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Instapaper for the iPhone and iPad gets background updates

Marco Arment has become a celebrity of sorts in the tech world, thanks to his brilliant iOS app – Instapaper. It has just been updated to version 4.2.2, and it has a nifty new feature – automatic background updates.

One of the problems that Instapaper has encountered with iOS so far, however, is the fact that the Apple operating system doesn’t allow apps like it to download updates silently in the background.
Arment has found a way around that limitation now however, with the help of an iOS feature known as ‘geofencing’. Geofencing is a feature that allows Apple devices to perform automated actions based on their GPS locations.

Now, Instapaper will be using the geofencing workaround for you to update it in the background in up to 10 different locations. The most obvious and convenient application for this would be to set your home’s GPS location in the Instapaper app. Hence, every time you get back home/are at home, Instapaper will get its requisite updates without the need for you to open the app completely.

The basic idea behind disabling background updates in iOS probably lay in Apple wanting its devices to have longer battery lives (compare that to Android tablets and smartphones, which have no OS limitation on background downloads, and consequently, terrible battery lives nine times out of ten). Marco Arment says in his blog that a background-updating Instagram isn’t the battery hog that one would think it is: “For whatever it’s worth, I’ve had it enabled for two weeks and haven’t noticed a meaningful battery-life difference on my iPhone or iPad.”

Instapaper is available as a free update in the App Store to everyone who had already purchased it earlier. The version 4.2.2 has some more minor bug fixes and ‘improved typography’. All in all, it is one of the best iOS apps out there, and is most definitely worth a try.
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