How to Control Background App Refresh (2022)

Are apps running in the background of your iPhone draining too much battery? Learn how to turn off background apps.

We all love being able to switch quickly from app to app, and have everything be exactly where we left off. It’s also nice to receive notifications from apps even when they’re closed. However, you may find yourself needing save some extra battery life or data. If that’s the case, we’ll show you how to turn off a feature called Background App Refresh to make your battery last a little longer.

Related: How to Hide Apps on iPhone

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What Does Background App Refresh Mean?

Background App Refresh lets apps run even when they're closed in order to update and send notifications. This is what makes multitasking between apps so streamlined. And while you can close an app by swiping away, closed apps still use a portion of your iPhone’s battery and data. If you want to save some battery and data, you can try turning Background App Refresh off. We’ll walk you through how to do that. If you like tips like this, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day.

Enable or Disable Background App Refresh for All Apps

You have the option to turn off Background App Refresh altogether, having it enabled only when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, or having it on when connected to Wi-Fi and Cellular.

  1. If you want to turn off Background App Refresh for every app on your iPhone, open Settings.

    open Settings
  2. Tap General.

    Tap General.
  3. Tap Background App Refresh.

    Tap Background App Refresh
  4. Tap Background App Refresh again.

    Tap Background App Refresh again.
  5. From here, select which option works best for you.

    From here, select which option works best for you.

Enable or Disable Background App Refresh for Individual Apps

Instead of turning off Background App Refresh for all apps across your whole iPhone, you can just choose to turn it off for certain apps.

  1. To turn off Background App Refresh for individual apps, open Settings.

    open Settings
  2. Tap General.

    Tap General.
  3. Tap Background App Refresh.

    Tap Background App Refresh.
  4. Scroll through and disable the app of your choice. It will turn gray when disabled.

    Scroll through and disable the app of your choice. It will turn gray when disabled.

And that’s how you control Background App Refresh to ensure your battery stays charged and you’re not using any data when you don’t want to be. Background App Refresh is in no way a bad thing, it’s what makes your iPhone so efficient when switching between apps. But, you may find this feature useful going forward.

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Author Details

Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life, a published poet, and a longtime Apple enthusiast. Before graduating in the spring of 2021 with her Master’s degree in Literature, specializing in early 20th-century American and British Modernism, she was a college writing tutor and University English professor. Her latest piece, "Temporizing: Self Portrait" can be found in the Winter '21 edition of New Note Poetry. Although an enthusiastic traveler, you can most often find Rachel curled up under a blanket with a glass of red wine, reading a book with her cat Blue in Charlotte, North Carolina.