If your iPhone isn’t as fast as you’d like it to be, your first thought might be to take it to the closest Apple Store. But why spend an hour or more at the Apple Store (more if there isn’t one close to you) when you can speed up your iPhone from your computer chair or couch in a matter of seconds.
You don’t need to be an Apple Genius or even an expert to speed up your iPhone right now. All you need is a few seconds during a quiet part of the day.
If your iPhone is starting to feel sluggish, try one of these remedies. Some of these will work better than others so you might need to use trial and error until you find the right combination for you and your iPhone.
Restart Your iPhone
A simple restart could have a significant impact on your device’s speed, especially if you haven’t turned it off in awhile.
To shut off your phone, hold down the power button until the prompt appears. Follow the on-screen instructions and power your iPhone down.
Wait a minute and then hold the power button down again to power the phone back on.
If you’ve owned your iPhone for awhile you’ve probably collected a ton of clutter on your device’s hard drive. If you’re anywhere close to your hard drive’s threshold, you’ll want to do some cleanup. Freeing up space could speed up your iPhone.
To get started you’ll want to head into Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage and select Manage Storage.
From that screen you can determine what can stay and what needs to go. Maybe it’s a game you no longer play, a video you no longer watch, or hundreds of photos you no longer need. You should be able to find something to delete.
If you notice your Messages taking up multiple GBs of storage, it might be a good idea to get that under control.
To cut down on the amount of saved messages on your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages and scroll down to the Message History section.
Tap on Keep Messages and select 1 Year or 30 Days. This will delete any messages older than a year or 30 days so make sure to save the photos and videos from within those messages that you wish to keep.
Clear Browser Cookies & Data
You can also free up some memory by clearing your browser’s cookies and data.
If you use Safari go into your iPhone’s Settings > Safari > and scroll down to where it says Clear History and Website Data. Tap that.
Clearing 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 can handle that, tap Clear History and Data again.
If you’re using Google Chrome on your iPhone, you’ll want to head into the app itself and tap the three vertical circles in the top right corner.
From there, tap Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data. There, you can select what you wish to delete. If you’re noticing serious lag on your iPhone it might be a good idea to start clean.
Select them all (you’ll notice a check mark on the right once you’ve done this) and then click Clear Browsing Data.
Install the Latest Software
If you failed to install iOS 10.3 or iOS 10.3.1 and you haven’t install iOS 10.3.2 on your iPhone, you’ll want to consider it.
Apple’s iOS 10.3 update delivered a brand new file system called APFS. If you chose not to install iOS 10.3, iOS 10.3.2 will automatically convert your device’s filesystem from HFS+ to APFS.
Installing iOS 10.3.2 and APFS could improve your device’s boot time (the time it takes for the phone to go from an off state to on), the overall speed (our iPhone 5 feels faster with iOS 10.3.2 and APFS on board), and a bump in storage which, again, could improve your device’s speed.
The move to iOS 10.3.2 might seem daunting for those of you with older iPhone models on older versions of iOS.
If you’re straddling the fence, take a look at our full list of reasons to install the iOS 10.3.2 update on your iPhone right now.
Turn Off Animations
Turning off some of your iPhone’s animations and transitions could deliver a nice little bump to your device’s overall speed.
To reduce Motion Effects, go into your iPhone’s Settings > General > Accessibility and toggle Reduce Motion on. Toggling this on will disable some features like the bubble effect in the Messages app.
While you’re there, you’ll also want to reduce the transparency and blur effects on your iPhone to. This could help your iPhone’s GPU.
To Reduce Transparency on your iPhone, tap Increase Contrast and then tap the toggle to turn on the Reduce Transparency function.
Try cutting down on the amount of active widgets to see if that gives your iPhone a speed boost.
If you have a lot of widgets active on your iPhone, they could be hogging your device’s precious resources and thus, hampering its overall speed.
To start killing off widgets, swipe to the right while you’re on your iPhone’s home screen. Scroll all the way to bottom of the list of widgets and select Edit.
