No! Don't refresh you cursed thing!
July 20, 2009 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to disable (or barring that, predict) auto reloading of web pages on Safari on the iPhone?

Hi there. I've had an iPhone 3G for about a year and I love it. However, there's one issue that continually drives me nuts, and I'm hoping someone here knows a way I can fix it.

It's that damn auto-reload "feature" in the browser. Time and again it screws me over.

Example 1: I preload a nice long Mefi thread to read on the subway home after work. Once I get on the subway, I open up Safari, and it reloads. Of course, I'm underground so it can't load, and I'm stuck with nothing to read.
Example 2(a): In Google Reader on the iPhone, it only loads 15 items at a time. Which is fine, I can always load the next 15 and so on and so on. But sometimes I'll actually want to open a new tab to read something, and when I go back it autorefreshes and I have to start all over again. This can be annoying when I've got 120 items or so loaded, and have to go through them all 15 by 15 again, and these are the ones that didn't strike my interest enough to read them the first time through.
Example 2(b): Similar to the above, sometimes an item in Google Reader will have several links I wish to check out. But once I come back to the Reader tab it refreshes, and not only am I back at the first 15 items, but the one I was looking at is now counted as read and doesn't display, so I have to wait until I get home and search for it if I remember.

The most maddening thing is this behaviour is totally unpredictable. I can spend 5 minutes in one tab and not have another refreshed when I go back, or I can spend 30 seconds checking something out and the original tab refreshes when I go back.

Is there any way to turn this auto refreshing off? I've done a cursory poke through the options but can't find anything.

TechSpecs - 16 GB iPhone 3G, Firmware 2.2.1. I'm not interested in jailbreaking/hacking the thing, so legit options only, or I'll just have to continue to suffer.
posted by yellowbinder to Technology (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It's not reloading for kicks, it's reloading because Safari had to dump its cache because the phone ran out of memory when you were doing something else.

To prevent it, don't do anything else with the phone that would make it run out of memory, get a 3GS (which has more RAM), or save the site with something like Instapaper.
posted by yesno at 1:18 PM on July 20, 2009

Yes, it's a memory thing. I find that closing all the extra safari "windows" (pages? tabs?) is the best way to prevent it the annoying reload.
posted by kamelhoecker at 1:37 PM on July 20, 2009

I have the same problem, and it happens often even if I just click a link in Google Reader (which opens a new tab), and immediately return to the orginal tab. Does the phone really run out of RAM that quickly?
posted by entropic at 1:45 PM on July 20, 2009

Seconding Instapaper. This will solve your problem, plus it does a nice job reformatting sites for mobile viewing.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:49 PM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks so far, RAM issues do make sense, but as entropic says this often happens when only going from one tab to another in Safari, after I haven't used the phone in hours. I rarely turn the phone completely off, would that reset the RAM?

I'll check out Instapaper, would help with my first example, not so much with the Google Reader stuff though.

If anyone else has any ideas/tips, please add them on!
posted by yellowbinder at 2:07 PM on July 20, 2009

For Example 1: Check out VanillaSurf browser - it doesn't reload unless you ask it to - even if you close the app with the offline browsing feature. Lots of other very nice features as well.

For Examples 2: Get Byline, it's just great. It has offline support too, so it will load the websites for you and put them in cache. Starring posts is your friend.
posted by bigmusic at 2:11 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have you tried updating to the 3.0 software?
posted by SansPoint at 3:59 PM on July 20, 2009

Going from one tab to another could cause the phone to clear its cache and then free up RAM, yes. Especially if the iPod is running in the background.

I find NetNewsWire for the iPhone to be better than Google Reader. It has offline access, syncs to a web app (admittedly, not a great one, though the iPhone-optimized web app is good enough), and syncs between desktop clients as well. Of course, the top advantage is that it lets you sync to NetNewsWire for Mac which is hands down the best way to read RSS on any platform.
posted by yesno at 4:56 PM on July 20, 2009

Have you tried updating to the 3.0 software?

The 3.0 update (besides being buggy as hell on my second generation iPod Touch) doesn't fix this problem.
posted by interrobang at 6:10 PM on July 20, 2009

Definitely an issue with available memory. It happens a lot less often on my new 3GS, which has twice the RAM, and probably 5-10x as much RAM available for apps.
posted by Good Brain at 10:20 PM on July 20, 2009

I've only used a 3gs and have never noticed this issue.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:10 AM on July 21, 2009

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