How to Maintain an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Introduction

Performing general maintenance to your iPhone is a great way to keep it from needlessly slowing down. Keeping it up to date and running smoothly is a relatively simple task when you know what to do. This guide will take you through several ways to maintain your iPhone.

In this guide we'll cover:

  • Restarting your iPhone on a regular basis
  • Deleting Apps you no longer use
  • Checking for iOS updates
  • Clearing Safari's cache

We'll begin with restarting your iPhone. It's the fastest and easiest way to resolve most issues on your phone.

1 Check Storage and Optimize

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Tap on [Device] Storage.
    General Settings with Storage highlighted.
  4. The total amount of storage used will be shown near the top.
    Storage with general storage information highlighted.
  5. Below this, a Recommendations section will be displayed with options tailored to your individual device's storage situation to free up additional space.
    Storage with suggestion to auto delete old conversations highlighted.
  6. There will also be a list of individual apps (sorted by total amount of storage used) that will have options to help reduce the amount of storage they are consuming on your device. You can personally decide if removing/reducing storage for those apps is right for you.
    Storage with apps highlighted.

2 Delete an App (Tap)

To remove an app:

  1. From your main screen, locate the app you wish to remove.
  2. Lightly touch and hold the app until it jiggles or vibrates.
  3. Tap X in the upper-left corner of the app.
  4. Tap Delete.
    iOS showing app being removed.

3 Clear Safari Cookies and Data

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select Safari.
    Settings with Safari highlighted.
  3. Select Clear History and Website Data.
    Safari settings with Clear History and Website Data highlighted.
  4. Select Clear History and Data on the confirmation screen.
    Safari Clear History and Data prompt with Clear History and Data highlighted.

This action may make browsing the web less convenient for a while. Safari will have forgotten the URLs you've been visiting so it will not suggest them as you type, unless they had been previously bookmarked. These will build back up over time.

4 Adjust Brightness

To adjust your screen brightness follow these steps. Keep in mind, the brighter the your screen, the more battery power is used.

  1. Swipe up on your screen.
  2. Hold down the brightness icon and raise or lower it to your liking.
    iPhone control menu with the brightness icon highlighted

5 Disable Background Processes

To turn off Automatic Downloads:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select iTunes & App Store.
    Settings with iTunes and App Store highlighted.
  3. Turn off ALL automatic downloads.
    iTunes and Ap Stores settings ith Automatic Downloads highlighted.

To turn off Background App Refresh:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Select Background App Refresh.
    General settings with Background App Refresh highlighted.
  4. Select Background App Refresh again.
    Background App Refresh settings with Background App Refresh highlighted.
  5. Background App Refresh can be completely turned off.
    Background App Refresh options with Off highlighted.

These processes do not need to be going on in the background and may gain you a noticeable increase in performance if you stop them.

6 Restart

Powering off an iPhone.

  1. Hold down the lock / power button.
  2. Slide to power off when prompted.
  3. Wait until the phone is off.
  4. Hold down the lock / power button until you see the Apple logo.

7 Backup

There are two ways to backup your iOS device: iCloud, and to your computer via iTunes.

Backup to iCloud

iCloud has been the default way to backup your iOS devices since iOS 5. The first 5GB of files you backup using iCloud are free. Once this has been filled up, you'll have to pay a monthly fee. Photos and videos can fill up your free 5GB fast. If you take a lot of pictures, you may need to consider upgrading your iCloud storage, or backup using iTunes instead. 

While iCloud is the default backup method, it will need to be turned on.

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS settings with Apple ID selected
  3. Select iCloud.
    iOS apple ID page with iCloud selected
  4. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.
    iOS icloud menu with iCloud backup highlighted
  5. Tap Back Up Now.
    iOS icloud menu with back up now highlighted

From now on, whenever your iOS device is connected to WiFi and not in use (locked), it will automatically back itself up to iCloud.

Backup to a Computer using iTunes

To backup using iTunes, you will need to connect your device to your computer. You'll be using the USB cable that it came with to do this. While this method is free, it is not automatic and will take some time to download all of the data on your device over to your computer.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
    iTunes.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using the USB cable that it came with.
    iPhone plugged into laptop via cable.
  3. Select your device from the list on the left, then choose Summary.
    Choosing your device and then summary
  4. Finally, click the blue Back Up Now button on the right.
    Backup button

8 Check for Updates

To check and see if updates are available for your iOS device:

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    iOS settings page with general highlighted.
  3. Select Software Update.
    iOS general settings with software update highlighted.
  4. Your iOS device will perform a search for available iOS updates.
    • If no update is available, it will display your current version of iOS and inform you that your software is up to date.
      iOS up to date software page.
    • If an update is available, it will be displayed.
      iOS update display.
      • Select Download and Install to begin the update process.
      • If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.

