How to Fix a Slow iPad

Improve the speed of your iPad with these tips

Is your iPad running slowly? Does it seem to bog down after a few hours? While reduced performance is more likely to happen with older iPad models that don't have the processing power of the iPad Air and iPad Pro tablets, even the newest iPad can slow down. Here's what causes these slowdowns and tips for fixing them.

You can use these fixes on iPad models with iOS 11 or later or iPadOS, but many apply to earlier versions of iOS, as well.

Cause of Slow iPad Performance

There are many reasons why an iPad may run slowly. An app installed on the device may have issues. Your internet connection may be slow. The iPad may be running an older operating system or have the Background App Refresh feature enabled. Your device's storage space may be full. If you notice slow performance only when you're using your iPad to surf the web, Safari for iPad may be struggling to deal with ads. The good news is that most of these problems are easy to fix.

Someone frustrated with their slow iPad, surrounded by pictures of turtles, sloth, molasses, and Slow signs
Lifewire / Ellen Lindner

How to Fix a Slow iPad

The solutions that follow can help get your iPad in racing form:

  1. Restart the iPad. Whenever you encounter a problem with a device, a good first step is to restart that device, and the iPad is no exception. Restarting the iPad flushes everything from temporary memory and gives the operating system a clean start.

    Restarting the iPad won't permanently delete any of your personal data.

  2. Quit the current iPad app. One reason an iPad may slow down is a problem with an app rather than the iPad. Quitting, then reopening the app may fix the problem.

    Save your work before you quit an app to avoid losing your work. If the app is in the middle of a task, wait until the app finishes the task before quitting the app.

  3. Remove all apps from the App Switcher. Your iPad adds every app you open to the App Switcher, the iPad task manager, so that you can quickly switch between apps while multitasking. After a while, the number of apps in the App Switcher can add up. Many of these apps are in a suspended mode or running in the background. Removing apps from the App Switcher frees up memory and can improve performance.

  4. Quit apps that are running in the background. Some apps continue to run in the background, even after you quit the app. These are usually apps that stream music (such as the built-in Music app, Pandora, and Spotify) and video streaming apps (such as the Apple TV app or apps from cable and satellite providers).

  5. Check your Wi-Fi connection. If restarting the iPad doesn't improve its performance, it may not be the iPad that is running slow. It may be your wireless network. If the wireless network checks out, run an internet speed test. If the speed increases as you move closer to the router, look into boosting your Wi-Fi range.

  6. Update iPadOS. It's important to keep the operating system up to date. Doing so ensures that you have the most recent performance tweaks as well as the latest security fixes.

  7. Install an ad blocker. If your iPad primarily slows down when you're browsing the web, but your internet speed is good, it may be the pages you visit. The more advertisements a web page has, the longer the page takes to load. Ad blockers prevent ads from loading on web pages, making the web pages load in Safari more quickly.

  8. Turn off Background App Refresh. Background App Refresh allows apps to refresh their content even when you aren't using them. For example, Facebook can retrieve posts for your news feed, or a news app can fetch the latest articles so that they're ready for you. As a result, this feature takes up processing time and internet bandwidth, which could cause the iPad to run a little slower.

  9. Delete apps you no longer use. If the iPad is low on storage space, making room on the device can sometimes improve performance. To see which apps use the most space on your iPad, select Settings > General > iPad Storage. Here, you can view all the apps installed on the iPad, when you last used each one, and how much room each takes up. Delete the apps you don't use by tapping the app, then selecting Delete App.

    You can also set iPadOS to remove seldom-used apps automatically to free up space (while maintaining your files and data for those apps). To do so, select Settings > General > iPad Storage, then select Enable beside Offload Unused Apps.