How to turn off background app refresh – 2 simple ways

Background app refresh is a setting that’s available for iOS devices. It’s usually enabled by default, and can be managed in the settings.

You may wish to disable background app refresh as it can shorten battery life and affect device performance. The good news is that you can easily disable it in the settings – here’s how to disable the background app refresh feature on your iPhone.

How to turn off background app refresh

There are various ways in which you can turn off background app refresh – the easiest way is to disable the background refresh option in your settings. Alternatively, you can also just enable low power mode on your device.

However, before you do this, you may want to learn about what disabling background app refresh actually does. It essentially stops apps running updates when you’re not using the app itself – hence, it’s a “background” refresh.

This can save battery life and increase your iPhone battery health as it prevents all apps from running in the background. It can also reduce mobile data usage, especially if you have a lot of social media apps that need frequent updating.

There are actually a couple of different ways that you can make sure that app refresh is turned off on your device.

Turn off the ‘background app refresh’ option in settings

The most well known well to turn this off is to do it manually, which you can do by going into your phone’s settings.

Head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Doing this will take you through to a list of apps, where you can easily enable or disable the background app refresh function on your device.


Here, you’ll be able to see the Background App Refresh option which is located at the top of the list.

Next to it, there’s an on and off toggle which will enable you to turn the function on and off pretty easily for each different app. You can do this individually, or you can easily do this for all apps at the same time too.


Enabling low power mode

You can simply enable low power mode on your device if you want to force your phone to turn off all background activity without having to do it manually.

You’ll be able to tell if it is enabled by looking at the small battery icon, which is located at the top right of your device – it will be yellow if low power mode is enabled.


If you want to turn on low power mode, you can do this easily via your settings.

Using the settings

Go to Settings > Battery.


Press the select the toggle next to the low power mode option – this will turn on low power mode on your device.


Using the control centre

You can also do this via the Control Centre on your device. You can access the Control Centre quickly and easily by swiping up on your phone.


This symbolises the low power mode. It there is a battery icon, press it to enable low power mode. There should be a battery icon displayed in the control centre, which is how you switch low power mode on and off.


If you can’t find the low power mode icon, then you’ll need to enable this ability in your settings – it’s not always included as default on a fresh install.

Head to Settings > Control Centre where you can enable and disable the mode.


After doing this, you should be able to see the Low Power mode icon in your control Centre after swiping up.


How to turn off background app refresh for individual apps

Alternatively, you can simply choose to turn off some background app refresh for certain apps. You may wish to preserve battery life, or prevent specific background app activity.

Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. This should take you to a list of apps, which have background activity that can be enabled or disabled.


Ensure that you do not have low power mode turned on, as this will automatically disable background app refresh. It prevents you from having access to the background app refresh settings.


Find the app you wish to disable the background activity of. If the app is not on the list, then it means they have no background activity to disable.


Press the green switch next to the app. This will disable its background activity. For example, Instagram’s background activity has been disabled in the picture above.

Repeat these steps for other apps to disable their background activity.

What does turning off background app refresh do?

Enabling background app refresh allows apps to continue running in the background, even if they’ve been closed. Therefore, disabling background app refresh prevents this from happening.

Apps will no longer be able to continue running after they’ve been closed, and their content will stay the same – this shouldn’t have an effect on your iPhone apps not updating, which is a separate issues altogether.

It’s usually worth doing this as it can improve battery life and device performance, as it means that less app activity will be occurring.


To conclude, disabling background app refresh can be done in several ways. Overall, it is quite simple to accomplish. Disabling background app refresh can help reduce battery usage, and thus improve device performance and speed.

You can turn off background app refresh for all apps, or choose to disable it for individual apps.

These apps may be taking up a lot of battery usage, or simply don’t require background activity in order to function well.

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I love reading, writing, drawing, and other creative pursuits. I wish to travel more and do extreme activities, such as bungee-jumping and skydiving. I'm a casual gamer with an affinity for narrative-driven games and unique art styles. I like watching a variety of different media, but I particularly enjoy animations and musicals. My favourite genre, for both books and visual media, is psychological-thriller.

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