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How to Clean and Speed Up an Old iPad?

Clean and Speed Up an Old iPad

As your iPad gets older it slows down in terms of speed. This tutorial has some tips that you can quickly follow to fix slowing down the issue of your device, making you feel like you’ve got a new iPad when you use it.

The more an iPad is used, the more are the chances of getting it slowed down over a period of time. No matter how old an iPad is, with the continuous hardware and software upgrading, the latter OS updates even slow down the older iPads. For instance, iPad OS13 has might slow down your older iPad devices. What are the reasons iPads slow down over time? Let’s try to get an answer to the questions.

iPad Slow? Learn How to Speed Up your iPad?

Memory usage of the device, memory used by unwanted applications on the device, local storage used by the applications, updating iOS and iPad OS, applications using background services, applications using location services, and etc. are the few main reasons. Let’s see one by one knowing more about the listed factors. Generally, if you have checked all of them then your device should work fast. And, in case your iPad is still slow, then there might be chances of depreciation of the hardware, and in this case, you will have to arrange a new iPad.

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Argument over Apple deliberately reducing device performances with newer updates.

There have been a lot of questions about whether Apple has depreciated the performance levels of iPhone and iPad devices with newer updates. Well, yes Apple has deliberately done it on the iPhone devices. If you have an old iPhone, latest updates including iOS 12 and iOS 13, you will observe the devices not performing up to the mark compared to the previous OS versions. Why did they do it? It’s just to avoid battery drainage problems. Does this apply to iPad as well? Well, No.

Apple has not slowed down the performance for iPad updates, and in case you feel it, you need to take some measures listed in this article. The power management is specifically related to the iPhone devices and not iPad according to Apple developer and support documentation.

Let’s go through all the points you need to check to speed up your iPad.

1. Delete the applications that are no longer in usage.

Device memory plays an important role in performance. You need to remove all the applications that are no longer in your usage. Providing a free space to the device will let all the software applications run with required memory and space. Hence it’s quite obvious you can optimize the performance of the hardware in accordance with the software and OS that you intend to use on a regular basis.

Note, by deleting the application doesn’t mean killing the application when running in the background. It doesn’t mean you double-tap the home button and remove the app from the background. Or in your iPad, long sliding up the home screen from bottom to view all the apps running in the background. You need to long-press on the app icon at the homepage till red cross appears, and when you select it, the application will be completely removed from the device. Also, along with it, all the application data will also be erased from the device making up free space for other applications to operate.

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By this method, you can delete one application at a time.

If you want to delete multiple applications in a single step, then there is a quick and easy way you can delete and remove app data. Tap on the settings, then proceed to general settings of your iPad. Proceeding on the iPad storage option, you will be able to see all the analytic relating data, with a couple of recommendations as well, and storage space consumed by applications on the device. You can quickly view all your application usage and decide on which applications you want to keep and which ones can be removed. Applications like a Garage band, Podcast, Movies etc., are hardly used and therefore such applications can be deleted from the iPad.

Also, you can turn on iCloud synchronizing the videos and images on the device. It will upload all your data to iCloud, just make sure only the required data should be available for syncing. This practice can also keep you with enough space on your iPad as you can clear media files from the iPad once those are stored on the cloud.

When you remove some applications, there might be chances those applications data is not removed from iPad. Since applications have local database, it is not removed the way cache memory is cleared. There is an option ‘Offload Unused App’, which eventually offload local storage of unused applications making more space on iPad. You can follow the same steps on your iPhone too.

2. Restart the iPad

When you have removed all the applications you do not use much, you need to restart the device in order to refresh the overall memory of the device. When it starts, the iPad OS looks for all the applications that are installed on the device, and remove any cache or data. Restarting the iPad enables its memory to start from scratch. The memory is allocated to the applications over time based on your usage.

Restart the iPad

If you are using an iPad, then you need to long-press the lock or sleep/wake button. A few seconds later, Switch off slider will appear. You can slide it ‘Slide to Power Off’, leading the iPad to completely switch off. Give it a few seconds and then press the same sleep/wake button for a few seconds. The iPad will start taking some time.

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In case you are using an iPad Pro, the restarting procedure is slightly different. Along with the sleep/wake button, you also need to press one of the volume buttons at the same time. The same slider ‘Slide to Power Off’ will appear. You can follow the same procedure to shut the device done. Again give some time to the iPad and then restart in the same manner, i.e. by pressing the sleep/wake button along with any of the volume buttons.

3. Stopping Background App refresh

Following the above two steps, your iPad should already be performing little faster as you have already freed up space and remove data related to the deleted applications. As the next step, you can check applications that use background refresh. This step can be significantly observed on older iPad like iPad mini or iPad Air 2.

Applications enabled with background refresh always look for updating even when they are not in usage. Also, all the applications when it starts, refreshes the data and makes API calls to pull new content. It is obvious that if you are using any social media application, you can live without data not getting refreshed in the background. If the application is in the background and you open the application, it doesn’t refresh automatically and you get the application back on your screen the same as you left it in the last session. If you had killed the application last time after using it and open the application for another session, then the content will get refresh taking a couple of extra seconds.

