Fix iOS 9 Slow Performance & Lag with Three Easy Tips
A notable number of users who have installed iOS 9 on their iPhones, iPad, and iPod touch have discovered that iOS 9 has caused performance to suffer, with annoying lag, choppiness in interactions, delayed response from the user interface, and just general performance degradation. That lag can be notable enough to make the device feel considerably slower on iOS 9 than when compared to the same hardware running a prior version of iOS. This can be a frustrating experience, but there are a few tweaks you can make to immediately improve the performance of a sluggish iOS 9 device, effectively speeding up the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch again.
Readers may recall we warned of this exact issue in our guide to prepare for iOS 9 (see #2), and now that iOS 9 is in the wild, it’s not just old hardware that has seen negatively impacted performance. But do keep in mind that if you just updated to iOS 9 and things seem slow, you need to give it a few hours for indexing and other functions to complete. Some argue that waiting an entire day is necessary for devices with a ton of content on them, but that’s usually not necessary. If it’s been more than five or six hours after you’ve updated iOS 9 and you notice it’s annoyingly slow or choppy, you can start taking action by modifying some aspects in Settings. Yes, this will actually speed up an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 9, and the performance boost is noticeable, even if you don’t feel like things are particularly slow.
Speed Up iOS 9 by Disabling Transparency & Motion
Some devices seem to struggle to render visual effects on iOS 9, by disabling transparency and motion eye candy, you can speed up the general interactivity of iOS on any iPhone, IPad, or iPod touch.
- Open the “Settings” app in iOS and go to “General”
- Choose “Accessibility”
- Locate “Increase Contrast” and choose “Reduce Transparency”, toggling that to the ON position
- Go back to Accessibility and now locate “Reduce Motion”, toggle that to the ON position as well
- Exit out of Settings and explore around iOS to immediately feel the difference in speed
The end result is that iOS will look less fancy without any translucent windows or crazy zooming in and out motion effects, but the tradeoff for a slightly uglier iOS experience is notably better performance on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch of virtually every model. Also, by enabling Reduce Motion, you end up with a nice transition effect, which some users prefer anyway.
If you’re a Mac user and this sounds familiar, it’s because you can increase the speed of OS X and general performance by also disabling transparency and visual effects, so perhaps iOS and OS X both could use some optimization in the visual department, but in the meantime if you experience sluggishness, learn to be satisfied without having fancier looking translucent windows. For what it’s worth, the performance of keeping those visual effects enabled in OS X did improve with El Capitan, and given that iOS 8.4.1 ran fine with eye candy enabled on most iOS devices, it’s quite likely that performance for visual effects will improve in iOS 9.1 too.
Boost Performance By Disabling Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh is an interesting feature that allows background app activity in iOS, but while it’s well intentioned it can lead to a decrease in device performance. Turning it off is easy, and the only side effect is that when you open an app that gets details from the internet, it refreshes on open rather than in the background – no big deal.
- In the Settings app of iOS, go to “General”
- Find “Background App Refresh” and turn the feature to the OFF position
Disable Siri Suggestions for a Another Speed Increase
This is probably the hardest feature to turn off, because Siri Suggestions is one of the most notable new abilities and interesting features in iOS 9. But, unfortunately, it also slows down iOS (at least on some hardware), and turning it off has an immediately noticeable increase in speed.
- Open the Settings app and go to “General”
- Select “Spotlight Suggestions”
- Flip the switch for “Siri Suggestions” to the OFF position
Yes this means you will no longer get the Siri Suggestions when you swipe over or down to search in iOS, but the result is a faster device when performing searches and accessing those screens. Whether or not you want to lose one of the core features of iOS 9 for the sake of a speed boost is really up to you.
Bonus Tip: Forcibly Reboot the Device
Sometimes forcing the device to reboot can help performance, usually if there is an errant process or something of the like going on in the background. Though people seemed to have mixed results with this, force rebooting is easy to do:
- Hold down the Home button and Power button until you see the Apple logo on the screen
Now then let it boot up as usual, does it run any faster? You tell us.
Think iOS 9 is Unbearably Slow?
If you feel like iOS 9 is just unbearably slow and you can’t stand it, you can downgrade back to iOS 8.4.1 pretty easily, but you will likely have to setup the device as new, or restore from an older backup.
Another option is to wait for iOS 9.1 to be released, which is likely arriving next month with the iPad Pro, as iOS 9.1 should almost certainly include performance improvements and bug fixes which may be causing the performance issues with iOS 9. In fact, many iOS 9.1 beta users report it runs faster than iOS 9, so that should be encouraging.
Do you think iOS 9 is slow? Do you have any other tips to speed up iOS 9? Let us know in the comments!