How To Turn Off Background App Refresh On Android And Ios And Make Your Battery Happy

Smartphones are so useful and convenient that it’s almost impossible to imagine how anyone can keep up with modern society without the help of one.

We use smartphones for just about everything.

If we’re setting up an event and want to coordinate with our friends, we usually just use our phones to handle all of the communication. If there’s an important work email that comes through and a reply is needed ASAP, the smartphone will help with that as well.

Even if we’re just trying to relax, we usually reach for our smartphones in search of something to watch, listen to, read, or play.

Of course, the downside to us using our phones as much as we do is that its battery will often struggle to make it through the day. Manufacturers have done a great job of adding a wide variety of impressive features to smartphones, but there are definitely still some kinks that have to be worked out when it comes to the batteries.

Your frequent usage of your smartphone is the main reason why its battery drains quickly, but there are other things that contribute as well. Among those things is a feature known as Background App Refresh.

In this article, we will talk at length about Background App Refresh. We will discuss what it’s for, its pros, and its cons. We will also talk about how you can turn that particular feature off if you feel that it is not beneficial to you in any way and would just rather have your battery’s life extended a bit.

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How To Turn Off Background App Refresh On Android And Ios And Make Your Battery Happy

How To Turn Off Background App Refresh On Android And Ios And Make Your Battery Happy authorMarc

What Is the Background App Refresh Feature?

Before we cover how you can tweak the settings for Background App Refresh, let’s first develop a deeper understanding of what this particular feature actually is.

According to Apple, the Background App Refresh feature is designed to work with apps that are currently in a suspended state.

Techzillo notes that apps currently in a suspended state remain in the background and are still using up memory, but they are no longer running any type of code. They differ from apps in the background in that way. When apps are in the background, they are still running code even if the user is not necessarily tinkering with them.

Once an app has entered the suspended state, it can eventually be shut off altogether if it gets terminated. A previously suspended app that has been terminated is now in the not running state.

Over the course of using your smartphone, some of your apps will definitely end up in the suspended state. It’s inevitable because we don’t always remember to terminate apps once we’ve switched over to using a different one.

So, what exactly does Background App Refresh do with those suspended apps?

Per Apple, the feature is designed to enable suspended apps to check for new content and even updates if there are any.

When you’re looking for the latest scores on a game you’re following online or just keeping track of breaking news, you often have to hit refresh on a specific tab to bring up the newest updates. Essentially, Background App Refresh is doing the same thing for your suspended apps, but they are targeting those aforementioned pieces of new content and updates.

Keep in mind, all that refreshing is happening in the background and you don’t necessarily have to do anything aside from leaving or turning the Background App Refresh feature on.

There are a few other things that you should know about Background App Refresh.

For instance, the suspended apps that are searching for new content and updates via Background App Refresh aren’t doing so at random times. There are times set for when they will be refreshed and even queues that are followed.

Background App Refresh also takes into account the current battery level of your smartphone before kicking into action. The aforementioned feature is also not going to work continuously until your battery is fully drained. It will only work for a few times to ensure that you will still be able to use your phone as you want to.

What Are the Benefits of Background App Refresh?

One important thing to remember about Background App Refresh is that it’s been designed to work in an intelligent way. It won’t just refresh your suspended apps all the time.

As stated earlier, there’s often a certain amount of time that needs to pass before the suspended apps are refreshed. On top of that, the feature will also work in part based on how much battery life you have left.

According to Solution Owl, the feature will slowly study your smartphone usage in order to understand the best times to refresh the suspended apps. After you’ve left the feature on for some time, you should find that there’s often new content for you to see during your afternoon break.

When it’s night time and you’re asleep, Background App Refresh won’t alter your suspended apps as much because it knows that you’re not going to be looking up any new content anytime soon.

The idea behind Background App Refresh is to make things more convenient for you. It may not take a lot of effort to just bring up an app and then refresh it, but some people would prefer that to be handled for them.

While it’s also true that Background App Refresh will drain your battery, it actually doesn’t use up that much of it. Put it this way, Background App Refresh is not going to be the reason your smartphone dies an hour earlier than expected.

What Are the Downsides of Background App Refresh?

Not all of us have the advantage of having a set routine. Some people may have to spend extra hours on the road due to unpredictable traffic while others may have to put in overtime because there are projects that need to be completed right away.

Obviously, the people in those situations can’t say for sure that they will be home at a certain time so they have to worry about their battery being drained. Without that certainty of knowing you’ll be able to go home and charge your phone at a specific time, you can’t afford to spend any bit of battery life needlessly.

In that case, it may make more sense to you to just turn off Background App Refresh and maximize what battery life you do have left.