For better performance on the user side, applications these days also use background app refresh to keep refreshing the data.

It helps in loading the application in lesser time. I do not feel there is a requirement of keeping such applications with an option to refresh in the background.

background app refresh

Instead, you can turn off the ‘Background App Refresh’ feature on your device. You can simply tap on Settings, go to General and find out the ‘Background App Refresh’ option. Here, you can switch off all the applications like Photos, Uber, Banking applications, Notes, Spotify, etc.

Stopping the ‘Background App Refresh’ option will not let any of the turned-off applications to refresh in the background and therefore, lesser memory of iPad will be used. Instead, it could be utilized in other applications and to better and faster performance.

4. Update latest iOS versions

Updating iOS version to the latest version is one of the options, but update the OS only when you are sure. Generally, iOS updates on the devices upgrade the software performance, patch to any coding issue in the previous version, and add new features. Although, newer updates can also lead to excessive usage and features additions, which can eventually slow down the iPad performance.

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However, the latest iOS 13 has has been looking promising in terms of performance-boosting. It should be safe updating your OS to 13, if it is compatible.

Update latest iOS versions


So you can feel free to update your iPad iOS to iOS 13. To update it, you can tap on the Settings page, proceed to General and then find out ‘Software Update’. Check if you are not already using the latest iOS. If not, then you can update it.

5. Clearing Safari Cache

Safari or any other browser if you have installed, can be one of the major sources of slowing down your devices. The reason is that browsers always have cache memory and save data locally. This helps in faster loading of previously opened websites. If your browsers are consuming significant space as cache memory, your iPad will again slow down.

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To clear the cache memory, you can tap on Settings and proceed to General. Find out ‘Clear History and Website Data’. You can also directly do a global search in the Settings page. Open Safari, and check the website data. You can view all the links you have previously opened. At the bottom of the screen, you can find removing the website data option.

Clearing Safari Cache


Clearing the website data should speed up not only Safari’s interface, but you can feel a significant performance improvement. You can do the same for any other browser you might have installed on your device.

6. Finding whether web connection is slow or not?

Having cleared the browser data, if the browser is not running up to the mark speed, then you also need to web connection speed.

Ookla is one of the speed test applications that you can download the use for testing the web connection anytime. Based on the region, data providing companies have set bandwidth.

Just make sure you keep on testing the speed in regular intervals to make sure there is no issue with web connection.

7. Stopping the Notifications

Notifications always alert you regardless of the type of application you are using. Doesn’t matter if it is a chatting application, Instagram, WhatsApp and etc. Sometimes not notifications are important. For example, you might not be interested in knowing every time someone comments on Facebook or Instagram. You can check it regularly when you have got some time.

Stopping the Notifications

It is just an example, but there are a lot of other applications as well, where you might not want to receive notifications and are not so important too.

In this case, you can stop your iPad from receiving notifications. It works similar to the background app refresh and consumes memory of iPad. You can open Settings of iPad, proceed to Notifications and switch it off.

Memory usage can be restricted in this way and optimize the performance of iPad.

8. Turning off the Location Services

Location services are used by many applications that rely on location of your device for their features. While it is always handy having the location services enabled, like Maps or Facebook. But for the other application that you do not use much, you can turn off Location Services because they always run in the background to know your device location. Additionally, such applications also drain iPad battery continuously along with the device memory.

Turning off the Location Services


You can turn off location services as well, from the Settings page you need to proceed to Privacy. Find Location Services and turn it off. Remember when you do it, you will no longer be able to use the Find My iPad application in iOS 13.

9. Turning off Spotlight

Spotlight enables to search other applications on the iPad for quick access. If you do not use this application and open apps directly as you already know how and where to do it, you can turn off this feature as well. Spotlight is another example that can slow down the performance of the iPad.

You can turn off Spotlight from the Settings page. Launch Settings and open General. Find the Spotlight option and turn off all the applications listed. You can turn off using the Apple native switch button to grey or disabled state.

10. Enabling the Reduce Motion option

Having followed all the steps you will note performance-optimized on iPad significantly. If you want more speed, you can stop iPad OS visual effects that consume memory of the device. To do it, tap on Settings and proceed to General settings. Find the Accessibility option and tap on it.

Enable Reduce Motion option

Find Reduce Motion option in Accessibility and you can turn it off by enabling ‘Reduce Motion’ on the device.

Bottom line:

In this tutorial, we have seen the iPad slow down over a period of time and we have several options, which can optimize the speed of the iPad. All the options have one thing in common is reducing memory usage on the device so that you can use iPad with better speed.

You can delete unused applications, restart the iPad, clear applications data, stop Background Services, update to the latest iOS version, clear web browser cache, stop Notifications, Location Services, Spotlight search, and Reduce Motion in order to save space as well as RAM of the device along with the battery.

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