Multitasking is nothing new to iOS, though iOS 7 did bring a new ‘cards’ view that provides a window preview of what’s happening within the app. The process for entering multitasking remains the same, double-click the home button and select your app. For many users, they rely daily on this functionality to work between apps, so you could describe it as vital for productivity. For example, you might be writing an email in the Mail app and looking to copy text from Safari. A lengthy forum discussion on Apple’s support forums describes many users who are experiencing a problem in iOS 7 where apps will refresh or reset when switching between them.

iOS 7 app refresh reset

Users have been experiencing the problem since late September. Subsequent updates to iOS 7, now at iOS 7.0.4 (for some 7.0.5), have yet to resolve the problem. The thread now has over 452 replies, many of whom have similar problems. Some have taken the issue to the Genius Bar, hoping for an expeditious fix. A number of solutions have been offered:

We all know that sometimes RAM needs to access and draw a bit from disk space in order to work correctly if it’s low on actual RAM.

The user who had 109 apps installed, was instructed to remove some of the apps, so that his device had a minimum of 10 percent free storage. Upon freeing up storage above the 10 percent mark suggested at the Genius Bar, the problem remained.

Another user took a 64GB iPad to the Apple Store. Upon demonstrating the problem using iBooks and Safari, it was recommended that he do a DFU restore, but it did little to correct the problem.

The customer who removed apps to free up storage returned to the Apple’s Genius Bar a second time. This time around, the response was entirely different, suggesting it is working as designed.

He said that you DO want to turn on Background App Refresh for the apps that you’ll be switching back to, because in multi-tasking, one of the things that background app refresh does is to “protect” the original state of the app. This is the first time I’d heard the idea of Background App Refresh protecting and saving the original state of the app. So if you have background app refresh turned on for that app, then when you switch back to the app it will get restored to how it was at the time when you switched away from it — which is what we want and what we remember fondly from iOS 6.

This did not resolve the app refresh bug. According to numerous posts, it is not specific to older devices, with many complaints coming from iPad Air users. iOS 7.1 is still in beta, but some users have reported the same problems existing in the latest beta release, which isn’t a good sign. There have been many complaints of apps crashing in iOS 7 and Apple has confirmed that iOS 7.1 will fix home screen crashing. For those experiencing troubles with app refreshes when switching apps, there does not appear to be any clear cut solution from the Genius Bar or iOS 7.1. A problem that is going on for five months, there is increased frustration, with some even leaving for different platforms. “I’ve spoken with my wallet and moved myself on to WP8.”

Have you experienced problems with apps refreshing in iOS 7?