will apps ever be allowed to run in the background?

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by mtfield, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. mtfield macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2008
    I'm realizing more and more as I go through the app store that there are some apps that really need to run in the background like radio apps, and one I saw that allows you to track your iPhone via google maps on your computer. This would be a brilliant feature for catching a thief or if you lost ur phone. However without the ability to keep it running it is rather useless. I have to think that apple has thought of.. Their solution is great for things like IM but doesn't cover these other concerns. I hope that this is much like when apple said they would only do web apps to tide people over while they worked on the app store.. Perhaps there might be some form of task management app that listed running apps and a simple red quit button. Also I think that any app that wants to be able to run in the background should have to go through a tougher review process so that apps that don't need the feature won't bog down the phone by running in the background.
  2. Xgamer1224 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    at the most current keynote, one of the apple executives said that that would take up too much battery power, so it will probably never happen.
  3. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I wouldn't want this for the battery reason and for bogging down the phone.
  4. mtfield thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2008
    yes, but they also said they wouldn't do native apps only web and look where we are now.. Can't really trust them to stick to their words.. And my answer to anyone who says they don't want them for battery reasons, then don't run them.. Options aren't a bad things.. Some apps are just useless in their present state. But I agree that most apps shouldn't be allowed to.. It would definatly have to be controled.
  5. philgilder macrumors 68000

    Sep 30, 2007
    how could apple implement a system where some apps are allowed to run in the background and some are not

    they will not allow them on the current and next few gens of the iphone
    it will slow it down, and use battery
    apple have also released a (beta) SDK for background push notifications, and have their servers set up etc
    it would be too much for them to simply turn it all off

    if you want multi-tasking, go get a WinMob phone
  6. stiphone macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    i would love to have it too but the battery life would suck big time. That is unless we have the option to carry a spare battery and change it whenever we need it. It'll probably work then. With the current iphone, with Apps running in the background, it'll probably drain the battery in half a day.
  7. mtfield thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2008
    Look my friend I know about their push notifications and as I said prior it is a very good idea for some apps that need to run in the background.. But they are missing a group that still some how needs a fix.. And how would apple implement this? It could be done through a very simple application process where if your app is seen as needing to run in the background they grant you access to that part of the sdk.. Simple. They could also require the app to have a quit button in it.. Bottom line is there are many ways to do this. And the response of go get a win phone is one of the dumbest there is.. I completly agree that the iPhone is an amazing product, and it's still young and there will be short comings I'm not complaining about this. I understand why apple made the choice and like that they held back that power.. But truth is it is something that is needed in some cases and I'm sure they are aware. It wouldn't be hard to implement because they already have! Look at the iPod app.
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Apple might have to solve at least 4 problems before it would even start to consider allowing applications (other than their own) to run in the background. PalmSource attempted to do the same with their now defunct Cobalt OS which never made it to shipping status.

    1.) CPU use. A foreground application or game assumes that it has nearly 100% of the CPU, and that's what most customers want when they start the foreground app. Some mechanism needs to prevent all the background apps from taking more CPU the the tiny bit that won't slow down the foreground app (e.g. customers won't want to miss a phone call or have their movie glitch because they left some pig open in the background). This mechanism needs to work automatically and invisibly for the majority of casual phone users.

    2.) Memory use. Similar problem. Maybe apps would only be allowed to leave a small stub or listener routine running within a limited memory pool size. What to do if this heap is full and the customer knows nothing about KB or MB or tasks, etc.

    3) Battery use. Customers will complain if something they can't even see is eating their battery life (they already do for things such as location services and push email).

    4.) Security. The sandbox would have to prevent apps from listening to any stuff going on in the foreground. Customers wouldn't want some free game memorizing their Safari bank password touch placements or somesuch.

    The above problems are not trivial to both solve and to invent a clean, usable and futureproof API for.
  9. Rojo macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2006
    I understand the battery issue, but still... there are some apps that are just dying to be made, but can't be due to silly SDK restrictions. For example, a TRUE Last.fm app (not the current one) which could scrobble songs live -- whatever you were playing on your iPod part of your iPhone -- would be brilliant and so logical. And yet...we apparently can never have it. Seems wrong...
  10. mtfield thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2008
    you raised excellent points that I agree all need to be worked out.. But I feel that it is possible for them to find solutions to these issues. It's all about thinking forward!
  11. DreamPod macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2008
    There's another reason not to: system stability. Programs running the background can affect all other apps, and the memory they have. Windows Mobile devices are very unstable because apps can run in the background without limitation, and many apps are written by beginning programmers who don't know what they are doing. And that's not an issue that can be "worked out".

    Anyways, since the OP claims to know about the push data, he should also know the answer to his question: no. The push data announcement was made at the same time that Apple said they would never allow third-party apps to run in the background; push-alerts were a way around it. Heck, Apple has talked about removing the ability to directly run programs in the background from the next huge update to Mac OS X!
  12. trunksu macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2008
    i doubt there will ever be background apps. if you watch the conference they were pretty much making fun of background apps and the need for task managers.

    i come from a windows background but for this phone i personally don't want background apps.

    i was thinking for online radio apps, maybe apple could have a way so the apps could tie to the ipod feature/api? since the ipod does run in the background it would allow online streaming?
  13. gibjer macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2003
    I hope not, I like having a nice (mostly) stable phone OS.

    Oh and apps that quit and release memory when I tell them to is an great feature, try doing that on a windows mobile based phone, it's very very frustrating.
  14. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Oh, I absolutely believe it will happen.

    Probably not until 2010, but eventually there will be newer hardware that makes this a no-brainer.

    Whether it's then allowed on the older hardware...hard to say. But at some point it will definately be on the newer phones.

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