Fix Slow iOS 8 on iPhone 4s

Struggling with an unreliable and sluggish iOS 8 on your old iPhone 4s? There’s a few settings you can tweak to greatly improve the performance.

I last bought an iPhone three years ago, the then brand new iPhone 4s. I tend to get the ‘s’ model every two years, but decided to skip the iPhone 5s and hang on for the iPhone 6.

Unfortunately the iPhone 6 just didn’t appeal to me. iOS 8 looks great, but the new hardware not so much, so I couldn’t justify the £619 spend (there’s no way a 16GB phone will cut it nowadays).

Of course, the iPhone 4s officially supports iOS 8, so like many people I quickly upgraded to get the benefits. But unfortunately iOS 8 also caused some serious performance issues to my older iPhone; the speed of the apps became sluggish and the interface generally unresponsive and unstable.

After much searching I finally found two tips that really helped me rejuvenate my old iPhone:

1. Turn OFF Background App Refresh

(Settings > General > Background App Refresh)

This will instantly fix most of the app-switching slowness, and apps crashing/quitting due to lack of memory. Background Refresh has been a great feature since iOS 7, but you’ll find that most of the time it’s not a game-changer and you can live without it.

2. Turn ON Reduce Motion

(Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion)

This will help greatly with the general usability of the iPhone. The moving background is disabled and other animations including folder pop-outs will no longer occur. The downside of this is losing some of the beauty of iOS 8, but in exchange you will have a far smoother operating experience.


Settings to help iOS on iPhone 4s


There are a few other tricks you can try that may also increase the speed of your slow iPhone 4s on iOS 8, although these might not have such a great impact:

  • Turn off Spotlight search
  • Clear usage space if low
  • Turn off unnecessary features (Bluetooth, Notifications etc)
  • Reset network settings

There are also reports that the iOS 8.1 update should also help further reduce the issues. But if you are in a dilemma whether to keep your old iPhone 4s vs a new iPhone 6, try these tips first before making that purchase.