I have an old iPad (the first generation), and over time it has become unbearably slow. Now I understand that I cannot expect apps designed for faster iPads to work perfectly on this old device. However, it often responds slowly even to trivial actions, such as typing.

I have never reset an iOS device, and thus I am not sure if it would help. However, I have an Android device that gets an impressive performance boost once I reset it every now and then (the same can be said about most Windows devices, I guess). Thus, my question: does it make sense to try and reset my old iPad? Would it become more responsive, or should I be looking for issues elsewhere?

  • You could try downgrading if you haven't already. While Apple is usually good, they have made some ioses make earlier devices slow. (ios 3? and iPhone 3g)
    – CoffeeRain
    Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 20:05
  • I thought (based on many questions and answers here) that it is not possible to downgrade?
    – user14447
    Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 20:10
  • 2
    It's certainly extremely difficult. Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't expect it to be any faster, especially if you are comparing the performance increases of doing the same thing on an Android device.

The reason is that, on an iPad, Apple goes through a great deal of trouble to ensure that applications don't mess up your operating system (e.g. by using up too much resources in the background). Compare that with a Windows or Mac system where each application you install can load up its own background processes. In an environment such as that, you would expect a reset of the entire computer to speed everything up.

The only thing affecting your performance on the iPad, however, is iOS, which Apple provides. Assuming you reset to the same iOS you are currently using, you should expect the experience to be the same at the end.

My guess as to why your iPad is less responsive than it used to be is that Apple is optimizing their iOS updates for the newer generation iPad models rather than worrying about how it might affect the user experience on the 1st generation iPad.

Therefore, I think the only thing that could potentially increase your performance is if you downgrade the iOS on your device (which is beyond the scope of this answer), or wait for Apple to release an update which fixes the issues you are experiencing (unlikely with older generation iPads). A final option might be to jailbreak and see if there are any solutions available there (I'm not familiar with jailbreaking, so I can't point to specifics).

The one caveat might be that you are running multiple applications (several of which may be consuming up resources). However, the fix for that is to simply shut them down rather than reseting the entire iOS.


It is possible but not that likely. I have had a reset fix WiFi on an iOS device, but in general system management of processes is very strict. If an app is running in the background when it should not or is eating too much memory, it gets killed.

Your question is very similar to Does an iPad consume more battery power when there are multiple applications open? - where using battery is pretty much the same thing as using system resources that could otherwise make your iPad faster. It's worth reading the replies and accepting that iOS just doesn't allow apps to run wild. A lot of people will say that killing applications helps, but it just isn't true.*

If you did reboot you would find the same apps in the task list. That's because it isn't a list of running apps, but of recently-used apps. Seeing them there means they might be running but they're probably not.

*Why isn't it true? As the linked question and answers show, only a few limited use cases are allowed for an app to remain "running" in the background. If you have one of these active you will typically know about it and want that behaviour! If you don't you could shut it down but telling you to shut down those apps is a bit like telling you not to run any apps because they will run your battery down. The bottom line is that apps are NOT doing useless random things in the background and wasting your system resources.

  • I respectfully disagree with the statement that killing apps dosen't help performance. Killing background apps will make the performance either stay the same, or improve performance. There is no way that it will make the performance worse. Therefore, you should kill apps to be on the safe side. All I would need is a single example of a rouge app that's consuming resources in the background to disprove the statement that killing processes doesn't ever help. Numerous times, I've had background apps use up so much resources that I could actually feel the phone heat up in my pocket.
    – Senseful
    Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 20:12
  • 1
    I can only tell you how it works, can't make you believe me. Apple docs, WWDC2011 videos, other developers will tell you the same. Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 21:26

You must log in to answer this question.