Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

More Rumors of Limited Third-Party Background Apps Coming to the iPhone?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,521
11,906
https://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png

Silicon Alley Insider has heard some rumors that seem to corroborate MacRumors' report from February that Apple is working on allowing limited background processes in a future version of the iPhone's operating system. Our sources had told us they would be limited to one or two additional processes, while Silicon Alley Insider suggests that it could alternatively be for specifically-approved apps.
Here's two potential scenarios we've heard. Treat these as anecdotal rumors for now, as we don't know how realistic they are.

* Apple might allow users to select two apps that can run in the background.
* Apple might selectively allow some apps to run in the background. We assume that developers could apply for permission to run in the background, and that Apple might approve or deny them based on the resources they need and how well they behave with the operating system's stability.
According to the report, it is not known whether this feature could make an appearance in iPhone OS 3.0 due this summer or if it might be under development for a later release.

In a blog post discussing Silicon Alley Insider's report, John Gruber writes that he has also heard rumblings about a similar feature:
Ordinarily I wouldn't link to something as sketchily sourced as this, but: I heard something very similar from a decent (but second-hand) source back in January during Macworld Expo. What I heard then was that Apple was working on a vastly improved dock for your most-frequently used apps, and that there’d be one special icon position where you could put a third-party app to enable it to run in the background.
Citing concerns over the effect of having applications run in the background on battery life, Apple is officially planning to deploy push notifications as a substitute for backgrounding, allowing delivery of alerts for applications that are not actively running.

Article Link: More Rumors of Limited Third-Party Background Apps Coming to the iPhone?
 

justflie

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2005
888
1
Red Sox Nation
I would love to have the option to allow one or two apps to operate in the background. I just want to be able to run Pandora or MLB app and be able to do something else at the same time.

Apple usually has a "We know best" attitude and sometimes deny options/choices to their customers. hopefully this indicates a small change in that attitude. Really, I'm not an idiot. Put a little warning that says that running background processes will result in lower battery life and let me determine if lower battery life is worth the tradeoff for increased functionality.
 

vexious

macrumors member
Jul 16, 2008
87
1
I don't get apple's theories. They say they won't due to battery-life drain. Well make it so we can enable if we so choose to let an app run in the background.

Of course a game app I wouldn't want to risk running in the background, but if we as the consumer are willing to accept the batterydrain so we can run apps like Aim or Pandora in the background, we so should be allowed to!!

I hate listening to Pandora and having to quit to answer a text msg, argh.
 

alexbates

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2008
1,082
0
Georgia, USA
Yes, multitasking would be great.... and I would love to see an easy way that you could switch between the open applications without having to wait for them to load to make the iPhone more functional. (like using :apple: + TAB on Macs)
 

SirOmega

macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2006
704
2
Las Vegas
I'd have no problem with Apple certifying certain apps as background-able.

However I'd like to see how well the alerts system works with 3.0, as well as the ability to still turn off background apps on a per-app basis.
 

Michael73

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2007
1,081
39
The bottleneck is battery technology

I wish apple would spend some of it's vast resources on creating a better battery. Think of the benefits for all of it's mobile devices! Seriously, a *really* good battery for an iPhone would enable data heavy applications and all sorts of other stuff that the coming 4G networks will gobble up. It will enable lots of background processes. Not to mention the "phone" part of the iPhone...like really long talk and standby times.
 

randomusername

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2008
286
0
I'm more interested in how they'll pull this off. Will it just have some apps, like Pandora, play in the background and you access them through the home screen, like any other app? Or will it allow you to easily access open apps like the Pre does?

I just hope they'll introduce a notifications box soon where it'll have the number of new notifications (for all 3rd party apps and Messages and Mail) and you could double tap the icon to open a pop-up window where the currently open app is shown in the background. And in the notifications box you can browse through all notifications and even reply to things like MySpace messages, texts, emails, and IMs in the box...but that's a little too much to ask from Apple...
 