9 Charge

Your iPhone may be low on charge. Go ahead and plug it in and allow it to charge.
An iPhone being charged

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Performing general maintenance to your iPhone is a great way to keep it from needlessly slowing down. Keeping it up to date and running smoothly is a relatively simple task when you know what to do. This guide will take you through several ways to maintain your iPhone.

In this guide we'll cover:

  • Restarting your iPhone on a regular basis
  • Deleting Apps you no longer use
  • Checking for iOS updates
  • Clearing Safari's cache

We'll begin with restarting your iPhone. It's the fastest and easiest way to resolve most issues on your phone.

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Tap on [Device] Storage.
    General Settings with Storage highlighted.
  4. The total amount of storage used will be shown near the top.
    Storage with general storage information highlighted.
  5. Below this, a Recommendations section will be displayed with options tailored to your individual device's storage situation to free up additional space.
    Storage with suggestion to auto delete old conversations highlighted.
  6. There will also be a list of individual apps (sorted by total amount of storage used) that will have options to help reduce the amount of storage they are consuming on your device. You can personally decide if removing/reducing storage for those apps is right for you.
    Storage with apps highlighted.

To remove an app:

  1. From your main screen, locate the app you wish to remove.
  2. Lightly touch and hold the app until it jiggles or vibrates.
  3. Tap X in the upper-left corner of the app.
  4. Tap Delete.
    iOS showing app being removed.
  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select Safari.
    Settings with Safari highlighted.
  3. Select Clear History and Website Data.
    Safari settings with Clear History and Website Data highlighted.
  4. Select Clear History and Data on the confirmation screen.
    Safari Clear History and Data prompt with Clear History and Data highlighted.

This action may make browsing the web less convenient for a while. Safari will have forgotten the URLs you've been visiting so it will not suggest them as you type, unless they had been previously bookmarked. These will build back up over time.

To adjust your screen brightness follow these steps. Keep in mind, the brighter the your screen, the more battery power is used.

  1. Swipe up on your screen.
  2. Hold down the brightness icon and raise or lower it to your liking.
    iPhone control menu with the brightness icon highlighted

To turn off Automatic Downloads:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select iTunes & App Store.
    Settings with iTunes and App Store highlighted.
  3. Turn off ALL automatic downloads.
    iTunes and Ap Stores settings ith Automatic Downloads highlighted.

To turn off Background App Refresh:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Select Background App Refresh.
    General settings with Background App Refresh highlighted.
  4. Select Background App Refresh again.
    Background App Refresh settings with Background App Refresh highlighted.
  5. Background App Refresh can be completely turned off.
    Background App Refresh options with Off highlighted.

These processes do not need to be going on in the background and may gain you a noticeable increase in performance if you stop them.

Powering off an iPhone.

  1. Hold down the lock / power button.
  2. Slide to power off when prompted.
  3. Wait until the phone is off.
  4. Hold down the lock / power button until you see the Apple logo.

There are two ways to backup your iOS device: iCloud, and to your computer via iTunes.

Backup to iCloud

iCloud has been the default way to backup your iOS devices since iOS 5. The first 5GB of files you backup using iCloud are free. Once this has been filled up, you'll have to pay a monthly fee. Photos and videos can fill up your free 5GB fast. If you take a lot of pictures, you may need to consider upgrading your iCloud storage, or backup using iTunes instead. 

While iCloud is the default backup method, it will need to be turned on.

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS settings with Apple ID selected
  3. Select iCloud.
    iOS apple ID page with iCloud selected
  4. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.
    iOS icloud menu with iCloud backup highlighted
  5. Tap Back Up Now.
    iOS icloud menu with back up now highlighted

From now on, whenever your iOS device is connected to WiFi and not in use (locked), it will automatically back itself up to iCloud.

Backup to a Computer using iTunes

To backup using iTunes, you will need to connect your device to your computer. You'll be using the USB cable that it came with to do this. While this method is free, it is not automatic and will take some time to download all of the data on your device over to your computer.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
    iTunes.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using the USB cable that it came with.
    iPhone plugged into laptop via cable.
  3. Select your device from the list on the left, then choose Summary.
    Choosing your device and then summary
  4. Finally, click the blue Back Up Now button on the right.
    Backup button

To check and see if updates are available for your iOS device:

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    iOS settings page with general highlighted.
  3. Select Software Update.
    iOS general settings with software update highlighted.
  4. Your iOS device will perform a search for available iOS updates.
    • If no update is available, it will display your current version of iOS and inform you that your software is up to date.
      iOS up to date software page.
    • If an update is available, it will be displayed.
      iOS update display.
      • Select Download and Install to begin the update process.
      • If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.

Your iPhone may be low on charge. Go ahead and plug it in and allow it to charge.
An iPhone being charged

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