How to Speed Up Your iPad and Improve the Performance

What to do if your device is feeling sluggish

In the PC world, a process called "overclocking" can make a computer run faster. Unfortunately, no similar process is available to speed up an iPad. But you can make sure your tablet is running at optimal performance thanks to a few tricks.

This guide applies to iOS version 11 and higher.

Shut Down Apps Running in the Background

If your iPad is sluggish, try closing 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-pressing the Home Button to bring up the multitasking screen, and then swiping up on the apps you want to close. This trick works best with an iPad that normally runs fast but has seemed slow lately or slows down after running certain apps.

A screenshot of the iPad's App Switcher with an arrow indicating swiping an app to close it.

Boosting Your Wi-Fi or Fixing a Weak WiFi Signal

If your internet signal is weak, your iPad won't run as well as it should. You'll especially notice this issue with apps that stream music or ones related to movies or TV, but it's also true for many other apps. And, of course, the Safari browser relies on a good connection to download web pages. 

Check your WiFi speed by downloading an app like Ookla's Speed Test. This app tests 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 slow in other parts of the house, you may need to boost your signal with an additional router or a newer router. But before you open your wallet, try repositioning your hardware to see if the signal clears up. You should also reboot it. Some routers tend to slow down over time.

Turn off Background App Refresh

Background app refresh occasionally checks different apps on your iPad and downloads content to keep them updated. This process can speed up the app when you launch it, but it can also slow your iPad down when you're using other programs. To turn off background app refresh, go to Settings>General>Background App Refresh. Then, tap the switch to turn it off for all apps.

A screenshot of the iPad's Background App Refresh settings with the switch next to the feature highlighted

Reduce Motion and Parallax

This tweak reduces 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. Go to Settings>General>Accessibility and tap on the Reduce Motion slider to turn it on. This setting should scale back some of the processing time when using the iPad, which can help a little with performance issues.

The Reduce Motion setting on an iPad

Install an Ad Blocker

If your iPad is slow while browsing the web, installing an ad blocker can speed it up. Most of the ads that seem to cover every website you visit require the iPad to load information from a data center. Any of these elements can lengthen the time it takes to load the page.

Keep iOS Updated

It's always a good idea to make sure you're using the most current version of your operating system. While in some ways this can actually slow down the iPad, as the newest version may use more resources, 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 Settings>General>Software Update.

A screenshot of iPad settings with the General heading and Software Update option highlighted