGREE! =)

      • Jakesue

        Damn true… I'm using a 2g 8gb iPod touch and I can't use multitasking or change my home screen wallpaper

        • Rashi

          neither i, i will wait for the jailbreak for my iPod, i have an MC model =(

    • Ruclar

      I’ts just wat you saying!!!

    • Jeff


      My 8 gig Ipod touch has no trouble playing music in the background while I use other apps. That is what it was built to do. I wonder why Apple thinks it can’t multi-task…

  • Sabrina

    I had to buy a new itouch in Feb, bc gen 1 wifi broke, and it would cost as much as buying a new one. I figured I'd replace it with a gen 3 why not. but soon realized with this new upgrade, that I only have gen 2, which upset me ..I didn't pay money again just to only buy the 2nd generation, so I called the Apple store where I bought it, and he said "ya since you only got the 8gb its most likely the 2nd generation..and you should have gotten the 3rd generation, and because its too late for you to exchange, I suggest selling it on ebay" wow really thanks for all your nonsense help! argh…i felt very discourage, but now I know ask before you buy. the folders work, but I doubt the muiltitask works.

    • Geo

      Multitasking works just fine on my itouch 2nd gen 8gb. I installed ios4 and then jailbreak using redsn0w for windows. You get option to use multitasking feature or not when you start the jailbreak

      • Tomo

        how do you get “redsnow”

  • person

    doesnt work for me

  • Shadow

    Why does my iPod touch 3rd gen not seem to be able to do the multitask. I looked up the model and it shows to be a 3rd gen for sure.

    • @Shadow – Multitasking is not available in iPod Touch 3G if you have a 8GB model…

      • Abbas

        What about 3G 16GB?

        • appleloverzanon

          no such thing as a 3rd gen 16GB iPod touch

          • Jack

            yes there is

          • jambaju

            only 8 gb, 32 gb, and 64 gb

    • Seth

      hey will multi tasking work with the new ipod touch 8gb