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Slow iPhone? Find Out What Is Wrong and How to Fix It

If you are worried your iPad or iPhone has been running more slowly over time, it probably isn't just your imagination. The speed slows at such a gradual rate that it is almost impossible to detect until one day you realize websites are taking ages to load, apps are responding at a snail's pace, and the menus are slow to function. If you are dealing with this, you are in the right place. This article will explain why your iPhone is acting up and cover simple fixes that can help your iPod, iPad, or iPhone run as efficiently and quickly as possible.

First: How to Figure out if You Should Just Buy a New iPad or iPhone

New iPads and iPhones are faster since they feature processors that are more powerful than older models. However, the majority of the time, it is unnecessary to buy a new iPad or iPhone if your current model is running slowly. Typically, the speed issues on your iPad or iPhone may be caused by a software problem. Addressing any software issues can make a significant difference, as this article will explain.

The Real Reason Behind Decreased Speeds

Since iPads, iPods, and iPhones all use the same Apple iOS operating system, the fixes described in this article can work on all of these models. As you'll learn, it is the software, not the hardware, that is the root cause of the problem.

1. The Storage Space on Your iPhone Is Out

Like any computer, iPhones have a set amount of storage space. Currently, iPhones come with 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB (GB is short for gigabyte and is equivalent to 1000 megabytes) of storage space. This amount of storage is referred to by Apple as "capacity". In terms of capacity, the hard drive on the iPhone is similar to a PC or Mac.

Once you have owned your iPhone for a decent length of time and loaded it with a lot of music, apps, and pictures, it is easy to run out of memory.

Problems start to show up when the available storage space hits 0. All computers require at least a bit of open memory to run smoothly.

How Do I Find out How Much Free Space My iPhone Has Available?

Check out the General tab of the Settings option, choose 'About' and see what the number on the right side of 'Available' says. If there is more than 1GB of memory open, storage space is not the issue and you should skip to the next step.

Memory: How Much Should I Keep Available on My iPhone?

Since the iPhone is extremely efficient in terms of memory, it does not require much available memory to keep it running smoothly. To avoid limiting the speed of your iPhone, try to keep the available memory at a minimum of 500MB, or 1GB if you want to be especially safe.

How Do I Open Up Memory On My iPhone?

Fortunately, it is simple to pinpoint what is using up all the memory on your iPhone. Check out 'Settings', 'General', 'Usage', and then 'Manage Storage' (be sure to do this within the Storage category, not in iCloud). This will show a descending list of what is using up all the memory space on your device.

To delete photos, you need to use iTunes or the photos app, but removing music and apps is simple. All you need to do is tap the name of the app and hit "Delete App'. Swiping your finger from right to left on any music items and choosing 'Delete' will get rid of any music you no longer need.

2. Even Though You Do Not Realize, Your Apps Are All Loaded In Memory At Once

Remember what happens when you load several programs at the same time on your PC or Mac? Everything works slower. Same goes for the iPhone.

When you open an app, it gets loaded into to the application memory. Although you may think this app closes once you head back to the home screen, it doesn't!

Upon leaving an app, it has a set amount of time to enter a suspended state. In theory, apps should have minimal effect on your iPhone's speed when they are suspended.

Realistically, even upon leaving an app, the app remains a part of your iPhone's RAM. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus model both have 1GB RAM. As mentioned above, although the iPhone has efficient memory management, having a bunch of apps open together can slow down your iPhone's speed.

How Do I Locate and Close Suspended Apps on My iPhone?

To locate any apps that are suspended on your iPhone, start by double-clicking the home button. This will bring you to a Multitasking view that allows you to switch between apps and close them.

Swiping an app off the top of the screen with your finger will close it. This gets rid of the app from suspended memory on your iPhone without deleting it. Closing all apps at least one time every few days can help keep your iPhone running as fast as possible.

Often times, iPhones will have as many as a dozen or more apps suspended in memory. Clearing these apps out can make a massive difference in the performance of your iPhone. This is a helpful tip to share with your friends too.

3. You Need To Perform Software Updates

Check the 'Settings', 'General', and then the Software Update section. If there is a software update available, go ahead and download and install it.

This may leave you wondering - can’t software updates lead to slowdowns?

An illustration can help clear up any confusion regarding why some software updates can cause some slowdown:

Tim decides to update his iPad 2 to iOS 8. It is extremely slow. Tim is disappointed and frustrated.

