I have an app for IOS, that connects to server and fetches some data periodically. If last fetch failed, I need to tell user "you are not connected, you may have outdated data". What is the best way to do that?

I may display red border around my controller, or use some icon on navigation bar (although my nav bar is busy with title and segment control now).

  • This will probably depend a lot on how important having fresh data is? Is the app usable on old data? Then you may want a subtle reminder to connect and refresh data. If not, maybe take them to a whole landing page saying not connected.
    – DasBeasto
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:06
  • My app is about tasks: its fetches new tasks from server. There may be no new tasks, hence user should be happy with data she has locally. But if there are new tasks, and app can't get them, I should tell user "there may be some new tasks, I will try again in 5 minutes, but please make sure your Internet connection is OK"
    – user996142
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


If it were me I would pop up a little notification like this, stating the issue and that they should connect to the internet. This can then be dismissed and the user can view old content.

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Then once they dismiss that, display a little bar like Facebook's at the top of the app letting them know they are still not connected in case they try to connect but it fails or they forget why they're not seeing new content.

enter image description here

This is attention grabbing enough to let the user's know they need to take action to fix the situation but not too distracting for users that are aware they aren't connected and are ok with outdated content.


The old information can be shown as DasBeasto's example. I think that indication of fetching new information is also another micro-interaction that should be considered and designed with this state. Here are some examples of that particular moment.

  • Refreshing the list automatically if there is
  • Fading away the color for old items if there is
  • Notifications if it is possible

The list can be expanded with examples however, as stated before, this state has divisions in itself.

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