Background apps are draining your iPhone battery (and what you can do about it)

iOS has not been generous when it comes to allowing apps to run in background. The reason is obvious, apps running in the background are a drain to battery life, and short battery life is still a concern for iOS devices. Prior to iOS 7, only music apps and location based apps are granted to run in background. Apple expands the ability for apps to run in background in iOS 7 by introducing Background App Refresh feature.

Apps that take advantage of Background App Refresh can refresh themselves in the background. Apps running in the background can check if new content is available, download the content, and make available new content immediately when you launch the app. Apps can also schedule background refreshes based on your location. App refreshes in the background can also be triggered by a push notification.

Apps that implements Background App Refresh does not have the liberty to run in background at will. iOS 7 learns about your usage pattern of the app and tries to predict when an app should be updated in the background. App background refresh is normally schedule at times when your device is plugged into a power source, connected to Wi-Fi or being actively used.

With more and more apps taking advantage of Background App Refresh, some of you have noticed that the iPhone’s battery life is draining a little too quickly lately. There’s a simple fix by adjusting two simple settings.

Background apps are draining your iPhone battery and what you can do about it disable background app refresh

First, go to General > Background App Refresh on Settings app. Turn off those apps that are not essential. 

Background apps are draining your iPhone battery and what you can do about it disable location services

Then, go to Privacy > Location Services. Similarly turn off those apps that are not essential.

To have maximum benefit to your iPhone’s battery life, you should have as few apps in the above two settings turn on. Facebook for iOS has been reported to tax the battery life heavily via background jobs. Disable it for Background App Refresh and Location Services if you’re a Facebook user.