One way to save battery charge on an iOS device is to disable background app refresh. There’s a built-in option that lets you disable background app refresh. You can disable it, but still selectively allow your most important apps to refresh in the background. With iOS 11, there’s a new option that lets you disable background app refresh on cellular data alone, but enable it on Wi-Fi. This lets you keep the feature on when you’re inside, and save on battery and data when you’re on the go.
iOS 11 is still in beta at the moment. It will be available to users on the stable channel sometime this month i.e. September 2017.
Disable Background App Refresh On Cellular Data
Open the Settings app and go to General>Background App Refresh. Tap the ‘Background App Refresh’ option. In iOS 10 and older, this used to be a simple switch. In iOS 11, this option is a menu. The options under this menu are; off, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi & Cellular Data.
If you want to turn off background app refresh, select the ‘Off’ option. You can return to the previous menu and selectively enable background app refresh for some apps. To disable background app refresh on cellular data, select the ‘Wi-Fi’ option. Again, you can return to the main Background App Refresh screen and selectively enable background app refresh for important apps.
Limiting Background App Refresh
When you disable background app refresh, apps like Twitter and Facebook don’t fetch new data regularly. This not only helps reduce battery usage but will also reduce data usage. When you open these apps, they fetch new data i.e. load new images etc. At this point, your data, whether you’re on your cellular plan or connected to a WiFi network will be used. You cannot avoid it however, you will still have saved some battery on your device with the app not refreshing constantly in the background.
Background app refresh is not the same as allowing or disallowing cellular data for apps. If you disable background app refresh on cellular data, apps will still have access to the internet when you’re on your cellular plan unless you’ve specifically turned it off under Settings>Cellular.
Turning off background app refresh may result in a somewhat lesser experience in some apps. You will continue to get alerts from apps but the content will download only when you open the app. For mail apps, this won’t be too much of a problem unless you have a particularly large attachment that needs to download. Your social media apps will definitely seem slower though as most content is images and videos and it will take time to load new content. If you use Snapchat a lot, consider enabling travel mode to save data.