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iPad 2 Users! Is yours almost unusable with iOS 9.x?

johngwheeler

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 30, 2010
634
211
I come from a land down-under...
I've religiously followed every Apple iOS recommended update for my device, bought in 2011, and think we've come to the end of the road with iOS 10, which isn't available for the iPad 2.

However, since iOS 7 or 8, performance has been getting progressively worse. I'm not saying this is all down to iOS, as web-pages and applications have no doubt become considerably more bloated and complex since 2011, but I expect a considerable amount of the problem is due to iOS 9 requiring much better hardware than the older iPads have.

I have now decided that performance and stability of many apps, most notably Safari, has moved from "slow, but tolerable" to "unacceptable".

In many cases, web-pages take tens of seconds to load completely (with a fast, strong wi-fi signal), and I often can't scroll while this happening. Page reloads are frequent, particularly after waking from a temporary screen lock and it can't sustain more than a couple of tabs with small web pages without re-loading.

Application crashes and restarts are common - I imagine the 512MB memory is just too limited to work reliably with many modern apps.

Last year, I realised I also needed a small computer, but I was off-put by the price of the MacBook, so I bought a Surface 3 (not the Pro, the 10.8" quad-core Atom version). This is also pretty sluggish and the MS Edge browser seems not much better than the crippled iPad Safari! It does have some advantages over an iPad for light use, being able to run a desktop OS, but I wish Apple made something like this (and no, an iPad Pro still doesn't replace a real laptop for my use - I need to run specialist software).

So, I realise I probably need a better iPad, or a better lightweight laptop (let's see what new Macs appear later this year).

In the meantime, two questions:

1) Is there anything I can do to improve the performance of my iPad 2 - e.g. lightweight browsers, downgrade OS etc.

2) When I do find an upgrade, what are good uses for a "semi-retired" iPad? It's not really good enough to give away (I wouldn't want others to suffer my frustration), but I'd hate to throw it in the trash while it still works. e-book reader or music control station maybe? Would the merciful thing be to take it to the woods and put a bullet through it?
 

sjleworthy

macrumors 65832
Dec 5, 2008
1,504
825
Penarth, Wales, UK
1) Is there anything I can do to improve the performance of my iPad 2 - e.g. lightweight browsers, downgrade OS etc.

2) When I do find an upgrade, what are good uses for a "semi-retired" iPad? It's not really good enough to give away (I wouldn't want others to suffer my frustration), but I'd hate to throw it in the trash while it still works. e-book reader or music control station maybe? Would the merciful thing be to take it to the woods and put a bullet through it?

1) not really. i upgraded from ipad2 to ipad pro this year. used my ipad2 every day for years up until i upgraded. but it was becoming slower and slower to the point of turning into a relic that couldnt even cope with emails. obviously due to it's hardware not coping with the latest software.
I tried all purging and software optimising under the sun. nothing. the best solution would be do downgrade the ios but this is physically impossible. my ipad2 is on ios 8.x and thats stupid. ios6/7 was perfect. wish i'd stayed there.

2) i too am looking for a decent workable alternative. something it can do that my current ipad cant. and there isnt anything so far. mine all works perfectly, but the only advantage i have over the Pro is it has GPS, where my Pro has not. So it's useful on car journeys sometimes to use as a sat nav. really useful.
 

Math889

macrumors 65816
Jan 7, 2016
1,052
421
I've religiously followed every Apple iOS recommended update for my device, bought in 2011, and think we've come to the end of the road with iOS 10, which isn't available for the iPad 2.

However, since iOS 7 or 8, performance has been getting progressively worse. I'm not saying this is all down to iOS, as web-pages and applications have no doubt become considerably more bloated and complex since 2011, but I expect a considerable amount of the problem is due to iOS 9 requiring much better hardware than the older iPads have.

I have now decided that performance and stability of many apps, most notably Safari, has moved from "slow, but tolerable" to "unacceptable".

In many cases, web-pages take tens of seconds to load completely (with a fast, strong wi-fi signal), and I often can't scroll while this happening. Page reloads are frequent, particularly after waking from a temporary screen lock and it can't sustain more than a couple of tabs with small web pages without re-loading.

Application crashes and restarts are common - I imagine the 512MB memory is just too limited to work reliably with many modern apps.

Last year, I realised I also needed a small computer, but I was off-put by the price of the MacBook, so I bought a Surface 3 (not the Pro, the 10.8" quad-core Atom version). This is also pretty sluggish and the MS Edge browser seems not much better than the crippled iPad Safari! It does have some advantages over an iPad for light use, being able to run a desktop OS, but I wish Apple made something like this (and no, an iPad Pro still doesn't replace a real laptop for my use - I need to run specialist software).

So, I realise I probably need a better iPad, or a better lightweight laptop (let's see what new Macs appear later this year).

