Why is my iPad / iPhone So Slow???

My iPad / iPhone is Slow! What is Wrong?

The iPad home button.
The iPad home button.

Ok, so this is a simple thing, but it causes a lot of grief. I actually have run into this several times, most recently at a doctor’s office when the receptionist was complaining that her iPhone was running slowly. I said, “here, give it to me.”  She looked at me like I was nuts (understandably) and I said, “seriously, let me see it.”  So she gave it to me. Yes, people give me their stuff when I ask.

Anyway, she was shocked when I fidgeted with her phone a moment, returned it, and it was as good as new.  Then, of course, I showed her how to resolve the problem so she doesn’t have it again.

Now, dear reader, I will tell you how to solve this incredibly common problem as well.

Apps Don’t Close

One of the biggest complaints people had about iOS you may recall, is that it didn’t have any form of multitasking. As a result, when you wanted to use one app and then go to another, it would close the first app and then open the other. In order to speed things up, and add a form of multitasking, the newer versions of iOS changed things so that the apps don’t actually close. Instead, they just sort of hang out there in the background. As you can imagine, over time, this slows down your phone.

There is some debate about whether closing apps is necessary. Some people will tell you strongly NO. And in the case of many apps, I think this is true. The source of  the problem is likely to be apps that actually keep running in the background. Just because the app shows up doesn’t mean it is actually using memory. The obvious ones are Skype, GPS, Music. I  have also noticed some large games cause problems. Last, if an app is hiccuping somehow and having issues, that could cause some problems as well. Let’s face it. Some apps are better programmed than others.

Will Rebooting Help?

Hey, you might think, I’ll just reboot my phone or iPad, problem solved. Alas, no, that won’t solve the problem. The apps remain in memory. Here is what you need to do to close them.

Closing the Apps (iOS 7 or above)

Press twice on the home button. That is the little button on the front of your iPhone or iPad.  Be sure you press twice in rapid succession.  Your screen will change and you will see images of miniature versions of the various apps you have opened. Simply touch the image with your finger and slide it up. This will actually close it. Do this until all of the items are closed. If you would like to see images of what I mean, you can find them in this post, How to close open Apps on your iPhone iPad or iPod Touch. This article also has instructions for older iOS versions.

What Else Can you Do?

There are normally other problems leading to the slowing down of your iPad, aside from apps that directly continue to impact memory while running.  So you should keep these things in mind as well.

1. Keep your iOS up-to-date. With each update, Apple tweaks the system to improve how the iPad runs. Make sure you have the most current version for your iPad. You will see a warning when it is time to perform an update. You can check specifically by going into your settings.

2. If your web browsing is the problem, clear out the cache on your browser. The old data can start to get in the way a bit.

3. Clear up space. This means delete apps you don’t use. If you fill up all of the space on your iPad, it will slow down. If you find you are constantly filling up the space, when you buy your next iPad, get one with more memory. When I mean filling up with space, almost the whole thing pretty much filled up.

4. Disable services you aren’t using. I think location services needs to stay on so you can use the find your iPad app to find your iPad if you lose it. But, location services can slow down your device. So can push notifications and the like. Also, you can disable indexing, but if you do, you lose that benefit. Balance the cost of what you leave on with what you need your iPhone or iPad to do. I tend to leave these things on, because I use them.

Older iPads

This article has some great suggestions on speeding up older iPads.

Should You Wipe your iPad or iPhone?

Do you need to wipe your iPad? I doubt it. This might help because it will clear up a lot of space, of course. But you can try less drastic steps first.


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