Do you keep background apps refresh on?

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by myname70, Oct 5, 2015.


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

  1. ON

  2. OFF

  1. myname70 macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2014
    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.
  2. Will22 macrumors 65816


    Dec 4, 2011
    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.
  3. gsmornot macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2014
    Same here. The feature is on but for select apps only.
  4. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Not only do I have it turned on every single app is enabled for background app refresh. :p
  5. aarontsuru macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2014
    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.
  6. ardchoille50, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2015

    ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    I keep the main refresh on but keep it toggled off fore individual apps.

    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.
  7. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    Los Angeles
    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.
  8. aarontsuru macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2014
    Brooklyn, NY
    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.
  9. teknikal90 macrumors 68040


    Jan 28, 2008
    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
  10. Yun0 macrumors 65816


    Jun 12, 2013
    Winnipeg, Canada
    i have it off via master toggle, never touched it with a 10ft pole since its added, all is fine
  11. jhfenton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2012
    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.
  12. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    it literally made no difference after trying it for a month so i turned them all off and like i said. no difference
  13. Ipadlover29 macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2011
    I keep it on for two apps. Parcel and dataman.
  14. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    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.
  15. Shark5150 macrumors 65816


    Sep 24, 2014
    Dallas, Texas
    That is the best and most comprehensive explanation of this feature I have ever seen. Thank you!☺️
  16. Paradoxally macrumors 68000

    Feb 4, 2011
    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.
  17. myname70 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2014
    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.
  18. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
  19. dictoresno macrumors 601


    Apr 30, 2012
    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???
  20. GreyOS macrumors 68040


    Apr 12, 2012
    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.
  21. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
  22. pacorob macrumors 68000


    Apr 8, 2010
    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.
  23. Mercenary macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2012
    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.
  24. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    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.
  25. aarontsuru macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2014
    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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