A slow iPhone is a common problem that many users want to fix. In some cases, a phone can perform slowly simply because it lacks enough free storage space to run efficiently. Approving an update to the operating system can also slow down the iPhone for some users. Most of the time, an iPhone slows down simply because the phone is getting old and its memory is filling up with more software.
If a phone's interface feels sluggish or apps do not open as quickly as they once did, there are a few steps iPhone owners can take that might be able to restore some of the vitality to their devices. Readers will find these steps in separate sections below.
How to speed up a slow iPhone and make it faster:
1. Determine the Operating System Version
The most recent and stable release of Apple's iOS is version 11.4.1. Users that have an iPhone that will support the latest update may be able to use it to grab patches of developer fixes for known issues. This step is generally the first thing most iPhone owners should try.
However, all iPhone users should use their own best judgment regarding the operating system. A newer operating system can hamper an older phone by demanding performance increases that it cannot handle. The company is working on a stable release of iOS 12 that should offer boosts in speed even for older iPhones. Users can get this version of the OS in its beta form right now if they wish to try it.
Anyone that would like to check the status of their iPhone's operating system can do so by going into their device's "Settings" widget. Once they are here, they can navigate to the "General" tab and click on "Software Update" to check whether there is a new release for their iPhone.
2. Deactivate Open Applications
This next step assumes that a user's iPhone software is current and needs no update. A phone sometimes runs applications in the background that a user does not need at the time. These processes take memory and other resources away from the phone that it could be using to streamline its performance. This is an easy fix that might lead to a nearly instant improvement in responsiveness for some iPhones.
Double-clicking on the "Home" button should bring up a list of the apps that are currently running on the iPhone. A user can swipe up to close all of these programs. Using three fingers will close three apps at a time and speed things along a bit. Unfortunately, there is not currently a way to close all the apps with just one swipe. Aside from updating the operating system, closing these background apps is a good preliminary step. It is easy and doesn't require much time or work.
3. Restart the iPhone
If there isn't a noticeable improvement in speed or performance after closing unwanted background applications, some users may find success with restarting the iPhone completely. The phone's "Sleep" button should be on the top right for any model that is earlier than the iPhone 5s and the right edge for the iPhone 6 and any models that come after it. Holding down this button should make the "Power Off" slider appear after a few seconds. A user can swipe this slider and wait for their iPhone to shut down completely. The whole process should take approximately 10 seconds.
Once the phone has been off for a few seconds, pressing the "Sleep" button again for five seconds should restart it. Apple's company icon will appear to signal that the device restarted successfully. This restart may offer some iPhones a bit of extra speed by clearing out its memory cache and turning off apps that might be causing issues with the system. It's a good idea to perform this restart occasionally to keep the operating system from taxing its resources.
4. Remove Various Applications
Most iPhones need a minimum amount of spare space to run without any lag issues. If an iPhone is close to the upper limits of its available space, it may start to behave more sluggishly than usual. Deleting a few apps is a quick way to free up some of the space an iPhone needs.
It is easy to identify the largest apps that use the most space on an iPhone. Going into the "Settings" area of the phone and entering the "General" tab will bring up something called "Storage & iCloud Usage." Tapping on "Manage Storage" will display a list of all the apps on the iPhone. Users can see how much space each app takes by checking the number next to it.
Pressing on the name of a particular app will open a new window that displays information about that app. There is an option to delete the application and free up space on this screen. If there is an app on the "Home" screen that is taking up too much space, pressing and holding it for a few seconds will cause an X to appear in the corner of the screen. Tapping on this X will remove the app from the iPhone. It's a good idea to keep at least one gigabyte of the phone's total space free whenever possible.
Emptying the data and cookies from the iPhone's Safari browser may improve the phone's performance. Users can go into their "Settings" and locate the Safari app. Clicking on it will display some information that includes clearing the browsing history and site data that the iPhone stored. Getting rid of this data could speed up the phone.
However, this action will probably make web browsing inconvenient for some time. Safari will no longer remember favorite sites, and most sites will probably forget any user preferences that may have been present.
6. End Background Processes
Features that run automatically can be convenient, but they can also slow down older iPhones or use more battery life. The iOS 7 version of the operating system added some features that could improve the performance of any iPhones that run on that version or anything after it.
Going into "Settings" and entering the "iTunes & App Store" program allows users to turn off automatic downloads. Staying in "Settings" but navigating to "General" gives users te option to turn off the "Background App Refresh" feature as well. These are sometimes convenient features that the iPhone doesn't need in order to run properly.
7. Minimize the Visual Effects
The seventh iteration of Apple's iPhone operating system brought some interesting new graphics to the table. While they might look nice, turning them down could improve an iPhone's overall performance. Going into "Settings" and navigating to "Accessibility" via the "General" tab allows users to reduce the "Motion" feature. An iPhone will normally display icons or alerts with a parallax effect. Performing this action turns the effect off, and many users report that the iPhone is easier to use this way.
Transparent background effects can cause an older iPhone to behave sluggishly as well. The "Accessibility" section of the phone has an "Increase Contrast" subsection. Turning on the "Reduce Transparency" feature can help an older iPhone run more efficiently.
8. Resetting the iPhone
While it may sound similar to a restart, an iPhone reset is a more drastic action than a simple restart. It also takes longer than just restarting the phone, but it could be worth it to solve performance issues that might be plaguing the device.