In the meantime, two questions:

1) Is there anything I can do to improve the performance of my iPad 2 - e.g. lightweight browsers, downgrade OS etc.

2) When I do find an upgrade, what are good uses for a "semi-retired" iPad? It's not really good enough to give away (I wouldn't want others to suffer my frustration), but I'd hate to throw it in the trash while it still works. e-book reader or music control station maybe? Would the merciful thing be to take it to the woods and put a bullet through it?
Buy a new IPad . iPad mini 4 ,iPad Pro or Air 2 .
 

johngwheeler

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 30, 2010
634
211
I come from a land down-under...
As an experiment, I did a full reset of my iPad 2 and reinstalled about a dozen of my most used apps.

It is now noticeably more responsive. It's still slow, but is at least back to being usable.

I will upgrade at some point, but I feel I've got a bit more life out of the iPad 2 with this move.

(BTW, I had previously done a reset followed by a restore of my backup - this didn't make any difference, so actually reducing the number of apps seems to help)
 

windowpain

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2008
590
100
Japan
The wife's iPad 2 on ios9 is almost unusable..very slow indeed. Maybe a reinstall would be good, but to be honest an upgrade is probably going to happen in the near future. She bought it just after release so can't really complain about the use it has had. Should have stayed on iOS7 though.

My mini1 is slow but is not as bad, I use it for some light browsing and watching videos, it does the job.

Turning off most of the features like iCloud, JavaScript in the browser, notifications, and background activity will help a little..but probably not enough..
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
9,321
5,294
2) When I do find an upgrade, what are good uses for a "semi-retired" iPad? It's not really good enough to give away (I wouldn't want others to suffer my frustration), but I'd hate to throw it in the trash while it still works. e-book reader or music control station maybe? Would the merciful thing be to take it to the woods and put a bullet through it?
Ebook reader, music station, Netflix player, digital picture frame, retro-arcade. I'm sure there are countless other uses.
 

bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
2,536
As an experiment, I did a full reset of my iPad 2 and reinstalled about a dozen of my most used apps.

It is now noticeably more responsive. It's still slow, but is at least back to being usable.

I will upgrade at some point, but I feel I've got a bit more life out of the iPad 2 with this move.

(BTW, I had previously done a reset followed by a restore of my backup - this didn't make any difference, so actually reducing the number of apps seems to help)

Two things to do...one of which you kinda did.

1) Set up your device as new. Can't stress this enough. Reinstall apps but DO NOT restore from backup.

2) Safari is the other killer...it runs like molasses after iOS 6.

Use Puffin browser instead (free version available if you're cheap).

I've tried them all (Chrome, Dolphin, Foxfire and a few others)...they all performed slow or crashed after more than 4-5 windows opened.

Doing these two things will help extend the ipad2 a bit. Ideally, you should have stayed on ios7.
 

HarryWild

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2012
1,732
555
I learn to never upgrade my iOS on my Apple devices! All are running at the same speed as I purchased them. Yes, some Apps will not run but I just delete them and try to find similar apps that still run okay with my iOS! It seems that companies are learning that many people are doing the same and just leave their versions alone so users still can use their app!
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
9,321
5,294
I learn to never upgrade my iOS on my Apple devices! All are running at the same speed as I purchased them. Yes, some Apps will not run but I just delete them and try to find similar apps that still run okay with my iOS! It seems that companies are learning that many people are doing the same and just leave their versions alone so users still can use their app!
I've done this, too, except depending on hardware, I'd be okay updating to the next major version.

iPod Touch 4th gen -> stayed at iOS 4 as 256MB really isn't sufficient for iOS 5 + retina

iPhone 3GS -> iOS 4
iPhone 4 -> iOS 5
iPhone 4S -> iOS 6

Problem is when you want a new app that doesn't have any releases for lower iOS version (e.g. HBONow - iOS 8 minimum). Either you update the firmware and deal with the slowdown or you upgrade your iPad to a newer model. :p

That said, A6 got a pretty big boost in CPU/GPU/RAM compared to the previous generation that even on iOS 9, I find general performance to be pretty good as long as I don't go to Tumblr pages with infinite scrolling and tons of GIFs. :p I already gave away our A6+iOS 9 devices to relatives so dunno how they'll perform with the iOS 10 update. The iPhone 5 (Slate Black) and iPad 4 I'm keeping for my collection both still have iOS 6. :D

I think from A6 onwards, iOS devices have sufficient horsepower to handle 3+ major firmware updates without significant slowdown.
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,284
4,937
Denmark
Yes, it is quite painful to use at the moment. I jumped from iOS7 to iOS9, which I absolutely regret. At least I then knew not to do it to my iPhone 4S.

What annoys me the most, apart from the slowness, is that it sometimes completely locks up for more than a minute at a time just because it is so slow.
 

