iPhone 4.0 to include background apps?

iPhone 4.0 to include background apps?

Summary: Sources tell AppleInsider that Apple has developed a "full-on solution" to multitasking on the iPhone OS and that the feature will be released as iPhone 4.0.


Sources tell AppleInsider that Apple has developed a "full-on solution" to multitasking on the iPhone OS and that the feature will be released as iPhone 4.0.

People with a proven track record in predicting Apple's technological advances tell AppleInsider that the Cupertino-based company has developed a "full-on solution" to multitasking on the iPhone OS but offered no specifics on how the technology would optimize resource conservation and battery life -- two of the most critical issues surrounding the matter, alongside security.

Details are slim, but multi-tasking (a.k.a. background) apps are allowed to run after the home button is pressed (which currently quits most apps). Only a limited number of (mostly Apple) apps allowed to run in the background, including  Calendar, Clock Mail, iPod, Messages, Nike+, Phone and Voice Recorder.

Background apps would solve one of my main issues that I have with the iPhone, specifically, not being able to listen to apps like Pandora or MLB while doing other iPhone tasks. It would also keep up with Android, which has had background apps forever.

What's your take? Are background apps critical?

Topics: Hardware, Apps, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • MLB

    The new MLB At Bat 2010 app "sort of" has a background mode for the
    audio. It gives you the ability to launch the audio in safari, where it then
    launches the quicktime player and plays the stream. You can then press
    the home button and do other iphone things while the audio plays.

    The only issue I have with this is that it appears to lock you out of safari.
    If you re-launch safari it just brings you to the quicktime player with no
    obvious way of opening a new tab to browse other locations. The only
    option is to exit out of the player and back to safari, which then stops the
    • MLB Oceanus

      There are many web browsers available in the app store that allow you to keep
      surfing the net while MLB uses safari. This works for the FlyCast radio app and
      the WEEI radio app as well. It's pretty slick and it really uses very little ram to
      run these that way saving processing power and battery life. I like how push
      notifications save processing power and battery by only 'receiving' data that is
      sent to it but not staying active in the backround 'listining for data' like end of
      game scores and updates from the MLB app.
  • RE: iPhone 4.0 to include background apps?

    Background Apps brings to mind Apple's camera App that
    could be left running and draining your battery all the
    while. With the limited screen size what application would
    be so important that it needs to be running full steam in
    the background. Push notification is sufficient for RSS
    feeds and other things that might appear while in some
    other application. The only addition to Push Notification
    might be popups like when you get a Text Message that
    brings it to the front when it arrives if something is really
    that important that you need interrupted. That additional
    multitasking feature would be to let the program you were
    in continue running in the background for a limited
    amount of time so you can go out and take care of the
    urgent event and then return to where you were when the
    original app is clicked or if Apple can devise another way
    for App switching other than the current colored menu bar
    at the top of the iPhone screen.
  • RE: iPhone 4.0 to include background apps?

    it would be nice to listen to other music app's other than ipod!
  • RE: iPhone 4.0 to include background apps?

    This is more than just 'allowing' multitasking. While
    geekdom has ranted against Apple for the iPhone's 'lack' of
    multitasking (when indeed it has been a restricted ability
    from the beginning as iPhone OS is basically OS X) they
    failed to come to grips with the fact that Apple wasn't
    providing geeks with a hobby, but rather providing a
    consumer experience which included long batter life with
    the current battery technology.
    I suspect that Apple's new hardware will address these
    issues which will allow them to loosen the reigns on the
    whole multitasking regime. That is what I glean from this
    hint of rumor. Again, Apple will most likely continue to
    restrict which apps are allowed to run in the background.
    You probably won't be able to play a major game while you
    have your corporate annual report spreadsheet calculating
    in the background, but there will be more latitude based
    on new hardware.
    This loosening of control will be designed to let the first
    three generations of iPhone hardware not be hit too hard,
    but there may well be some caveats when upgrading to
    4.0, letting users know that their potential battery life can
    be hit by the upgrade. Perhaps a guideline of how to use
    the new feature set without burning through your battery
    too quickly.
  • So...once again...Apple is making features available...

    ...which should have been there all along...in another upgrade...probably effectively rendering many previous versions of the iPhruad useles.

    And I suppose that in iPhraud v5.0 TETHERING will be possible?
    • iPhone features

      First - Tethering is supported in the OS - the issue from the US side was AT&T's lack of support for it. Don't blame Apple.

      Second - I think Apple did a VERY smart thing by not allowing any app to run in the background. The phone experience would have become much more complex and frustrating and I bet would have made the phone less popular.

      I hope they continue to restrict this feature in some form (i.e. don't make it the default behaviour, but force the user to choose to keep it running or something along those lines). It's still going to give people the power to shoot themselves in the foot.

      Be very careful, Apple!
      • Agreed - Locked Sandbox a good idea

        Locking the Sandbox on a critical app like your phone is good idea from
        a security standpoint.

        If Apple is going to allow multitasking I expect the price is a much more
        complex approval process to make sure the code is benign, and not a
        complete resource hog in the background.

        As always, be careful what you wish for...
  • 2010: the invention of multitasking

    Now the same people who explained that multitasking is not important on the phone would explain why it is such an important thing.
  • RE: iPhone 4.0 to include background apps?

    Way back when I bought my first Mac SE it ran one app at a time unless you installed a thing called Multi-Finder. I installed it it worked, but it used up memory so I used it carefully. Can I have the same option on my iPhone? In the current scheme even if I use an app full time in the foreground I'll use up my battery quickly. I can take some responsibility for managing my resources, if my friend doesn't want to do that on his iPhone then he doesn't have to. Why would that kind of user selectable control be such a bad thing? Also is anyone else tired of their incoming e-mail making the same sound as everyone else's? I am, please let me change that without jailbreaking.