iOS 11 Feels Slow? 11 Tips to Speed Up iOS 11 on iPhone or iPad

Oct 6, 2017 - 29 Comments

Speed up iOS 11 if it feels slow

There are mixed reports that updating to iOS 11 has slowed down some iPhone and iPad hardware, or that performance of tasks like opening and interacting with apps is slower after installing iOS 11. If your iPhone or iPad feels slow after installing iOS 11, then you might want to try a few of the tricks we have outlined in this tutorial to speed up your device again.

By the way, many of the tricks that help to speed up sluggish performance can also positively impact battery, so if you’re having iOS 11 battery life problems then you may find some cross-benefit to this approach as well.

Speed Up iOS 11 on iPhone and iPad

We’re going to cover a wide variety of tips here to potentially help speed up a device. Aside from the first two tips involving installing software updates and then having some patience and waiting a while, you can follow the others in any particular order.

1: Install Any Software Updates for iOS and Apps

Before going any further, check for software updates both to iOS and to your apps. Software updates can often remedy performance issues and are not to be skipped, particularly if a performance problem is related to a bug or some other problem that has been resolved in an available update.

iOS settings icon

For getting any updates to iOS 11 (such as iOS 11.0.2, iOS 11.1, etc)

  • Open the “Settings” app and go to > General > Software Update > and choose to Download & Install any update to iOS 11

For getting updates to apps:

  • Open the ‘App Store’ app and go to the Updates tab, and install any available app updates

App Store logo in iOS

2: Just Updated to iOS 11? Have Some Patience and Wait

If you just updated an iPhone or iPad to iOS 11 and the device feels slow, have some patience. When a major software update arrives on your device, iOS will re-index everything for Spotlight, Siri, Photos, and perform other background tasks. This can lead to the feeling the device is slow because of the increased background activity being performed.

Clock icon

The best thing to do is wait a few days, leave the device plugged into a wall outlet overnight, and let it complete whatever system behavior is necessary. After a night or two things usually behave normally again and performance is often better, and often this fixes battery life problems too.

3: Turn Off iOS Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh allows apps to update themselves in the background. This is nice for multitasking quickness, but it can also lead to a hit in system performance. Turning it off is easy, and most users won’t notice the difference in how apps function anyway.

  • Open “Settings” and go to > General > Background App Refresh > OFF

Disable background app refresh

4: Disable Siri Suggestions & Siri Look Up

You can often speed up how fast Spotlight behaves, as well as the Notifications screen and elsewhere, by turning off Siri Suggestions and Siri Lookup features.

  • Open “Settings” and go to > Siri & Search > “Suggestions in Search” to OFF and “Suggestions in Look Up” to OFF

Disable Siri Suggestions

5: Force Reboot the Device

Sometimes forcibly rebooting a device can help performance, particularly if some errant process is going haywire in the background, or some app or other event is out of control

For most iPhone and iPad devices, hold down the POWER BUTTON and the HOME BUTTON concurrently until you see the  Apple logo appear on screen.

On iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, hold down the VOLUME DOWN BUTTON and POWER BUTTON concurrently until you see the  Apple logo appear on screen.

Then just wait for the device to boot back up again.

6: Use a Simple Wallpaper

Using a plain or simple wallpaper originating from a small file size image can help to speed things up sometimes. The idea behind using a simple or plain wallpaper is that it requires less memory and system resources to display, thus it can help to speed up drawing and redrawing of the Home Screen of the iOS device.

  • Open “Settings” and go to > Wallpaper > Select a boring wallpaper, either of a single color or a very small file size

Boring gray wallpaper

The Home Screen might look a bit more boring when a simple background wallpaper picture, (or not, depending on your taste) but it also might feel a tad faster. Try it out, you can use the simple tiny gray image wallpaper below if you’d like, or find your own.

7: Disable Parallax UI Effects and Reduce Motion

iOS uses various visual effects which look snazzy but require more system resources to draw and render properly. Disabling those system user interface visual effects can improve performance, or at least the perception of improved performance by disabling the animations.

  • Open “Settings” and go to > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and turn ON

Reduce Motion

* While in Reduce Motion settings, you might want to turn off “Auto-Play Message Effects” too, since those animations in Messages app can also make things feel a bit sluggish sometimes.

When you turn on Reduce Motion, the zipping and zooming effects of opening and closing apps is replaced with a simple subtle fading animation too.

