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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
* 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
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)
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.
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.
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!