Top 5 tips to speed up an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s running iOS 7

Top 5 tips to speed up an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s running iOS 7

The iPhone 4 was a huge feat in engineering for its time on both a software and hardware level. However, several years later, the iPhone 4, and even the iPhone 4s, just don't run newer software the way they used to. For many people, iOS 7 really caused the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s to show their age. Luckily, we've got some tips and tricks to hopefully help you speed things up and kick some of that lag to the curb if a simple reboot isn't doing it for you anymore...

1. Upgrade to iOS 7.1 if you haven't already

iOS 7.1 brings with it some changes that should help improve overall performance for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s users. If you haven't updated already, we highly suggest you do so. If you aren't sure how, you can check out our step-by-step guide:

2. Disable background app refresh

iOS 7 brought with it a new feature called background app refresh. While it makes it possible for developers to do all kinds of cool things like update the content of apps in the background with minimal battery loss, it still means that your iPhone has to keep those processes running. The very best option is to turn background app refresh off altogether, but if you only want to disable certain apps, you can do that as well.

3. Reduce transparency and motion

While the iPhone 4 doesn't support parallax — a fancy word for the motion effect — in iOS 7, the iPhone 4s does. Luckily, you can disable both the motion effect and transparency. These two options can help mitigate graphics resources needed and hopefully help speed things up when navigating through iOS and using things like Notification Center and Control Center. Keep in mind turning off contrast, in other words the transparency, first became available in iOS 7.1, so you'll need to be running that or higher in order to disable it.

4. Reset all settings and keyboard dictionaries

One of the biggest complaints of iOS 7, particularly on the iPhone 4, is keyboard lag. In some cases, resetting the general settings and keyboard dictionaries from the Settings app can help alleviate some of the issues. if you're still having issues and have an emoji keyboard enabled, try disabling that too and see if any of the lag disappears. To reset all settings and the dictionary on your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s, simply go to Settings > General > Reset. If you want to try disabling emoji keyboards and don't remember how, you can follow our guide:

5. Restore and clear out unused media on your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s

If none of the above tips are getting the speed boosts you need to see, restoring and cleaning out your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s may be worth a try. First, try deleting apps you don't use Keep in mind older devices will never run newer versions of iOS as optimally as the most current hardware though.

However, in some cases iOS 7 caused some users to nearly fill all their physical storage. When this happens, weird things can happen and one of those can be lag. You can check how much storage you have remaining by going to Settings > General > About. If you feel you should have more storage available than what you're iPhone is telling you that you have, trying a restore in iTunes to free up some space iOS may have corrupted or junked isn't a bad idea. It should be a last restore but it may be worth a try to a lot of folks before they decide to pull the trigger on a new iPhone.

Your tips and suggestions?

If you've experienced performance and lag issues with an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s on iOS 7 and above, were you able to find any ways to remedy them that weren't mentioned above? If so, be sure to leave them in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Top 5 tips to speed up an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s running iOS 7


I'm currently loving my iPhone 4s. It doesn't really lag but gets hot sometimes. It runs smoothly on iOS 7 and I hope so that it runs smoothly on iOS 8.

This is useful! A friend was just complaining about her iPhone 4 performing poorly, but she obviously doesn't want to pay full price for a 5S now, with the next model being so close. It's great that you guys don't forget about legacy devices.

A great option is to turn off Spotlight search indexing. It will make a noticeable difference in performance speed.

I don't have much disabled on my 4S, and it runs very smoothly. Obviously, if I compare it to my wife's 5 or my mother-in-law's 5s, it isn't as fast. But that's to be expected.

My father-in-law's 4, however, runs pretty badly on it. It's slow and stutters often. Not too surprising with its single-core processor.

Sent from the iMore App

There must be something wrong with his 4 then, cause I have a 4 running iOS 7 (just updated today to the newest update, apparently OUT today), and it runs better than the 4S does. Much smoother and faster, runs beautifully