All apps run in the background and run down the battery - true?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Mildredop, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    BBC News are currently running an item about phone battery life. The 'expert' has just said that all the apps that you've used are still running in the background, using battery. She had an iPhone in her hand and showed that double-pressing the home button displays all the apps using battery, so to make sure you close them.

    Is that true? I thought the iPhone couldn't actually multitask.
  2. Nermal, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014

    Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    I've seen people deny that it's true, but I've experienced this battery drain first hand; I must've had ~20 apps running (it was shortly after getting the phone and I didn't know how to quit apps) and I started up Wi-Fi tethering. The battery was still draining even with the phone plugged in. After a quick look online for other people with the problem, I learned how to quit apps and after doing so the phone started charging again.

    This may not be the case with the current OS (it was back in the iOS 5 days) but it certainly used to be possible for multiple apps to run the battery down.
  3. I7guy macrumors P6


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    With iOS 7.1.1 the answer is basically no that most apps don't run in the background unless you allow them to via background refresh. Some apps like music will run in the background without explicit permissions.
  4. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    No, the list of recently used apps doesn't mean they're all actually running. Often, they're just suspended in memory, so they can continue quicker from where they left off.

    That said, yes, some do run in the background, usually apps you would desire and expect to do so, such as watching your location, updating the weather, waiting for a message, etc.

    You can control most of that via Settings -General - Background App Refresh, and enabling location services for an app.

    See this Apple support article.
  5. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I think much depends on which programs and the settings for each. I would say no for most as far as battery use goes. I still have about 50% battery left after a typical day so the battery is not an issue for me.
  6. eelw macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2012
    Apps like Skype and Facebook that maintain a Internet connection will remain active in the background.
  7. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    Here is the most recent information that I have read.

  8. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    That 'Expert' doesn't understand how multitasking in iOS works.

    It's such a shame when this information gets out there, because other people who don't understand will start 'closing' apps like this, and it is doing more harm than good to their experience.

    Apple need to be more clear that apps don't need 'closing' in this manner, because all their hard work moving into the 'Post-PC' world, creating devices that are more intutative, easier to use, manage themselves, is going to waste, because people like this 'expert' are treating them like PC's.
  9. parseckadet macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Agreed. iOS8 will bring some of the battery shaming features we saw with Mavericks. This will hopefully clear up the situation a great deal, though I think there will still be some confusion.
  10. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Only apps with the appropriate API's can run in the background (music apps, GPS, etc) and apps with background refresh. All other apps enter a suspended state after a few seconds. They then will close if foreground apps require the RAM they are using although they will remain in the multitasking tray. You'll see them refresh when you reopen them.
  11. g35 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2007
    Here's how iOS multitasking works.

    When you press the home button, one of the following things will happen:
    1. the app will stop working entirely
    2. it will save it's state then stop working
    3. it will save it's state and stop working except for doing certain Apple-approved tasks (GPS, music, etc)
    4. it will keep running in the background because it's buggy

    Most apps fall into the second category. Some examples of the third category are Music, Spotify, and Skype. Some examples of the fourth category in the past have included Facebook, Skype, and Google Maps.

    The case for swiping apps out of the multitasking tray is for those buggy apps that may keep sucking your battery even after you're done using them. It's impossible to know which apps - if any - on your phone are in this category, so some people make a habit of swiping their apps out regularly. Some people say this isn't necessary, but I think they're assuming all apps work perfectly and never bug out in the background.

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