How To Speed Up A Slow iPhone In 4 Easy Steps (Great For Older Models)

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 09/26/19 •  5 min read

How To Speed Up A Slow iPhone In 4 Easy Steps

How To Speed Up A Slow iPhone
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Check Out Our Guide To The #1 iPhone Models Right Now

#1) Clear your RAM

RAM stands for random access memory and it’s a thing software on your phone relies on so it can open quickly and perform tasks. When an app is running a certain amount of RAM is allocated to it. While this RAM is allocated to it, other apps can’t use it. If you are using a lot of apps at the same time (meaning several are running in the background) it’s possible almost all your RAM can be used up, slowing down your iPhone, until you quit those apps. The problem is sometimes apps, even when quit, don’t give up the RAM they were using. This means your iPhone can actually run slower even though you aren’t actively using apps. One way to reset the RAM—that is, force free it from the apps that are using it—is to restart your iPhone. Granted, that can take a while. Thankfully there’s a faster way:

Release the power button and now press and hold the home button for five seconds until your home screen comes back on. You RAM will now have been refreshed and your iPhone should be much faster.

#2) Clear the cache from the iPhone’s built-in apps

Another thing that can slow down your iPhone are cache files. These are files that store data so an app can quickly access that data next time without having to go looking for it or creating it again. In theory this will lead to speedier apps. However, large caches, over time, can actually slow down your iPhone.

#3) Clear your iMessages

Believe it or not, but having a ton of iMessages can massively slow down your phone—in addition to taking up space. At one point I had 8GB of iMessages on my iPhone. You can check how many you have by going to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. If your iMessages are taking up more than 1GB it might be time to delete them.

#4) Disable animations

Apple introduced some cool motion and animation effects called Parallax back in iOS 7. While they look cool, making your iPhone carry these out each time you open an app drains both the battery and requires your RAM and processors to work harder, slowing down your phone. If you don’t need the eye candy it’s best to disable the animations. To do this:

NUCLEAR OPTION – Get A New iPhone

How To Speed Up A Slow iPhone In 4 Easy Steps (Great For Older Models)
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If all else fails perhaps it’s time to concede defeat and get a new iPhone? I know, I know – new iPhones cost a BOMB. But there are other ways to get a new phone (no, I’m not talking about stealing one) that will save you a bunch of cash. I don’t like contracts or “carrier agreements”. I don’t like being tied to one network either; I’d rather shop around and choose the best deals for my data and minutes as they happen. But this means I need to buy my phones outright – and that can be expensive. But then I discovered that you can buy reconditioned iPhones, basically used iPhones that look and work as good as new – but cost 40% less. I was dubious at first, figured they’d be rubbish. But I was wrong: these handsets run like new, look like new, and perform like new phones. I am now on my second reconditioned iPhone. I wrote an entire article on buying reconditioned iPhones that covers where to buy them and what to look for when purchasing. Basically, if you want an iPhone and don’t want to spend “iPhone money” – and are also avoid being tied to a network – this is the best way to do it. Trust me, I’m a convert.

How To Speed Up A Slow iPhone
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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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