The iPhone and iPad are user-friendly devices, but iOS still gets clogged up over time with unwanted files and apps, which can slow your device down. In this article, we look at how to clean out the cache, the junk and the memory-clogging files on your iPhone and get it to run a bit faster.

iOS devices may not need the same level of maintenance as macOS (or, heaven forbid, Windows), but they still need some attention to run at optimum speed, and the performance of older iPhones and iPads in particular will benefit from a spring clean. A clear-out also helps on a human level, because it enables you to focus on the things you do need and use.

(For more general iOS speed tips, it would be worth taking a look at our broader tutorials: How to speed up a slow iPhone and How to speed up a slow iPad.)

Step 1: Delete the Safari cache

We're going to start by clearing out the cache in Safari. Note that this will log you out of any websites you've signed into.

  1. Open the Settings app, and scroll down to the fifth group of options (with Passwords & Accounts at the top). Tap Safari at the bottom of this group.
  2. Scroll down again and tap 'Clear History and Website Data'.
  3. Tap 'Clear History and Data'.

How to clear cache on iPhone or iPad: Clear History and Data

Step 2: Clear app data

Data stored by other apps can be cleaned out using the Usage option in Settings. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings > General > iPhone Storage. (On an iPad that option will be labelled iPad Storage.)
  2. At the bottom of the screen you'll see your apps, arranged by the amount of storage they take up. Tap an app that's taking up a lot of space.
  3. Take a look at the entry for Documents & Data. If it's using more than 500MB, it's worth deleting and reinstalling the app to clear the space.
  4. Tap Delete App, confirm, then head to the App Store (or your Purchased list) and re-download it. This will be a clean install without the data and documents.

How to clear cache on iPhone or iPad: App data

Step 3: Free up memory by restarting your iPhone or iPad

For the most part, iOS will manage memory effectively without you having to do anything. But we do find that restarting an iPhone occasionally is a good way to clear the memory and ensure that important apps have enough to run happily.

Here's how to restart your iPhone:

  1. Hold down the power button (at the top or top-right of the device) until "slide to power off" appears. If you've got an X-series iPhone you'll need to hold down both power and volume up until the slider appears.
  2. Swipe the power off slider.
  3. Wait until the device has fully powered down, then press and hold the power button to turn on the iPhone again.

Doing this on a regular basis used to be vital on an iPhone, and it can still be useful on older models.

Step 4: Download a cleaner app

Various apps can help you quickly get rid of files you don't need. These apps are normally downloaded on to your Mac or PC; you then connect your iPhone (or iPad) and let the app work its magic.

A cleaner app is normally the fastest and most effective way to make space on your iPhone, but if you want a fully featured one they usually cost somewhere in the region of £20/$20. Nevertheless, this is better than having to cough up for a whole new phone when you run out of space.

PhoneClean

PhoneClean by iMobie can be used to remove junk files from iOS. Follow these steps:

  1. Attach the iPhone to your Mac using the USB cable.
  2. Open PhoneClean and click Scan.
  3. Once the scan is complete, click Clean.

Some PhoneClean features, including Photo Caches, are only available in the Pro version. This costs $19.99 (around £14) per year.

How to clear cache on iPhone or iPad: PhoneClean app for iOS

iMyFone Umate

Much like PhoneClean by iMobie, iMyFone Umate for Mac and Windows can be used to quickly and easily remove temporary and junk files from your iOS device.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC.
  2. Open iMyFone Umate and click Scan on the Home tab.
  3. Check and clear out the Junk Files and Temporary Files sections to free up a lot of space on your device (4GB on our test iPhone).
  4. You can also clear out any large files (videos and so on) and see, at a glance, apps that take up a lot of space. These can also be deleted fairly easy.

There's a free version if you want to try the application out for yourself. The paid version, which also sets you back $19.95 (£14), adds more advanced features.

How to clear cache on iPhone or iPad: iMyFone Umate