Microsoft Adds Real-Time Updating to Power BI on iOS

No manual refreshing required. The Power BI iOS apps automatically reflect changes as they happen.

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Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-based business intelligence offering, can now relay real-time updates to the iOS versions of the platform's app.

"Whether your data is pushed through Power BI API in real time or scheduled to refresh periodically, you now get updates live on your mobile device," announced Microsoft's Power BI group in a blog post detailing the latest batch of enhancements to the software. "If you update data on a dashboard or tile, add or remove a tile, or change the name of a tile, the newest version will automatically and instantly be visible on your mobile device."

Also new in this round of mobile Power BI updates is the ability to view R-tiles, visualizations based on scripts running on local installations of the R statistical analysis platform, as well as new Bing content pack data. "After connecting to a Bing dashboard in the Power BI service, your Bing-based dashboard will contain tiles that are generated directly from Bing," added the Power BI team. "You can now also view these Bing dashboards on your mobile device, along with all your other data."

New offline indicators alert users to a loss in network connectivity. And while offline, new caching functionality enables users to access their cached Power BI data indefinitely.

Pinned report pages now generate a thumbnail that springs into a full landscape view when tapped. Power BI Favorites, a bookmarking feature of sorts, has been removed.

The updates will soon be applied to the Android app, said Microsoft. In fact, the software maker is working on streamlining support for new tile types and enhancing the mobile Power BI experience overall.

"With this update, new tile types in the Power BI service will be immediately available in the mobile apps regardless of the device you are using," stated the Power BI crew. "You'll also see mobile-specific adjustments such as optimizing tile size to reduce needed space, and better notifications and messaging."

Power BI apps are also now available in a major Latin American market, Brazil. Microsoft switched on the Power BI service in that country during the holidays.

Separately, Microsoft added the ability to pin custom visuals to dashboards on the Web-based version of the software ( The feature works similarly to pinning Power BI's built-in visuals. "You'll now see a 'pin' icon at the top of custom visuals and when you click it you'll be able to pin the custom visual to a dashboard of your choosing," stated the company in a Jan. 20 announcement.

Finally, gains a highly requested convenience feature, which may soon also be ported to the desktop client.

Now, "enable custom visuals" settings will persist, eliminating the need to reapply the setting when loading a dashboard or report. "Now when you press the 'enable custom visuals' button, it will remember which visuals you accepted and won't ask you again for those visuals," explained Microsoft.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...