iOS 13 Slow? Tips to Speed Up iPhone & iPad with iPadOS & iOS 13

Oct 2, 2019 - 13 Comments

How to speed up iOS 13 and IpadOS 13 if it feels slow on iPhone or iPad

For most users, installing iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 will speed up their devices by quite a bit, but for some they may feel that installing iPadOS and iOS 13 has made their iPhone and iPad feel slower.

If you recently updated to a new iOS 13.x or iPadOS 13.x.x release and now feel your device is sluggish and slower than it should be, read on to learn why that might be, and what you can do about it.

If you just updated iOS 13 or ipadOS 13… wait!

Every iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that is updated to iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 will run through some background tasks during and after the system software update, and some of those background tasks can make the device feel like it’s running slower than it should. That background activity and indexing will run its course over time, so if you just recently updated to iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, or any of the deluge of point release bug fix updates since the initial release, then simply wait a while.

One of the best things to do is to leave the iPhone or iPad plugged in, on wi-fi, and let it sit overnight. By morning, the indexing activity and background tasks have usually completed, though sometimes if you have a ton of stuff on your device it may take a day or two to complete in full.

For a personal example, my iPhone X was running quite slow for hours after I updated to iOS 13.1.2, so this process can happen with even some of the smaller point release updates. Fortunately after leaving it plugged in for a bit, the speed issue quickly resolved and now the iPhone is faster than ever before.

These same maintenance and background tasks can also make it feel like iOS 13 is draining battery faster and that battery life is worse, but that too will usually correct itself after the background activity has completed.

iPhone Charging Slower After iOS 13 Update? Here’s Why

Some users have noticed their iPhone appears to charge the battery slower after updating to iOS 13.

But it turns out this may actually be a side effect of a new feature that is designed to promote battery health and longevity, called Optimized Battery Charging, which aims to keep the battery at 80% until you’re ready to use the iPhone.

The iPhone will learn over time when you use your device, and charge the final 20% at the last minute only when necessary, for example if you charge your iPhone over night and start using it every day around 7am, it will learn that and have it fully charged by that time. Nonetheless you can turn this feature off if you don’t want it:

• Settings > Battery > Battery Health > toggle “Optimized Battery Charging” to OFF (or ON)

Most users will want to leave this feature ON and enabled because it will prolong the lifespan of their devices battery life.

Install New iOS / iPadOS Updates

Speaking of software updates, if you have any new updates to iOS or IpadOS waiting for you it’s a good idea to install those, as each update is going to include bug fixes and resolutions to issues that may have existed in prior versions. Be sure to backup before installing any system software update:

• Go to Settings > General > Software Update > choose to “Download and Install” any available update for the device.

Of course you should recall the earlier advice which is to wait a bit after installing a software update before judging if the device is actually slow or not, since most of the speed issues will resolve themselves.

Install Available App Updates

If you haven’t updated all apps since the update to iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 now is a good time to do so for several reasons, but since we’re focusing on performance here that’s the primary motivation we’ll offer – updating to apps that support the latest iOS versions will typically perform better due to some optimizations available in the latest operating systems.

Remember that updating apps in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 is different than it used to be as there is no more dedicated Updates tab. Instead, do the following:

• Open the App Store > tap your profile in the upper corner > scroll down to the “Updates” section and install any available app updates.

Disable Background App Activity

Disabling Background App Refresh on iPhone or iPad can help to speed up some devices by reducing background activity. This is an easy adjustment to make on any iOS device:

• Go to Settings > “General” > Choose “Background App Refresh” > turn this feature OFF

Most users won’t notice any difference in usability with this feature off, but they may discover their device feels faster, or the battery lasts a bit longer.

Use Reduce Motion

Using the Reduce Motion feature on iPhone or iPad can make the device feel faster by eliminating a lot of the eye candy animations that are used throughout the operating system.

• Go to Settings > Accessibility > Motion > turn on “Reduce Motion”

Try switching around between apps and using different ones, you should immediately see the difference, and you might feel a difference too.

Mail App Slow to Load Messages in iOS 13 / iPadOS 13?

