How to force-close apps from the Notification Shade in Android 13


Using the Google Pixel 7a in blue.

June Wan/ZDNET

Android 13 has become one of the best releases of the platform to date. Although it might not be the game-changing release that was Android 12, the Google developers further refined the UI, improved battery life, and made the whole experience smoother. All the new features and improvements come together such that there’s plenty to love in the latest release from Google.

Case in point: I happened upon a small addition to the platform that actually made me smile. Let me set the stage.

Also: The best Android phones

Although it’s not a daily thing, I do run into situations where an app needs to be closed or force-closed. This could simply be because I’m not using the app, or maybe the app has gone rogue on me and is using more system resources than it should. When such a case arises, I need or at least want to be able to shut that app down quickly.

Android 13 makes that considerably easier than in previous iterations.

Here’s how it’s done. 

How to close apps from the Notification Shade

What you’ll need: All you’ll need is a Pixel device like the Pixel 6 Pro running Android 13 (Pixel devices are the only phones to have received the upgrade at this point). 

Also: The best Google Pixel phones

Hopefully, as soon as Android 13 is released to other devices, anyone with a supported phone will be able to use the feature.

The first thing you must do is unlock your Android device. 

Pull the Notification Shade down twice (it’s important to pull down twice, as the feature isn’t visible via a single pull). Once you’ve pulled the shade down properly, you should see a small pill at the bottom left of the shade indicating how many apps are active. 

Also: How to enable Notification History on your Android (and why you should)

This shows apps that are actively running, like a fitness tracker, rather than apps you opened but aren’t currently using, such as Twitter.

The bottom of the Android 13 Notification Shade.

I have two active apps at the moment.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Tap Active Apps and a new popup will appear, listing the active and running apps.

The Android 13 Active Apps popup showing 2 active apps.

KDE Connect and Samsung Health are both running on my device.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Within the Active Apps popup, you should see Stop buttons for each active app. Tap Stop for any app you want to force-close and the app will then be listed as Stopped.

The Android 13 Active Apps popup showing one stopped and one active app.

KDE Connect has been stopped.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The next time you open the Active Apps popup, that stopped app will no longer be listed.

Also: 5 simple ways to improve your Android phone security today

And that’s all there is to stopping active apps in Android 13. This is considerably easier than going to Settings > Apps > [name of app] > Force Stop. It may take slightly more effort than using the gesture navigation to swipe away an app, but that doesn’t always work for every app. If you frequently have apps that go astray, this new feature will make your Android life a bit more efficient.

With the upgrade to Android 13, you should experience far fewer instances where apps need to be force-closed, anyway. But even if you do, you now have a convenient way of stopping them.

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