If you’re experiencing poor battery life with your iPhone or iPad, there are lots of troubleshooting steps to try. For example, you could make a Genius Bar appointment and have them check out the health of your battery. Settings-wise, you can turn your screen brightness down through the Control Center. For a temporary solution, you could use Low Power Mode. Heck, if you’re concerned that a particular app is eating your battery life, you can even see a detailed breakdown of your usage by heading to Settings > Battery.
But there’s another battery-saving feature that is often overlooked: Background App Refresh. The iPhone and iPad are inherently “connected” devices, flinging data such as new emails, weather reports, gaming high scores, and more back and forth over the Wi-Fi or cellular networks. To ensure a smooth experience and prevent users from having to wait for their apps to update each time they’re launched, iOS allows developers to program their apps to receive updated information automatically, even when those apps aren’t in active use.
This makes many apps much more enjoyable to use, but it also consumes precious battery life. The Background App Refresh option is how the user can manually override automatic background data updates, offering the user a choice between convenience and maximizing battery life.
Disable Background App Refresh
To check the status of Background App Refresh on your iPhone, navigate to Settings > General.
In the General section of Settings, find and tap on Background App Refresh.
You’ll be presented with a list of all currently installed apps which support Background App Refresh. Apple offers the user two options: disable Background App Refresh entirely, or disable on a per-app basis.
So, if you’re running out of juice and and battery life is at a premium, you could disable Background App Refresh entirely by tapping the corresponding green toggle switch at the top of the list. In most cases, however, you want some apps to continue to update in the background, such as your calendar or financial apps, but others, such as games or file sharing apps, can wait until you launch them.
Therefore, you can browse the list of apps and selectively disable or enable Background App Refresh as desired. For example, I don’t think I need the Apple Store app to refresh itself in the background, so off it goes.
Once you’ve gone through this list, you may see an improvement in your battery life just from those stinkin’ apps not being allowed to do stuff when you’re not looking! But if you ever find yourself missing automatic background updates in a given app, you can always head back to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and re-enable the feature for certain apps as needed.
Other Ways to Save iPhone Battery Life
For more information from Apple about what you can do to maximize the performance of your iPhone or iPad’s battery, check out the related support pages. That link offers suggestions on what to do for the batteries in the Apple Watch and Mac laptops, too, so it’s incredibly useful!
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