| Cult of Mac

How to stop apps using background refresh to snoop your data

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Refreshing background refresh drink
What could be more refreshing than a rhubarb and soda drink, with something in the background?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Background refresh is what lets your iPhone and iPad download your email while your iPhone is sleeping, to update your weather app while you are sleeping, and to grab all kinds of data so that it’s ready before you need it — news feeds, notes-app syncing, and pretty much anything else.

However, as revealed this week by the Washington Post, plenty of bad apps are abusing the background refresh mechanism. They are using it to send your private data — you location, your email address, your phone number, and much much more.

It’s likely that this is happening to you, because background refresh is enabled by default for newly-installed apps. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to fix. Today we’ll see how.