Background refresh is not evil

supersalo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2010
383
133
Background app refresh doesn't allow apps to run willy-nilly.

The OS decides when to let the apps run in the background. It analyzes your usage of each app and adjusts accordingly. For example, if you usually check Facebook on your lunch hour, the system will let Facebook retrieve data in the background run before lunch each day.

The OS is actually quite stingy about background refreshes. As an app developer, you're not even allowed to say when you want background refreshes to happen. You can only specify the interval between refreshes. And if you can't be cute and say "10 seconds between refreshes", because that is less than the system minimum interval (which isn't specified because it depends on your usage and how often the phone is awake).

So you can leave background refresh on. It won't cause battery drain.

Now, apps that use location services while in the background are an entirely different story.

If you're interested in more detail, Double Encore has a nice summary here: http://www.doubleencore.com/2013/09/ios-7-background-fetch/
 

Fattytail

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2012
893
217
Very useful to know, thanks. People keep advising me to turn off background app refresh. But it's so useful that I don't really want to.
 

CoilTap

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2014
241
0
Yeah, and on top of all that, the process gives your app 30 seconds to do all its work and report success or it terminates the application.

So, between the "intelligent" scheduling per app based on usage and the limited time box in which the app can run, background refresh's impact is pretty minimal.
 

ajm222

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2012
862
111
So I can turn this back on. What are the best ways to save battery then? Turn off all location services and maybe auto brightness?
 

jlake02

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2008
2,259
1
L.A.
Yes, this will drain the battery.. the only question is how much. I'll keep most of my apps OFF and use them when I want them. With LTE the wait isn't long anyway.




:apple:
 

supersalo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2010
383
133
So I can turn this back on. What are the best ways to save battery then? Turn off all location services and maybe auto brightness?
I would definitely use auto-brightness.

I turn on Location Services as well. If you notice the Location Services triangle in your Status Bar a lot, go into the Privacy section of Settings and see which one is using it (it will have a purple triangle next to the name).

Be sure to turn on the icon for Location Services too (it's off by default).
 

itsmemuffins

macrumors 68040
Jun 23, 2010
3,131
1,208
I don't turn anything off. Battery life is never a concern.

Only app I turn background refresh off is Facebook. It's such a sloppy app God knows if I should leave background on or off for Facebook.
 

VSMacOne

macrumors 601
Oct 18, 2008
4,692
1,418
I don't turn anything off. Battery life is never a concern.

Only app I turn background refresh off is Facebook. It's such a sloppy app God knows if I should leave background on or off for Facebook.
Facebook has been the worst offender of all the apps I've ever used with Background Refresh. That's why I turned it off for FB and recently I've been using their Paper app.
 

kovey

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2011
595
182
Background activity is only a drain on android. Those clowns are the ones that are constantly trying to kill all background activities.
 

JoeTomasone

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2014
513
78
I have yet to see an app that DOES take advantage of Background Refresh.. Or, better stated, I have yet to see evidence that an app did anything in the background all on it's own except for Mail. Every time I have ever run Facebook, it most certainly hadn't previously updated itself; it was usually right where I left it with the same content loaded.

What am I missing?
 
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