Isn’t it great when you get a new iPhone? You open it up and peel back the plastic scratch coverings and power it on for the first time. And man, you immediately notice how quickly it starts. Then you load on your apps and settings and, jeez, this iPhone is still blazingly fast—so much faster than your old one.
But then something starts to happen. About a month later you think, just maybe, your new iPhone isn’t as fast as it was on the day you opened it. A few months later the increasing slowness becomes more noticeable. And by the time you’re getting ready to buy the next iPhone a year or two down the line you just can’t wait to get rid of this slow piece of garbage.
I’ve heard people say that people who claim their iPhone has become slower over time are just imagining things. It’s all in their heads, they say. But it’s not. iPhones do actually slow down as time goes on. Why—and four ways to speed your iPhone back up—are outlined below.
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:
Press and hold your iPhone’s power button until the “Slide to power off” bar appears. DO NOT POWER OFF YOUR iPhone. Instead….
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.
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 have 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.
Not all apps allow you to clear the cache, but Apple has built a secret feature into its pre-installed apps that let you clear their cache. Here’s how:
Open a preinstalled app. These include apps like App Store, iTunes Store, Music, Podcasts, Game Center, iMessage and Phone.
In the tab bar (the bar where the app’s buttons are) in any of these apps, tap the same button (it doesn’t matter which) quickly 10 times in a row. The app will now flash white and its cache will be cleared.
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.
To ensure iMessages never become a storage or speed hog in the future, it’s best to set iMessages to auto delete after a set amount of time. To do this:
Go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages.
On the Keep Messages screen choose 30 Days or 1 Year (if you want to keep them for a bit longer). Choosing either one of these options will delete all your older messages past that timeframe—and in the process speed up your iPhone.
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:
Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and toggle the “Reduce Motion” option to ON (green). Now animations will be less pronounced (or gone altogether).