[Tips] Use Background App Refresh To Its Full Extent for Better Battery Life and Privacy

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There are many settings that will help you extend the battery life of your iPhone or iPad, and this time we’ll show you one particular trick that will make use of your device’s Background App Refresh feature. This handy tool was introduced not too long ago, with iOS 7 advent, and it lets you manage how third-party apps go online to do all that busy stuff they absolutely need to do, even when you don’t use them. They pull status updates, headlines, deliver new messages, weather forecasts, stock news and exchange rates, you name it.

A slew of third-party apps refreshing themselves even when you don’t actively use them adds a heavy burden on your device’s battery. Control them, tweak them, or kill them. Be the boss of your apps by taking advantage of iOS Background App Refresh feature.

Control them – see which ones are gobbling up your battery juice the most

First of all, it might make sense to see which third-party apps gobble up your battery’s juices viciously and intentionally, without any politesse.

  • Go to SettingsBatteryBattery UsageLast 24 Hours or Last 7 Days

last 24 hrs

In the two tabs, Last 24 Hours and Last 7 Days, you can get an in-depth look at your power consumption and weed out the most power-hungry apps. You can be sure the majority of their battery consumption is attributed to them fetching those status updates in the background. To get an idea about how long you have been actively using any app on that list, and for how long the same app has been sucking the life out of your battery in the background, tap the clock icon next to either of the two tabs – 24 Hours or Last 7 Days.
That little clock icon next to the Last 24 Hours and the Last 7 Days tabs might reveal some surprises about the apps running in the background, and give you some food for thought about how you can tweak or kill that power consumption off.

Tweak them – disable selectively

  • Go to SettingsGeneralBackground App Refresh

This is where you have the list of third-party apps that refresh themselves in the background, when you don’t use them. Some culprits on the list are obvious – Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, WhatsApp, CNN and Flipboard, Pocket and Evernote, and many-many more candidates. And then, there are your cooking apps, your fitness apps, your commute apps, your maps, your meditation, reading, shopping, movie tickets booking, and to-do apps. Do you really need them all running in the background fetching news and updates at all times?

It can also be the case you don’t wish to be bothered with Tweets and status updates from your Facebook “friends” at all times. Either you have matured, or you are too busy to get distracted by their notifications. What if you want to see these updates only when you launch the app? Scroll down the list under the Background App Refresh, find these self-refreshing third-party apps you don’t need to be clogging your bandwidth and your resources, and switch them off selectively. That way, they will get refreshed only when you launch them manually.

Background App Refresh

Kill them – disable them all

You can as well choose to disable all third-party apps from refreshing in the background altogether. This will considerably affect your battery’s lifetime in a positive way. It’s also a neat way to make sure they’re not abusing your hospitality and trust. The Background App Refresh has a toggle next to it. When you flip it to the “Off” position, it will ban all third-party apps on your iPhone or iPad from refreshing themselves in the background. Don’t worry – your device will remember which apps you have disabled in this setting previously. All your previous customization under Background App Refresh will be saved until you change your mind.

Do note that toggling off Background App Refresh will affect your installed third-party apps only, which means Apple’s core apps will keep refreshing in the background, and if you wish to tweak their settings, you’d have to do it separately.

For emergency cases, however, don’t forget you can use the Low Power Mode, which disables many of the iOS beautifying bells and whistles, like the floating effect of your icons, or apps’ self-refreshing in the background. Notably, Low Power Mode disables background refreshing for most apps – third-party and iOC core ones. To enable Low Battery Mode, tap General → Battery → Low Power Mode → toggle on.

Hope this helps. In case you are looking for more iOS battery-saving tweaks, check out the following guides: