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Should a mobile application force login after terminating app?

I've been working on a mobile application which utilizes sessions. Recently I noticed our mobile application does not force the user to login after the user terminates the application.

For example, in iOS if the user terminates an application by pressing the home button twice and swiping-up the application, then re-opens that application it will not force the user to log back in again.

Would you expect to login after the app is terminated?

or does the apps ability to check your session and let you in, just a undocumented "feature"?

I would expect the undocumented "feature" to be a security flaw, because someone can pickup my phone and have access to an application that normally requires login. I agree that if the application is going to the background that it shouldn't log the user off, but if I kill the app it should force me to login again.

  • I just joined this site but it seems many of the answers I've seen are opinion based. If you can please cite examples or source material. – ConfusedDeer Sep 5 '15 at 15:14
  • It's an opinion based question. Your question is "would you expect..." which is going to produce opinions. – DA01 Sep 5 '15 at 16:26
  • @DA01 Opinions can have references and sources. – ConfusedDeer Sep 5 '15 at 20:59
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Many apps do not require a login each time you access them, even after the app is terminated. Personally, I would only expect to login each time I open the app if I am accessing highly personal data (i.e. financial data, classified email). However, users do have the option to require a password or fingerprint identification to access the phone in the first place, so a second login to the app could be considered redundant.

Assuming this is possible programmatically, you could allow the user to choose whether they prefer to login each time they open app during the on boarding process if they need provide login credentials the very first time they open the app.

  • thanks for your feedback by your logic then any app that requires login to the app would be redundent. If I'm going through the trouble of closing the app, maybe I'm expecting it to log me out. Although the app does have a logout button. – ConfusedDeer Sep 4 '15 at 3:01
  • It would only be redundant if I am required to login to my phone before accessing the app. Closing an app may not always be tied to a desire to logout. I may choose to close an app to stop it from running in the background and using data when I am not connected to wifi. – Andy Sep 4 '15 at 3:06
  • If the app has a logout button, then that's the proper point to log them out. Force-quitting an app is more of an OS-management issue, so I don't think one has to assume anything in regards to log out when it comes to force-quitting. – DA01 Sep 5 '15 at 22:16
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As @Andy rightly said - You could simply have an option in "Settings" somewhere which says "Ask for Password" with options like "Everytime"/"Once a day"/"Once a week"/"Never".

For example - Paypal keeps you logged in even if you terminate the app. Just an example.

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Unless the User has explicitly specified Keep Me Signed In:

YES, your app should always ask for a Username and Password after termination.

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Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all keep you logged in unless you specifically "log out". This is what "log out" features are for. Most apps these days will keep you logged in unless you specifically go log out of the app. Terminating the app is not logging out. Of course, with an app that contains very confidential information, such as the Bank of America app, you must log in every time as there is an automatic log out after a specific amount of inactivity. Hope that helps.

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