The iPhone SE continues to hold up as we push into 2019, but many others are reporting performance issues with the company’s 4-inch flagship.
We’re having an excellent experience on iOS 12, but iPhone SE users are complaining about a variety of performance problems including lockups, freezes, general, lag, and random reboots. These issues are extremely common and you’ll find them across Apple’s iPhone lineup.
If your iPhone SE starts to exhibit lag or frequently reboot itself, you don’t need to schedule an appointment to see a Genius at the Apple Store. At least not yet.
There’s a very good chance you’ll be able to solve your performance issues from your house or office in a matter of minutes, seconds even.
In this guide we’ll show you a few ways to fix iPhone SE performance issues should they arise after an iOS update or completely out of the blue.
Restart Your iPhone SE
If you start noticing performance issues like lag and lockups, try restarting your iPhone SE. Hold down the power button, slide to turn it off, leave it off for a minute or so, and then turn it back on to check performance.
You can also try hard resetting the phone which is done by holding down the power button and the home button at the same time until the Apple logo appears.
Update Your iPhone SE
If you’re running an outdated version of iOS, consider downloading the latest software to your iPhone SE.
To check what version of iOS you’re currently running, go into Settings > About > and check under Version. If you aren’t running the latest update, you’ll need to install the software.
To do that, head into Settings > General > Software update. If a new update is available, you’ll be prompted to download and install the software.
Make sure you read reviews before you make your move.
Delete What You Don’t Need
If you’ve owned your iPhone SE for awhile you’ve probably accumulated a ton of data on your device’s internal hard drive. Photos, videos, apps, things of that nature.
Some people are really good about keeping their device’s hard drive clean, others not so much. If you fall into the latter category, it might be time to examine the contents of your phone because clutter can slow down your iPhone.
To do this, head into your iPhone SE’s Settings and tap on iPhone Storage. There, you’ll get a detailed look at what’s taking up space on your device. Go down the list and decide what to keep and what to delete. You’d be surprised how much space Messages and Videos take up on your phone.
If you’re running a newer version of iOS 12 on your iPhone SE, you will also get some personalized recommendations about how to free up space on your device.
Stop Your Auto Downloads
Automatic updates are extremely useful if you’re bad about keeping your apps and services updated with the latest features and fixes. Auto downloads are useful, but they can also slow down your phone.
If you don’t mind manually updating your applications on the App Store, try disabling Automatic Downloads on your iPhone SE and see if you get a boost.
Head into your Settings app > iTunes & App Store. Once you’re in there, toggle Updates, located in the Automatic Downloads section, off.
You might toggle the other options off as well. You can always turn them back on later.
Clear Browser Cookies & Data
Clearing your browser’s cookies and data will free up memory which could help speed up your iPhone SE.
If you use Safari on your iPhone SE, head into your Settings > Safari > and go down to Clear History and Website Data. Give it a tap.
Tapping on this button will remove your browsing history, cookies, and other data from Safari. Your history will also be cleared from any other devices signed into your iCloud account. If that sounds good to you, tap Clear History and Data again.
If you use Google Chrome on your iPhone SE, you’ll want to head into Chrome and tap the three horizontal circles in the bottom right corner.
A popup will appear. From there, tap Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data. You can now select what you wish to delete from your device.
If you’re noticing serious lag on your iPhone SE, you might want to get rid of everything. To do that, select them all and then click Clear Browsing Data.
The iPhone SE’s animations are nifty, but toning them down could help improve your device’s performance.
If the animations on your iPhone SE suddenly get choppy or slow, head on into the Settings app > General > Accessibility and toggle Reduce Motion on.
We also recommend reducing the transparency and blur effects on your device. To get that done, head into Settings > General > Accessibility > tap Increase Contrast and then tap the toggle to turn on the Reduce Transparency function.
The software will feel a bit different, but it’s a small price to pay for improving performance.
Kill Background Refresh
If you have Background App Refresh enabled, your iPhone SE will work to keep your apps updated with fresh data. It’s a nice feature, but you probably don’t need it turned on for all of your apps.
If you don’t want or need apps working in the background, turn this feature off. You can shut it off completely or you can run down a list and toggle it off on a case-by-case basis.
To get this done head into Settings > General > Background App Refresh and toggle Background Refresh off. If you’d prefer to pick and choose, you’ll need to go down your list of apps and toggle them off or on one by one.
Reset All Settings
If none of those remedies work, try resetting your iPhone SE’s settings to their factory defaults. To do that, head into Settings > General > Reset > and select Reset All Settings at the top.
Before you do this, make sure you have your Wi-Fi passwords handy. This will cause your iPhone SE to forget its known connections.
If the current version of iOS is treating your iPhone SE badly, you can try downgrading to an older version assuming one is available.
If you’re fine with dropping down, take a look at our guide to downgrading iOS. It will hold your hand through the entire process.
Wiping your iPhone SE and starting over is a tedious process, but it could have a dramatic effect on your device’s overall performance.
Once you’ve made a proper backup, head into your iPhone SE’s Settings > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings and get the ball rolling.
Install iOS 12.4.2 for Better Security
If you're on the fence, this is one of the best reasons to install iOS 12.4.2.
If you value your device's security, you'll want to download iOS 12.4.2 in the near future because it brings an important security patch for your device. You can read about it right here.
If you skipped iOS 12.4.1, you'll get its security patch with your update. You can read about that patch right here.
If you skipped iOS 12.4, you get its patches with your iOS 12.4.2 update.
iOS 12.4 brought 19 security patches to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. If you're interested in the specifics, you can read about them on Apple's security site.
If you skipped iOS 12.3, your iOS 12.4.2 update carries iOS 12.3's security patches on board. The iOS 12.3 update brought 23 patches and you can read about all of them right here on Apple's site.
If you skipped iOS 12.2, you'll get its security patches with your version of iOS 12.4.2.
iOS 12.2 brought a whopping 41 security patches to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in March. You can read more about the iOS 12.2's patches over on the company's website.
It's important to note that Apple's iOS 12.2 update patched up an exploit that allowed websites to use motion sensors to "fingerprint" devices.
Fortunately, Apple's patched up the issue. If you skipped it, you'll probably want to move to iOS 12.4.2 soon.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.4, you get four important security patches including fixes for a widespread FaceTime eavesdropping bug that lets you call someone via FaceTime and hear the audio coming from their phone before they pick up the phone.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.3, you get some additional patches with your version of iOS 12.4.2. Again, they're baked into your upgrade.
Apple lists a grand total of 23 patches on board iOS 12.1.3 and you can read about all of them over on Apple's website.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.1, you'll want to install the iOS 12.4.2 update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch today.
The iOS 12.1.1 update brought 17 patches for potential security exploits. They'll will help protect your phone. You can read about them here.
If you skipped iOS 12.1, you'll get the 24 patches from that update with your version of iOS 12.4.2. If you skipped iOS 12.0.1, your iOS 12.4.2 update brings two additional patches. Both patches are for potential lock screen exploits.
If you skipped iOS 12.0, and you're still running iOS 11.4.1 or below, your iOS 12.4.2 update comes with a longer list of security updates.
The iOS 12.0 update delivered 16 patches for security issues. You can read about all of them over on Apple's security page.
In addition to those patches, iOS 12 delivers new security features aimed at protecting you and the data you store on your device. These include:
Long story short, if you store sensitive data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you have some really good reasons to upgrade to iOS 12.4.2 today.
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