What to Do When Your Old iPhone Is Running Like Crap

Every iPhone owner has faced their own unique issues with wonky functionality. From chronic app crashes to rapidly draining batteries, sometimes our precious little pocket computers go haywire for reasons we just don’t understand. But a few simple tweaks could be the secret to smoothing out the kinks in your older devices. So, before you go hurling your phone against the wall next time it freezes up, try this.

Screenshot via iOS 9

Go on a space-saving spree

If you’re using an older phone, you’re going to need as much memory as possible to keep things running on the right tracks. Start off slow by deleting apps you don’t use much, and clear out old texts and Tinder messages. Then, if you don't notice much of a difference, take it to the next level and begin purging the big stuff: photos and songs (you can always offload them elsewhere beforehand). Here are some super-quick cheats and settings adjustments to free up space ASAP.

Update your software

In addition to the iOS overhauls that accompany every new phone release, Apple generally pushes out updates for its latest software a few times a year to patch bugs and occasionally release new features. Maybe you’re avoiding them because they take so damn long, or you’re worried they’ll actually slow things down even worse, but more often than not, you’re better off updating regularly.

Screenshot via iOS 9

Close out of all open apps

Even if you aren't currently using them, apps are technically running in the background on your device, and one of them may be causing certain lags elsewhere. Start with a clean slate by closing them out individually by double-tapping the home button and swiping each app upwards.

Do a quick reset

If closing out of apps doesn't fix the suckiness, shut down your phone and let it rest for a few minutes before restarting. If you're still seeing an issue, you can try a more aggressive option by resetting. Press and hold down the home and sleep button simultaneously until you see the Apple logo appear on the screen.

Screenshot via iOS 9

Delete everything and start over

If nothing seems to be fixing the problem, the nuclear option is to restore your phone to factory settings. You’ll essentially be returning it to the way it was when you bought it, so be sure to back up all your contacts, photos, music, and other media you don't want wiped to your computer or iCloud beforehand. When you're ready, go to General Settings, scroll down to Reset, click Erase All Content and Settings and follow the prompts.

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He's convinced that violently shaking and screaming at your phone when it's messed up works, too.