Why Is Your iPad Running Slowly? How to Find Out and Fix It

Tips for Fixing a Slow iPad

Is your iPad running slowly? You may believe that out with the old and in with the new is the best rule to follow for gadgets since devices tend to lag in speed as they get older. Today, most smartphone users upgrade to a new device every 18-24 months.

Many people keep higher-priced devices, like the iPad, for longer periods of time. This oversized iPhone has become a staple in households for its mesmerizing display and unique size.

iPads are not quite like their smaller sister, the iPhone. They have a longer life and don’t need upgrades or trade-ins as often. Over time, your device will slow down, and when it loses the seamless touch response it’s known for, you may become frustrated. 

Knowing how to fix a slow iPad will help you keep your current device and any future devices in great shape to fulfill your technology needs. 

14 Tips to Speed Up Your iPad

My two-year-old iPad recently became sluggish, so I took a few steps to make it faster. Check out my list for how to fix a slow iPad.

Many of these tips can also address other iPad issues, such as lack of storage space, high data usage and low battery life. This list is full of helpful information. Read on if you’re experiencing several minor technology problems or want to focus on helping your iPad run faster.

1. Restart Your iPad

Fixing a slow iPad can be as simple as a quick restart. Restarting your device helps prevent it from crashing, removes potential issues and allows it to run smoothly overall. 

Routinely restarting your iPad, even when it seems to be operating well, is a great way to keep it in optimal condition. Aim to restart at least once every few weeks or whenever you feel your device could benefit from a quick reboot. 

To restart your iPad, turn it off by holding down the power button for three seconds. Then slide the power icon that appears on the screen. Turn it back on by pressing the power button again until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

2. Turn It Off When Not In Use 

Similar to restarting your device, turning it off regularly can help keep it running well for years. Though iPads have the battery capacity to stay on for long periods of time, turning them off when not using them is a great way to keep them running like new

Powering down your iPad often triggers update installations when you turn it back on. It also gives the device’s hardware and software time to rest and recharge. Whenever you turn off your device, leave it off for at least one or two minutes before turning it back on. 

3. Completely Close Apps

Most of the time, when you leave an app, you don’t actually close out of it all the way. Instead, it’s still open and running in the background, ready to reload when you open it again. 

Even though keeping several apps open may allow you to access them quickly, continuing this habit slows your device’s overall operations over time. Keeping several tabs open in your internet browser is another way to slow down your iPad.

While restarting your iPad clears the open apps, closing them manually is a useful alternative for when you want to keep using your device right away. 

Get in the habit of completely closing out of apps and tabs as soon as you’re done with them to prevent them from piling up. 

4. Turn Off Background App Refresh

iPads and other smart devices come with a useful feature for giving you updated app information. Background app refresh allows apps running in the background to check for new content and updates, so the next time you visit those apps, they’ll show you the latest information. 

While this feature is convenient when you want to save a few seconds of loading time after reopening an app, it’s also a constant background process that eats up running space. Turning off background app refresh lets your iPad devote more energy toward the functions you use the most. 

To turn off background app refresh, head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh > Off. 

If you still want some apps to refresh in the background, you can customize which apps continue to update and which you want to turn off. Choosing which apps to disable is a helpful feature when you only want some of your apps to refresh. 

To select which apps to turn off background app refresh for, press Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Then, scroll down to view all your apps and manually toggle your choices for each one. 

5. Check Your Internet Connection

Sometimes, issues beyond your iPad itself can cause your device to act up. A slow or damaged Wi-Fi connection can interrupt your internet browsing and make your connected apps sluggish. 

Try disconnecting and reconnecting to the Wi-Fi network or connecting to a different network if possible. If you’re still having connectivity issues, check the Wi-Fi router itself. Fixing the problem at the network level can help all your connected devices run faster.

