Survival options for old iOS device owners

With the sudden announcement of the newest Apple products (such as the new 3rd generation iPad, the iPhone 5, and the 5th generation iPod touch), many of us are stuck with much older products.  Maybe you still use the original 1st generation iPad, an iPhone 3G, or a 3rd generation iPod touch (maybe even older)!  There’s nothing wrong with these devices; they’re all great devices.  However, with the rapidly growing technology market, our older generation friends may seem obsolete in performance and design.  Is it worth the cost to upgrade to a newer generation device?


As I said before, these are all great devices.  Most likely, your older generation device can be salvaged to perform as good as new.  With a few easy steps, your 3+ year-old iOS device will be running like it just came out of the box!


Note that the truly ancient devices (such as a 1st or 2nd generation iPod touch, or the original 1st generation iPhone) may not be salvaged as easily.  These devices have not received software updates for years.  Furthermore, many of the apps in the App Store are designed to run on devices with faster processors and more memory.


Step 1: Clear multitasking tray and restart device


Even though Apple claims that iOS multitasking does not slow down the device, you’ll be amazed by the amount of memory you can free by closing apps from your multitasking tray.  Regardless of Apple’s claims, multitasking does slow down the device by allocating memory that can be used to run the foreground application.  To close apps from the multitasking tray, double press the Home button, press and hold an app in the tray, and tap the red icon that appears next to each app icon.


Simply restarting the device can also clear memory and fix software glitches.  The best way to ensure a full, clean restart is to do a hard system restart.  To do this, press and hold the lock and Home buttons simultaneously until the screen turns off (ignore the “Slide to Power Off” option if it appears).  Next, turn the device back on by holding the lock button until the Apple logo appears.


Step 2: Clear storage space


If you have very little free space to store apps, music, etc., your device might run slow due to the lack of space to place caches and temporary data.  Clear off unneeded music, apps, videos, pictures, etc. until you have at least 3GB free.  You can store photos, videos, and music online so that they do not occupy the device's storage space but are still accessible.  I do not store music on my iPad because I rarely play music from my iPad.  However, I have my music stored online on Google Play so that I can access my music as long as I have an internet connection.


Step 3:  Restore the device


If your device is really old and hasn’t been restored in a while, you might benefit from restoring it.  Be sure to back it up (either to iTunes or iCloud) and just click the “Restore” button in iTunes.  Restoring will wipe the data off of the device and will also completely reinstall the software.  After the software reinstalls, you can choose to restore your settings and app data from your backup.


Although restores are sometimes tedious due to the amount of time it takes for the software to install and for the data to restore from the backup, devices sometimes benefit greatly from restoring.  Since restoring overwrites the existing software, software glitches are erased and lingering files that are slowing down the device will also be erased.


Step 4:  Battery replacement


If your device has been used a fair amount, the battery might not hold nearly as much of a charge as it did in years past.  If your device is still under AppleCare, Apple may replace your battery free-of-charge!  However, AppleCare only covers iOS devices for a maximum of 2 years, depending on if you purchased an extension.  After 2 years, Apple will no longer service the device for free.  Another unfortunate situation is that iOS device batteries are built in and non-removable.  Luckily, Apple offers a battery replacement service for iOS devices that are not covered under AppleCare.  The cost of the replacement ranges from $50-100, depending on the device that you own.  If the battery is your only concern, purchasing a battery replacement from Apple is a much better option as compared to buying a whole new device.


Step 5:  Upgrade your device


In some instances, the device may be so old that it just won’t cooperate anymore.  Even if the device isn’t very old, you might benefit from simply paying to upgrade your device based on the features that you can gain from upgrading.  Apple has just released new models of the iPhone and iPod touch.  As far as the iPad is concerned, Apple is expected to release a new iPad model, dubbed “iPad Mini”.  If a smaller iPad doesn’t interest you, the new 3rd generation iPad is your most current upgrade option.

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