PadGadget’s iPad Tips: Refreshing Apps in the Background in iOS 7

How to turn on Background App RefreshWelcome back to another weekly episode of our tutorial and how-to guide for the iPad. You iOS device is pretty easy to use. However, there are always a few tricks that you may not know about. Ever since iOS 7 launched, there are even more questions and hidden tricks to unlock.

Last week, we told you how you can minimize motion sickness by reducing motion on the screen, leaving often-used apps in Multitasking, and lowering the brightness of your screen. While none of these actions is a fix, they do help reduce the feeling of nausea and headaches that some have experienced since the launch of iOS 7.

This week, we have a quick tip on how to turn on background app refresh so your apps will always be up to date. Incidentally, turning it off will save on battery life.

With the launch of iOS 7, Apple added the ability for apps to run in the background. This new feature enables intelligent updates that are based on your personal activities within an app. For example, if you always open the NYTimes app at 7:00 a.m., your iOS device will learn this routine and automatically update the information before you open the app. That way, there won’t be any load time when you are ready to start reading. The background app refresh takes place while your app is in Multitasking. If you close your app in Multitasking, it will not refresh automatically in the background.

To turn on Background App Refresh, open your Settings app and tap “General” from the list. Then, tap “Background App Refresh.” You can either turn all compatible apps on, or select from a list. If you don’t regularly check your Wall Street Journal app, but you always visit Digg, then you can turn off the Wall Street Journal app so that it doesn’t unnecessarily waste your battery.

How to Background App Refresh

Speaking of batteries. You may have experienced a faster drain on your battery since iOS 7 launched. One problem may be that Background App Refresh was already on and you didn’t know it. The feature is defaulted on when you download the update. If you don’t want Background App Refresh on, or only want certain apps to be enabled, go the Settings app as mentioned above and organize your apps the way you want them.

If you shut off the feature entirely, they will not automatically update in the background. However, it may be just the fix you need to increase the life of your battery.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • Rob

    Ohhh… I was wondering why nothing was updating in the background: I didn’t have those apps suspended in multitasking mode. I thought the option meant the data downloaded in the background even if the app was closed. Thanks!

    • Lory Gil

      Glad we could help. If you have any more iOS 7 questions, feel free to drop us a line.

  • James

    i was wondering how can i put apps into the background app refresh?? i have only like 10 apps out of 40 in the background app refresh i want to activate app refresh for certain apps but they are not there in the background app refresh! how can i add apps i want into the background app refresh?

    • Lory Gil

      The app has to support the feature. If it does (the Wall Street Journal, for example), it will show up automatically when you open the app when you have Background Refresh on. If you’ve opened an app and it doesn’t show up in the Background Refresh list, then it does not support the feature. You can contact the developer to request it.