It’s hard to be patient with a slow iPhone, especially when using it for everything, from the calculator to getting directions on Maps. No one likes dealing with lag, buffering, or app freezing. Fortunately, there are a few ways you could speed up your iPhone.

Restart your iPhone

Let’s start with the classic “Did you try turning it off and on again?” It’s a classic for a reason, not just another tech myth. On a technical level, it helps refresh your iPhone’s RAM or working memory, which optimizes its overall performance. Since it’s probably the most straightforward hack, I’d recommend starting with this one.

There are slightly different ways to restart an iPhone based on its model. If you can’t get yours to restart, you might want to do a quick “how to restart [your iPhone model]” search. We have a guide if you’re unsure about your iPhone’s model.

Clear Safari Data

I’m sure we have encountered an ‘Accept Cookies’ popup. Even if you have no idea what that does, you’ve probably accepted tons of cookies by now. Refer to this helpful guide for a detailed and easy lesson on internet cookies. For the scope of this piece, all you need to know is that every time you click on ‘Accept Cookies’ on your browser, you’re putting a bunch of files on your device. These files pile up over time and end up slowing your phone.

If you frequently use Safari on your iPhone, you probably have a lot of passwords, cookies, tabs, and other login info in your Safari cache. It’s a good habit to clear that from time to time. Note that this will require re-entering login credentials or other personal info on some sites since clearing your cache will make your Safari brand new again.

To clear all Safari data, go to Settings on your iPhone and look up ‘Safari.’ Once in the Safari menu, scroll down until you see ‘Clear History and Website Data.’ It will ask you to pick a timeframe. Select ‘All history’ and then hit the red button at the bottom that says ‘Clear History.’

Free Up Space

Full storage is one of the leading causes of a sluggish iPhone. Go to Settings, scroll to General, and click on iPhone Storage from the menu. Doing so will present you with a stacked bar chart and an ordered list of your iPhone’s storage situation, clearly labeling how much space is occupied by which app.

It will also provide you with recommendations on how to free up space. Under Recommendations, click on Review Large Attachments to see the photos, videos, and attachments that are taking up the most space. When you see something you want to delete, swipe left and hit Delete.

There are other ways to free up space on your iPhone, but it ultimately depends on your priorities and your phone use. If you don’t always need all your photos and videos on your phone, you can back them up on iCloud and delete them from your iPhone. However, this would mean you would no longer be able to access them without the internet.

Similarly, if you don’t need all your iMessages, you can mass-delete them. I’ll review all the ways to clear storage on your iPhone in a separate, dedicated guide.

Update iOS

iOS updates often bring bug fixes that help improve your iPhone’s efficiency, so it’s a good idea to always be on the latest software update. You can do that by turning automatic updates on. Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates and turn on the toggle switch for all three options on the page. This will automatically download and install iOS software updates when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, charging, and locked.

You can also manually update your iOS. A ‘Software Update Available’ notice on your Settings app under your Apple ID will tell you there’s a newer version you haven’t yet updated to. If you see that, scroll down to General > Software Update and click Download and Install to begin the update. If you don’t see that notice, you’re on the latest version.

Replace Battery

Another possible reason for a slow phone is a battery overused to the point of dysfunction. If your iPhone is old, its battery’s health may not be ideal. To see if that’s the case, go to Settings, look up Battery Health, and click on Battery Health & Charging from the open menu. Anything 80% and above is good, but Apple recommends replacing your battery when its health falls below that mark.

Turn Off Automatic Downloads and Background App Refresh

Apps on your iPhone tend to auto-update. While this is helpful, it could become overwhelming for your phone, especially if you have many apps on it. Multiple background app refreshes also take place without you knowing. Again, this is a helpful feature, but it could lead to a considerable drop in your phone’s efficiency if you have many apps that constantly refresh and update.

Go to Settings > App Store and turn off all three toggle switches under ‘Automatic Downloads.’ These are App Downloads, App Updates, and In-App Content. Then, go to General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh (again) and choose Off. Doing both will ensure no power-hungry apps are running in the background. If you’d like an app updated, you can constantly manually update it in the App Store.

No, closing your background apps won’t help.

I know; I felt as deceived as you did when Gizmodo Maxwell Zeff told us that closing background apps doesn’t do anything and that I have been making my poor little thumb do all that labor for years for nothing. It’s just a tech myth that originated years ago on Apple’s community forum and Stack Overflow and has been perpetuated ever since (because it sounds like it should work!). But yeah, doing that won’t affect either performance or battery.

Are some of your apps still running slow?

Are you sure it’s your phone and not your network? People often mistake a slow connection for a slow phone. Especially if you’re experiencing lag on apps that require an internet connection, it might just be your internet that needs fixing.

To quickly check this, look up ‘speed test’ on your browser. You’ll see an ‘Internet speed test’ pop-up. Hit the blue button that says ‘run speed test.’ In around 30 seconds, you’ll get precise stats on your download and upload speeds and a comment on your internet performance.

I just ran mine, and it said, “Your Internet connection is very fast. It should be able to handle multiple devices streaming HD videos, video conferencing, and gaming at the same time.” So, if my iPhone starts acting up, I’d know it’s not my internet.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *