iOS 9.2 Runs Faster on Some iPhone Models with Speed Boost & Less UI Lag

Dec 9, 2015 - 35 Comments

iOS 9.2 runs faster on some devices

For users who have been experienced performance degradation after updating an iPhone or iPad to iOS 9 from iOS 8.4.1 or older, you may be pleased to discover improved performance on some devices with the iOS 9.2 update.

The speed boost offered with iOS 9.2 is particularly noticeable with the iPhone 6 Plus, which many users discovered had significant lag and interface stuttering after updating to iOS 9 with even the most basic of tasks, like bringing about Spotlight search or opening the Camera. Additionally, the user interface lag and stuttering seems to have been improved on that device quite a bit as well, and while it doesn’t feel as fast as iOS 8 did on the same hardware, it does seem to offer a noticeable improvement over any of the prior iOS 9.x releases. Apparently some other models also have received a slight performance increase from the device as well, but they may not be as notable as that which is experienced on the iPhone 6 Plus, nonetheless users should probably update to the latest version and discover how the performance is on iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad Air of all models, and all supported iPad Mini devices.

From personal experience, the iOS 9.2 update initially didn’t seem to help the speed of my own frustratingly laggy iPhone 6 Plus with iOS 9.1, but after hard rebooting the device hours later, it was suddenly much faster and the UI lag and stuttering was much improved. No more half second lag to bring up the keyboard in Spotlight search, no more 10 second delay to open the Camera and start using it, apps open faster, the multitasking screen to quit apps is faster, the device just feels much faster, and it’s notable. Sure this is anecdotal evidence and it applies to the iPhone 6 Plus, but a quick search on Twitter, our comments, and Apple Support Forums has shown that many other users have experienced similar performance improvements with iOS 9.2 after a second reboot on other devices too.

The iOS 9.2 Speed Boost Trick: Update, Wait, and Reboot

Again this is mostly relevant to iPhone 6 Plus but it may apply to other devices as well, let us know in the comments what your experience has been.

  1. Back up the iPhone first (this keeps your stuff, but also allows you to downgrade back to iOS 9.1, for a limited time anyway, if you want to for some reason)
  2. Update the iPhone or iPad to iOS 9.2 and let the installation complete and return back to the Home Screen
  3. Let the device sit and do nothing for an hour or two, this is recommended as under the hood tasks are taking place to index the device. Some initial perceptions of reduced speed due to iOS updates are simply the maintenance routines going on in the background, so let this complete
  4. After the iPhone or iPad has been updated and sat for a while, do a force hard reboot by holding down the Power button and Home button, let the device boot as usual and enjoy your (hopefully) freshly snappier iOS experience

If you update to iOS 9.2, wait a few hours, hard reboot, and still experience sluggish performance, you may want to try some of these direct performance improvement tips for iOS 9 devices, which involve disabling some features to lighten the software load on hardware a bit.

While the release notes of iOS 9.2 don’t mention much of anything about performance enhancements included in the update, it’s quite possible some under the hood improvements were made. Whatever the reason, iOS 9.2 seems to run faster than iOS 9.1 or iOS 9 did on the same hardware, and a variety of videos help to demonstrate this:

Note some of these performance videos were made with earlier beta releases so they are less reliable, but the topmost video is an iPhone 6 Plus with iOS 9.2 final.

What have you noticed? Have you experienced any performance changes with iOS 9.2? Maybe speed improvements with iOS 9.2? Let us know in the comments. And hopefully you have not found iOS 9.2 leads to slower hardware, but if you’ve experience declines in performance, let us know that in the comments too.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

35 Comments

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  1. Peter Macallan says:

    iOS 9.2 is absolutely faster than iOS 9.1 or iOS 9 on the iPhone 6 Plus, but it’s still slower than any iOS 8 release. I still wish I had never updated any device to iOS 9 at all, there is no new feature worth the performance loss.

    • Paul says:

      Low Power Mode is worth the update if you need extra battery life, it offers impressive improvements to longevity on most iPhone models.

      Generally speaking though, if you don’t need a new feature and your iPhone or iPad works fine with an existing version of iOS, you may not need to update the software or hardware. Might as well use what works for you until it no longer does its job.

      • Alejandro Ivan says:

        Is it worth it? Really?
        The battery on the iPhone 6 Plus is HUGE… it lasts the whole day without that mode.

        • Paul Roberts says:

          Plus, you can achieve all that “low power mode” stuff manually in iOS 8, or any earlier iOS for that matter!

          Just turn on Airport mode, turn off Wi-fi and Bluetooth, and lower screen brightness. Voila! Low power mode.

    • Hhr says:

      “I still wish I had never updated any device to iOS 9 at all, there is no new feature worth the performance loss.”

      Oh God, so very true! I regret updating my son’s iPad Mini 2 to 9.2.

      That said, as mentioned in this article, the performance seems to be a tad better after a day or so, but still worse that 8.4.1.

    • Eason says:

      Why I upgrade to iOS 9.2 cannot use cellular data…I haven see any icon in top….and I can not check any email,Internet search,and more …pls help…I also restart my iPad Air many time…I try off cellular and on back…also not anything….

  2. Joe Joe says:

    I updated to iOS 9.2 on an iPhone 6 Plus yesterday as soon as it came out and was really disappointed that the iPhone was still extremely slow. My camera took about 8 seconds to open, apps had a huge delay to open, the App Store opened slower than my old iPhone 4 at 15 seconds or more to fully load, the skipping frame rate in the user interface was awful, Siri Suggestions were unusable due to speed, etc. I just read this article as the biggest skeptic, and thought “this highly unlikely to help but a hard reset is as easy as it gets, why not give it a try”

    Well, it worked. My iPhone 6 Plus is now MUCH faster.

    This is a huge improvement. I am genuinely shocked it worked. Why does a hard reboot help in this situation? Does it just remove caches and memory components? I can understand why letting it sit helps, but this morning my iPhone 6 Plus had sat all night and it was still a crawl this morning. The hard reset made it feel like a new iPhone. Great tip, doesn’t get any easier!

    Folks, REBOOT your iPhone after updating to iOS 9.2, this actually works!

    • ! says:

      Actually, a hard reboot is effective to unplugging the cord from your Desktop. Properly rebooting it will help. Letting your phone sit while powered off has no advantage, except when your phone is overheating.

  3. Hank says:

    IPad (64gb), iPhone 6+: Noticeable speed improvement!

  4. Luke says:

    My 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus is slightly better. It’s not as good as it was in iOS 8, and the animations are still worse than an iPhone 4s! I am hoping it will still improve.

  5. G Plus says:

    almost sold off my ip6plus today but halted after receiving the 9.2 update notification. to really make sure of the new update’s efficiency:

    i backed up the ip6p, and then rebooted to DFU mode. and updated fresh copy of ios 9.2 thru itunes. (2.08gb in size)

    after the installation, rebooted, and reset the phone (all contents & settings). rebooted. left it idle (2 hours +) for its initial process (indexing, etc) to be completed.

    haven’t restored anything yet. just trying it as it is for now. feels much better and lag is reduced. hmmmm….

    will update status in few days to come after extensive testing…

  6. Edge says:

    If I could change one item in iOS 9.2, it’s getting rid of the horrible app switcher. Who ever thought that a cover flow design was better? Each window overlaps others, so you can’t see what each app’s window contains. It’s also very easy to pass an app and hard to select the one you want.

    The developer who thought that was a good idea should be tarred and feathered. Hopefully Jony Ive will admit his mistake and give us the option of turning off cover flow for the app switcher. Ugh!

    • Ive is on vacation says:

      Jony Ive has clearly left the building, maybe a long vacation, maybe quit, but did you see the iPhone battery case? LOL! Wow, the 2nd string designers are something aren’t they?

    • Paul Roberts says:

      What changed in iOS 9.2? It looks the same on our i-device as iOS 9 or 9.1. The app switcher has overlapping windows and it works like a charm.

      Did you jump from iOS 8 to 9.2?

      Plus, this is like many things… after a while, you’ll get used to it and even end up liking it!

  7. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Much faster on iPhone Plus

  8. Wharf Xanadu says:

    But I noticed my iPhone gets hot now

  9. Ajay says:

    It suck to upgrade to iOS 9.2 my iphone 6 is dying to open apps like whats app Facebook…. Calls come and its a black blank screen. App hungs while scrolling. Guys on iPhone 6 who haven’t upgraded to iOS 9.2 save time don’t upgrade. I am suffering.

    I tried hard reboot. restarted my phone n number of times it hasn’t fixed the problem.

    • planned obso says:

      Downgrade to iOS 9.1 if you thought it ran better, but the evidence shows that iOS 9.2 runs faster than iOS 9.1 did, or the same at worst.

      Any iOS 9 version runs slower than iOS 8 of any version ever did. Apple doesn’t care, they just want you to buy the newest most expensive iPhone so you can use it at a reasonable speed. They should stop doing this, because people will wise up and stop buying the most expensive devices on the market, or stop updating software, if all you get is reduced performance!

  10. Daniel says:

    I did everything as above^^^^^ in this article and Q/A section. IOS 9.2 on my Verizon iphone 6 plus 64gb model is terrible. Some apps such as games all OVER HEAT my phone in minutes. Once phone is overheated it crashes the games, stutters the game, can’t bring itself to scroll from left to right, can’t click on dialog boxes without dropping game to phone menus.

    After phone app crashes and phone is off for a few minutes it’s much cooler to touch. The area below camera, and on front upper right section of screen become severely HOT

    • Tipacanoe says:

      Your iPhone should not overheat and it should not be overheating, if it is overheating and the iPhone itself is getting hot to the touch, you should back up the device to iTunes, then restore it.

      If you restore the iPhone and it’s still getting hot, contact Apple, as it may be a hardware defect.

  11. Jeff says:

    To Apple: I bought my first Mac in 1984, and I have 15 desktops and 5 laptops in my attic graveyard. I can’t understand what’s going on with iOS 9. On my 6s it’s great. On my iPad 2 and iPad mini it is so slow I want to cry. I want to hit myself for being so stupid and so naive to irrevocably upgrade to 9 when I was SO HAPPY with 7. And to find myself so unhappy, so disappointed, so LET DOWN by Apple because now my two iPads are so f***ing slow, I don’t know what to do. I don’t usually talk like that. I am a 65 year old clergyman and I teach values like honesty, trust, fairness and faith. But I also use my iPads to do things, things that used to be fast and easy, but are now maddeningly slow because nothing loads without a wait so long I have to leave my desk to get coffee. Do something to help me. Please.

    • Conan the Conspiracy Theorist says:

      It’s intentional. It has to be, you can’t tell me that nobody at Apple noticed that iOS 9 makes barely year old hardware slower than my iPhone 1, the 2G model (that is not an exaggeration, the very first iPhone ever made is faster and more fluid than iPhone 6 with iOS 9).

      Here’s what’s going on with iOS 9:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

      It’s all about the shareholders of AAPL. Buy a new iPad, buy a new iPhone, buy a new Mac, buy a new this, buy a new that. Buy buy buy. Consumerism. Meanwhile, Apple has 20% to 60% profit margins.

    • Paul Roberts says:

      Some clergyman if you’re using the f-word!

      You need to do a full backup, then start afresh, setting up the iPads as new. Then, download only key apps, not all the accumulated junk from over the years. Make sure that you do this on the device, so that you download the latest iOS 9 compatible versions over the air.

      It’ll take time, but many users report dramatic improvements in speed.

      In the meantime, enjoy that cup of coffee, meditate, pray, and get in touch with nature and your congregation. There is so much more to the world, especially spiritually, than fretting even justifiably so, over a sluggish iPad!

      Maybe if you show your board how slow they’ve gotten, they will buy you a new iPad Air 2 for your sermons and visits! :-)

  12. Cruz says:

    Installed 9.2 on my iPhone 6, rebooted twice, waited one more day so that my phone could fully accept the update…
    aaand it still lags.
    Not-so-fast app opening isn’t a dealbreaker for me, but lag and stutter are frustrating.
    I know, I know, it’s a first world problem, but it’s a problem when you know that you paid 800€ for that device 8-9 months ago and the phone behaves like a 200€ device. I PAID FOR SPEED, RELIABILITY, STABILITY.

    After being a happy costumer (especially during iOS 8.4), I have become an unhappy one.

  13. Ashish says:

    iOS 9.2 has killed the battery life on my 128G iPhone 6S. Overnight, my phone can lose 25-30% of its charge, doing nothing. Before the upgrade it would use 0-1%.

    I understand Apple’s incentive to sabotage its older products, but what are they trying to upsell me by breaking my brand new phone? A Nexus?

    • a Martin says:

      Like you say there’s no logic in that, so I’m quite sure the problems you have are not affecting all iPhone 6s devices. It’s one thing that a supported update changes some aspect of performance, but a major change like what you describe indicates something else is wrong.

  14. Brent says:

    Frustrating lag typing anything and opening mail, camera etc. My wife stated with iOS 8 and her iPod works fine. If Apple thinks that screwing up my device and giving me more emojis is going to get me to buy a new Apple product they are sorely mistaken. I WAS going to buy an iPad mini4 but forget it now. I just don’t get why they would tell you to update to a defective OS. They’ve lost me as a customer.

  15. hitendra says:

    i noticed after updating ios9.2 my iphone getting heat

  16. hitendra says:

    after updating ios9.2 my iphone getting heat

  17. Ted says:

    9.2 slowed my iPad so much I will discontinue using it. It has made the iPad useless. I’ve started use my Surface Pro 3 as a tablet replacing the iPad. This really sucks!!!

  18. Thetechguy127 says:

    My iphone 5 was perfectly fine with ios 9.1 but in a few things it lagged spotlight search – task switcher .etc
    But after i update to ios 9.2 is sooooo smooth and fast wow no lag at all my 3 year old iPhone is running as new

  19. Anna Jamison says:

    My iPhone 6 thankfully is running faster after installing iOS 9.2 and reset.

  20. umar says:

    Thank u so much for this tip, finally my old iPhone 5s is running faster after installing iOS 9.2 and then performing a reset which other wise was running with hicups every where. Keep up your good work

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