The iPhone 12 series utilizes Apple’s best hardware and software, but we’re still hearing about a variety of performance issues as we push deeper into 2021.
iPhone 12 owners continue to provide feedback about Apple’s latest iPhone models. A lot of the feedback has been great and the two phones are definitely worth a look if you’re in the hunt for a new device.
We’ve also heard about an assortment of bugs and issues plaguing the two devices. Among them, issues with the devices performance.
The current list includes UI lag, freezes, lock ups, and random reboots. These are extremely common, particularly on older iPhone models, but newer iPhones aren’t immune from them.
If your iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max freezes, lags, or randomly reboots, you don’t need to get in touch with customer service just yet. There’s a chance you’ll be able to fix your problems on your own.
This walkthrough will take you through the solutions that have worked for us, and many others, in the past and they’ll help you maintain a fast, and efficient, phone down the road.
Restart Your iPhone 12
If iOS 14 is acting up on your iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max, the first thing we recommend is a quick restart.
Power down your phone, leave it off for 30 seconds or so, and then power it back on and see if the problems are resolved.
If they aren’t you’ll want to try the solutions below.
Update Your iPhone
Apple will release new iOS 14 software throughout the year.
Point updates (x.x.x) are almost always focused on fixing bugs while milestone upgrades (x.x) typically deliver a mix of new features and bug fixes.
While Apple might not call out performance fixes in an iOS 14 update’s change log, new software always has the potential to help (or hurt) your iPhone’s overall performance.
For more on the latest version of iOS 14, take a look at our guide.
Update Your Applications
Next, try updating your applications to the latest version.
App developers are still rolling out iPhone 12/iOS 14 support updates and they could help stabilize your device’s performance.
Before you install the latest version of an app, make sure you dig into reviews from other iPhone 12/iOS 14 users. If the reviews are mostly good, you’ll want to download the latest version.
Reset Your Settings
If you’re still running into performance problems on your phone, try resetting your iPhone 12’s settings. Here’s how you do that:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Reset.
- Tap Reset All Settings.
- Enter your passcode if you have one enabled.
This will restore your iPhone 12’s settings to their factory defaults so make sure you have your Wi-Fi passwords handy. You’ll need to re-enter them.
Cleanup Your Storage
If you transferred your files from your old phone to your new iPhone, and you owned that old phone for a number of years, you probably have a ton of clutter taking up space on your internal storage. Getting rid of unused files and apps could help improve your phone’s performance.
If you want to do some cleanup, you’ll want to first check and see how much space is available on your iPhone. Here’s how to do that:
- Head into Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Storage & iCloud Usage.
- Select Manage Storage.
If you’re getting close to reaching your device’s storage threshold, you’ll want to head back into General and head to where it says iPhone Storage. Here you’ll get a detailed rundown of your data.
Apple will make some recommendations based on your utilization of your device’s storage, but you can also just go through each section manually delete files you no longer need.
Stop Automatic Downloads
Apple’s automatic update feature can be useful, but a constant stream of updates will make your iPhone 12 work in the background.
If you’re perfectly fine manually updating your applications on the App Store, try disabling Automatic Downloads on your iPhone and see if performance improves.
Head into the Settings app. Once you’re in there, tap on iTunes & App Store. From there you’ll want to toggle Updates, located in the Automatic Downloads section, off.
You might want to toggle the other options off as well.
iOS 14 brought some huge changes to widgets. While a lot of you will probably want to utilize them, some of you may not. If you don’t use widgets on your phone, try disabling some, or all of them, to see if that helps. Here’s how to do that.
Swipe to the right while you’re on your iPhone 12’s home screen. After that, you have two options. You can:
- Hard press on an individual Widget.
- Scroll all the way to bottom of the screen and select Edit. This will cause widgets to start wiggling.
If you hard press on a widget, a small menu will popup. To remove a widget you’ll want to tap on Remove Widget located at the top.
If you selected Edit at the bottom, you can tap the minus sign on a wiggling widget to remove it. You can also scroll down to the bottom and select Customize. This will allow you to quickly add or subtract Widgets.
