How to breathe new life and increased performance back into an iPad that has become slow and sluggish

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So, you’ve got an iPad and it’s starting to get a little slow on you.  Stop me if this sound familiar– first, you do your best to free up as much storage space as you can muster by deleting old, unused apps.  Next,  you decide to offload your photo library and data to iCloud, or whatever other preferred cloud service you choose.  Still not enough?  While these are very intuitive, and useful steps, there are still a few additional methods available to you to bring your iPad back to life and make it feel like it’s a newer device once again.  In no particular order…

Make sure you are running the latest version of iOS

This might not seem like a big deal, however in reality it can be a deal breaker.  Whenever Apple updates the latest version of iOS, they take extra care to optimize it for the most recent hardware.  In addition, they _also_ optimize the new software for older versions of iPad hardware.  Making sure you are running the most recent version ensures that your iPad will run as efficient as it can.  To ensure you are running the most recent version of iOS, first go to

Settings–>General–>Software Update.  If your iPad is up-to-date it will disclose this info to you–otherwise, it will alert you that a more recent version is available to download and install.



Manage background processes

Background app refreshing is a useful feature for your iPad.  It also can be a battery hog, and can slow your iPad’s performance significantly if there’s too much going on behind the scenes.  Luckily, not only can you turn this feature off altogether if you choose to, you also have the power to refine what content you are allowing to be refreshes in the first place.  To manage these processes, launch Settings–>General–>Background App Refresh.

Clear old data from your cache

Sometimes my Safari browser seems like it’s slowing down and not loading as fast as it used to.  One of the ways you can address this is to clear your browser history and stored website data.  To access your website data, go to Settings–>Safari–>Clear History and Website Data.  When selecting this option, all your browser history, cookies, and any additional browsing data.  In addition, this same history will be cleared from all devices signed into your iCloud account.  Furthermore, you can select site specific data to remove by choosing Advanced–> Website Data, and then hand-pick the data you would like to delete.


Perform a hard reset on your iPad

One of the easiest ways you can address concerns over a slow iPad it to performa a hard reset.  To reset your iPad simply hold down the home and sleep/wake buttons simultaneously until your iPad turns off, and then back on again and displays the Apple logo.  Now let go, and wait for your iPad screen to finish booting up.  This one of the most convenient and safest ways to handle issues with rogue apps that continue to run in the background, even when they are no longer being used.

Restore your iPad as new

Don’t feel too defeated if you get to this point–it happens to the best of us.  I have restored an iPad or two as well as an iPhone over the years–and even though it seems drastic, as long as you have backed up your data in the recent past, it’s really not a big deal.  You can always access your previously synced content, so all is not lost.  You might be surprised how good it feels to start with a restored iPad–it can be a liberating feeling.

Did we miss anything that you have found to help you deal with your slower, aging iPad?  If so, please share with the rest of us in the comments section below.


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8 thoughts on “How to breathe new life and increased performance back into an iPad that has become slow and sluggish”

  1. Is there a way to restore only some of the apps you’ve backed up after wiping the iPad clean?

    1. Hi Timothy,

      Yes. Since you performed a clean install instead of restoring from a backup, all you have to do is open the App Store app on you iPad and click the Updates button in the bottom right corner, then select Purchased from the top section–next select “not on this iPad.” From there you can pick and choose to re-download the apps you have already purchased that are not currently on your iPad.

  2. I did the clear out cache on my IPad and now I can no longer get onto Facebook. It will not accept my password, so I asked for a new password and it was never sent to me..I am not at all happy about this.

    1. Hi Luci,

      That sounds frustrating. Looks like a breakdown somewhere with FB. If you cleared your password info, you should only have to re-enter it again. Not sure why you wouldn’t have received an alert to change it, though. Do you have more than one email address? Perhaps the prompt was sent to a different email?

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