6. Disable Animations

Your iPad has many animations that make the screen’s movement quality top-notch. From transitions between apps to the way your screen looks when you open a new app, iPads are an excellent investment because of their impressive quality. However, these features aren’t crucial to the device’s overall operations. You’ll probably see an improvement in device speed by turning them off. 

To disable animations, head to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on the “Reduce Motion” option. While you’re there, you can also turn off the Increase Contrast option and turn on the Reduce Transparency setting to further speed up your device.

7. Disable Siri Suggestions

Siri, your iPad’s virtual assistant, uses on-device processing to learn how you use your apps and device to provide a better and more personalized user experience. Siri analyzes device information like your search history, emails, notifications and app data to provide shortcuts and search suggestions tailored to your habits. 

Many people consider Siri suggestions an integral aspect of their iPad usage. However, disabling it can speed up your device. You can always reenable Siri suggestions if you decide to use them again in the future. 

To disable Siri suggestions, go to Settings > General > Spotlight Suggestions and toggle Siri Suggestions to off.

8. Turn Off Notifications

App notifications are convenient. They immediately tell you about messages or other interesting updates. However, you likely don’t need to stay in the loop with every single app. Unnecessary notifications can impede device performance. 

Review the notifications settings for all your apps and switch off those you don’t need. You can also do a similar sweep with Location Services, which often runs in the background and shares your device’s location with several apps, slowing down operations. 

To turn off notifications app by app, go to Settings > Notifications and go through the list of apps there. To disable Location Services, go to Settings > Privacy. 

9. Clear the Cache

Caches are important aspects of your iPad and other devices. They’re storage locations that collect temporary data to help websites and apps load faster. 

Caches help your device retrieve data to help the programs you use run quickly. Instead of re-downloading data each time you use an app or visit a website, the cache stores the data locally so you can access it the next time around. Caches can also save data to help some apps and features run without an internet connection. 

Devices like your iPad store caches in two main places — the hardware and the software. Your iPad’s central processing unit (CPU) has its own cache to help it load information it uses often. 

Additionally, each web browser you use, including Safari, has a cache that downloads and displays all the information for the sites you visit. Individual apps also have their own caches, which store different data types depending on their functions. 

Why Clear Your Cache? 

Caches can improve your iPad’s short-term performance. However, when they get too full, they “overflow,” slowing down your device. Each time you visit an app or website, your device stores more information. 

Clearing the cache is like emptying the trash. Sometimes, it simply fills up too much to help your device work properly. Other times, corrupted caches can cause apps and browsers to display incorrect information or crash unexpectedly. Clearing some general or localized caches may help your slow iPad regain some of its former power. 

To clear the cache on Safari, head to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Data. You can also manually clear each individual app’s cache in the Settings app. 

10. Delete Unused Apps

Swipe through your iPad’s app collection, and you’ll probably find a lot of apps you don’t use very often, if at all. Delete them. When you only have a few bytes of memory left, every bit of storage space counts. 

Decluttering your iPad’s apps helps you free up space and improves device performance. When your iPad has fewer processes to run and maintain, it can devote more of its operations to the apps and browsers you use the most. 

If you delete an app you’ve paid for, iOS will remember that transaction, so if you ever want to re-download a paid app in the future, you won’t need to pay for it again. Many apps also have websites you can easily visit in your browser for sites and functions you still want access to without the weighty apps. 

As you delete apps, make sure you don’t delete any important data. Also, you may not be able to delete some Apple-supplied apps that are essential for device health or your Apple account. 

To delete an app on iOS, press and hold the icon until it shakes, then tap the “x” that appears in the corner. You can also see which apps are taking up the most space on your device by going to Settings > General, Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage.

11. Back Up Photos to iCloud

Pictures and videos can take up more space on your device than you realize. Photos hogged more than 2GB of memory on my iPad. Freeing up this additional space is a great way to give your iPad even more room to run at faster speeds. 

Take advantage of the cloud. With any Apple device, you get 5GB of iCloud storage for free, with additional storage starting at just $.99 per month. iCloud Photo Library lets you upload your photos and videos to the cloud so you can delete the originals on your device. 

