KB-1992 Variables configured to refresh on an interval do not update when the browser tab is in the background


After navigating back to a browser tab that was in the background, variables set to refresh on an interval using a!refreshVariable() have not refreshed for longer than the configured refresh interval. For example, a variable configured to refresh every 30 seconds may be many minutes behind:

The issue is observed in all browsers and affects interfaces in both Tempo and Sites. If left on the foreground, the variable will refresh within the configured interval.


To improve browser performance and reduce resource consumption of inactive tabs, it is expected that refresh variables do not refresh while in the background. However, the intended behavior is for refresh variables to be refreshed immediately when the browser tab is reopened as the active tab.

Refreshes failing to occur immediately upon reopening has been reported to the Appian Product Team as AN-140382.


There are a few possible mitigations to this issue:

  • Open interfaces that require refreshing in their own browser window rather than a new tab and leave the interface as the active tab.
  • Implement a manual refresh button that users can use to refresh the data when necessary.

Affected Versions

This article applies to Appian 19.2 and later.

Last Reviewed: September 2019