Velin

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,600
1,063
Hearst Castle
1) Is there anything I can do to improve the performance of my iPad 2 - e.g. lightweight browsers, downgrade OS etc.

Yes. A clean install of IOS 10.0.2. Do it via iTunes, and "set up as new iPad." Do not "restore from backup." Do not restore anything from "backup." Do a full, clean install using iTunes. Use "set up as new iPad." Then download your applications from the App store, not from any backup (because most people don't know how to update their applications using the iTunes interface). Install clean, set up as new, download fresh copies of your applications.

I have done this with all my Apple devices, most especially iPad and iPhone. It has greatly improved performance on devices that are two, three, even five years old. In fact just today I did a clean install on my lady's iPad Air -- it was operating significantly better after the clean install.

I and others have repeatedly commented on the virtues of clean installs for any major update on iOS or OSX. It matters, and usually results in noticeably improved performance.
 

windowpain

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2008
590
100
Japan
Yes. A clean install of IOS 10.0.2.

His iPad 2 (not air 2) is not upgradable to iOS 10. And it performs very sluggishly on ios9 even given a fresh clean install...that's the problem.

I wish apple would allow us to install whatever OS we want, it would mean fewer paperweights and unhappy customers.
 

zachlegomaniac

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2008
743
320
Ever since upgrading to iOS 8 my original iPad Mini (same internals I think) has been tough to use even after setting up as new. Learned my lesson. Should have stayed in iOS 7. Looking forward to a new iPad when funds allow, though!
 

HarryWild

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2012
1,732
555
If there are important "App" that like but ask you to upgrade since your iOS is to dated to run their upgraded App, I just delete it and go to Google browser(faster then Safari) and type in the address of the of the App directly and save it as a bookmark in a category or folder. That way, you can quickly load your link by using your bookmark. You can do the same thing with the Safari browser too. I do not miss the non running apps at all since the website is more complete and some load with a mobile version first but I switch to the desktop version for easy of use since it an iPad not a smartphone.
 

bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
2,536
His iPad 2 (not air 2) is not upgradable to iOS 10. And it performs very sluggishly on ios9 even given a fresh clean install...that's the problem.

I wish apple would allow us to install whatever OS we want, it would mean fewer paperweights and unhappy customers.

It would also mean less people would find an incentive to buy newer iPads if you could downgrade your iOS version.

People really need to understand that Apple's #1 goal is to promote and maintain sales.

The first thing to do when you get an iPhone or iPad is do turn off the automatic updates.
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,408
4,407
Bay Area
I learn to never upgrade my iOS on my Apple devices! All are running at the same speed as I purchased them.
I stop at some point but not right at the OS they came with. I can't think of a single instance where an iOS device slowed in a meaningful way with one OS update. Even two is usually fine.

I stopped my iPad 2 at iOS 6, and it ran beautifully until the day I sold it, 3.5 years later. My air 2 has iOS 10 now, and that might be the last update I install on that one.
 

windowpain

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2008
590
100
Japan
It would also mean less people would find an incentive to buy newer iPads if you could downgrade your iOS version.

People really need to understand that Apple's #1 goal is to promote and maintain sales.

I understand the need to keep sales moving along.. call me crazy but they could perhaps be able to do that by releasing new and improved hardware and software features on newer models rather than gimping the current models. A successful but very cynical business model.

Some newer software only works on newer hardware, and I am fine with that..but why intentionally cripple so many devices? In my house we have an iPad 1, iPod touch 4, iPod touch 5, and iPad 2 all reduced to basically paperweights as the newer software has rendered them virtually useless.

Had they still been useable (by rolling back the OS) I could have gifted them to friends and relatives, and introduced more people to apple's wonderful products, instead they just gather dust.

My iPad Air 2 is staying on iOS9 forever I think, I have learnt my lesson.
 

bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
2,536
I understand the need to keep sales moving along.. call me crazy but they could perhaps be able to do that by releasing new and improved hardware and software features on newer models rather than gimping the current models. A successful but very cynical business model.

Some newer software only works on newer hardware, and I am fine with that..but why intentionally cripple so many devices? In my house we have an iPad 1, iPod touch 4, iPod touch 5, and iPad 2 all reduced to basically paperweights as the newer software has rendered them virtually useless.

Had they still been useable (by rolling back the OS) I could have gifted them to friends and relatives, and introduced more people to apple's wonderful products, instead they just gather dust.

My iPad Air 2 is staying on iOS9 forever I think, I have learnt my lesson.

For every ipad2 that would to be handed down to a friend or relative as gifts, there would be 10-20 more that would just as soon be kept by their current owners...on a lower iOS, if they could.

Apple doesn't care...they want you to buy a new one. You and I are just $$$ signs to them.

There is no reason why your ipad2 couldn't have ran 10 years had you stayed on iOS 7.

