Turn On or Off Background App Refresh on the iPad

Keep your favorite iPad apps ready to go when you need them

Person holding an iPad with Background App Refresh settings on the screen


Introduced with iOS 7 and still going strong in iOS 12, Background App Refresh is a feature that readies apps before you use them. If you allow it, your grocery store apps gather the current coupons before you get to the checkout line, and recent social media posts are waiting for you when you open your Facebook or Twitter apps.

The instructions in this article apply to iPads running iOS 7 through iOS 12.

Why Use Background Refresh?

Background Refresh works great, particularly if you use specific apps on a regular basis. Background App Refresh doesn't drain on the battery life of an iPad. The apps run in the background long enough to download the most current data. However, if you are concerned about battery life, turn off the Background App Refresh feature for some or all of your apps.

This feature is all about convenience, but you probably don't need every app to refresh in the background. It makes sense for your Gmail app to have your messages ready for you whenever you want them, and if you are a news fan, you'll want CNN to be current when you open your iPad.

However, there's not much point in background refresh for your Amazon shopping app, your smart appliance controller, or your Kindle app. This feature is all about personalization. You know what you want at your fingertips when you open your iPad.

Choose the Background App Refresh Setting for Apps

By default, all the apps are activated in the Background App Refresh settings. To change that:

  1. On the iPad Home screen, tap the Settings app. 

    Settings icon on iPad
  2. Scroll down the left menu and choose General.

  3. Tap Background App Refresh.

    Background App Refresh in General iOS Settings on iPad
  4. To turn off the Background App Refresh feature completely, turn off the Background App Refresh toggle switch.

    Background App Refresh toggle on iPad
  5. To allow some apps to refresh and not others, turn the toggle switch for each app either on (the toggle turns green) or off (the toggle turns white).

    Individual app Background Refresh toggles on iPad