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iPhone Slow? What’s Up with iOS 8 Performance

Why is the iPhone Slow? Is Apple sabotaging my old iPhone so I’ll buy a new iPhone 6?

These are two questions I’ve heard repeatedly in the last 24 hours as the iOS 8 release delivered dozens of new features to devices as old as the iPhone 4s and iPad 2.

Here’ a look at what’s up with complaints about a slow iPhone and how you can try to fix your iPhone slow problems without buying a new iPhone.

Every year there are people who ask why is the iPhone slow after updating and is this a conspiracy. Here’s what’s up with your iPhone.

After the iOS 8 update, "Why is my iPhone slow?" is a common question.
After the iOS 8 update, “Why is my iPhone slow?” is a common question.

 

Slow iPhone issues on iOS 8 aren’t limited to older devices, we’re hearing from iPhone 5s owners who think the iOS 8 update slowed down their phone leading to apps that don’t load right and other iOS 8 performance issues.

This is something that happens every year when Apple delivers a new software update for the iPhone. If you look at the trends there is an increase in searches for iPhone slow n every month where Apple releases a software update.

iPhone Slow: iOS 8 Conspiracy?

Is Apple really slowing down your iPhone so that you’ll want to buy a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? The short answer is no, Apple doesn’t want to ruin your iPhone.

The longer answer is for some users a search for iPhone slow is justified. Data shows the iPhone 4s is slower on iOS 8 than it was yesterday on iOS 7.1.2. This is something Apple may fix in an iOS 8.1 update months down the road, but if you are using an iPhone 4s you may want to wait.

Why did Apple offer an iPhone 4s iOS 8 update if the performance isn’t as good? Look at it this way. If Apple did not offer an iOS 8 iPhone 4s update users would complain that the company doesn’t care and is keeping features from the three-year old phone to force users to upgrade.

By offering an iPhone 4s iOS 8 update with most of the iOS 8 features Apple allows the owner to choose features or performance. You don’t need to install iOS 8, you can stay on iOS 7.1.2 forever, or until the iOS 8.1 release arrives.

iOS 8 Performance

Here’s a look at iOS 8 performance on recent devices that will help you decide if you should upgrade to iOS 8.

Our iOS 8 on iPhone 5s early review shows no issues with slow performance, and any oddities happen in apps that are not updated for iOS 8. If you are worried, wait a week or two for more iOS 8 apps to arrive and then update. If your iPhone 5s is slow after the iOS 8 update you need to follow the steps below to fix it.

The iPhone 5 is a bit older, but in our iOS 8 on iPhone 5 impressions we found that speed was not an issue. Adam Mills shares his iOS 8 speed results on the iPhone 5.

I was nervous about moving up to iOS 8 because older devices typically struggle with new updates. However, so far, the iOS 8 experience on my iPhone 5 has been on par with the experience in iOS 7. I haven’t noticed any lockups, the animations and transitions between apps and the home screen are fluid, and it’s still extremely fast especially for a two year old phone.”

The iPhone 4s performance is slower, as benchmarks show.
The iPhone 4s performance is slower, as benchmarks show.

The iOS 8 iPhone 4s performance is where you’re more than justified in asking if your iPhone is slow. To major problems with the iOS 8 iPhone 4s update are speed and the smaller screen. Ars Technica shares iPhone 4s iOS 8 benchmarks that back up a slower iPhone on iOS 8.

https://twitter.com/Rosario_xox/status/512627792199319552

Opening Safari, the camera, Mail, Messages and Calendar all take significantly longer to open. These are apps and activities that you use every day. If you own an iPhone 4s, the iOS 8 update is one that you’ll need to think about.

So What’s Up with Slow iPhones?

If you’re using an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s you may still think your iPhone is slow. This isn’t surprising. When something changes we key in on certain things and with new features and options the iPhone 5s may seem slow.

Right after you update to iOS 8 the iPhone needs to run through a lot of background tasks to get everything running right. For a short period the device may really be slow. Give the device a few hours before you call iOS 8 a bust.

Rene Ritchie of iMore explains the rest of why you think the iPhone is slow after an update,

“And perception, as the old saying goes, seems like reality. Likewise when you update to a new version of iOS, you know you’re changing things and you become more sensitive to change. You’re looking for what’s new and what’s different so any little tick, pause, or skip tends to stand out.”

Yes, there are some problems that could lead to a slow iPhone after the iOS 8 update, but it may be in your head. If you still experience sluggish performance check out the possible solutions below.

How to fix a Slow iPhone on iOS 8

You can fix a slow iPhone in several ways. There is no one solution though, so you may not end up with a complete fix until Apple delivers an iOS 8 update.

