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How to Stop iOS 7 Apps from Refreshing in the Background

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If you updated to iOS 7 and are experiencing decreased battery life, it might be because iOS 7 automatically refreshes apps that are running in the background. At first, you may think that when you exit an app to go back to the home screen, that app will pause itself until you return to it. However, it actually refreshes data while it’s running in the background so that you won’t have to refresh it manually when you return to it.

This is known as a “smart” mutlitasking feature in iOS 7, but to some users it may just be a battery-hogging feature. Luckily you can turn it off so that once you exit an app, it truly pauses everything until you open it back up.

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How to Disable Background Refreshing

2013-09-18 14.22.18This feature is enabled by default, so to shut it off, open up the Settings app and navigate to General > Background App Refresh. This will open up a window with a list of apps and toggle switches next to them. By default, all the toggle switches you see are green. If that’s the case and you want background refresh off, you’ll want to tap on the toggle switch next to “Background App Refresh.” You’ll get a warning saying that “this will prevent all apps from using Location Services in the background, including gofences.” If you still want to disable the feature, tap on “Disable Background App Refresh.”

You should be good to go from there and will hopefully experience better battery life. As the warning said before you disabled the feature, apps that use GPS will no longer be able to use the GPS while running in the background. This means that if you have navigation up on your phone, but want to switch to another app while navigation still runs, the navigation will quit using the GPS while it’s running in the background, so when you come back to it, you may have some problems.

Customizing Background App Refresh

Below the main toggle on the “Background App Refresh” page, you probably saw the list of apps. These are apps that can utilize the background refresh feature, and the apps with a compass arrow next to them are ones that use the GPS in the background. You can toggle individual apps and only have specific apps that use the background refresh feature — a great way to have better control over what apps can and can’t do.

Personally, I enable background refresh for maps and weather apps, but I disable it for apps that don’t really need to be refreshed in the background, like Evernote and Stocks. However, it’s up to you what apps you don’t want refreshing automatically while they’re running in the background.

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