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Oct 8, 2010
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New to the forum and iPhones.

I just purchased an iPhone 4 and it’s my first smartphone. Much of it is pretty intuitive, but I’m still learning. Of course I immediately downloaded a bunch of apps, mostly navigation, and was curious about when they were running in the background.

I thought the procedure was to double-click the start button , view the icons at the bottom of the screen, hold one down, wait until they wiggle, and then see which ones have a minus sign, meaning that app is running in the background, and that I can kill it by tapping the minus sign.

However, sometimes when I do that, every app I have comes up with a minus sign. I’m assuming that can’t be right. What am I missing?

They will all have a minus sign. There is nothing that denotes it's running or not. Most apps just pause so they are not "running".
Holding down one of the icons until they wiggle is the way that you rearrange your app layout. You do this if you want to make a group of apps, or put more heavily used ones on the front page or into the dock at the bottom. If you hit the minus sign you are deleting that app's icon from your screen and will need to reconnect to your comp to get it back.

A good way to tell which apps are multi-tasking is when you are using one app but can hear another app in the background (read: iPod). I think it is impossible to have two app screens open at once (not 100%, never jailbroken an iPhone). Like Danny said, most multitasking is a function of pausing the app to save your place/data so you can easily switch back and forth without having to retrace your steps at all.
How do we know which apps are in multi task function?

Example when I hit the weather app it automatically goes to the multi task function.

the doulbe click home button really jusy brings the last used app list up
depending on the app,some do run in the background after exiting
I appreciate the replies, but I'm still confused. Stannislaus is correct, I can tell when iTunes is running in the background because I can hear it, but what about GPS apps? When I'm exiting some tell me they are going to continue to run in the background to keep track of my position. I might not always want that due to battery drain concerns. I thought it would be easy enough to turn it off via the procedure I mentioned in my original post, but if the process tells me that every app I have is running in the background, then I figure either I must be doing something wrong, or there's something wrong with the process.
Ooh I didn't even think about GPS apps, but I did some checking on the multitasking, because you got me curious.

Apple - iPhone 4 - Multitasking done the right way

This from the apple website. From the limited info it gives, I assume that you should manually deselect any route to make sure you're not still using the app, even though it says multi-tasking is designed to not drain the battery unnecessarily.