8: Reduce iOS System Transparency Effects

Transparency and blur effects are scattered throughout iOS, from the Dock, to Control Center, to Notifications panels, and more. They look nice, but rendering those blur effects can use system resources and make things feel sluggish sometimes. Turning them off may help the device feel faster:

  • Open “Settings” and go to > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast > Reduce Transparency to ON

Reduce Transparency effects

Using Increase Contrast can make things look a bit plain, but using things like Control Center should feel faster as a result.

9: Make Sufficient Free Storage Space Available on the iPhone or iPad

Having sufficient free storage available is ideal for optimal performance of an iPad or iPhone. Generally speaking it’s a good idea to have 10% or more free storage available. So if you have a 32GB device, then having 3 GB of free space or more is desirable. This is so there is plenty of available space for caches, updating apps and iOS itself, and performing other system functions.

  • Open “Settings” and go to > General > then choose “Storage” (now labeled as iPhone Storage or iPad Storage, respectively)

Free up storage in iOS

Once you’re in the Storage management section of your device, you can either follow the recommendations to free up storage space, or delete unused or old apps, or take other actions necessary to free up storage on the iPhone or iPad.

Delete apps

This is important, and if your iPhone or iPad is full or very low on storage, performance will suffer, plus you won’t be able to install updates to apps or system software, and other strange behavior can occur like locking a user out of their email, data being mysteriously removed from the device, amongst other curiosities. Always aim to have some storage space available.

10: Reset iOS System Settings

Resetting your iOS device settings may speed up performance for some users. Be aware if you reset device settings, you will need to make configurations to all of your custom settings changes again, like many covered previously in this article.

  • Open Setttings and go to General > Reset > Reset All Settings

11: Backup & Restore iOS

A common troubleshooting trick is to backup a device to iTunes or iCloud, then restore iOS. This can sometimes fix obscure performance issues, and if you contact Apple to troubleshoot a device they will likely want you to perform this action as part of their process.

You can backup to iTunes, or iCloud, or both. Always backup before beginning a restore process.

Using iTunes with the device connected to the computer, you then choose to “Restore” the device. Or you can choose to Restore directly on the device itself and select either iCloud or iTunes backup to restore from.

Restore a device from backup

Some users may also try setting up a device as new which means nothing is on the device at that point. An obvious flaw to that approach is the iPhone or iPad would be lacking any data, images, pictures, photos, notes, apps, contacts, or any other personal information. This is why most users choose to restore from a backup instead of setting up as new. Nonetheless, if you don’t care about that, setting up a device as new can sometimes make it feel snappier.

What about reverting from iOS 11 back to iOS 10?

Some users may wish to downgrade iOS 11 back to a prior version of system software on their iPhone or iPad.

While reverting to the prior iOS release was possible for a while, unfortunately this is no longer an option for most devices, because Apple has stopped signing the iOS 10.3.3 firmware. You can learn about how to check iOS IPSW firmware signing status here if the topic interests you.

Have you noticed any performance issues with iOS 11? Did these tricks help to speed up your sluggish iPhone or iPad? Do you have any tips to help speed up a slow iPhone or iPad? Have you had other iOS 11 problems to troubleshoot? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

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

29 Comments

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  1. Judy Lawson says:

    I installed 11 in both my iPhone and iPad last night. Phone seems fine, but iPad isn’t charging. I always charge it overnight and didn’t notice if it took the charge. Earlier I noticed it was at 19%. It has been on the charger for two hours and is now at 17%

    • Chuck Clark says:

      This has both my 7plus an iPad messed up anything from not charging to not doesn’t click back from other apps

  2. Bill G says:

    While you’re giving instructions for force-rebooting iOS don’t forget the iPhone 8s! OSXDaily covered this very recently:
    http://osxdaily.com/2017/09/28/force-restart-iphone-8-iphone-8-plus/

    • Ed says:

      Good point about iPhone 8, thanks for the reminder. Though iOS 11 should feel very fast on the iPhone 8 since it’s the newest hardware with a very fast CPU, it’s usually the older devices that magically slow down when a new device is released by pure coincidence, apparently.

      Curiously my new iPad is also a little sluggish with iOS 11, but iOS 11 is a big improvement on iPad overall compared to iOS 10 and I like it, but I fear for the future of that device even though it is brand new. But it makes me think that iOS 12 will be very slow on the new iPad so I guess I won’t update it when that comes across as an option. I don’t like my tech to be disposable or have to be replaced every year or two, these devices should last 5-7 years and they do as long as you don’t render them so slow as to be useless with new software updates. How does a new update make things so slow anyway, when so few features exist? What the heck is going on with the update?

      • Forrest says:

        I’ve consistently noticed sudden slow performance after a new release. I don’t believe this is necessarily related to the re-indexing that iOS will perform. Alas, many people notice this and we can’t (yet) point out the culprit.

        But the above instructional feels like: is your phone slow? Disable everything that iOS is supposed to do, and magic :) I’m being facetious, but…….

    • Billy Mc says:

      I just did forced reboot on my 7Plus, not because it has any issues (initial battery drain with 11, but fixed that by managing background app refresh better), but because I was not sure about the posted instructions. Mine does not reboot as you describe with volume down, but does reboot using the power and home buttons. Just thought I would mention.

  3. L.G.Y says:

    iOS11.0.2 iPhone 8 Plus crash https://youtu.be/1-_ZG0Cz5X8

  4. Anne says:

    Don’t they test anymore? They completely rely on volunteer beta testers?

    I’m kind of ancient. When I started working, punch cards were just going out in favour of dumb tubes.

  5. Judy Lawson says:

    Update: Suddenly iPad began charging again and is now at 85%.

  6. Alun says:

    On my iphone 6, I am getting a lot of freezing, grey screen on launching apps and strange battery behaviour. Read your list of things to do and unfortunately I had done almost all of them already. Only things left is simple screen background and a full restore, but if the phone drew the screen fine before why should it be so much slower now? My phone is quite full, about 10% free space, that prob. doesn’t help. Ipad pro works fine. I’ve run a lot of old phones on more recent OSs and this is the biggest slowdown I’ve seen!

    • Jauncey says:

      Agreed. Both my iPad Air and IPhone 5s (work supplied phone) have slowed down beyond belief. It’s really annoying things too like just scrolling through my 3 app screens, or typing messages, waiting for mail app to open, waiting for keyboard to pop up when searching the web etc. I can’t even quick access the camera on my iPhone anymore. It just hangs with a black screen, then crashes, then might work the second time but can take up to 20 seconds. Everything worked fine before.

      TBH, this is pretty much the final straw for me. I’ve been with Apple since the first iPhone, had both work and personal iPhones and iPads, counting now I get to a total of around 12 Apple devices since launch.

      I always told people the thing I love most about Apple is that everything “just works”. No hang ups, no muss, no fuss. Regardless of the device they just work. That has been slowly becoming untrue for me since IOS 10 and this last update has broken the camels back.

      Rant over. Sorry :(

  7. User says:

    I like the cute graphic.

    These are good tips for users who have already updated, but for those who haven’t, the only hope is that 11.1, 11.2, etc. might result in some improvement, similar to how iOS 8 recovered.

    But, for some devices closer to the baseline requirements, there may be little hope. Despite having 64-bit processors, the 1GB RAM capacity is a handicap that may be too much to overcome. Even with earlier versions of iOS, logs reveal furious memory shuffling in the background.

    More troublesome is that up-to-date devices like the iPhone 7 also exhibit some minor signs of slowdowns and other glitches.

    If Apple is so eager to have users replace their old Macs with iOS devices, it needs to stop hobbling their fast processors with limited memory, and the hardware and software teams need to do a better job collaborating so the final product is more polished.

  8. TonyB says:

    An update? It’s more like a replacement.
    Hardly and update using 2.3Gb.
    Not doing it again until a few more “Updates”, Apple just take the P.

  9. Ben says:

    When your phone gets hacked TonyB, you will be the first one on here whining and blaming Apple because you waited to update.

    Go back to your Fisher-Price “My First Phone”, and be a happy boy!

  10. Carol Stein says:

    The Files app does not work properly. At first, NO Files were shown. Then I installed upgrades of Pages & Numbers, and only those files were shown. When I look at Notes, there is a header “On My iPad” over the titles of the files, but if I open the Files app, it still doesn’t list anything except Pages & Numbers app folders (with their files inside).

    I sent word to Apple but had no response, and I know at least one other user posted this problem. My iPad Air 2 has 128GB of which only about 30 are used, so that’s not an issue.

    Carol, Sent from my iPad

  11. Rod Dalitz says:

    I have all those tips implemented already on my iPhone SE running 10.3.3 so I guess you are telling me that 11 will be a lot worse and I won’t be able to improve.

  12. Brandon says:

    When you pay over $700 for an iPhone, you shouldn’t have limitations to make your phone faster. Smh Apple

  13. Kevin says:

    I appreciate the effort it took to create this article. Yes, I tried iOS 11.0 and painfully downgraded to 10.3.3 (iPhone 6 and iPad Air – A8 CPU).

    I would suggest cellphone makers create a toggle setting ‘Performance’ (disable visual effects, background stuff, etc), ‘Something in the middle, ‘Way Cool Visual’ (full animation, AR, VR, Projected Holographic, etc).

    Apple software is known to ‘just work’ so the user can ‘just use it’.

    • Jauncey says:

      Yes yes yes!! That’s why I’ve loved Apple, they just work!! And since IOS 10 that’s stopped being the case and 11 has destroyed that mantra completely!

  14. Greald says:

    Veru disappointed and frustrated. Am on iPhone 6, after installing the patch ios 11.2, my phone is STILL terribly slow. Even typing in notes of in apps is incredibly delayed.

    Everything is low, and the battery drains so quickly, it lasts maybe for 1 HOUR!

    I have decided to leave the Apple ecosystem after being a lifeling user. Hopping over to Samsung S8.

    No longer want to be a sucker, having to keep up to date with the very latest expensive model each year, to have a USABLE phone.

    Bye Bye iPhone. RIP.

  15. rodken says:

    Just when I finally gave up and accepted how disappointing my ipad is they update it and make it even more disappointing, broke apps and it’s even slower than it was before. Why does every update slow down the ipad, updates are supposed to improve the product not make it worse. Has anyone else noticed this. Is apple just doing this so we have to upgrade to a new version? Apple seems to think it’s customers are stupid. Well maybe we are if we keep buying their products.

  16. Steven J says:

    Look people. The solution is to keep $1,500 to $2,000 set aside ANNUALY to keep up with iOS updates. Simply by a new iPhone and iPad after every WWDC at the Steve Jobs Auditorium and be happy about it.

  17. Crashfellow says:

    So your solution is to shut off all the elements that make the system elegent for a new umm… ohh control centre! That’s pretty much the new front facing change yeah? Be warned those reading this, if they haven’t already essentially locked you into iOS 11, unless you’re buying apples new phone avoid iOS 11. It’s essentially very little upgrade with a massive performance drop. Or I guess follow the guide and enjoy your now 2011 model iPhone.

  18. Jauncey says:

    FFS. So I read this and think “ok so I need to disable a whole bunch of stuff that worked fine before” ok cool.

    Go into settings and settings crash. What a prime example of the little peices of s&$t that keep happening more and more since iOS 10 and now continually since 11. No joke I’m hard resetting my iPad and iPhone 2 to 3 times a day because of stupid s$&t. Autoturning screen stops working, hard reset. Mail won’t load, hard reset. Apps crashing hard reset. Keyboard typing super slow, hard reset. It goes on and on and so infuriating.

    Enough is enough for me after being with Apple since the first iPhone and telling people “I love Apple because everything just works and it’s one less thing I need to worry about daily”. I’m done. They’ve gone down hill so conclusively since iOS 10 and 11 has done it for me I’m out.

    • Jauncey says:

      2 hours later and autoturning screen stopped working again, 4th hard reset for the day on my iPad. Apple, here is my finger and it’s not the ring, but it is for yours.

  19. Jauncey says:

    Also trying to free up more storage, my 16gb iPad has only .5gb free space. Says 11.7gb used and the total of all my apps, photos, messages etc is under 9gb.

    Apple can’t do math? Seriously, space is such a premium and I need at least 10% for performance apparently yet I have almost 50% of my PAID for 16gb of space completely unaccounted for??

    Oh I know the solution, pay the worlds largest sum for more storage on the next Apple device (that I need to buy in order to keep being able to do everything my last device did before ios11.

  20. Ken says:

    This is stupid. An new system is suppose to be an upgrade and shouldn’t make life worse for the user. If I could go back I would. Just another bloated system upgrade to get users to upgrade their hardware. What a joke.

  21. michael p says:

    Every major update since forever has turned Bluetooth “on” for no apparent reason (I’ve never used it, ever).

    Those complaining of short battery life should make sure it’s not “on”.

  22. Pyae soe kyaw says:

    Yes of course..it is very useful tips for me.I reset all my setting and now my phone is super fast..I am really happy about it.Thanks a lot…☺️

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