How to Speed Up Your iPad and Improve the Performance

What to do if your device is feeling sluggish

What to Know

  • Close background apps: Double-press the Home button or swipe up on the Home screen. Swipe the apps up and off the screen.
  • Test your Wi-Fi speed: If the signal is fast near the router and slows down farther away, reposition the hardware, restart it, or buy a new router.
  • Prevent apps from refreshing in the background: Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and move the slider to Off.

This article explains several ways you can speed up your iPad with iOS version 11 and higher to improve its performance. It includes tips for installing ad blockers, keeping the iOS updated, and reducing motion in the interface.

Shut Down Apps Running in the Background

IOS usually does a good job of automatically closing apps when resources get sparse, but it isn't perfect. If your iPad has a Home button, close apps by double-pressing the Home button to bring up the multitasking screen. Then, swipe up on the apps you want to close.

If your iPad doesn't have a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen until you see your open apps and then swipe up on an app to close it.

iPad's App Switcher with an arrow indicating swiping an app to close it.

Boost Your Wi-Fi or Fix a Weak Wi-Fi 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. It's also true for many other apps. And, the Safari browser relies on a good connection to download web pages.

Check your Wi-Fi speed by downloading an app like Ookla 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). Generally, anything under 5 Mbps is slow. You want around 8 to 10 Mbps to stream HD video, though 15 or more is preferable.

If your Wi-Fi signal is fast near the router and slows in other parts of the house, you may need to boost your signal with an additional router or a newer router. Before you open your wallet, reposition your hardware 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

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.

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 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, install an ad blocker to 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 the operating system. While this can slow down the iPad, as the newest version may use more resources, it can also solve bugs that slow down your iPad's performance. You can check to see if iOS is up-to-date by going into Settings > General > Software Update.

iPad settings with the General heading and Software Update option highlighted
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