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Why is Background App Refresh greyed out on iPhone? Here’s why

Background App Refresh greyed out

If you enable it, Background App Refresh allows first-party and third-party internet-dependent apps to refresh in the background and update content. Although it consumes more battery and data, it’s definitely useful if you prefer to keep the apps working in the background. Some users report that Background App Refresh is greyed out and they can’t seem to make changes to it. There are a few possible reasons for this occurrence and we made sure to explain them below.

How do I fix Background App Refresh greyed out?

If Background App Refresh is greyed out in Settings, you should disable Low Power Mode, check General settings for this option, disable Content & Privacy Restrictions, or Reset All Settings. You can learn below about all the details concerning possible causes for the problem and applicable solutions.

1. Disable the Low Power Mode

Besides some other features like display brightness and refresh rate, Low Power Mode will disable Background App Refresh for all apps to extend the battery life. Therefore, when you enable Low Power Mode, Background App refresh will automatically turn off until you turn off the Low Power Mode. The prompt to enable this mode will kick in after your iPhone battery drops to 20% but it won’t activate on its own. Of course, you can use Shortcuts to turn it on and off automatically.

Here’s how to disable Low Power Mode on your iPhone:

  1. Swipe down from the right to expand Control Center and tap on the Low Power Mode icon to disable it. It’s a graphic of a half-full battery.
  2. If you can’t find Low Power Mode shortcut in Control Center, open Settings.
  3. Tap Battery.
  4. Disable Low Power Mode.Background App Refresh greyed out

2. Check the General setting

The Background App Refresh feature can be changed on a per-app basis in individual app settings or you can navigate to Settings > General > Background App Refresh where you’ll find the list of all apps with toggles. And that’s where you’ll find the master toggle, too, just above the list. With it, you can disable and enable Background App Refresh on a system-wide basis.

It overrides per-app toggles, so don’t concern yourself if you open Settings and, say, Instagram, and the Background App Refresh feature is enabled but greyed out. If you disable the feature from the top of Background App Refresh, it applies to all apps. This doesn’t apply if you want to enable the feature, where the per-app settings come into play.

With that in mind, if you want to enable Background App Refresh, navigate to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and enable the feature from the top. You can choose to refresh apps only on Wi-Fi or on Wi-Fi and Cellular. After that, you can tweak per-app settings in the list. On the other hand, to disable this option for all apps, use the master toggle.Background App Refresh greyed out

3. Check Content & Privacy Restrictions

As with all other essential system settings, you can limit access to Background App Refresh in the Content & Privacy Restrictions menu. The main purpose of this menu is parental control which will allow you to restrict certain features on your child’s device. Remember that toggles here won’t disable any features, just limit access so your child can’t make changes you’ve previously made. And if Background App Refresh is set as “Don’t Allow” under Content & Privacy Restrictions, the option will be greyed out everywhere.

With that in mind, here’s how to allow changes to Background App Refresh on your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Choose Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Open Background App Activities from the bottom of the list.
  5. Choose Allow.Background App Refresh greyed out
  6. Get back to Settings and open General > Background App Refresh. The Background App Refresh shouldn’t be greyed out anymore.

4. Reset All Settings

Finally, if you still can’t fix the problem, we suggest resetting All Settings on your iPhone and moving from there. That should address the problem and, hopefully, you’ll get access to Background App Refresh settings. Resetting all settings will delete some network, location, privacy, and keyboard settings.

Here’s how to Reset All Settings on your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Choose Transfer or Reset iPhone and select Reset.
  4. Tap Reset All Settings.
  5. Confirm and check if the issue persists.

And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to tell us if any of the solutions helped you address the problem at hand. You can do that in the comments below.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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