RTee

macrumors regular
May 26, 2008
117
0
Australia
I wish apple would spend some of it's vast resources on creating a better battery. Think of the benefits for all of it's mobile devices! Seriously, a *really* good battery for an iPhone would enable data heavy applications and all sorts of other stuff that the coming 4G networks will gobble up. It will enable lots of background processes. Not to mention the "phone" part of the iPhone...like really long talk and standby times.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Get this nailed then look into not limiting anything.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
The universal push service still sounds like a much better and more resource-friendly option for most situations, and if I could only have that OR multitasking, I'd rather have that.

But some limited multitasking too, for certain other situations, would not be a bad option.

I wish apple would spend some of it's vast resources on creating a better battery. Think of the benefits for all of it's mobile devices! Seriously, a *really* good battery for an iPhone would enable data heavy applications and all sorts of other stuff that the coming 4G networks will gobble up. It will enable lots of background processes. Not to mention the "phone" part of the iPhone...like really long talk and standby times.

The laws of physics are a factor here :) Progress will come, though.
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
9,004
26
Portland, OR
The one thing I would kill for on the iPhone would be a notification menu system in the menubar. I hate the text message alert that pops up even when using apps. I think it would be appropriate if you were at the homescreen, but half the time it pops up when I'm in Safari or playing MonkeyBall and it obscures the whole screen.

It would work a lot better if some sort of alert came up on the menubar. It'd be stellar if I could just tap the menu (or pull it down ala the G1) and read/respond to the text without having to leave the app.


Being able to do that would save from having to run some third party apps in the background as I wouldn't have to back out of the third party apps I use to respond to texts (the main reason why I would want background apps)
 

iamPro

macrumors regular
May 15, 2009
197
110
Really wanted to ask this question...

Winmo user's been bragging about true multi-tasking and better battery life.

How is winmo able to pull this off with decent battery life, while Apple is justifying push notification to be the ideal solution to multi-tasking? (and that's with a phone with barely usable battery life without push)

Obviously, I haven't seen a winmo phone in person to test out the multi-tasking abilities, but I assume it works like the palm-pre minus the slick interface and user friendliness.

The minor bump in processor speed and lack of detail on better battery life is greatly disappointing.. IMO.
 

NinjaHERO

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2008
927
1,102
U S of A
Ah Pandora, your day of victory is near at hand.

I am also excited to see the new dock.




*edit* Thank you to whichever moderator deleted my double post. :)
 

richard4339

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2006
867
85
Illinois
Apple's already said they're not giving all 3.0 features to the original iPhone (ie, mms). It could stand to reason that if they're worried about RAM issues, for example, that this could come in 3.0, but may not be enabled for anything less than the rumored 3rd gen iPhone which we assume would have more RAM anyway.

And while I think its a good idea, I would actually hope they'd go with both of those limits if they do go for this. Allow only x number of backgrounds apps to run simultaneously, and also require approval for background processes. Granted, since you have to go through the App Store anyway, you're already having to go through approval.
 

bibhnarp

macrumors newbie
May 15, 2009
11
0
hi guys, I've been reading these forums/articles for an absolute age, but never posted. Thought it was about time.

Just wanted to ask one question re background processes (as I'm seriously considering getting an iPhone, after the WWDC of course). To have music playing, do you need to just have the iPod application open? Once you close it, the music stops?

Sorry if it's a dumb question.
 

dagamer34

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2007
1,359
101
Houston, TX
The likely problems are three-fold:

1) Battery life
2) Memory usage
3) CPU usage

All together tied into how "well behaved" an application is when running in the background. Personally, I think that letting the user run two apps in the background makes little sense. There are only a handful of applications at MOST that benefit more from running as a background process than using Push Notifications (i.e. Pandora). Simply letting the device run in the background will kill the battery life of the phone, especially for internet-dependent apps that can never go to sleep (RSS reader, etc...).
 

divabimbers

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2007
93
0
hi guys, I've been reading these forums/articles for an absolute age, but never posted. Thought it was about time.

Just wanted to ask one question re background processes (as I'm seriously considering getting an iPhone, after the WWDC of course). To have music playing, do you need to just have the iPod application open? Once you close it, the music stops?

Sorry if it's a dumb question.

No, you can close it and do other things since it's an Apple app. It's the third party apps that don't have background processing "yet".
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.