It’s also a good idea to turn Background App Refresh off if you’re planning to do something with your phone later and want it to have as much juice as possible. The last thing you want is to find out you have a smartphone barely hanging on when you were planning to load it up with pictures during a meet-up with your friends.

The Background App Refresh may only use up a small amount of battery life, but that’s still battery life you’re not getting back until the next time you’re able to charge your phone.

Even if you can appreciate the idea behind the implementation of the Background App Refresh feature, it may still not be helpful to you if getting the most out of every ounce of battery life is more important.

One more reason why some smartphone users may want to turn off the Background App Refresh feature is because of its impact on the browsing experience. With the feature activated, you may sometimes bring up an app and find that it has automatically been refreshed.

This is certainly not a huge issue, but there are smartphone users who don’t want to have their news feeds and timelines automatically refreshed. If you’re saving an interesting post to read for later, you understandably don’t want it to disappear because a feature on your phone thought that an ideal time to hit refresh had arrived.

What Changes Can Be Made to Make Background App Refresh Better?

Let’s say that you’ve given Background App Refresh a few days and found that it’s just not beneficial enough in its current state for you to keep it going. Is the only option then to switch it off?

Before you turn off Background App Refresh, it’s worth trying out the recommendations put forth by Macworld if you want to maximize the capabilities of the feature.

To do this, you will first want to go to the Background App Refresh menu via the Settings menu and the General menu. Once on the Background App Refresh screen, you can scroll down to see which apps are running in the background.

After seeing which apps are getting refreshed in the background, you can now navigate over to the Battery Usage section by first going back to the Settings menu and then to the Battery menu. You can now look at which of the apps running in the background are using up the most battery life.

Now, you have a decision to make. You can go back to the Background App Refresh menu and turn off all the apps that are using up too much of your battery and the ones that you don’t use frequently.

So, how much battery life will you be able to save by doing this? You’re honestly probably not going to save a lot, but at least you can reserve your battery for just the apps you like and use often. That’s better than knowing that your battery was emptied by apps that are of no use to you.

What Is the Process for Turning Off Background App Refresh for iOS Devices?

If you’ve tried the method above to optimize your Background App Refresh feature and you’re still not satisfied with what’s happening to your iPhone or iPad, the only option may be to just turn it off. Thankfully, the process of deactivating Background App Refresh is pretty straightforward.

First off, you need to head to the Settings menu on your iOS device. Go to the General menu next and take a look at there. It won’t take long before you find the Background App Refresh feature.

While looking at the Background App Refresh screen, you can now look at the apps there and individually turn off the feature for them as noted previously. You can also just deactivate the feature for all the apps if you want to save as much of your battery life as possible.

It’s important to note that you can adjust the settings of the Background App Refresh feature based on what kind of internet connection you have. You can opt to set it to on if you’re only using Wi-Fi and you also have the option of keeping the feature running if you’re connected to either a Wi-Fi hotspot or using cellular data.

What Is the Process for Turning Off Background App Refresh for Android Devices?

The process of putting an end to apps in the background being refreshed is slightly different for Android devices. For starters, you won’t even find the Background App Refresh feature because that’s only present on Apple’s vast collection of devices.

The first step is to pull down the notification bar. Look for the gear icon there. That’s the icon that will take you to the Settings menu. It’s usually located at the upper right hand corner of the screen, per Asurion.

Now that you’re in the Settings menu, go down to the Data Usage menu. Next up, you have to go to the Mobile tab, although you may be there already. You should now click on the Mobile Data Usage menu.

This is actually quite an interesting menu and it details how much of your data each app is using. Check out the graphs to get a better idea of how the data usage of an app has changed or stayed the same over a certain length of time.

Once you’re finished looking at the data consumption of the apps, you can go ahead and turn the background refresh function for some or all of them. There’s no one slider you can adjust to change the settings for all of them meaning you’ll have to do so individually for each app.

To turn off background refresh, click on the app and then disallow background data usage. Repeat that process as much as you need to.

An Alternative Method for Turning Off Background App Refresh

There are other, arguably simpler, ways to prevent your apps from refreshing in the background.

One involves you going to the app manager and hitting force stop on all the apps you don’t want getting refreshed. If that’s still not good enough, you can just uninstall the apps that are continually draining your battery.

For those apps that can’t be deleted from your smartphone, you can still keep them from refreshing by disabling them.


The Background App Refresh is often labeled as a huge drain of the phone battery, but the reality is that it’s far from being the number one consumer of energy. You can keep it on and still get plenty of use from your smartphone.

Even so, many smartphone users out there want to extract as much as they can from their batteries and Background App Refresh won’t help with that.

By following the steps for turning off the feature that are listed above, you should finally be able to use up every bit of your battery on the actions and apps you want.