Some users report that Mail app in particular feels very slow, often when getting new messages, loading messages, or otherwise interacting with the app.

Force quitting Mail app and relaunching it can sometimes offer a performance benefit.

Forcibly restarting the iPhone and iPad can also sometimes resolve performance issues with some apps, Mail included. You can read about how to force reboot devices specifically in the next tip.

If you want to focus primarily on new unread messages, try using the handy “Show Unread Only” email toggle in Mail for iPhone and iPad, which can reduce the number of messages shown on screen, which may feel faster to see the new emails you want to see.

General Slowness? Try Force Rebooting iPhone or iPad

Sometimes force rebooting a device can resolve performance issues, and it’s easy to do though the procedure varies per device:

• How to Force reboot iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR,iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus: Press and release Volume Up button, press and release Volume Down button, then press and hold the Power button until the  Apple logo appears on screen. That is how to force restart iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max (and iPhone 11 too).

• How to force reboot iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Hold down the Power Button and Volume Down button until you see the  Apple logo on screen. This action will force restart the iPhone 7.

• How to force reboot iPad Pro (2018 and newer, no Home buttons): Press and release Volume Up button, press and release Volume Down button, now press and hold the Power button and continue to hold the Power button until the  Apple logo appears on the screen. That’s how you force reboot the iPad Pro.

• How to force reboot iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, and all iPad models with a Home button: Hold down the Power Button and Home button together until you see the  apple logo on the display. That is how to force reboot any iPhone or iPad with a clickable Home button.

Did the above tips help to resolve your ipadOS / iOS 13 performance issues? Is your iPhone or iPad faster than it was before? Do you have any other tips, suggestions, or advice about speeding up a slow iPhone or iPad? Share with us in the comments below!

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

13 Comments

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  1. Jaylene says:

    Hi, I brought an iPhone 11 since then have daily problems with receiving emails, it freezes during card game, slow to open with Face ID, and not just slow to down load – but real slow. I
    Have done everything written, apple tried everything it’s been 9 days and they have not returned calls as promised. Very frustrated. Why upgrade?

  2. Dwimary says:

    Shame on you apple, making slow older iPhones, shouldn’t upgrade software

  3. Lydia Diem says:

    Why is my iPhone 7 Plus so darn slow and my speed is go e with the new update is this going to be fixed so annoying ugh

  4. Christopher K says:

    Hi Rick! I agree with you 110%. I made the mistake of downloading that stupid ios13 upgrade and lost valuable family pictures, contacts and work info. I was going to pay for more storage because my icloud was full. Thinking that it would be a quick and easy upgrade, i decide that i would get the extra storage after the upgrade… BIG MISTAKE. From 7am to 4pm my phone was stuck on the reboot apple logo page. Went it to the apple store and they couldn’t do any for me appearantly besides a factory reset.

  5. Marr says:

    I regret I upgraded to iOS 13. Sometimes it is so slow that it gets unresponsive, so that I even cannot take incoming call. Really bad iOS, shame on you Apple

  6. Mark Derison says:

    I do NOT find the Updates section in the App Store on my iPhone Xs Max running 13.1.2. I tried following the directions in this article, “Open the App Store > tap your profile in the upper corner > scroll down to the “Updates” section and install any available app updates”, but it is NOT there. Any suggestions, or did I just miss it?

    • ian says:

      If you do not have any updates available, the Updates section will show nothing under the profile

      That’s how you access the Updates in App Store for iOS 13 though, no idea why they changed it… I think it is confusing.

    • Tom Semple says:

      Quicker is to long press App Store icon to reveal context menu. this has links to Purchased, Updates, Redeem, & Search.

  7. Paul Thorne says:

    Actually fed up with these updates impairing performance of my iphone. So much time and energy spent on trying to make the phone work as well as it did prior to update..Everything is rushed today without enough time and effort put into quality control thus presenting problems for customers ’to fix’ later. Not good enough Apple!

  8. Rick A. says:

    One of the most useful OSX Daily stories ever! Thanks for the good and understandable information.

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