R. Proffitt, please stop.
How can I word this so you will understand? R. Proffitt, I get the feeling you are just pretending to try to help when all that you are in fact doing is flaunting your supposed superior knowledge. People come here to get answers to questions, not to be made to feel stupid for asking them. If you can't frame your answers sensitively and so you sound like anything other than an arrogant and petulant middle schooler, you shouldn't be posting.
"There used to be an app that did this, but it doesn't exist now" is not helpful. "Google it" isn't helpful--do you really think that no one would think of that without you?
Performance degradation and battery drain are symptoms that unwanted apps probably are running in the background. What is not clear (and your responses, R. Proffitt, have taken both sides of this issue) is if tapping the minus sign on apps in the bar along the bottom of the screen actually closes the apps or just removes them from what I think of as a "quick launch bar." Mr. Sutton seems to find that his power drain is solved this way. I have closed apps this way, run an app that shows what is running on my device, and find that some of the (non-system) apps ARE still running in the background, and, while they continue to appear in the quick launch bar, they do appear to be stopped after I reboot the device by holding both buttons until the apple reappears on the screen, not just shutting down with the slide and restarting.
Since there is no way to exit apps, just to close them, I find it necessary to reboot my iPad periodically and not just shut it down. Mr. Sutton has found that clicking apps closed with their minus signs does help his iPhone, but hasn't run into the problem with his iPad 3. We all use different apps, so performance certainly will vary.
The answer to my original question seems , the only way to close all (non-system) background apps on an iPad is to do a reboot. The icons in the quick launch bar are not indicative of apps actually running, just apps used. There is no way to clear this bar other than by selecting each icon individually.
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