You’ll be taken to a new screen where you should see a long list of services and apps. These are your widgets. If a widget is active, you’ll notice a red circle with a minus sign to the left of its name. If it’s inactive, you’ll see a green plus.
To remove a widget, tap the red circle with the minus sign and tap Remove. You can remove all of them or a few as needed.
We also recommend getting a handle on your applications. Just because you’re no longer using an application doesn’t mean that it’s no longer sucking up your device’s precious resources.
If you no longer need an application, get rid of it. If for some reason you decide you still want it on your iPhone, you can always re-download it from the App Store.
Kill Processes in the Background
If you aren’t good at managing the apps and services on your iPhone there’s a good chance some of your apps and services have become resource hogs. Getting a handle on your items running in the background could pay dividends.
The first service to look at is Background Refresh. When Background Refresh is flipped on, your apps will be refreshed with new information while running in the background. It’s nice but it might be the cause of your lag.
If you don’t need instant data, go to your Settings > General > Background App Refresh and toggle Background Refresh off. This will completely kill the service.
If you’d prefer to whitelist some apps, go down your list and toggle Background Refresh off for individual applications.
If you have Automatic Downloads turned on, you might have apps downloading new content in the background.
To disable Automatic Downloads, go to your Settings > iTunes & App Stores > and toggle Music, Apps, Books & Audiobooks, and Updates off.
Wipe Your Device
If these quick fixes don’t help you speed up your iPhone in seconds, it’s time to press the red button and go nuclear.
If you’re using an older phone like the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4s, it might be time to wipe the phone and start from scratch. We recently did this on our iPhone 5 and the results were fantastic. It feels 100x faster than it did before.
Restoring your iPhone will take more than a few seconds to complete because you’ll need to start by making a backup.
Once you backup your iPhone, you’ll want to head to Settings > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to get started.
For additional support, take a look at our full length guide.
Go to Apple
Contacting Apple support on Twitter is an option but we recommend taking your iPhone to the nearest Apple Store so Apple Geniuses can run diagnostics.
Appointments fill up quickly so if your situation is dire, you’ll want to try a book a visit as soon as you possibly can.
Buy a New iPhone
If all else fails, it might be time to buy a new phone.
Devices like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c will probably see their software support end here in a few weeks. In other words, you won’t be able to count on Apple and its iOS updates to fix your lag or sluggishness.
The iPhone 7 is Apple’s fastest phone but for those on a budget, you might take a look at the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6.
Install iOS 10.3.3 If You Want Better Security
If you value your security, you'll want to seriously consider downloading the iOS 10.3.3 update on your iPhone or iPad.
iOS 10.3.3 brings (by our count) 24 security patches for a potential exploits. That's a ton for a small maintenance update and a great reason to install iOS 10.3.3 in the near future.
Your iOS 10.3.3 update will bring even more security features if you failed to download previous versions of iOS.
If you passed on iOS 10.3.2, your version of iOS 10.3.3 will deliver 23 additional security patches.
If you skipped iOS 10.3.1, your iOS 10.3.3 update will bring its security patch. If you skipped iOS 10.3, iOS 10.3.3 will bring its monster list of patches to your device.
The iOS 10.3 update delivered over 60 known patches for potential exploits. That's substantial, even for a milestone upgrade. The previous version of iOS 10, iOS 10.2.1, brought 14 known patches.
If you skipped the iOS 10.2.1 update and/or the iOS 10.2 update, iOS 10.3.3 brings their security patches with it. Again, the iOS 10.2.1 update had 14 important patches on board. You can see them all right here.
If you failed to install Apple's iOS 9.3.5 update, iOS 10.3.3 will also bring the three crucial security patches it delivered last year. These patch up serious security problems that could potentially expose your calls, contacts, texts, and emails.
These patches enhance the security on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch making them ideal for those of you who store sensitive files/data on your device.