How to Fix iPhone Slow Downs

What to do to speed up your older model Apple phone

The iPhone is known for many things, including its speed. Yet, if you use an older model iPhone, such as the 6, 7, or 8, you might be experiencing a frustrating slow down. If you're not quite ready to upgrade, this guide should deliver the Apple iPhone slow down fix you're looking for.

Does Apple Slow Down Older iPhones On Purpose?

The quick answer is yes. At the end of 2017, Apple admitted to slowing down older model iPhones such as the 6 and 7 due to battery issues. However, the slow down isn't to push us to purchase a new iPhone. Instead, Apple's upgrades to these phones slow them down in order to protect the battery and the iPhone's overall performance.

Woman in yellow holding phone with angry look on face
 Andrea Obzerova/Getty Images

Other Causes for Apple iPhone Slowing Down

Just like any other device on the market, there are various internal and external causes that can result in a slower iPhone. Some of these causes include:

  • Age: Beyond Apple slowing down your older model iPhone to protect it, age simply makes all devices slower over time.
  • Memory loss: iPhones with full memories can become slower simply due to lack of storage space.
  • Lack of updates: Out of date devices will become slower over time.
  • Apps running in the background: Your iPhone will slow down other activities to compensate for apps running in the background.

How to Fix iPhone Slow Downs

Fortunately, there are a variety of tips and tricks you can use to speed up your device, without springing for a new one just yet.

  1. Restart your iPhone. We use our iPhones constantly, charging when we have a few percent left and using it until we're back down again. If you haven't restarted your device in a while, close your apps and do so. This may speed up your device considerably.

  2. Check your iPhone's battery health. If you have an iPhone 6 or newer, running iOS 11.3 or newer, you can check your battery's health. If it's low, this may be the cause of your speed issue, which means it's time for a replacement.

  3. Update your iOS. You must check and see if an update is available for your device. Bugs and other fixes that may slow down your iPhone are often fixed by new updates.

    The newest iOS, iOS 13, is only available for iPhone 6s and newer. Older devices will not be able to update further at this time.

  4. Update your apps. Although apps do update automatically, it's best to see if you have any that are falling behind causing lags.

  5. Stop apps from using data in the background of your device. If you're using iOS 13, you can use Low Data Mode to restrict apps from running when you're not using them. Without this extra power being used, your iPhone may gain back some speed.

    For devices without iOS 13, you can turn off Background App Refresh.

  6. Clear your iPhone's cache. A slow iPhone may be bogged down with a slew of temporary files. You can delete them by cleaning up your cache.

  7. Free up some storage space. An iPhone filled to the brim with apps, photos, and more will run slower than normal. Remove apps you no longer use and move photos and other media to iCloud for safekeeping.

  8. Reduce iPhone visual effects. The Motion setting, as well as iPhone transparency, do improve visual performance, but they can also cause older model iPhones to slow. Reduce the motion and transparency within your settings and see how it affects your device.

  9. Change location settings. With iOS 11, you can change your location settings to While Using the App, which only allows the app to know your location when it's in use. This can save power and help bring back your iPhone's speed.

  10. Clear browser cookies. You can also free up space by clearing your Safari cookies on your iPhone. And don't worry, clearing your cookies won't change your autofill information.

  11. Restore iPhone to factory settings. A full restore may fix speed concerns within your device, yet this should only be used as a final step.

    Restoring your iPhone will delete all the data from your device. It's critical that you create a backup of your iPhone.

  12. Contact Apple Support. If all else fails, there may be a problem with a component inside your iPhone. You can reach out to Apple Support by starting a request online or taking your device to a nearby Apple Store with a Genius Bar.