Five minutes to a faster iPhone or Android smartphone

It's the weekend, so why not take a few minutes to speed up your smartphone?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Who doesn't want their smartphone to feel a little faster and smoother? But the problem is that there are so many tips and tricks out there, that you can be spending hours on tweaking and optimizing and downloading and be getting very little in return.

So, what's the quickest way to speed up your iPhone or Android smartphone?

Here's how I speed up my devices, and the whole thing take less than five minutes.

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Speeding up an iPhone

How you go about this depends on whether you have an iPhone with Face ID or Touch ID.

You can test that it has actually worked by loading up an app that you had previously running, and you'll notice that the app has to reload completely, not going back to the state it was in before.

iPhones with Face ID

The first thing you need to do is to activate a feature called AssistiveTouch. AssistiveTouch floats a small menu on your display (which you can move around on the screen) that allows you to carry out gestures such as pinching or multi-finger swipes with a single finger and offers quick access to a variety of functions. It's very useful, and I have it activated and use it all the time, especially for taking screenshots.

It also gives you access to a virtual on-screen Home button, which is what we want here.

There are three ways to activate AssistiveTouch:

  • Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, then switch on AssistiveTouch
  • Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and then click AssistiveTouch
  • Ask Siri: "Turn on AssistiveTouch"

I recommend using the first option because this then immediately allows you to add the Home button to the menu by clicking on Customize Top Level Menu… and making sure the Home button is there. Tap on a button to add it if it is not there.

OK, with the long-winded part out of the way, here's how you go about clearing the RAM.

  • Go to Settings > General > Shut Down
  • DO NOT SLIDE TO POWER OFF! Instead, bring up the AssistiveTouch menu and hold the virtual Home button until the screen returns to the Lock screen (usually about a second or so)
  • Done!

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iPhones with Touch ID

For iPhones that are equipped with Touch ID, here's the process, and it's so simple:

  • Go to Settings > General > Shut Down
  • DO NOT SLIDE TO POWER OFF! Instead, press and hold the Home button until the screen returns to the Home screen (usually about 5 seconds)
  • Done!

Speeding up an Android smartphone

There's so much you could be doing here that you could spend days, but you only have five minutes, so I'll keep it simple.

First, reboot your smartphone. Android hardware responds well to a reboot, and it freshens things up a lot. Then, download and install CCleaner.

I'm wary of "optimization" apps so it's taken a bit of testing for me to feel that not only is CCleaner safe to run, but that it also does help speed things up by freeing up RAM and sweeping away the detritus. I've actually found it to be so useful that I've even paid for the pro version so it can automatically clean my phone on a schedule every few days.

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