What apps need background refresh on? Most notifications come through the notification system that doesn’t require apps to be running in the background. Here’s a list of all the apps that I can think need background refresh turned on:
August Lock, so it knows when I’m approaching my house, it can automatically unlock the door. If I don’t have that particular feature active, I don’t need the lock application running in the background.
Weather Apps: Only if you want immediate rain notifications.
And, that’s about it… I have a Sous Vide system that might need them if I’m out of the house, so it can tell me if my dinner is ready, but I already know when it’ll be done. The app told me that. And again, that might be part of the regular notification system too.
Maybe my mail app, so it can pre download emails, but that really only takes a few seconds at the most, and I get notification of emails anyway.
So what other apps benefit from running in the background?
I have background refresh disabled for most apps. My exceptions are:
My credit card mobile apps (and with background location services enabled).
As you may be aware, cards red-flag card-present transactions that are far from your normal home/work locations. When traveling, you can call them (or use their web site) to let them know where you will be, to avoid problems. For some cards (including a few of mine), they will use your phone’s location (as reported by the app) as another factor - if the phone is physically near the location of the transaction, they will treat it as if the location was registered as a travel location.
Notes. If I edit notes on another device (phone, iPod, Mac), I want the content to be immediately synced to other devices. I don’t want to need to launch the app to get the changes, since I might not have Internet connectivity at that time.
Books. For similar reasons. I frequently add/remove PDFs on my Mac. I want them to sync ASAP.
Siri. I’m not sure if it strictly needs this, but I have it enabled in case it’s needed for “Hey Siri” to work while the phone is locked.
If you listen to podcasts, it’s useful to have the podcast app download new episodes in the background so they’re ready to go when you want to listen. Especially if you only download over WiFi but listen when out and about.
But there’s a separate configuration for that. Under Privacy → Location Services, you can configure apps to allow location access:
Ask next time or when I share
While using the app
Plus a setting to configure precise or coarse location.
(Not all apps support all of these modes)
On my phone most apps are set to Never. Those that need location (e.g. Camera or Weather), generally have it set to “While Using”. The only apps I have set to “Always” are those banking apps that can use it to enhance fraud detection.
You will still get the same amount of AccuWeather ads, just more likely to be from businesses focused on your area. I’m sure AccuWeather gets way more income from delivering ads than they get from selling your location.