Easy Solution

The first thing to do to try to fix a slow iPhone is to reset all settings. Sometimes an iPhone setting goes haywire and causes all kinds of problems. This does not delete your apps or data, but you may need to re-enter WiFi passwords.

Go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings -> If prompted enter your Passcode and confirm.

Wait a few minutes for the iPhone to restart with settings back to factory specifications.

Here are possible fixes for a slow iPhone.
Here are possible fixes for a slow iPhone.

Next Level Solution

If iOS 8 performance is too slow after waiting a day or two and resetting all settings you may need to perform a clean install. This involves restoring the iPhone to factory settings. This wipes all of your data so make sure you back up. The best solution is to add all of your apps and accounts back manually, instead of restoring, but that’s more work than many users want to go through.

After you back up go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings and Content -> Enter a Passcode and follow prompts.

After a short period the iPhone will be like you took it out of the box and you can restore or set up as a new iPhone. This process takes a little bit longer so don’t do it unless you have an hour or so to reset and get back up and running.

Extreme Fix – Downgrade – Limited Time

For a very limited time Apple is still signing iOS 7.1.2, which means it is possible to downgrade from iOS 8. This hole will close any day now, so make sure there is a yes next to your device on this page and then follow these instructions to downgrade from iOS 8 to iOS 7.

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17 Comments

  1. James

    09/18/2014 at 1:11 pm

    my phone is so slow it is now frozen and i can’t access it from my mac

    Reply

  2. Matt

    09/18/2014 at 4:42 pm

    well of course it is. apple can justify it in good faith by claiming to take advantage of newer hardware.. which naturally takes more to process on older hardware… this can be considered as a natural thing to do. the planned obsolescence effect is just a bonus for apple.

    the only thing that makes a sore problem for customers is 1) theres basically 0 end user value in the update 2) there’s no option to roll back if you don’t like what its done to your device (so apple can claim some stupid % of devices on the latest os as pr boast). so without some awesome new functions, all people see is apple forcibly making our devices worse for no gain. and in the end, its the experience in the hand that counts, technical details be damned.

    Reply

    • Christian J Harris

      09/19/2014 at 10:05 am

      Yeah but you would think people would know better by now. No one’s making these people upgrade, they just go in blindly because it’s available to them. Yes, I personally believe that Apple should never have allowed it to be used on the 4S – people are going to complain either way but I’d rather them complain about not getting it than getting it and then having a horrible experience. But at the end of the day, the choice is up to the person…and the fact that people haven’t figured out to at least take a wait-and-see strategy when it comes to updates…especially with all the articles that one out ahead of time talking about this very thing.

      But people need to be more adequately informed if you ask me. People tend to deal with less than favorable situations far better when they know what they’re getting into. Perception is all about meeting or exceeding expectations. If I was in charge, Apple should at least warn users just before updating something like “Note that this new iOS has been optimized for the new iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus, hence may perform relatively slowly on your iPhone 4S. Once iOS 8 is installed onto your device, you may not revert back to your current version of iOS. We look forward to your great experiences with the many amazing new features to enjoy in iOS 8. However, this is not a mandatory update to your relatively older device. Would you like to continue? [Yes] [Maybe Later]”

      Reply

  3. Pammie

    09/19/2014 at 5:56 pm

    Have had trouble on my iPad after ios8 update. Cannot change the colour of my gmail calendars. There is no option to do this. Only on my Hotmail calendar is there an option, but not gmail calendars. Very frustrating.

    Reply

  4. Mitchell

    09/19/2014 at 7:20 pm

    I have an iPhone 5 and am doing the wait and see and so far I’m glad I did. I just can’t see jumping on the band wagon and doing the upgrade, it’s just not a smart way to proceed. I will wait, and wait, and wait, however long is necessary to make sure “all” the bugs are worked out. Many of my apps need to do their upgrades so they’ll work properly with ios8, not the other way around. My advice, if you haven’t upgraded yet, don’t, just wait, give it time, and when Apple comes out with the update to the upgrade, wait again and make sure before making your move, you’ll be glad you did.

    Reply

  5. sid

    09/20/2014 at 1:05 am

    This is my biggest mistake i updated ios 8 on my 5s premium… It’s worst as hell too slow the spotlight search takes minutes to show results and changing music from the locked screen makes it hang and takes 10 minutes to restart. And in between it spoiled my mood.. Really worst than anything apple this time u disappointed

    Reply

  6. Mike

    09/20/2014 at 11:22 am

    Funny, I never have this problem with my android devices.

    Reply

  7. Carolyn Graham

    09/20/2014 at 4:23 pm

    These people don’t have a problem. At least their device turns ON. After the 8.0 update on my iPad 3, I saw “Hola”~slide to open….It’s been DEAD ever since! UGH!

