Do you keep background apps refresh on?

Do you use background refresh? How you set this option:


  • Total voters
    103

myname70

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 5, 2014
629
81
Guys, just wondering , do you keep the background refresh option ON? I usually keep it OFF and honestly did not mention any lags or issues.
 

Will22

macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2011
1,349
707
I leave it on but only for a few apps like weather app so that when I pull down the notifications tab the weather doesn't have to refresh.
 

gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
3,250
2,805
I leave it on but only for a few apps like weather app so that when I pull down the notifications tab the weather doesn't have to refresh.
Same here. The feature is on but for select apps only.
 

aarontsuru

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2014
142
119
Brooklyn, NY
After all the blog posts on all the internets, I still have yet to find a good explanation of what it actually does. On or off, **** still seems to "refresh" in the background.
 

ardchoille50

macrumors 68020
Feb 6, 2014
2,142
1,216
I keep the main refresh on but keep it toggled off fore individual apps.

After all the blog posts on all the internets, I still have yet to find a good explanation of what it actually does. On or off, **** still seems to "refresh" in the background.
I've been told that, if you send an app into the background while its in the middle of completing a task, then the app will continue to complete the task even in the background.
 
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Armen

macrumors 604
Apr 30, 2013
7,391
2,274
Los Angeles
After all the blog posts on all the internets, I still have yet to find a good explanation of what it actually does. On or off, **** still seems to "refresh" in the background.
Per Apple iOS is supposed to learn your daily habits and what apps you use so when you go to your app the information will already be up to date and not need to be refreshed. It's supposed to do this refreshing at an optimal time as to not consume extra battery.
 

aarontsuru

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2014
142
119
Brooklyn, NY
I've been told that, if you send an app into the background while its in the middle of completing a task, then the app will continue to complete the task even in the background.
Per Apple iOS is supposed to learn your daily habits and what apps you use so when you go to your app the information will already be up to date and not need to be refreshed. It's supposed to do this refreshing at an optimal time as to not consume extra battery.
Thanks guys! Still a little iffy, doesn't seem very black & white, but I tend to leave them on and just dump apps that run rogue.
 

teknikal90

macrumors 68040
Jan 28, 2008
3,150
1,483
Vancouver, BC
keep it on with the exception of Facebook and Google apps.
I simply don't trust that they'll put my device's battery life ahead in priority over their ad revenues
 

jhfenton

macrumors 65816
Dec 11, 2012
1,085
638
Cincinnati, Ohio
I have the master toggle on, but I have it disabled for 33 of 44 apps that show up on the list. I have it enabled for a handful of apps that I want to make sure are able to do their business and give me notices (e.g, my brokerage firm's app, Fly Delta, Parcel, etc.). I don't know exactly what would happen to, for example, Fly Delta flight delay notices, if I turned it off, but I don't want to find out.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
it literally made no difference after trying it for a month so i turned them all off and like i said. no difference
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,136
3,184
I've been told that, if you send an app into the background while its in the middle of completing a task, then the app will continue to complete the task even in the background.
This is not background app refresh. All apps are allowed to run for a short time in the background after you tap the home button or switch to another app; this is something you cannot prevent, unless you force-close the apps in the app switcher. After closing, apps get a few seconds to wrap up what they are doing and they can request permission from the system (but not you) to execute something in the background. For instance, completing a download that you initiated, continuing to play audio you started, tracking your location while you’re navigating, VOIPing and so on. This is something apps can request from the system in specific circumstances.

Background app refresh is the opposite, it is something the system can request from apps. Your system records how often and on which times of the day you are using certain apps and it will take into consideration your data coverage (good coverage, Wi-Fi, etc). It tries to predict when you will use these apps the next time. When it concludes that you will use a particular app soon, it will ask that app to refresh its data (e.g. pulling updates from the web server). That app gets a short moment to do this and then it will be suspended again. When you open the app, it will already be up to date. In addition, developers can send silent push notifications and notify the system that new content is available in an app. The system then takes that into consideration.

Overall, background app refresh is designed to save energy and time by redistributing and coalescing content updates that you would normally have to obtain by opening individual apps one by one, which results in waiting and wasting energy (using active screen time for this is wasteful, it’s much better when the system does it while your device is sleeping). Background app refresh is supposed to adapt to your app usage and even if you allow all of your apps to use it, the system may never allow many apps to refresh.

I would only turn it off for those apps that you really don’t need to be up to date when you open them, but there is not much of a reason to do this as the system will take care of that for you. It’s a really cool and under appreciated feature IMO.
 

Shark5150

macrumors 65816
Sep 24, 2014
1,224
1,106
Dallas, Texas
This is not background app refresh. All apps are allowed to run for a short time in the background after you tap the home button or switch to another app; this is something you cannot prevent, unless you force-close the apps in the app switcher. After closing, apps get a few seconds to wrap up what they are doing and they can request permission from the system (but not you) to execute something in the background. For instance, completing a download that you initiated, continuing to play audio you started, tracking your location while you’re navigating, VOIPing and so on. This is something apps can request from the system in specific circumstances.

