One Direction creator Simon Cowell has paid tribute to the band, telling them to enjoy their break, following an emotional final gig before their year-long hiatus.
The four remaining band members took their last bow at Sheffield Arena, with band member Niall Horan promising: "We will be back."
Their On The Road Again tour ended with hugs, speeches and assurances that the break is not permanent.
Cowell, whose X Factor talent show saw Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Horan brought together as a band at the boot camp stage in 2010, said their success had been "incredible".
He tweeted: "Five incredible years. And it was all down to you and the fans. Enjoy the break boys. You deserve it."
Addressing fans at the Sheffield show Horan said: "I can tell you this, we will be back.
"Touring is the best part of what we do, that's why tonight is so emotional."
Band member Payne said: "This is the end of the On The Road Again Tour, not the end of One Direction."
Father-to-be Louis Tomlinson ordered: "Don't cry, Liam. Save some for the other tours."
"Please don't forget us," Harry Styles begged their screaming followers. "We will always be here for you, you guys are the most incredible fans."
Niall added: "I've had a great time, boys. I love you very much and thank you."
Malik left the band in March.
There were tears from thousands of Directioners, as their fans are known, inside Sheffield Arena and across social media.
On Twitter, fans posted about the gig and the imminent split.
"I'm dying!" said one user. "I'm sobbing!" said another. "Still crying!" was also a typical reaction.
The boys will still be around as 2015 ends, with fifth studio album Made In The AM released globally on November 13.
They will also make a promotional appearance on Good Morning America on November 17.