iOS 7 brings about various new features and enhancements. These features and enhancements can be very useful, but iOS 7 also currently brings with it decreased performance, particularly on A5-based devices.
Users of those devices, which include the iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPod touch G5, can make certain changes to improve their experience on Apple’s latest OS. While hopefully a future update will improve performance for these devices (two of which are still being sold by Apple), the following settings can all be changed now.
Almost all of these changes are done in the Settings.app, and are located under the accessibility option in general settings.
- iPad mini, iPad 2: Enable Larger Type. This is particularly useful on non-retina devices, as it makes the thin font of iOS 7 infinitely more readable.
- iPad mini, iPad 2: Enable Bold Text. Again, this makes the text far easier to read in all conditions.
- iPad mini, iPad 2, iPod touch G5: Enable Increased Contrast. This option helps with the readability of text and other UI elements throughout the OS. It also removes the blurred glass effect, increasing performance of Notification and Control Center.
- iPad mini, iPad 2, iPod touch G5: Enable Reduced Motion. This removes the animations found throughout iOS, and replaces them with simple crossfades. The result is something that doesn’t look particularly interesting, but results in what appears to be faster performance on older devices. It also removes the parallax effect, meaning that the GPU and CPU are under less load.
The nuclear option to achieve better performance is to restore the device, and set it up as a brand new product. This removes any old or discarded code left on your device from past updates and apps. This can be done either directly on the device, through Settings>General>Reset>Erase All Content and Settings and then not restoring from an iCloud backup, or through iTunes.
The result is a device that sheds the light text and animations, and instead opts for something more usable on older devices. Personally, I find my iPad mini to be significantly more usable with the above settings enabled — perhaps not as good as it was under iOS 6, but definitely better than straight iOS 7.
Lastly, allow me to rant: Apple products should never require this type of babying to make perform at an acceptable level. I realize that Apple was pinched for time with iOS 7, and that their software teams were under extreme pressure to deliver. I would have preferred a delay for A5-based devices than this. I also expect performance to increase, particularly with the iPad, as updates are released.
Also: please share any tips or tweaks that you’ve discovered that improve performance under iOS 7 in the comments!