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macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 23, 2008
Hearst Castle
Every time there's a major update of iOS or OSX, there are posts about sluggish performance on older iPads, iPhones, Macbooks, iMacs.

Solution? Clean install using iTunes when installing a new iOS release. (And bootable USB when clean installing a new OSX release). For many of you, a clean iOS install using iTunes, the "restore" feature, and "set up as new iPad" will result in noticeably improved performance.

Forget the over-the-air incremental update. Some of you having been doing incremental updates for years. It doesn't matter how good Apple's coders are; detritus builds up when you incrementally update from iOS 8, to iOS 9, to iOS 10.

If you want to improve your performance, you need to clear out your device and start with a clean version of 10.0.2. Don't "restore from backup." Instead, "set up as new iPad." Concerning your applications, download them fresh from the App store as well.

Don't restore from old backups. Don't install old application versions from your backups. Yes, there is a way to update the list of applications stored in your iTunes, but most people never find the way there, and a whole lot of people never, ever update their iTunes applications. So to simplify, with a major update, do a clean install, and do a clean install of your apps.

There are lots of posts and tutorials on how to do a clean install. Do it, and you will notice improved performance on your device. Yes, it will be some work, but the Apple ecosystem is the easiest one by far to do it.

In sharp contrast, Android devices are an absolute mess when trying to upgrade to the latest Android releases by Google. Be thankful you don't have to root your phone, then hunt around Git or other websites for third-party ROMs to use with your particular phone, which LG/Samsung/HTC long ago abandoned and will never release updates for because they've moved on. Take advantage of the fact Apple software updates support Apple devices four, five, even six years after the initial product date, unheard of in Android land.


macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
Ehh, I say that if performance suffers as a result, a clean install is something to consider. But upgrading within the OS works fine.

A clean install wouldn't help iOS 7 run suitably on an iPhone 4, or compensate for an HDD bottleneck when running OS X.

Plus OS X doesn't upgrade like Windows does. You don't have an OSX.old folder or anything like that. So the vision of incrementally adding bricks to a tower with every OS update, decreasing its stability, isn't quite true.

Again, if stuff goes wrong, it's always a good option to consider. But I don't think it should be recommended every time you update your OS.
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macrumors 604
Jun 7, 2015
Seattle WA
Unless there is a problem I never do clean installs with the multiple Windows and Android devices I have, nor did I do it on my Air 2 going from 9 to 10. Over the last year I've done updates from Android L to M and Win 8 to Win 10 on at least 8 different devices/machines without an issue. If something is amiss then I'll do a clean install, otherwise not. Can't remember the last time I did a full install other than a custom ROM on an experimental device.
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