10 tips to speed up a slow iPad: Clear out junk, optimise settings and more

Here's how to speed up a slow iPad - perhaps an older model, such as the iPad 1, 2 or 3 or the iPad mini 1, or just an iPad that isn't as fast as it used to be. These tips speed up an iPad and get it to run much more quickly.

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  • Speed up an iPad 1
  • Delete apps 2
  • Restart 3
  • App refresh 4
  • Update iOS 5
  • Clear cache 6
  • Check internet speed 7
  • Notifications 8
  • Location Services 9
  • Spotlight 10
  • Reduce Motion 11
  • More stories
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Tip 1 of 11: How to speed up an iPad

If you own an older model of iPad - perhaps an iPad 1, 2, 3, or 4, or the iPad mini 1 - then the chances are that it isn't running as quickly as you like. Even though iOS is a modern operating system that requires minimal maintenance, it still gets full and slows down over time.

Sometimes even relatively new models feel sluggish compared to the way they soared when brand-new.

There are many different techniques for speeding up an old or slowed-down iPad, and here are some of the ones that we've found to be most effective.

Alternatively, take a look at the other tips, tutorials and general advice for iPad owners in the articles linked below.

See also: How to use Settings in iOS to configure your iPad | 40 awesome tips & tricks for iPad users

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If you own an older model of iPad - perhaps an iPad 1, 2, 3, or 4, or the iPad mini 1 - then the chances are that it isn't running as quickly as you like. Even though iOS is a modern operating system that requires minimal maintenance, it still gets full and slows down over time.

Sometimes even relatively new models feel sluggish compared to the way they soared when brand-new.

There are many different techniques for speeding up an old or slowed-down iPad, and here are some of the ones that we've found to be most effective.

Alternatively, take a look at the other tips, tutorials and general advice for iPad owners in the articles linked below.

See also: How to use Settings in iOS to configure your iPad | 40 awesome tips & tricks for iPad users

 

Step 2 of 11: Speed up an iPad by removing apps

The first trick is to have a good software clear-out. Remove any apps that you no longer use. Apps take up storage space, and freeing up space makes it easier for iOS to operate.

Note that we're talking about deleting the apps from the device entirely, not just closing them down (by double-tapping to open the multitasking bar, then swiping up on the app you want to close). That won't make any difference. The theory that closing down a few apps will free up memory and speed up an iOS device is a myth, and anybody who understands how iOS manages memory knows that it won't work.

But deleting apps that you no longer use has a notable effect on iOS. That one isn't a myth.

Alternatively, if you're looking to delete multiple apps, there's an easier way. Tap Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage. Now tap Manage Storage (under Storage, not iCloud) and look for items that are taking up lots of space. Podcasts, GarageBand and Movies are likely suspects. Tap an app to view its contents, and then tap Delete it remove it.

Read more: How to delete iPad apps

 

Step 3 of 11: Speed up an iPad by restarting

Once you've cleared out the iPad, you should restart it. The restart refreshes the memory and enables it to start from scratch.

Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until you see the Slide To Power Off control slide and power down your iPad, then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again to wake it back up.

 

Step 4 of 11: Speed up an iPad by turning off app refresh

Now that you've cleared out the junk, your iPad should already be working much faster. But if you're using an older iPad, such as an iPad mini or iPad 2, then you'll get better results by turning off features you can manage without.

Start by removing Background App Refresh. Tap Settings > General > Background App Refresh and set Background App Refresh to Off.

 

Step 5 of 11: Speed up an iPad by updating iOS

Be warned: updating the iOS can be a mixed bag in terms of speed, as sometimes it introduces new features that actually slow down an older iOS device. But these tend to be fixed by Apple over time, and newer versions of iOS introduce new, and more efficient code. In any case, if your iPad is unusably slow after trying all the other tips here, it's worth a go.

Tap Settings > General > Software Update and check if there's a new version of iOS available. Updating iOS is almost always a one-way process, so only do this if you're sure... or desperate.

Read next: How to set up a new iPad

 

Step 6 of 11: Speed up an iPad by clearing the Safari cache

Safari is one app where you might notice slowdown more than most. This can be caused by a full cache, which Safari has to search through. Tap Settings > General > Clear History and Website Data to remove all of the Safari cache information.

This should speed up the Safari interface, although web pages may take slightly longer to load in the short term (as the cache fills back up).

 

Step 7 of 11: Your iPad might not be the problem

If you still find Safari to run slowly after clearing out the cache, the issue might not be with the browser, but instead with your internet connection. It doesn't matter how fast your iPad is, if your connection to the internet is weak then it'll slow things down to a snails pace. 

Download a speed test app like Ookla's Speedtest app and run the test. The average broadband speed in the UK is around the 29mb/s mark, but this can be much higher in some places. If you find that your internet is extremely low, around the 1-4mb/s mark, that might explain why your iPad is running so slowly - especially in Safari, and other apps that require an active internet connection. 

The solution? Move closer to your Wi-Fi router, or look into Wi-Fi extenders to provide wider wireless coverage in the home. 

 

Step 8 of 11: Speed up an iPad by turning off notifications

Scanning for and providing notifications can slow down an iOS device. Tap Settings > Notifications and, for each app, set Notifications to Off.

 

Step 9 of 11: Speed up an iPad by turning off Location Services

Location Services sits in the background sucking up battery life and reducing performance. While it can be handy to have apps like Maps and Facebook accessing your location, you'll notice the difference if you turn it off.

Tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services and set Location Services to Off. Tap Turn Off.

 

Step 10 of 11: Speed up an iPad by turning off Spotlight

Spotlight is a handy way to find something on your iPad, but it has to index each item on your iPad that can occasionally slow things down. Tap Settings > General > Spotlight Search and set all the Search Results items to Off.

 

Step 11 of 11: Speed up an iPad by enabling Reduce Motion

If you've turned off everything else and want a little bit more speed, turning off some of the visual effects can provide a slight speed boost. Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and set Reduce Motion to On.

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