We recommend disabling Widgets you don’t use. Remember, you can always turn them back on if you don’t notice a change or if you decide you want to utilize a particular widget.
Clear Browser Cookies & Data
Clearing your browser’s cookies and data will free up memory which could have a positive impact on your iPhone 12’s performance.
If you use Apple’s Safari browser, here’s what you need to do:
- Go into the Settings app.
- Tap Safari.
- Scroll down to where it says Clear History and Website Data. Tap on it.
Tapping this will remove your browsing history, cookies, and other data from Safari. History will also be cleared from any devices signed into your iCloud account. If you’re fine with that, tap Clear History and Data again.
If you use Google’s Chrome browser:
- Head into the app.
- Tap the three horizontal circles in the bottom right corner. They’re in the top right corner if you haven’t updated to Chrome’s new design.
- Tap Settings.
- Tap Privacy.
- Now tap Clear Browsing Data.
You can now select what you wish to delete. If you’re noticing heavy lag, you might want to clear out everything and start from scratch.
Stop Using Background Refresh
Apple’s Background App Refresh feature refreshes apps in the background to show you the latest data when you open them up on your device. It makes your phone work in the background so if you don’t think you need this feature active, you might want to shut it off.
Here’s how you disable it:
- Go into the Settings app.
- Tap General.
- Tap Background App Refresh.
- At the top tap Background App Refresh and toggle it off.
If you want to keep it on for some apps, leave it on and then go down your list of apps and manually turn it off for apps you don’t use.
Check Your SIM Card
If your phone is randomly rebooting, try removing your SIM card. You’ll need a paperclip (or something like it) or a SIM removal tool to eject it. The SIM card tray on the iPhone 12 is located on the left side of the device.
If you no longer run into the problem with the SIM card removed, put it back in and monitor your phone’s performance. If you run into the issue again, try hard resetting your iPhone with the SIM card removed and then putting the SIM card back in after the phone boots back up.
If you recently upgraded to a new version of iOS 14, and you’re running into issues, you could try moving your iPhone 12’s software back to the previous version.
If you don’t know how to downgrade an iPhone’s software, have a look at our walkthrough. It’ll walk you through the steps you need to take.
If you can’t find a fix for your issue, and you want to avoid taking your phone into a store, you might want to restore your iPhone. This should only be used as a last resort.
You can do this via Finder, iTunes, or iCloud.
Install iOS 14.6 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing iOS 14.6 right away.
iOS 14.6 brings 38 important security patches to the iPhone. If you're curious about the particulars, you can read about them right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.5.1, you get the update's two security patches on board. You can read about them over on Apple's website. Both are related to WebKit.
If you missed iOS 14.5 you'll get its patches with your upgrade. You can read more about those changes over on Apple's website.
iOS 14.5 also brought Apple's new App Tracking Transparency which lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers.
If you skipped iOS 14.4.2, you get its security patch with iOS 14.6. You can learn more about that patch over on Apple's website as well.
If you missed iOS 14.4.1, you get its patch with your upgrade to iOS 14.6. You can read about that patch right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.4, you get the update's patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about iOS 14.4's security patches right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.3 you'll get its nine security updates with your upgrade. You can read more about them on its security site.
iOS 14.3 also included a new privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices.
If you skipped iOS 14.2, your iOS 14.6 update includes 24 additional security patches. You can learn more about the patches on Apple's security website.
If you're still running iOS 13, iOS 14.6 includes iOS 14.0's security updates.
iOS 14.0 brought 11 new security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
In addition to those patches, iOS 14 comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improvements to Home/HomeKit and Safari.
For instance in Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.
With iOS 14 on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them.
There is also a new recording indicator that will appear at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You can see if an app has used them recently in Control Center.
Researchers also discovered that Apple brought a new "BlastDoor" sandbox security system to iOS 14. The system is meant to prevent attacks from occurring via the Messages app.
You can read more about "BlastDoor" right here.
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