8 easy ways to speed up older iPads (and iPhones)

Get more from an older iPad

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, how to, performnce

Apple products hold value in the second user market. You can still raise $69 or more for a first generation iPad on eBay, while you can’t expect the same performance as you enjoy from newer models, you can get much more from an older iPad (or any iOS device) using these eight easy tips.


Restart flushes the memory to help boost performance. To restart your iPad hold down the Sleep/Wake button and use the Slide to Power Off control when it appears. Wait a few seconds and start the device again.

Alternatively you can force reboot the device by holding the Home and Power buttons down until the Apple logo appears onscreen.


Get rid of the apps you don’t use. Not only does this free up storage space (important when using a 16GB model) but the tablet should run a little more efficiently if it has free space. Delete unwanted apps by tapping and holding an app icon until all the app icons begin to vibrate, then delete the apps you don’t need by tapping the grey cross before a restart. (NB: You will find yourself unable to delete some Apple-supplied apps).

File management

You should also delete files you don’t need in Settings>General>Storage & iCloud Usage, where you should choose Storage>Manage Storage. Delete anything you don’t need, after ensuring you have it stored off the device. Now restart.

Also read: How to identify a stolen iPhone

App refresh

The Background App Refresh feature is useful, but you can tweak a little more performance from your iPad without significantly reducing the usefulness of the device if you switch it off in Settings>General>Background App Refresh, set to Off.

Here are several other features to tweak for performance:

Reduce Transparency: Switch on in Settings>General>Accessibility

Reduce Motion: Switch on in Settings>General>Accessibility

Disable Siri Suggestions: General>Spotlight Suggestions and flip Siri Suggestions to off. If you Siri you can always reenable when you think you might need it and enjoy a faster iPad in the meantime.


How often do you search for things on your iPad? If this is something you do frequently you may want to skip this, but you may see slightly better device performance by disabling Spotlight. (Tap Settings>General>Spotlight Search and set Search Results to Off.)

Notifications and Location Services

While they are sometimes useful, Notifications can impact device performance. You should at least review which apps are checking to see if they have a fresh Notification and switch this off for those you don’t need or use. Tap Settings>Notifications and go through the list, setting Notifications to Off for all or some of those listed there.

Once you’ve tamed Notifications you need to do the same with Location Services, which you disable in Settings>Privacy.

Year zero

Safari creates a cache of settings and Website data in normal use and this can impact browser performance on your device. To freshen the browser up a little choose Settings>General>Clear History and Website Data to delete the cache, which should improve performance.

Clear RAM

You can apply this in just a few seconds whenever you feel like your iOS device has become a little sluggish. There are two steps:

  • Hold down the Power button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ message appears.
  • Don’t cancel and don’t slide to power off, just keep holding the Power button down and now also depress the Home button for a few seconds.

The screen should flash black before returning to the Home screen.

Buy new

Apple is soon expected to introduce new products. Perhaps now is the time to sell your old iPad and make way for the new? These instructions should help anyone about to sell an older iOS device.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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