iOS 9 essentials: How to improve device performance after upgrade

If iOS 9 seems to have slowed your device, here's how to get the mojo back

If your iPhone or iPad seems slower now you’ve installed iOS 9, please try these simple tips – they may be all it takes to get things running smoothly again.

Don’t panic

If you’ve only just installed iOS 9 on your device then performance will lag slightly while your iPhone or iPad indexes itself. The more data you have on your device, the longer the process takes, but it is only temporary, so be patient.

Apps control

You can easily end up with a host of currently running apps. Double-click the Home button to see them, if you have dozens running it makes sense to switch them off, as this may improve overall device performance so soon after an upgrade.

Also read: 15 iOS 9 details you might have missed!


If you’ve given your device a good amount of time to sort itself out, then it makes sense to Reset Network Settings and/or Force Restart your device.

  • Force Restart: I think the best solution for most iOS problems is the forced Restart. Press and hold both the sleep/wake button and Home button for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo.
  • Reset Network Settings: Settings>General>Reset>Reset Network Settings. You will need to enter passwords for any WiFi, VPN or other networks you use, so make sure you have these to hand.
  • Reset All Settings: If the other resets don’t seem to work, try choosing this option in Settings>General>Reset. You’ll be asked for your Wi-Fi passwords once again and you will need to re-pair any Bluetooth devices you use.


Opinions differ and I understand this is a lot more challenging for iOS users with 16GB devices, but do check how much storage capacity you have available. (Settings>General>Usage>Storage). As a rule of thumb I like to leave around 10 percent (or more) free space, as my perception is that doing so improves performance. If your device is full, please delete some unused apps, images or video.


Apple is expected to ship iOS 9.1 in a few weeks, alongside OS X El Capitan and the iPad Pro, and this may help improve performance. However, if you’ve tried the above steps and still want more, try these:


You can boost performance a little with these:

Reduce transparency, motion

Switching off some of iOS 9’s attractive visual effects can improve device performance. This does prevent some of the fun user interface effects, but should deliver the performance you crave.

  • You find controls for both Transparency and Motion in Settings>General>Accessibility.
  • For transparency now choose ‘Increase Contrast’ and select the ‘Reduce Transparency’ option, toggle this to green (On).
  • For Motion in the Accessibility menu choose ‘Reduce Motion’ and toggle this to on.

Disable Siri suggestions

It seems a little pyrrhic to disable one of iOS 9’s newer features, but if you really want better device performance you can achieve some gains by doing so. To disable Siri Suggestions open Settings>General>Spotlight Search and toggle Siri Suggestions to off from the default green. 

Background App Refresh

Active apps run in the background on iOS, updating themselves with new information so they are completely up to date next time you look at the app. If you switch Background App Refresh off then you’ll really only notice a few seconds of annoyance when you open an app, as they’ll only update themselves when they are active. Switch the feature of in Settings>General> Toggle Background App Refresh to off.

If you need more help take a look at The essential iOS 9 installation problem-solving guide for more help.

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