Tim, along with his friends, contact Apple to complain about how slowly his iPad 2 runs. Engineers at Apple realize that Bob is correct and respond by releasing iOS 8.0.1. to solve the performance issues Tim is experiencing with his iPad.

Tim installs the new update on his iPad. Even though is iPad is not as fast as it originally was, it is now working far better than before.

4. A Few of Your Apps Are Running In The Background

For certain apps, it is important for them to continue running, even if they have been closed. For example, you probably appreciate when an app such as Facebook Messenger alerts you to any new messages you receive. This is fine, but it is important to understand a couple of things regarding apps that are running in the background:

Apps are coded by developers of different skill levels. One app may not affect the speed of your iPhone if it runs in the background, while another app may have a significant impact on your device's performance. Although there is no specific way to determine the impact of each app, the general rule of thumb is that less popular apps may create more issues than more well-known apps with larger budgets. This is simply due to the number of resources required to create a world-class app.

It is important to carefully select which apps you want to allow to keep running in the background of your device.

Which Apps Are Safe to Allow to Run in the Background of My iPhone?

To see the current list of apps on your iPhone that are allowed to run in the background, check out 'Settings', 'General', 'Background App Refresh'.

Because certain apps are helpful when left running the background, it is not usually recommended to turn off the Background App Refresh completely. The most important thing is deciding which apps are important by asking yourself the following question for each of your apps:

“Do I need this app to notify me or send messages to me when I am not actually using it?"

If you answer "no" to this question, then it is probably best to turn off the Background App Refresh option for that particular app. Go through your entire list and try to limit any background apps to just a handful.

If you want find out more information about this specific function, you can find helpful details from Apple's support article that covers Multitasking and Background App Refresh. It is important to be mindful, however, that Apple's support articles tend to lean toward a more idealistic perspective rather than a pragmatic approach.

5. Turn Your iPhone Off And Then Turn it Back On

It may seem that rebooting your iPhone would make almost no difference, but it can actually be quite helpful. Rebooting your iPhone is particularly helpful if you just completed all of the steps mentioned above. Turning your iPhone off correctly (not with a hard reset) can give the iPhone's memory a clear, fresh start.

What Is the Correct Way to Reboot My iPhone?

Pressing and holding the Sleep / Wake button - also known as the power button - until it gives the “Slide to power off” option will correctly reboot your iPhone. Once you slide your fingers over the display, wait until your iPhone powers completely off. Do not be alarmed if it takes more than 30 seconds for the tiny white circle to stop spinning.

Once your iPhone is completely off, hold down on the Sleep / Wake button. Once the Apple logo appears, let the Sleep / Wake button go. After completing all the tips above, you should see a noticeable speed increase once your iPhone reboots. By lightening your iPhone's load, it will reward you with improved speed.

Bonus Tips To Make Your iPhone Run Faster

If you have tried all of the options above and are still having issues, try some of the steps below.

Clear Saved Website Data to Improve Safari's Speed

One of the most common reasons for a slowly running Safari is the accumulation of excess website data. It is normal to save website data, but too much built up over time can cause Safari to slow down. Luckily, this extra data is simple to clear.

Simply head to 'Settings', 'Safari', and select 'Clear History and Website Data'. After hitting 'Clear History and Website Data', hit it again to get rid of cookies, history, and other browsing data off of your iPhone.

Reset All of the Settings To Speed Everything Else Up

If you have completed all the steps above and are still struggling with a slow iPhone, there may be a magic bullet to speed it up: "Reset All Settings".

At times, a corrupted settings file or misconfigured app can have a negative effect on your iPhone. Pinpointing the specific problem can be extremely difficult.

“Reset All Settings” restores all settings and apps on your iPhone to their default settings without removing any data or apps from it. Since this method will require you to sign back into your apps, it is important to make sure you have tried all of the other troubleshooting options first. Also, be sure you record any usernames and passwords prior to completing this action so you can easily sign back into your apps.

If this is a step you want to try, head to 'Settings', 'General', 'Reset', then Reset All Settings. This will set your iPhone back to its default settings from the factory.

Final Thoughts

If you have been struggling with a slow iPhone and wondering what is going on, this article will hopefully help you determine the underlying cause. If you have any questions or have successfully increased the speed of your device, we would love to hear about your experience!