Like all smartphones and tablets, iPhones can slow down as they age. This can be down to a number of factors such as low storage, old versions of apps or cluttered storage. We show you a few easy ways to the spring back in the step of your iPhone.
Method 1: Reboot your iPhone
Yes, we know this is the stock answer Roy would always give in The IT Crowd but there is a good reason for this, as in many cases it actually works. Try turning your iPhone off and back on again to see if this clears the issue. If so, then doff your caps to the unsung heroes of technical support who dwell in the basement at Reynholm Industries. And do watch the show if this is all meaningless to you.
To restart your iPhone, you’ll need to do the following:
On an iPhone with a Home button (iPhone 8 and similar) it’s just a matter of holding down the button of the right side of the unit until you see the power off option, then drag the slider on the screen to restart your iPhone.
If you have a Face ID equipped iPhone (such as the iPhone 11 or iPhone XR) then the method is slightly different. Hold down the button on the right side and at the same time do the same with either of the volume controls. Once again, you should see the power off options appear on the screen, so slide it across to reboot your device.
Method 2: Update iOS
Another good place to start with an iPhone that’s sluggish is to check whether there is a newer version of iOS available. It could be a case that a previous update has introduced the problem, but Apple has fixed it in the latest iteration. To check this, open Settings > General > Software Update. If there is new version available, download and install it, then hopefully you should see an improvement.
Method 3: Update your apps
It’s possible that an app could be causing the problem. It’s impossible to know which one is the culprit – or indeed if an app is even at fault – but keeping apps up to date can help to mitigate this. An update could still include the bug, so this isn’t a guarantee of success, but it’s certainly good practice.
Open the App Store and tap the Today option at the bottom of the page. Now, select your account profile and scroll down until you find the Available Updates section. In here iOS will list all the apps installed on your device that can be updated. To do this, select either the Update All option at the top of section or tap the Update option next to each individual app.
Method 4: Use Low Data mode
Low Data mode is a new addition in iOS 13 which stops apps from accessing data in the background, something that can be a drain on the system and lessen performance. There are two separate settings, one for Wi-Fi and another for Mobile Data (or Cellular in the US).
To enable the feature, use the following steps:
Go to Settings > Mobile Data (or Cellular) then turn on Low Data Mode.
Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and tap the information button (the letter i in a circle) beside the network you’re currently using. Then select Low Data Mode from the options that appear.
Method 5: Increase available storage space
When your iPhone storage gets low, it can have an impact on performance. Therefore, it’s a good idea to always have a healthy amount of space free, with the optimal reserve being around 10% of the total storage. So, for a 64GB device, you’ll need at least 6.4GB, but if you can manage to keep 10GB spare then that would be the safest bet.
There are several ways to clear out unnecessary items that are stored on your device. One is to delete apps from your iPhone.
If you use iCloud Photos then you can adjust the settings so that only small versions are stored on your device while the full resolution images are kept on Apple’s servers.
To do this, go to Settings > Photos then select the Optimise iPhone Storage option.
For a much more in-depth guide to reducing your storage use, take a look at How to free up space on iPhone as well as how to clear the cache on iOS.
Of course, it could just be that time has finally caught up with your device and it needs replacing. If that’s the case, then be sure to look at iPhone buying guide before you make a purchase.