Blog, Mac Support, Mobile Users 5.12.2012 Comments Off on How to fix a slow or buggy iPhone or iPad

iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad moving at a slow crawl or frozen entirely and trying to figure out how to get it back up to speed? There are few things that you can do try.

  1. Kill recent apps in your Fast App Switcher. There might be a rogue process eating up memory. To access the fast app switcher in iOS 4, double click the home button on iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS, or iPod touch G3. The interface will slide up and reveal a second dock-like set of app icons “in the background”. To kill an app, tap and hold the app until the icons begin to jiggle, then tap the minus symbol (-) at the top left corner. The app will then disappear, “deleted” from the background dock (but not from your iPhone or iPod).
  2. Restart your iPhone (soft or hard reset).
  3. Delete and re-install any apps that repeatedly give you problems.
  4. If you’re jailbroken and have a ton of tweaks running, try removing them and re-adding them one at a time and see if that helps identify any problems.
  5. Update your iPhone to the latest firmware. (Unless you have an iPhone 3G, in which case you might want to stick with iOS 3.1.3)
  6. Restore your iPhone as new. This is a last resort — you will have to reinstall everything on your iPhone after you do this. However, it can sometimes solve problems nothing else can, especially if you previously restored from a buggy or corrupt backup image.

To restore, whether on a Mac or PC:

  • plug your iPhone, iPod, or iPad into your computer.
  • If iTunes doesn’t automatically launch, go ahead and launch it.
  • To the left, you’ll see a sidebar, click on your device.
  • You’ll see a restore option.
  • (Make sure you backup your phone first. A sync can do this, or you can right click on your device name in the sidebar and select backup.)
  • Then simply click that and let iTunes do it’s thing for a few minutes.

When the restore has finished you’ll be asked to either set up as a new iPhone or restore from a backup.  If you choose to restore from a backup and your device still acts funny afterwards (i.e. the problem returned with the backup), I’d recommend doing the restore again and this time setting up as a new device. Then re-sync your content.

To install different or custom firmware (say you need to test iOS 4.2 GM or say you’re on 4.0.2 and you don’t want 4.1 for some reason), hold down Option (Mac) or CTRL (Windows) while you click restore, then navigate to your then navigate to the firmware you want.

This is a pretty basic function of iTunes but one anyone that owns an iOS device should learn how to do.  Always make frequent backups and sync your phone regularly to ensure you won’t lose your content if something should go wrong with your device.

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