What Is Android and iPhone Background App Refresh?

What is the purpose of the background app refresh feature, and what does it mean? This is how it functions on Android and iPhone.

A feature that is crucial for both Android and iPhone phones is background app refresh. We’re here to explain this term if you’ve heard it used and are unsure of its meaning.

Let’s examine the meaning of background app refresh, its benefits, and how to modify its actions.

Background App Refresh: What Is It?

With the help of iOS and Android’s background app refresh functionality, apps may update their material from the internet even while you’re not using them. On the other hand, when you open and actively utilise an app, we refer to it as using data in the foreground.

Although background app refresh is helpful because it makes using apps more fluid, there are also some unfavourable effects.

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What Does the Refresh Background App Do?

Apps can now carry out a variety of tasks in the background thanks to background refresh; previously, these tasks required keeping the app active. However, what is the true purpose of background app refresh? The following are some instances of the tasks it completes without requiring your manual verification:

As soon as you launch a news app, it updates with the most recent headlines.

Applications that monitor your mobile data consumption gather data in the background

File syncing is automatic with cloud storage providers.

When shopping applications recognise you’re in a store, they get ready to load the newest digital coupons.

Preloading the most recent posts from social networking apps saves you time when you open them.

Apps may not update again until you open them if you swipe them closed from the app switcher. This is just one of the numerous reasons you shouldn’t swipe to close all of your apps on a regular basis.

It’s also crucial to remember that notifications are unaffected by background app refresh for the majority of iPhone apps. This implies that even if you disable the feature for messaging apps like WhatsApp, you will continue to receive notifications whenever a new message arrives. As we’ll see in a moment, this isn’t the case for Android, though.

Are Background App Refreshes Necessary?

Background app refresh is generally useful. You might want to turn it off for two main reasons, though.

First off, background app refresh is turned on by default for both Wi-Fi and mobile data connections. Because apps can consume a significant amount of data in the background, background app refreshes may result in additional costs on your account if you have a limited data plan. If you’re attempting to cut back on your mobile data usage, this is an issue.

To conserve battery life, you should also turn off background app refresh. The battery life of background-running apps is same to that of foreground-running apps. It’s likely not something you want to do with your battery when doing background chores if you want to extend the time between charges.

Which apps require a background app update depends on your preferences. For apps that you use regularly, you should usually leave it enabled; for apps that you open infrequently, you should disable it.

Fortunately, you can adjust and off background app refresh on both Android and iOS. Let’s investigate this further.

How to Disable iPhone’s Background App Refresh

Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh on your iPhone to modify the apps that run in the background. A list of your iPhone’s apps that employ background app refresh appears here.

All you have to do to stop an app from updating in the background is to disable its slider. After then, in order for the app to go online and check for updates, you’ll need to open it. Use caution when updating apps that depend on current material.

To adjust the function’s global settings, tap the Background App Refresh area at the top of the screen. Apps will refresh on any type of network if you have enabled WiFi & Cellular Data. If you don’t want apps to use your mobile data to search for fresh material, opt for WiFi. This is especially useful if your cellular plan is limited.

On your iPhone, you may also select Off to never have apps refresh in the background. Use cautious when using this since it will conserve battery life but also dramatically reduce the usefulness of apps.

iPhone cellular access and low power mode

You should be aware of two additional iPhone settings pertaining to background app refresh.

In order to conserve battery life, your iPhone can operate in Low Power Mode. You may find it by using the Control Centre shortcut or by going to Settings > Battery.

Your iPhone will turn off background app refresh, lower brightness, and stop email pushing when you go to Low Power Mode. Therefore, it’s more convenient to activate Low Power Mode rather than manually disabling background app refresh if you’re wanting to save battery life for a brief period of time. Background refresh will resume when you disable Low Power Mode.

Lastly, you can turn off the slider for any app that uses cellular data by going to Settings > Cellular. This works well to limit the amount of data that data-hungry apps use when they update in the background, while still enabling other apps to benefit from the feature even when using mobile data.

Note that many programmes allow you to adjust the frequency of refreshes with their own settings. It’s worthwhile to explore app options menus and disable any background activities that you are not doing within the app.

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How to Disable Android’s Background App Refresh

The phrase “background app refresh” refers to an iPhone capability that isn’t available on Android. On the other hand, Android has alternatives that achieve almost identical tasks. Your device will determine the position and name of this option; the steps below are for a Pixel phone running stock Android 13.

Go to Settings > applications (or Apps & Notifications on older versions) > All applications to stop an app from using mobile data in the background. To turn off background app refresh, tap the app you wish to disable from the list.

There are two ways you can disable Android’s background activity from this menu. To stop the app from using your mobile data while you’re not using it, go to Mobile data & Wi-Fi and turn off the Background data slider.

As a result, unless you’re using the app in the foreground, it won’t use mobile data. When using Wi-Fi, background use is unaffected.

Alternatively, you can completely stop the programme from operating in the background. On the app’s settings page (found under the Advanced section on Android 11 and older), select Battery to accomplish this.

For older Android versions, to stop an app from using excessive amounts of power while running in the background, touch Background restriction and then restrict. Tap the Restricted option here if you’re using Android 12 or later.

This does impact alerts, in contrast to the iPhone’s background app refresh feature. Therefore, limit an app’s battery usage only if you don’t require its real-time warnings. To understand more about Android’s Adaptive Battery capabilities and how these power-saving features operate, read this article.

Android Account Sync, Battery Saver, and Custom App Settings

On Android, there are a couple more choices you should know about regarding background app refresh.

Android maintains a unique page in Settings for each of your synchronised internet accounts. To view them, navigate to Settings > Accounts (or Passwords & Accounts on Android 12 and later). To examine and modify what syncs, tap an account and select Account sync. For example, you may be able to prevent the service from constantly synchronising your files, contacts, and other data.

Disabling the Automatically sync app data slider at the bottom of this list is a more radical solution. Accounts that have it deactivated will only sync when you actively initiate a refresh.

Most Android phones feature a setting under Settings > Battery that is named Battery Saver or something similar. Setting up Battery Saver prevents programmes from operating in the background in order to save as much battery life as possible; it works similarly to Low Power Mode on the iPhone.

Lastly, it’s worth looking into the settings for each of your apps individually if none of the aforementioned choices limit background app refresh in a way that you find acceptable. You may customise the frequency of feed syncing, new email fetching, and other features in many programmes. Within an app, you may be able to disable the one behaviour you don’t use.

You Now Know What Background App Refresh Is.

Even while background app refresh functions a little differently on Android and iPhone, it’s still a useful feature that allows apps to remain current even when you’re not using them. Although most of the time this is convenient, you now also know how to stop apps from taking excessive amounts of battery life or mobile data when they are not in use.

Although the limited battery life of smartphones is unfortunate when compared to other devices, there are techniques to extend its life.

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