Background app refresh is the opposite, it is something the system can request from apps. Your system records how often and on which times of the day you are using certain apps and it will take into consideration your data coverage (good coverage, Wi-Fi, etc). It tries to predict when you will use these apps the next time. When it concludes that you will use a particular app soon, it will ask that app to refresh its data (e.g. pulling updates from the web server). That app gets a short moment to do this and then it will be suspended again. When you open the app, it will already be up to date. In addition, developers can send silent push notifications and notify the system that new content is available in an app. The system then takes that into consideration.

Overall, background app refresh is designed to save energy and time by redistributing and coalescing content updates that you would normally have to obtain by opening individual apps one by one, which results in waiting and wasting energy (using active screen time for this is wasteful, it’s much better when the system does it while your device is sleeping). Background app refresh is supposed to adapt to your app usage and even if you allow all of your apps to use it, the system may never allow many apps to refresh.

I would only turn it off for those apps that you really don’t need to be up to date when you open them, but there is not much of a reason to do this as the system will take care of that for you. It’s a really cool and under appreciated feature IMO.
That is the best and most comprehensive explanation of this feature I have ever seen. Thank you!☺
 
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Paradoxally

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2011
1,647
2,098
Yes, but only for the Newsify app so it can show highlights of my feed subscriptions every hour.

All the others I have no hesitations disabling BAR. Especially sports, tweetbot and others which are huge drainers.
 

myname70

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 5, 2014
629
81
It is strange - I have disabled the background refresh, but looking at battery usage statistics, it shows me a Viber activity 1,7hrs on background activity and 12 mins on screen. How is background so much since I deisbaler it from the phone settings.
 

dictoresno

macrumors 601
Apr 30, 2012
4,214
473
NJ
I have background app refresh off and I've seen Facebook, tweetbot and other apps have high background use now on iOS 9. Hell, Facebook always has more background use than it does on screen use. Again, background refresh for me is off. Why is it doing all this background work???
 

GreyOS

macrumors 68040
Apr 12, 2012
3,302
1,637
When you open the app, it will already be up to date ...
Overall, background app refresh is designed to save energy and time by redistributing and coalescing content updates that you would normally have to obtain by opening individual apps one by one, which results in waiting and wasting energy (using active screen time for this is wasteful, it’s much better when the system does it while your device is sleeping).
thanks for the good write up.

it's the quoted aspect above that doesn't quite sit right for me. it's probably just a bad habit, but if i open an app i will generally want to refresh/check for updates anyway. e.g. facebook i'll pull down to fetch latest. when something is automated like that in the background, but the mechanics behind it aren't 100% transparent and its effects not always obvious, there will always be doubts around whether it really happened, how long ago it happened and so on. this doubt is what drives me to want to refresh anyway.

in other words, the intentions of BAR may be good, and if you use apps with discipline it probably pays off. but for me, and perhaps others, i'd rather have control over when i refresh/update even if that does mean wasted screen time. it gives peace of mind and a sense of control. so this psychological aspect is why i have BAR off.
 
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pacorob

macrumors 68000
Apr 8, 2010
1,774
311
the Netherlands
Ever since iOS7 on my iPhone 4s (and now on my iPhone 5s and iPad mini2) i have turned this off and i don't miss it. It saves a lot of battery.
 

Mercenary

macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2012
1,152
544
Background App Refresh (BAR) is not a requirement of many apps. I just wish more apps would publicise what they use it for so I can make an educated decision about if I want it on.

An example of what it does.

The Apple Store App can give you in store notifications using iBeacon but according to the documentation it needs this enabled in app AND BAR enabled for that app.

WhatsApp is another one. It can get notifications when you get a message but with BAR off you go into the app and have to wait a second for the actual message to be downloaded. With BAR on the message is downloaded when the notification is received. Not a huge thing but a good example of what it does.

Apps like Facebook however don't use it. Yes its on the screen as an option but FB ignores this and uses its own Voip hack and other nasty classes to keep itself awake, monitoring you and your habits. Its really quite rude the level of detail it goes to and no app which spends just 5 mins on my screen a day should use 60% of my battery in background activity. Ive now ditched the app and gone for the mobile site instead.

For many other apps though like Amazon it just uses it to download the latest homepage info.

If you read the BAR documentation it tends to do this stuff while the device is actually in use so it doesn't have to wake it up and while your on wifi and often it waits until you have mains power. Its aim is to help you but without wasting your power.

Also, stop closing apps. Loading and unloading them from memory takes power.
 
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KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,136
3,184
Apps like Facebook however don't use it. Yes its on the screen as an option but FB ignores this and uses its own Voip hack and other nasty classes to keep itself awake, monitoring you and your habits. Its really quite rude the level of detail it goes to and no app which spends just 5 mins on my screen a day should use 60% of my battery in background activity. Ive now ditched the app and gone for the mobile site instead.
Agreed. I don’t trust Facebook anymore to do the right thing and I think Apple has become complacent towards them. But the crucial point is that they don’t do this because of background app refresh (the point of which is that developers cannot control when their app will get fetch time), but they are misusing background processing permissions that users cannot really control, VOIP being one of them. Yet there seems to be the widespread belief that turning off background app refresh will prevent just that and save battery, which isn’t true. I think the only reason why Apple added the toggle is because some users, like GreyOS above, would like to control themselves when apps refresh.
 

aarontsuru

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2014
142
119
Brooklyn, NY
to the FB haters, I recommend Friendly. It's a nice app that uses the mobile site and is a lot friendlier to your phone. Just a recommendation. I've used it and it's pretty good!
 
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