Remember those days when all we could do with our phones was call and play the palatable snake game. Now it would be a little mawkish if we say that we miss those days. With the advent of smartphones, there is very little that our devices cannot do. One of the hundred things that phones do by themselves, is that it runs all our apps in the background without us being aware of it.  So, if you’ve ever wondered why your phone’s battery drains so quickly, background app refresh is the explanation!

Today, we’ll go into greater detail regarding background app refresh and how to disable it on your devices. Just a heads up, this article focus on both Android as well as iPhone users.  

So, What exactly is a Background App Refresh on iPhone?

Updates on the apps are always a mixed feeling. Sometimes, they are cool and sometimes they are pretty disgruntling. However, you would have noticed that all these apps are now updated on their own. The reason is, Background App Refresh! It is a pre-installed feature on all our iPhones that ensures that all our apps are consistently updated. You are mistaken if you believe that your apps are only used while navigating through them. Because of this feature, these programmes are always running.

Every time you open apps like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you would notice that there are brand posts, photos, tweets, and other types of content that are pushed on the top. This is all done using the Background App Refresh feature. No wonder, these apps use Background App Refresh the most. 

If we have to talk about the storage apps such as iCloud, Google Drive, and Google Photos which automatically sync all our new pictures, videos or any kind of files for that matter.

This feature works the same way for apps that provide us with regular news. So while the news app keeps us updated with what’s going on around the world; Background App Refresh ensures that these apps are providing us with new updates every day. 

Although, it might appear like a blessing for us, but it sure comes with another side of the coin. This feature might turn out to be heavy on our pockets and iPhone batteries as well. This is known to use a lot of your data and also drains a lot of our battery. Now if you are inquisitive enough, you would want to know why is it the way that it is and is there a quick fix to this. 

While this is very beneficial, it uses a lot of our battery and data. The reason is simple, all our apps are running in the background, even when we are not using them. And as we go deeper, we will show you ways in which you can turn off the app entirely or partially for some apps.

And as we have already mentioned, this feature does not let you wait for the new content and keeps you updated, all the time. However, it might be a significant downside regarding your phone and tablet’s battery life and your data usage. 

How does one turns off the Background App Refresh App on iPhone:

backfround app refresh on iphone

So if you are planning to disable the Background Refresh feature on your iPhone, just follow the simple steps :

  1. Click on the “Setting” from your home page.
  2. Now click on the “General” from the list.
  3. Continue with the “ Background App Refresh” tab. 
  4. Here you will be able to see all the apps that are running in the background. 
  5. Now click on the “Background App Refresh” tab again and then choose the “Off” option.

Go to Settings on your home page.

You can also choose between “Wi-Fi” and “Wi-Fi & Cellular Data” options and enable or disable Background App Refresh for certain apps. It’s a good idea to turn this feature off for apps you don’t use often or at all.

You might want to choose between “Wi-Fi” and “Wi-fi & Cellular Data” options to decide on some apps to run in the background. However, we would still suggest you turn off it for those apps that you don’t use regularly.

What Is Background App Refresh On iPad?

We generally use the iPad for school, work, or any personal reasons and it generally has a lot of apps for the tools that we want to use. When so many apps are running in the background, we can only imagine how quickly will the iPad’s battery drain. This feature works exactly the same for iPad as well. And for the sake of your iPad’s good shelf life, we would recommend you disable the Background App Refresh. If you use cellular data on an iPad, it is just all the more reasons why you should disable this feature now!

How do we Turn Off the Background App Refresh Refresh on iPad?

iPad works exactly how your iPhone does, in this case, to be precise. Just follow the simple steps below to turn off this feature and save more of your iPad’s Battery life. 

  1. Find the “Settings” icon on your homepage.
  2. Click on the “General” tab.
  3. Now, choose the “Background App Refresh”.
  4. Tap on the “Background App Refresh” option once more.
  5. Choose “Off”. 

If you don’t feel like turning off the Background App Refresh for all the apps, you could just turn it off by toggling on the switch for the apps that you want to turn off. 

If you want to check which apps use the most battery to optimise this feature, you can check by clicking on How to check which app uses the most battery

How does Background App Refresh Work on iWatch

This might come out as a surprise to you but this is a feature that is in-built into our iWatch too. Let’s just put it this way, all Apple Devices use these features to keep us updated. And just like all other Apple devices, this feature does uses a lot of your watch’s battery. 

It gets even more troublesome when your iWatch is connected to your phone via Bluetooth, it will drain the data of your phone. As we have already read, Background App Refresh is already used by your iPhone and this tops it all the more. And here’s why we would suggest you turn off this update feature.

Steps to turn off Background App Refresh on iWatch 

Here’s how you can turn off Background App Refresh on your iWatch 

  1. Ensure that you have the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Click on the “My Watch” icon.
  3. Tap on the “General” tab from the list of options.
  4. Now just choose the “Background App Refresh” and toggle the switch off to disable the feature.
  5. If you feel like turning off this only for selected apps, choose them from the apps on the list.

Is Background App Refresh really that necessary

We’ve got your back if you’re wondering why this feature is so vital. This app is crucial to updating all of our other apps. However, your phone’s battery should keep this feature on, only for those apps that are necessary.

Does Background App Refresh Needs Data 

Would it worry you a little if your phone used some of your data even while you weren’t using it? Yes, this is not a joke. The apps continue to run in the background so they can be updated, as we’ve read in the article. We can now ask how much data an app would use to make tiny updates. Well, not a lot, but when we sum up all the apps, it adds up to a significant amount of data usage, right?

How Do I Turn Off the Background App on my Android Device? 

For Android users, turning off Background App Refresh requires a tad more steps, however, there is nothing to worry about. We have got you covered.

Just follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the “Settings” from the Home Panel.
  2. Now Click on the “Connections” Tab and then Choose the Data Usage Bar.
  3. Select the Mobile Data Usage from the Mobile Section.
  4. Choose any app right below the graph.
  5. Simply click on the “Allow Background Data Usage” to Turn it Off. 

Unfortunately, for Android Devices, you cannot have a blanket switch off for all the apps. So you might have to select the apps that use up the most of your data and turn off the feature for those Apps only.


Hi, I am Saloni Jain. I'm a part-time freelance content writer and full-time social media geek. So if you are someone who loves being in the media frenzy loop, let's aboard the journey together!

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