iOS 13.2 might be more aggressive in killing background apps

It seems that Apple still isn't free of the curse of iOS 13 which, in retrospect, should have probably skipped the number. iOS 13.2 was released just a few days ago and, aside from bricking HomePod speakers, it seemed almost uneventful for iPhone and iPad owners. It was, perhaps a premature evaluation as a growing number of users are now complaining of the platform's aggressive memory management that is causing apps to be killed when left in the background even for just a short while.

iOS has always been rather thrifty in its use of hardware resources partly because it has also been stingy in such hardware, particularly RAM. It is both popular and notorious for keeping background apps in check to prevent filling up memory. This is one of the reasons why iPhones, despite having little RAM, felt snappier and consumed less power than their Android counterparts with twice the RAM or battery.

As iPhones and iPads got more RAM, however, you would presume that more and more apps would be able to stay running in the background before being killed to make space for other apps. That was, indeed, the case at least until iOS 13.2 last week. Now it seems that the operating system is acting as if the iPhone 11, which has at least 4 GB of RAM, behaved as if it had only two.

A growing number of complaints from iPhone and iPad owners lead to one common observation. iOS 13.2 seems to be more aggressive than its predecessors in managing RAM. Switching to another app for a few minutes would kick apps like YouTube or Safari out of memory. That's especially problematic for games that are being killed in the background after minutes of inactivity.

At this point, however, it isn't yet known if this is an intentional "feature" in iOS 13.2 but users definitely count it as a bug. While it isn't breaking iPhones and iPads, it is definitely breaking users' established workflows, some of whom may have settled on using their devices for work and productivity. Hopefully, a new iOS 13.2.2 update is on the way to address the issue quickly.