We understand that there are new phones and updates coming out every year but it’s not good for your wallet or for the environment to upgrade your phone every year. While we always recommend keeping your phone up to date, we don't suggest replacing it on a yearly basis. If your iPhone or your iPad is beginning to slow down and show its age there are a few things you can do to make sure it’s at peak performance.
Turn it off and Back on Again
Have you tried turning it off and back on again? We know, we know. It sounds silly but believe it or not, the way to solve most of your problems is to restart your device. Just hold down your power button and turn off the device when prompted.
This is a great place to start with a slow device before you start changing Settings.
Reduce Graphics Overhead
Graphics are a huge part of how your device performs. On newer iPhones and iPads everything may seem seamless and liquid but as your device begins to age you might notice it becoming slow and laggy. To make things better:
Open Settings, then head to General > Accessibility. There are two Settings groups here that you’ll want to look at: Increase Contrast and Reduce Motion. First, open Increase Contrast and then turn Reduce Transparency on. This will remove the transparency effect behind things like the control center that may be taking up some processing power. The other setting you can consider is Reduce Motion. This will reduce a lot of unnecessary animations, like the parallax effect on your home screen.
Some of these little adjustments may make a big difference in your device’s performance.
Delete Some of Those Apps
We understand how critical it is to have Candy Crush installed on your device, but if your storage is getting too full it can seriously impact your performance. Many apps run in the background of our devices, so deleting ones that you rarely use can free up some space and help speed up your beloved iPhone or iPad.
Open your General Settings and go to your iPhone or iPad Storage. Here you will see all of your apps and the amount of space they’re taking up in descending order. You can tap on the app and choose “Delete App” to uninstall it. You can also just delete the app from the Home screen but it’s kind of fun to see how much space you’re freeing up as you go along.
You don’t have to delete all of your apps to improve performance, but you should leave a bit of free space so you have room for new photos so that your device will run smoothly.
Another trick to free up some space is to look within the apps themselves. Cleaning out podcast episodes, old photos, videos, or music you don’t want anymore is a great way to steal back some of that precious memory space.
Get Rid of App Refreshes
Some applications will secretly refresh in the background, which definitely eats up your device’s resources. You can easily disable them although you should know that once you do this you will have to open the apps to see anything new, they won’t update their data in the background anymore.
To disable this feature, head into the Settings then to Background App Refresh, from here you can disable all of them or individually.
We recommend trying just a few individual apps to see how that affects performance. If that doesn’t seem to help speed up your device you can disable them all in one go. Also, this will probably improve your battery life, so it definitely has its advantages.
Clear Out Old Messages
It’s unlikely that messages will slow down your entire phone, however we have found that storing thousands of messages can slow down your Messages app itself. That’s a lot of information for your device to store. While we know you might need that text proof from five years ago to win a current or future argument, we recommend clearing out your messages app if it’s starting to lag a bit.
To delete individual message threads, you can swipe left to reveal a Delete button or delete multiple message threads by tapping the edit button in the corner and selecting the messages you want to delete.
To make it easier, you can set your phone to automatically delete messages after a certain point. Go into Settings and into Messages, then tap Keep Messages to limit your message history to either a year or 30 days.
Disable Siri Suggestions
We all love Siri and how much she can do for us, but Spotlight Search can be a little resource intensive on older devices. Turning off the Siri suggestions that show up when you search can help speed things along.
Head back into Settings (we’ve been here a lot it seems) and tap into “Siri & Search” then scroll down to Siri Suggestions. Once again, you can disable everything in one go or choose the apps that you don’t need suggestions for. This is completely customizable and up to you.
Use Apple Apps
We love our third party applications (looking at you Google Chrome) however, third party apps usually require more resources - resources that an older iPad or iPhone won’t necessarily have.
If your third-party apps are feeling slow and driving you crazy, try using one of Apple’s built-in offerings instead. For example, try Maps instead of Google Maps or Safari instead of Chrome. Apple takes great care in developing their apps to run well and so they may have more longevity on older devices than newer third party apps that are always updating.
Back it Up
If the tips above haven’t helped your lagging device, backing up and restoring it can help improve the performance. This process can often fix bugs or some other part of the iOS operating system that is using too much CPU power.
Rather than wiping your device and losing everything, you can back up the contents, restore it to Factory Settings, and then restore your data from the backup you just made. This will give you a fresh slate so to speak without losing all your apps and personal data.
You’ll have to use a computer and iTunes for this process. If you’re using Windows you’ll need to install iTunes first but if you’re using a Mac, it should already be installed so you’re all set.
Once you’ve launched iTunes, connect your iPhone or iPad to the computer using the same cable you use to charge it. If this is the first time you’ve connected the device you’ll be prompted to “trust it”. Tap the “trust” button on your device's screen and enter your PIN, if enabled, to continue.
Select “Summary” in the left pane under the name of the device if it isn’t already selected.
Click the “Back Up Now” button under Manually Backup and Restore to back up your iPhone or iPad to the PC or Mac, this will save everything you have in your device and you should see the backing up message while it’s working. Now all you have to do is wait a while, go make a snack and come back.
Once the backup is done, you can click “Restore Backup” just to be extra sure. You’ll be prompted to choose the backup you want to restore. You can tell which backup is most recent by the “Last Backed Up” time.
Choose the backup you just created and click “Restore”. iTunes will restore the device from the backup you selected, and it will reboot during this process. You’ll have to go through a few setup screens on your iPhone or iPad afterwards, but almost everything, including your PIN and touch ID fingerprints, will be saved. This process will essentially reset your device without deleting your information.
Just Start Over
If the above tips have not resolved your performance issues, you might need a fresh start. You could have a bigger issue, like data corruption, that is causing your device to be slower than normal. You might need to start from a completely clean slate, which means resetting your device and not restoring it from a backup.
You can do this directly from your phone, open Settings and scroll down to Reset. You can try to Reset All Settings first which will remove a lot of data but not all of it. If that doesn’t work, make sure all your important data is backed up and then choose “Erase All Content and Settings.” You’ll have to set everything back up from scratch, but hopefully it will improve performance afterwards.
Replace the Battery
If all else fails, try replacing the battery. Your battery will deteriorate over the life of the device and replacing the battery is definitely cheaper than getting a whole new iPhone or iPad.
Disclaimer: Please check your warranty on your device. Our warranty states that if a device is repaired outside of our facility, it is automatically rendered ineligible for return for any reason. However, if you’re past your warranty dates for return and you’re having trouble with your device running hot this can be helpful!
Hopefully all these tips and tricks will help you get some extra life out of your older iPhone or iPad. They won’t be the newest or freshest devices but you may be able to get another year or so out of them before you have to upgrade. And if you are looking for a newer device but don’t want to break the bank, we know a place.