How to Restrict Background Data on iPad: A Step-by-Step Guide

Restricting background data on your iPad can save you from draining your data allowance and improve your device’s performance. It’s a simple process where you turn off the switch for the apps you don’t want running in the background. Once done, those apps won’t refresh or update unless you open them.

After completing this action, the apps you’ve selected won’t use data in the background. This means they won’t update or refresh content unless you’re actively using the app. This can lead to significant data and battery savings.


In the digital age, it’s become increasingly important to manage our device’s data usage. With high-resolution content and constant updates, apps can burn through data caps in no time. That’s why knowing how to restrict background data on your iPad is essential. It’s a great way to ensure you’re only using data when necessary and can help avoid unexpected overage charges on your bill.

For parents, it’s also an excellent way to manage your children’s data usage or to ensure they’re not distracted by notifications during homework time. Business users can benefit too, as they can ensure that only work-related apps are using data, keeping personal apps in check during business hours. Regardless of your reason, understanding how to manage background data is a useful skill for any iPad user.

Step by Step Tutorial: Restricting Background Data on iPad

Before we jump into the steps, it’s important to note that restricting background data can help in various ways, such as preserving your data plan and improving your iPad’s battery life.

Step 1: Open Settings

Open the “Settings” app on your iPad.

The Settings app is where you can adjust all the preferences and configurations for your iPad. It’s usually found on your home screen and has an icon that looks like gears turning.

Step 2: Tap “General”

Select the “General” option within the settings menu.

The General settings are where you can adjust various aspects of your iPad’s system behavior, including background app processes.

Step 3: Tap “Background App Refresh”

Find the “Background App Refresh” option and tap it.

This option controls whether apps can refresh in the background when they’re not being actively used.

Step 4: Disable Background App Refresh for Each App

Toggle the switch next to each app you want to restrict to the off position.

You’ll see a list of all the apps installed on your iPad that have the capability to refresh in the background. Toggle the switch to the off position for each app that you don’t want to update or refresh unless you’re actively using it.


Saves DataBy restricting background data, you ensure that apps aren’t using data unless you’re actively using them, which can save on your data plan.
Improves Battery LifeApps running in the background can drain your battery. By turning them off, you can extend your iPad’s battery life.
Reduces DistractionsNotifications often come from apps refreshing in the background. By turning this off, you can reduce unwanted distractions.


Missed UpdatesWith background data restricted, you might miss out on important app updates or notifications until you open the app.
Manual RefreshYou will need to manually refresh apps to see new content, which could be inconvenient.
Potential Functionality LimitationsSome apps might not function as intended without background data, such as GPS or messaging apps.

Additional Information

When restricting background data on your iPad, it’s important to remember that some apps need to refresh in the background to work correctly. For example, if you use a messaging app that relies on real-time updates, turning off background data for that app might mean you won’t receive messages until you open the app.

Also, if you’re on an unlimited data plan, you may not need to be as concerned with restricting background data unless you’re trying to preserve battery life. It’s always a good idea to periodically review which apps have background app refresh enabled to ensure only the necessary apps are using your data and battery in the background.

Remember, these settings can always be changed back, so don’t be afraid to experiment with what works best for you and your iPad usage.


  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap “General”
  3. Tap “Background App Refresh”
  4. Disable Background App Refresh for each app

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which apps are using the most background data?

You can find out which apps are using the most data by going to Settings > Cellular, and scrolling down to see the data usage next to each app.

Will restricting background data affect my app notifications?

Yes, if an app is set to refresh in the background and you turn it off, you may not receive notifications until you open the app.

Can I set background data restrictions for specific times?

No, currently, the iPad does not support scheduling background data restrictions.

What happens if I turn off background data for all apps?

If you turn off background data for all apps, none will refresh unless you’re actively using them. This might save data and battery but can limit functionality.

Is there a way to restrict background data only when on cellular data, not Wi-Fi?

Yes, you can choose to restrict background data only when your iPad is using cellular data by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh again, and selecting ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘Wi-Fi & Cellular Data’.


Restricting background data on an iPad is an effective way to manage your data usage and preserve battery life. While it has its drawbacks, such as potentially missing out on updates and notifications, it can be a valuable tool for controlling your digital consumption.

The key is to find the right balance that works for you and your iPad usage habits. Remember, it’s all about making the technology work for you, not the other way around. Happy data managing!