iOS Tip: Save Your Battery by Turning Off Background App Refresh

A number of iPhone users have reported poor battery life since iOS 7 came out. I’m one of them; I find my iPhone 5s, which used to get through a day in most cases, needs a bump at some point to make sure I get to the end of the day with power.

2014-03-31 11.53.07.pngOne way you can save power, and perhaps make your battery last a little longer, is to turn off Background App Refresh, or at least turn it off for specific apps. You can find this in the Settings app, under General.

There’s a global setting at the top: Background App Refresh. You can turn this off and prevent all apps from refreshing in the background, or you can activate or deactivate specific apps.

Here’s how Background App Refresh works, according to Apple:

When Background App Refresh is on, apps that take advantage of this feature can refresh themselves in the background. For example, an app can check if new content is available and download the updates, or retrieve the updated content in the background when it receives a push notification, so the new content is ready for viewing when you launch the app. Apps can also schedule background refreshing based on your location. If you force an app to quit by dragging it up from the multitasking display, it won’t be able to do its background activities, such as tracking location or responding to VoIP calls, until you relaunch the app.

Also, the refresh frequency is not fixed. Here’s what Apple says:

iOS learns patterns based on your use of the device and tries to predict when an app should be updated in the background. It also learns when the device is typically inactive, such as during the night, to reduce update frequency when the device is not in use.

Unlike Location Services, where apps will show an arrow when they’ve accessed your location (see the screenshot above), you have no way of knowing when apps are refreshed. So certain apps you use a lot may be refreshing a lot, without you being aware, causing your battery to deplete too quickly. However:

Certain tasks or services can continue to run in the background. To lessen the effect on battery life, normal app background refreshing is scheduled for efficient times, such as when your device is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged into a power source, or being actively used.

So, if your battery’s not making it through the day, try turning off Background App Refresh, either for all apps, or for specific ones. It might make a difference; then again, it might not.