Google Photos is another cloud storage option available for iOS devices. When you upload photos and videos to Google Photos, the program can automatically delete the originals from your iPad, saving you time. Google Photos gives you lots of free file storage, though you can pay for more space if needed. 

To turn on iCloud sharing, press Settings > iCloud > Login, or setup a free account by going to Photos > iCloud Photo Library (Beta). You can also customize your photo settings to keep only the most recent files on your device by going to Settings > Photos & Camera > Optimize Storage. 

12. Install Recent Updates

Whenever your iPad prompts you to complete a new software update, try to install it as soon as possible. Updates are a great way to improve device performance, and some updates are specifically designed to fix issues that may be slowing down your iPad. You should also update individual apps whenever possible for even faster performance with the specific features you use the most. 

Operating system updates provide many other benefits, including increased device security and new features for improved user experience.

For best results, before installing any updates, charge your iPad and make sure it has enough memory to complete the download. You may also want to back up any critical files. While updates aren’t designed to affect the data stored on your device, creating backups gives you peace of mind. 

While updates are often a good idea, device age plays a crucial role in an update’s ability to help your iPad. Newer devices are more compatible with the latest updates, while older iPad models may no longer benefit from the features they provide. New updates can actually slow down devices that are too old. If your device is more than a few years old, consider opting out of future updates. 

13. Complete the Wipe

If the steps above don’t restore your iPad’s speed to the quality you’re looking for, a complete wipe of the device may be in order. Restoring your iPad to factory settings wipes all data, including your personal information, apps and data associated with your Apple ID so you can start with a clean slate. Starting from scratch may give your device the boost it needs to operate faster. 

Before resetting anything, back up all your iPad’s information and files. A factory reset is a major step, so you should only try this method if you’ve exhausted all other options and still face serious issues. 

After a complete wipe, if you’re still planning on using your iPad, you’ll need to set up the device again and reinstall all your previous apps and data, either manually or from an iCloud backup. 

You should also complete a factory reset if you’re planning on selling your iPad so it’s ready for the next user. 

Perform a factory reset by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

14. Release and Replace

Is your iPad still operating slowly after completing these steps? It might be time for a new one. I chose to trade in my iPad for a newer version, pre-owned from Gazelle, with just a small upfront cost to upgrade. It’s worth considering, especially because technology only slows down with time.

Selling your used device is simple. When you send the seller information about your iPad, like the make, model and condition, they’ll offer you a fair quote. Once you accept, you’ll send in your iPad with a prepaid shipping label and get paid upon device verification. When the seller inspects your device to verify their original offer, they may even increase the price they pay you if your device is in great shape. 

When you send in your used iPad, you contribute to a robust pre-owned technology market. This helps people afford quality devices without breaking the bank. In return, you’ll receive money for your used device in the form of a check, PayPal deposit or Amazon gift card. 

Giving new life to your device also helps the planet. Recycling your iPad keeps chemicals and waste out of landfills, as you’ll let someone else enjoy your device instead of throwing it away. 

Trading in your old iPad is also the perfect opportunity to find a replacement device that’s new to you. Buying a quality preowned device lets you explore a model and brand while saving money on upfront and contract costs. You’ll get a great iPad with all the performance features you need. 

Buy and Sell With Gazelle

If you’re looking to upgrade your slow iPad for a faster model, Gazelle has you covered. We offer tons of replacement device options on our online store, which has a wide variety of quality iPads and smartphones to choose from. You’ll find your ideal device at a fraction of its original cost, helping your wallet and the environment. 

Our website gives you all the device specs you need to make an informed decision. Each device listing tells you valuable information like the price, storage space, color, carrier and cosmetic condition, as well as specific features to help you learn more about your potential purchase. These comprehensive details make device shopping easy and fun!

Contact us today for more information, or browse our site to find your next favorite iPad!



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