How does background refresh work? I have to manually open the app to refresh it

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by striders, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. striders macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #1
    I have an iPad Mini 3 and iPhone 6 Plus. It seems that when I made an update in the iPhone the changes are not reflected in the iPad and vice versa. This applies even to Apple own app.

    For example, with the Reminder app:
    1). I receive a Reminder alert (notification and badge) on my iPhone. I opened the Reminder app to acknowledge and delete the reminder. Alert is removed and so is app badge.

    2). After an hour or so, in my iPad, the notification and the app badge still show the old Reminder alert. When I open the Reminder app in the iPad, I can see the old reminder, but within 0.5 seconds it's gone (since I delete it in no. 1 above).

    In both cases, the Reminder app stay in the background (I use this app a lot).

    Same goes with pretty much all the app that have notification and badge, whether it's 3rd party or Apple's own.
     
  2. GreyOS macrumors 68030

    GreyOS

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    #2
    Background app refresh is mostly for third party apps as Apple can do what they like with their own apps.

    First note Reminders is not in the list of apps in Background App Refresh in Settings

    This is not really an issue of BAR but of syncing over the Internet.

    In settings > mail, contacts, calendars, I reckon the fetch new data with influence this. Reminders may be push otherwise it will use your fetch frequency. Could've wrong
     
  3. striders thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #3
    Ah, thanks for the clarification. I have 3rd party apps that also not refreshing until I open the app, such as Fantastical, Twitter and a host of other popular apps. My thought is that the way BAR work is to periodically wake the app in the background AS LONG as the app is not closed (i.e. removed from the multi-tasking list).
     
  4. macduke macrumors 604

    macduke

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #4
    Yeah like the other guy said I'm pretty sure background refresh is for third party apps, and quite frankly I don't think it works very well. I'm a designer and managing a project for an app redesign with new features and one of them is researchers in the field being able to quickly make notes about different things they observe for agriculture (such as a soybean pest moving into their region, etc) and background app refresh just wasn't reliable enough. The way we had it setup was to fetch at certain times of the day, but in the end it was all up to iOS on whether or not it would actually do it. I don't remember all the technical details, but I think part of it has to do with if the app is still "open" in the multitasker and part of it has to do with the device itself and how much power it was using at the time to conserve battery. It's really weird and finicky so the development company is upgrading us to full blown push notifications for free which is pretty sweet because originally that was going to cost more money. It will cost us some money to implement an SSL certificate and stuff like that but our volume is low enough right now they we can run it on our existing server. It just seems like push works so much better than background app refresh. Hopefully someday Apple won't have to be so aggressive with their battery optimization but until then it's kind of a mess—at least according to the group I work with.
     
  5. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #5
    Apple controls when apps refresh in the background. Use an app more, and the system develops a heuristic for when to launch the app in the background to do a refresh. Note that developers need to opt into this feature, not every iOS app supports it (seeing the setting in Settings doesn't mean the app supports it).

    In my testing, it could be as frequent as every hour or so, but that's really only if you open the app constantly.
     
  6. striders thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #6

    Ah, thats why... Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing if the developer utilize this feature. I had an Android phone from work and I thought the background refresh in iOS is the same as Android.

    Right now I am seeing "double" notifications and badges in either iPhone or iPad for the same app.

    On the upside, I have better battery life in my iOS device than Android.
     
  7. spaceballl macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #7
    I have a similar question. I know gmail supports background app refresh, but every time I open it, it appears to have to manually refresh, instead of just all my email being loaded up there. Does anyone else have the expected behavior of it acting more like the mail app?
     
  8. striders thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #8

    This is the same behavior with mp the default iOS Mail app. Often times, ill receive an email from my desktop but then when I open the Mail app, I can see the circle spinning at the top and the mail is downloaded.

    Same with badges: I'll delete an email from iCloud or Gmail but the mail badge still show that there's an unopened email until I open the Mail app, which will then refreshed the app and deleted the email. And yes, I waited 10 minutes for the badge to go away.
     
  9. spaceballl macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    That's actually a bit different. The UI is still refreshed, but it just hasn't pulled the newest messages. This is likely due to how the servers are set up and configured. It just needs to grab the newest messages. When I open the gmail app, if I haven't in a week, when I first open it, I see a snapshot of what my inbox looked like a week ago, then it pauses, then it updates.
     
  10. kwokaaron macrumors 6502a

    kwokaaron

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    #10
    From my own experience, instant messaging apps works the best with BAR. For example, when I get new messages from apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger (only 2 which I have turned on in BAR), it downloads it immediately so that it's there when I open the app rather than waiting for it to finish downloading. Other apps like others have mentioned are rather inconsistent.
     
  11. spaceballl macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #11
    YES! I just want my stupid gmail app to work like that.
     
  12. kwokaaron macrumors 6502a

    kwokaaron

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    #12
    I'm pretty sure that the default option is to let the BAR refresh the app at a specific time schedule based on your usage pattern. However, IIRC developers should be able to set it to refresh their apps when a push notification is received. The Gmail app probably didn't implement this.
     

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