Turn On or Off Background App Refresh on the iPad

The feature keeps your apps ready to go when you need them

How to Turn On/Off Background App Refresh on the iPad
Daniel Nations

You may think that the Background App Refresh feature in iOS for iPad gives your apps free-rein to operate in the background without your knowledge. That's not exactly true. Introduced with iOS 7 and still going strong in iOS 11, Background App Refresh is a feature that readies apps before you use them. If you allow it, your grocery store apps will have the current coupons before you get to the checkout line, and recent social media posts will be waiting for you when you open your Facebook or Twitter apps.

This works great, particularly if you use certain apps on a regular basis. Although you might suspect that Background App Refresh is a drain on the battery life of your iPad, it isn't that big of a power-grabber. The apps are not allowed to run for long in the background, just long enough to snag the most current data. However, if you are concerned about your battery life, you can opt to turn off the Background App Refresh feature for some or all of your apps.

Choosing the Background App Refresh Setting for Your Apps

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

  1. Go into your iPad's settings by launching the Settings app. 
  2. Scroll down the left-side menu and choose General.
  3. Tap Background App Refresh to go into the detailed settings.
  4. If you want to turn off the Background App Refresh feature completely, tap the On/Off slider next to Background App Refresh at the top of the screen to move it to the Off position.
  5. If you want some of your apps to refresh and some of them not to, toggle the On/Off slider next to each app to the desired position.