Background Refresh Stories March 5, 2014

Gmail for iOS adopts background refresh in latest update

Finally taking advantage of a rather useful technology in iOS 7, Google has released version 3.0 of its Gmail for iOS app with full support for background refresh allowing messages to download within the app as the push notification arrives.

Background Refresh Stories February 18, 2014

Developer warns iOS 7’s Background App Refresh increases server load dramatically, may be costly

With the introduction of iOS 7, developers gained access to a new feature often referred to as “Background App Refresh” or “Background Fetch” that allows apps to update data in the background periodically. Users can control which apps fetch for data in a new Settings pane and developers can control the frequency of updates to craft an ideal experience for their specific apps. The result is supposed to be a faster, always up-to-date experience for users, but one developer warns it could also have a significant increase on server costs.

Pod Wrangler developer David Smith posted the chart above showing a huge spike in API requests and server costs after implementing background refresh in his weather app:

My first example of this was when I added Background Fetch to Check the Weather. A weather app’s primary function is displaying up-to-the-minute, constantly changing data so in my initial iOS 7 update I experimented with adding highly frequent background updates. The result was far more dramatic than I’d expected. Here are my weather API requests (which cost 0.01¢ per request) per day once the update went live. I saw an immediate jump in traffic, roughly 16x normal. Suffice to say I immediately had to scale back on my requested update frequency.

Smith also took a look at some other popular podcasting apps after running into similar issues with background fetch in Pod Wrangler and offers tips for developers to get rid of unnecessary background downloads. The full article is here.

Background Refresh Stories October 28, 2013

Clear iOS apps updated with support for iOS 7’s Background Refresh

The popular Clear productivity apps for iOS have been updated today with support for Apple’s Background Refresh feature new in iOS 7. That means your lists in Clear will now update more often, refreshing from iCloud in the background so they’re always up to date across all of your devices running Clear.

The update is available for the $1.99 Clear app for iPhone and the $4.99 Clear+ for iPhone and iPad now. Developer Realmac Software also teased that it’s working on other big new features for a future update:

We’re hard at work on some great new features for Clear – and today we’re releasing a small update to Clear and Clear+ to take advantage of a great new iOS 7 feature: Background Refresh.

iOS 7 launches your most frequently-used apps in the background throughout the day, allowing them to refresh their data. This means that, with today’s update, Clear will refresh your lists from iCloud to ensure they’re always up to date on all your devices.

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