FaceTime, music, ebooks/PDFs, light/moderate Internet use, Netflix, etc...plenty of stuff you can do on it still. I know because I do.

I'll probably get the Pro 12.9 once it gets updated by Apple but even then, this iPad will still have life.

I took care of the battery for the most part...always topped off or charged when it was no lower than 40-50%. Battery around 75% of original now...not bad after almost 5.5 years of use.

Standby time runs rings around the Pro 9.7"...and used as an ereader with wifi off, this thing runs silly good.
 
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windowpain

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2008
590
100
Japan
Apple doesn't care...they want you to buy a new one. You and I are just $$$ signs to them.

Totally agree.

There is no reason why your ipad2 couldn't have ran 10 years had you stayed on iOS 7.

Again, totally agree with you.

FaceTime, music, ebooks/PDFs, light/moderate Internet use, etc...plenty of stuff you can do on it still. I know because I still do.

Maybe your runs faster than mine (I have a mini 1 which although is slow, is usable) but mine isn't ok for even light Internet use. I am not exaggerating when I say it is near unusable.
I seem to remember later models (of the iPad 2) using a smaller more efficient processed size, perhaps your is one of those? Or maybe you just got lucky and I didn't.

Actually it is my wife's and I have to listen to complaints about how the update(s) have borked it. She bought it soon after release and got a good few years out of it, so can't complain too much. Three years is long time in the mobile computing world.

Will no doubt get a newer one fairly soon, but it is disappointing the way that my older models are now sitting unloved and unused. I 'do' agree with your points, but it doesn't have to be that way.
 

Woodstockie

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2015
112
49
NY
I am still on iOS7 on my jailbroken iPad 2. It runs fine and knew that upgrading to iOS 8 or 9 would cripple it in many ways. Apple shouldn't have offered the iPad 2 for so long. Just like the current Apple watch series 1, they should have upgraded the processor a least once.

On one hand it is nice that they offer system updates for older devices, but you also know that they will get slower and slower. At a certain point you just have to stop upgrading the iOS.
 

BenTrovato

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,950
2,033
Canada
iOS 9 ran extremely quick. Didn't notice a slowdown from 8. iOS 10 on the other hand, there's some lag and stuttering.
 

bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
2,536
Totally agree.



Again, totally agree with you.



Maybe your runs faster than mine (I have a mini 1 which although is slow, is usable) but mine isn't ok for even light Internet use. I am not exaggerating when I say it is near unusable.
I seem to remember later models (of the iPad 2) using a smaller more efficient processed size, perhaps your is one of those? Or maybe you just got lucky and I didn't.

Actually it is my wife's and I have to listen to complaints about how the update(s) have borked it. She bought it soon after release and got a good few years out of it, so can't complain too much. Three years is long time in the mobile computing world.

Will no doubt get a newer one fairly soon, but it is disappointing the way that my older models are now sitting unloved and unused. I 'do' agree with your points, but it doesn't have to be that way.

My sister has the Mini1...same model as your wife's. My brother-in-law has an ipad2 64gb (I have 32gb model.) Both are the 1st generation ipad2...not the later model.

Switch to the Puffin browser. It really helps!

I'm not sure what iOS version my sis's Mini1 is on now...but the two things I listed earlier might help you still.

Good luck!
[doublepost=1474812632][/doublepost]

iOS 9 ran extremely quick. Didn't notice a slowdown from 8. iOS 10 on the other hand, there's some lag and stuttering.

Ipad2 can't run ios10.​
 
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joeblow7777

macrumors 604
Sep 7, 2010
6,632
7,876
Some people seem to think that the inability to "downgrade" iOS is part of Apple's nefarious planned obsolescence plot, but I think that it's just Apple being the control freaks that they are. They want all of their users on the same page. Unlike the fragmented world of Android, Apple wants to maintain better control and security by having everyone on the latest OS, and I don't think that they purposely design new versions to slow down older devices, but that's just the nature of software advancing while hardware stays the same.
 
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bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
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Some people seem to think that the inability to "downgrade" iOS is part of Apple's nefarious planned obsolescence plot, but I think that it's just Apple being the control freaks that they are. They want all of their users on the same page. Unlike the fragmented world of Android, Apple wants to maintain better control and security by having everyone on the latest OS, and I don't think that they purposely design new versions to slow down older devices, but that's just the nature of software advancing while hardware stays the same.

Your argument has been posted before.

But it still ignores the big truth that Apple would much rather sell you a new iPad rather than see you continue to use an older one. It doesn't benefit them one bit at all (aside from statistics) to keep us around.

There's a number of reasons why downgrading won't ever happen. Search old threads for more material if you really are interested.

Only reason why the ipad2 was supported for so long was because Apple sold the ipad2 to education and made the promise of 5 year window.
 
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