Have you ever looked down at your phone and wondered, “why is my phone so slow?” Maybe you’re trying to quickly type in directions on Google Maps to get to your destination, or maybe you’re just trying to figure out if it’s worth sitting through all the movie credits to see that extra scene. Either way, having a slow phone can be a major source of annoyance.
Even if you have an excellent wireless provider, your phone can still get bogged down with too much stuff in storage, need updates or simply be an older model that’s past its prime. Luckily, we have a bunch of tips that can help speed up your phone or figure out what might be slowing it down in the first place, whether it’s your battery health, cache, internet connection or something else entirely.
Reasons your phone could be slowing down
Wondering “why is my iPhone so slow” or “why is my Android device slower than usual?” If you’ve found that lately your Android or iPhone is slow, here are some possible reasons.
1. Not enough storage space
Your phone speed can be severely slowed down if your phone storage space is too full. Here’s how to check storage on an Android:
- Go to your Settings.
- Tap Device Care
- Open Storage to see how much you have left.
For an iPhone, here’s how you check your storage space:
- Tap Settings.
- Select General
- Tap iPhone Storage to check the storage you have left
If your storage is full, it might be time to get rid of old photos (let’s face it, you’re not gonna look at those old screenshots), clear your cache, delete unused apps and generally clear your phone. Check out a later section to see how to clear out some of those old apps and empty your cache.
2. You have too many apps
If you keep asking yourself, “why is my phone slow?” the common answer is: too many apps. Too many apps can seriously slow down your phone and drain its battery. If your phone has screens and screens full of apps you never use, it might be time to delete a few. Scroll down to check out our tips on how to speed up your phone.
3. You’re running on an older operating system
We’re all guilty of ignoring software updates so we don’t interrupt our scrolling habits. If that sounds like you, your phone may not be running on the latest phone operating system or might be several software updates behind.
Tips on how to speed up your phone
Wondering how to speed up your phone? If “how can I increase phone speed” is on your mind, check out these tips for speeding your device. You can also check out our guide on organizing your phone for even more tips on freeing up some space and increasing phone speed.
1. Turn your phone off and on again
Like most technology, simply resetting your phone can solve a lot of issues. If your phone is slow, try doing a soft reset to see if that fixes the problem. To reset an iPhone, press and hold the Home and Power buttons at the same time until your device shuts down. For an Android, you can either take out and put back in the removable battery, or hold the power and volume buttons simultaneously. Android also offers an option to restart in safe mode, which temporarily turns off all of your downloaded apps.
2. Spend some time deleting apps
Apps can take up a lot of storage space on our phones. If your phone is slowing down, it might be time to let go of all those apps you never use anymore (goodbye, 5 Minute Ab Workout). Not sure how to delete apps? If you have an iPhone, touch and hold the app you want to delete and an option will pop up to delete it. If you have an Android, you can manage your apps from your Google Play Store account.
Another way to reduce or remove unused apps that isn’t manual is to have your phone offload unused apps. If you go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage, there is an option to turn this function on so your phone can delete the apps it knows you aren’t using. Android’s have a similar function under Settings > Storage called “Free Up Space.”
If you don’t want to delete a bunch of apps, one way you can still help your phone’s speed is by closing apps you aren’t using. So once you’re done tracking your workout, setting a timer, or absolutely crushing that expert level Sudoku puzzle, make sure you close out that app if you don’t need it anymore.
3. Update your phone
If you’re several updates behind, that might be the reason your phone is running so slowly. Make sure to consistently go into your Settings to see if there’s a new software update you need to run. You can even run these at night, so you’re not without your phone during the day.
4. Clear your cache
Similarly to a bunch of unused apps, your cache might be slowing down your phone. Any time you use your phone to browse the internet, your cache keeps bits of data on your phone (yes, it knows how many times you open Reddit). To clear your cache on any Android apps, go to Settings > Find Apps, then clear the cache on your chosen apps, especially things like your typical web browser. For how to clear the cache on your iPhone, you can go to Settings and look for your usual web browser (like Safari) and tap “Clear History and Website Data” to empty your cache.
5. Disable live wallpaper (for Android)
Android offers live wallpaper, which is a type of moving wallpaper for your phone. And while it looks cool, it can slow down your device by a lot. You might want to disable live wallpaper and see if that fixes your speed issues.
6. Do a hard reset
We’ve already told you to try turning your phone off and on again. If that didn’t work, and nothing else works, you might go the nuclear option and try a hard reset: returning your phone to factory settings. Now, be warned, this means you’ll lose all of the data on your phone and anything saved on it, so you’ll want to backup everything on your phone to cloud storage BEFORE you do this. But if you’ve run out of options, this might be something to try. This is really a last resort, so you’ll want to try our other tips first.
7. Fix your internet connection
If you’ve conducted an internet speed test and your internet is slow as f*! (we said fox), it might be time to reach out to your network administrator and see what is causing the issue with your connection since that can affect your phone’s speed. And if your Wi-Fi is really slow at home, you might want to temporarily hop off Wi-Fi and use your cellular data. Curious what we’re talking about? Check out our guide on cellular data vs Wi-Fi.
8. Check your battery health
Battery health can be a big reason for your phone slowing down. If your battery is already 2 or 3 years old, it’s practically ancient in battery years (they’re kind of like dog years that way). If you have a phone with really poor battery health, there’s not much you can do except, well, get a new phone. But first, you’ll want to check if it really is your battery health causing the issue. Luckily, there’s a way to check if this is true. If you have an iPhone, you can go to a section called Battery Health under your settings. From there, it’ll tell you how your battery is performing. If you have an Android, you’ll need to download an app to check on your battery’s health.
9. Check for damage
If you’ve checked your connection, your battery and your storage and your phone is a new model but it’s still working slow, your phone may have some water (or other type of liquid) damage, or physical damage of some kind. For a severely damaged phone, it’s best for you to get rid of the device. Some manufacturers and service providers will take the damaged phone off your hands, or you can take it to a phone recycling program.
Have you tried everything?
In the end, the best option may be to get a new phone entirely. Maybe you’ve tried all of our tips and nothing seems to help. It could be that your phone is just too old and it’s time for a replacement, or maybe it’s damaged beyond repair (rice can’t fix everything, unfortunately). Luckily, we’ve got plenty of phone deals to help you find a speedier device and help you say goodbye to your old, slow phone. But what do you do with your old device? Check out our guide on what to do with your old phone.