One simple trick to speed up your old iPhone or iPad

Have you owned your iPhone or iPad for a couple of years? Is it starting to feel a little sluggish? Here's a tried and tested way to speed up an iPhone or iPad that's simple to do and only going to cost you some time.

Have you owned your iPhone or iPad for a couple of years? Is it starting to feel a little sluggish? Here's a tip that might allow you to squeeze an extra year or so from your existing hardware.

Over the years a lot of electrons have been spilt on the subject of making an iPhone or iPad faster, and let me tell you that most of them are just snake oil. No, Apple hasn't built some secret switch into iOS that only Tim Cook and his buddies know about.

That said, there is a tried and tested way to speed up an iPhone or iPad that's simple to do and only going to cost you some time.

Here's what you do: Wipe the device and reload it from a backup.

I told you it was simple.

Some pointers before you go all hog wild and start wiping the 1s and 0s though.

  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BACKUP! Either one up on iCloud or done via iTunes. If you don't have a backup then you're going to have to reload your stuff manually, and that's going to take a lot longer.
  • This process is going to take some time, so put aside a couple of hours at least to download all your apps and data.
  • The longer it has been since your iPhone or iPad was wiped (or new) the more mileage you'll get out of this tip. Normally this is something I do once a year.

The process is easy to carry out:

  • Familiarize yourself with the process before you start.
  • Make sure you have a backup!
  • Once that is done, wipe your device (Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings, and from there you'll be guided through the wiping process).
  • Let the reset process do its thing. This shouldn't take long.
  • Now you're ready to recover from a backup.

I've carried this out many times, and most recently on an old iPad 3 that's been in constant service since it was purchased and the results were quite noticeable. The old iPad went from feeling sluggish and somewhat unresponsive to fast and very usable (and it also meant that the owner could squeeze more life out of their purchase).

Another thing you can do if you're feeling braver and have more time on your hands is to wipe your device and then re-set it up as a new device (which means you reload all your apps and data into it manually). I tend to do this when:

  • I purchase a new device
  • When a new version of iOS is released

I find that when I do this I experience far fewer problems following the release of new hardware or software, and it also gives me a chance to purge myself of apps and data that I no longer use (my devices tend to accumulate a lot of detritus, your may be different). That said, be aware that you will have to set up everything - apps, passwords, settings, Bluetooth pairings, etc - from scratch. If you're not up to that task, or just don't have the time, then this is not for you.

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