The full reset process is also similar to a restart. This time, a user would press and hold both the "Home" and "Sleep" buttons simultaneously. After several seconds, the screen should go black and a red slider may or may not appear. Maintaining this pressure on both buttons until the company logo appears on the screen finishes the reset process.
9. Remove Old Photos, Messages, and Songs
This step might be useful to anyone that is very short on available space and needs some extra space quickly. Opening the "Messages" app will display all the message threads for that phone. Swiping to the right and tapping "Delete" on any threads will delete them from the iPhone's memory.
Text-only threads don't take up much space on the phone, so deleting them will not have a big impact on the storage space available. It's a good idea to find those threads that include many photos, videos, or voice messages and remove them first. If an iPhone is storing a huge log of photos and videos, opening a message and tapping the appropriate icon brings up options to remove particular images or videos from the app. Voice messages take up space too, but they can expire automatically after a few minutes to free up space.
Anyone that is serious about freeing up space on their iPhones can go to the "Settings" app, navigate to "General," and tap on "Usage." This screen will display how much total storage space is available and which apps are the biggest ones. This is similar to the way the iPhone displayed this information during the earlier step on uninstalling apps.
While it is not the same for all iPhone users, the "Music" and "Photos & Camera" apps tend to take up the most space generally. Each of these apps stores a variety of music, image files, and videos on the iPhone. Remember that one gigabyte of total free space allows an iPhone the space it needs to shunt files when necessary.
To remove music files, a user can open the app, find non-essential items, swipe right on them, and press "Delete." Anyone that wants to keep photos but free up space on the iPhone can connect the device to a Mac, open Image Capture, and click the "Delete after Import" option. This will back up the files and then remove them from the iPhone automatically.
Users can use the computer's Shift" key to select their photos and move them to a folder on the Mac. Selecting photos in the Photo app directly on the phone will present users with the option to delete them permanently. However, the iPhone will keep these images for 30 days. Anyone that wants them gone before the 30-day period is up will need to go to the Recently Deleted folder and remove them from it.
10. Get a New Battery
Apple has been intentionally slowing down older iPhones since the company released the 10.2.1. version of its iOS. The reason behind this is to extend the battery life of older iPhones. The company decided to reduce the efficiency of some older iPhones to make sure they wouldn't shut down without warning because of failing batteries.
There are ways to check if a particular iPhone might need a replacement battery. Fortunately, Apple has been working to reduce the cost of replacement batteries for older handsets to make it easier and more affordable to get a new one when necessary. Note that there are also ways to get even cheaper batteries from various eBay vendors. However, these might not always be official batteries, and Apple cannot guarantee their compatibility with an iPhone. The company cautions that a performance boost is also not a sure thing with these batteries. Going through this unofficial procedure can be a tricky process as well, and many users find it easier and more convenient to turn to official channels for their replacement battery needs.
11. Restoring the iPhone from a Backup
If an iPhone has created a backup point recently, it can use this point to restore itself to an older state. Users can plug their iPhones into a Mac and open up the iTunes program. Clicking on the appropriate iPhone icon will bring up a new menu. Clicking on the "Restore Backup" option in the "Backups" section of this menu will allow the iPhone to revert to the previous state.
Anyone performing this procedure should keep in mind that this step will undo many changes the device has gone through since its most recent backup. This means that the backup action may undo some of the previous steps outlined in this article once it is complete.
12. Reverting to Default Settings
This step is perhaps the most drastic one of all. It is more comprehensive than either a restart or a reset of the iPhone. Bringing the phone back to its factory settings does exactly what it sounds like and returns it to the state it was in at the store. The only difference is, the hardware in the iPhone will still show signs of the wear it has endured over the years. It's worth noting that this action removes all of a user's personal preferences and data completely. Any users that need to perform this reset should first create a digital copy of the iPhone's data. Connecting the phone to a Mac or using the virtual iCloud will allow a user to copy the data from their iPhone and save it elsewhere before the reset.
Once a user has completed this step, they can go into "Settings," go to "General," scroll down to "Reset," and choose to "Erase All Content and Settings." The phone will ask for a password and double-check that it should really delete and reset everything. Once the process begins, the phone will take a few minutes to restore itself to its default state. The original welcome screen will appear once the iPhone is ready.
13. Use the Warranty and Talk to Apple
This step assumes that none of the techniques outlined above were successful in speeding up the iPhone. Anyone that thinks the performance issues from their phone are serious enough can talk to Apple about the situation. The phone's warranty may cover performance issues that stem from a faulty component. If the iPhone is still under an official warranty, there may be other ways Apple can help resolve these issues. Talking to one of their representatives could lead to a satisfactory resolution.
A phone's sluggishness could just be an issue of perspective. Brand new phones fresh off the market will appear to be lightning fast to most users but seem to slow down a bit after a few months. This is a normal effect of human perception as users get used to the technology and start comparing it with newer phones. However, there is no harm in asking Apple to check their products for hardware issues that should not be there.
14. Purchase a New iPhone
This step is the very last resort for users that have tried everything else with no success. If the company is unable to help repair an older phone, their help comes at too high a cost, or the iPhone is no longer under a warranty, it may be easier and cheaper in the long run to purchase a new model. There are several buying guides that can help people find the new iPhone model that meets their needs and preferences. Apple's own online store should be able to recommend several models and list their most useful functions and features.
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