Background App Refresh is a new feature added to iOS 7. What it does is allows apps to quietly wake up and download content all while in the background.
Some of the built in Apple apps such as Mail, Contacts and the Calendar have always done this. When a new email arrives, you open the app and the email is there. Likewise, you add a contact on a remote device and it is automatically added to your contact list on your iPhone. On the other hand, all 3rd party apps could not do this. When notifications of a new email arrive, you open the app and then need to wait for syncronisation to happen. The same happens with apps like Evernote where your new notes are not downloaded until you open the app and sync it.
Background App Refresh changes this. iOS 7 developers can now add a few changes to their code and when done, iOS creates a schedule based on how often you use the app and then at intervals through the day, the app will quietly fetch data from your server so that when the user opens up the app, the syncronisation is already done.
Many apps have already taken advantage of this feature. This includes Dropbox, Evernote, Instapaper, Mailbox, Newsify and OmniFocus to name just a few.
Today, I want to show you how you can get your app to take advantage of this iOS 7 feature. [Read more…]