How to Speed Up Your iPad and Improve the Performance

Speed and motion in tunnel
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In the PC world, there is a process called "overclocking" that is used to literally make a computer run faster. Unfortunately, there is nothing similar to speed up an iPad. And if you have an iPad 2, iPad 3 or iPad Mini, you've probably experienced your tablet running slow at times. But while we are unable to overclock an iPad, we can make sure it is running at optimal performance, and even a few tricks to speed it up. 

Shut Down Apps Running in the Background

The first thing to do if your iPad is running sluggish is to close some of the apps running in the background. While iOS usually does a good job of automatically closing apps when resources get sparse, it isn't perfect. You can close apps by double-clicking the Home Button to bring up the multitasking screen, and then "flicking" an app off the top of the screen by placing your finger down on the app window and moving it toward the top of the display.  

This trick works best with an iPad that normally runs fast, but has seemed slow lately or slows down after running certain apps. 

Boosting Your Wi-Fi or Fixing a Weak Wi-Fi Signal

The speed of your Internet signal is directly related to the speed of your iPad. Most apps download from the Internet to fill out the content. This is especially true with apps that stream music or the apps related to movies or TV, but it is also true for many other apps. And, of course, the Safari browser relies on a good Internet connection to download web pages. 

The first thing to do is to check your Wi-Fi speed by downloading an app like Ookla's Speed Test. This app will test how fast you can upload and download across your network. What's a slow speed and what's a fast speed? That depends on your Internet Service Provider (ISP), but generally speaking, anything under 5 Mbs is slow. You will want around 8-10 Mbs to stream HD video, though 15+ is preferable. 

If your Wi-Fi signal is fast near the router and is slow in other parts of the house or apartment, you may need to boost your signal with an additional router or simply a newer router. But before you open your wallet, you can try repositioning your router to see if the signal clears up. You should also reboot the router. Some routers tend to slow down over time. 

Turn off Background App Refresh

Now we'll get into some settings that might help your performance. Many of these require that you launch the Settings app, which is the app that looks like gears turning. This is where you can tweak different settings and certain features on and off. 

Background App Refresh occasionally checks different apps on your iPad and downloads content to keep the apps fresh. This can speed up the app when you launch it, but it can also slow your iPad down when you are using other apps. To turn off background app refresh, scroll down the left-side menu in Settings and tap on General. In the General settings, Background App Refresh is located about halfway down the page, just under Storage and iCloud Usage. Tap the button to bring up the App Refresh settings and tap the slider next to Background App Refresh to turn it off for all apps.

Reduce Motion and Parallax

Our second tweak to settings is to reduce some of the graphics and motion in the user interface, including the parallax effect that makes the background image move behind still icons when you rotate the iPad.  

In the Settings app, return to the General settings and choose Accessibility. Scroll down and choose Reduce Motion. This should just be an on-off switch. Tap it to put it in the On position. This should scale back some of the processing time when using the iPad, which can help a little with performance issues.

Install an Ad Blocker

If you mostly find the iPad slow while browsing the web, installing an ad blocker can speed up the iPad. Many websites are now inundated with advertisements, and most ads require the website load information from a data center, which means loading a website really means loading data from several websites. And any one of these websites can lengthen the time it takes to load the page.

You will first need to download an app designed as an ad blocker from the App Store. Adguard is a good choice for a free blocker. Next, you need to enable the blocker in settings. This time, we'll scroll down the left-side menu and choose Safari. In the Safari settings, choose Content Blockers and then enable the adblocking app you've downloaded from the App Store. Remember, you need to download the app first for it to show up in this list.  

Keep iOS Updated

It is always a good idea to make sure you are on the most updated version of your operating system. While in some ways this can actually slow down the iPad as the newest version may use more resources, but it can also solve bugs that can end up slowing down your iPad's performance. You can check to see if iOS is up to date by going into the iPad's settings, choosing General settings and tapping Software Update.