    Reply

  8. Cindy

    09/21/2014 at 8:41 am

    I got the iPhone 6and am having problems with it being slow and password issues. Didn’t have the problem with the 5 when I uploaded os8

    Reply

  9. Jon

    09/21/2014 at 11:56 am

    Really regretting updating our 5S phones fr 7.1.2 to 8.0. Piss off Apple, you are going to turn away even your most solid fans.

    Wifi performance is terrible now, phone runs like it is a three-year old model.

    Reply

  10. ORFisherman

    09/21/2014 at 1:41 pm

    Check the apple support forum for the truth, def before you update. Thousands of people are complaining that the new update has destroyed their wifi performance, among other less annoying bugs (which there are many as well). The wifi stack by Apple has lost its ability to retain ap passwords and continuity. While you can browse after a reset of your network stettings, it doesn’t help for bandwidth (say goodbye to Netfix or streaming HBO) and it doesn’t last long before the corruption returns.

    Apple has certainly failed in their QA, and allowed management to push for a committed release date to save face, without proper testing.

    Reply

  11. Nat Lockwood

    09/22/2014 at 2:33 am

    Mine has dropped Contacts, will not save when I add more information to edit my Contacts, nor will it save an assigned photograph to Contacts. I have all my important contacts with Photos assigned so that when the picture comes up I know to answer it, if the picture doesn’t come up I don’t answer it and check who it was later- usually a sales call someone I don’t want to hear from any more. I was annoyed at the last update when it wouldn’t flash up with the picture when somebody called but this is twrrible. It’s dropped contacts and all sorts is going wrong. I’m seriously
    Considering resetting back to factory settings and try and reset the lot, but I’m hoping when I re-enter my Apple ID and plug it into the computer to get my songs & Photos back they doesn’t put everything back on but I don’t want or any of these stupid errors like un editable contacts and hoping re-entering my contacts manually I can’t put them in edited how I want and also not drop them. I don’t have that many to re enter and emailed myself screen shots of my passwords, apps and bookmarks. I hope that this will fix this issue and store it properly then I come back it up and hopefully will be how I want and backed up how I want! i text speak a lot suffering with a bone disease chronic pain leukaemia and other issues typing particularly small keyboards can cause
    me lots of cramp in pain in my fingers and hands, so I want to speak I’m getting quite annoyed at the fact it’s putting in capital letters in the middle of sentences that I don’t want when they are not names or place names etc!it’s also typing words that don’t even exist, missing words totally and I’m finding im typing more to edit the issues than speaking! It’s also very hard on websites to press near the text I want to edit, it just won’t put the curser there and I can press more than 10 times. I hate ios8! I finally had the current iPhone as I never have before and they being out new owns so fast and updates you can’t keep up, the updates never work and it is like rendering the old phones useless like they are doing it to get you to buy a new one, which I can’t do being Sick and not having much money, I was lucky on our family contract I got this for £10 but I’m stuck for 2 years and only for it in feb, smashed yet brand new and took nearly 2 weeks to get a working un- dropped one. It’s all money grabbing and unfair!

    Reply

  12. Annie

    09/23/2014 at 1:26 am

    A few of my paid-for Apps no longer work after iOS8 installation. How can I sort this?

    Reply

  13. JR

    10/14/2014 at 9:01 am

    Short of resetting your iPhone 4S, you can gain some performance back by reducing motion. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility, find the setting labeled “Reduce Motion” and turn it on. It helps a bit… it is NOT a fix.

    Reply

  14. James Burdette

    10/20/2014 at 8:01 pm

    IOS 8.1 update out today.Niwmy ipad is even SLOWER than before! I’m done with Apple.

    Reply

  15. Catthehat

    10/30/2014 at 2:58 am

    You guys are all stupid, it’s the same with android. It IS being slowed down to make you upgrade, I’ve never had more problems. I’ve figured out there bug and that’s the motion reduction. Turn it on to make iphone fast. Iphone wasn’t slow when the last founder of Apple was built. I should get a refund for this bull crap attemp in making me upgrade my phone. Anybody who believes otherwise is probably just Apple employees but you really think anybody has the nerve to stand up lol

    Reply

  16. Yepp

    11/05/2014 at 10:13 am

    Sorry Josh, but if not because of iOS 8 Conspiracy, then because of pure ignorance from Apple is iOS 8 slow on iPhone 4S. All it takes is OPTIMISATION – iOS 8 has no more eye candy then iOS 7, not a great deal of extra features – and yet it’s slow like HELL. And not because it’s an “old” device, and yes it’s a wonder. Screw you Apple, I hate you. Good bye.

    Reply

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