How to Speed Up Your iPhone 4/iPhone 3GS


After using an iPhone 3G, then experiencing the iPhone 3GS–the performance was like night and day. Then, going from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4–more speed improvements were gained.

However, the new ‘multitasking’ feature of iOS 4 has caused my iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4 to come to a crawl at certain times. Why? The reason is because apps that are in their “frozen state” still consume some system memory. Since apps never “close” until you manually do so, your iPhone 3GS/4 can slow down to the point where you notice a lag in certain apps.

The most noticeable difference is when I’m making videos with iMovie for the iPhone. My iPhone 4 was literally in a frozen state when trying to sift through my photo/video library. Would manually closing my ‘frozen’ apps make a difference?

Manually Deleting Apps “In the Background” Will Speed up your iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4

The answer is a huge YES. I proceeded to close every single app (and if you have a tonne of apps you’ll notice how many are in a frozen state) and then resumed iMovie. The difference was literally night and day. I was able to peruse through my media within iMovie with no lag at all.

Another tip that will also keep things “fresh” on your iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4 is to reboot your phone once a day. This makes a bit of a difference in keeping the phone operating in an optimum state.

How to Speed Up Your Jailbroken iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4

If your iPhone 3GS/iPhone4 is jailbroken and running iOS 4–speeding it up is even easier with the app Remove Background, coupled with the SBSettings Remove Background toggle.

Install both of these apps via Cydia and you can clear your “frozen state” apps with one tap via SBSettings. The best part is you can set exceptions (via Remove Background) for particular apps to stay in the background.

Multitasking within iOS 4 is great–but it needs to get better. There needs to a feature that will automatically remove apps from the background that haven’t been used in 48 hours. The mighty A4 chip housed within the iPhone 4 is useless if system memory is overwhelmed by apps “in the background”.

Let me know if these tips have helped you speed up your iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4.


  • Anonymous

    Hey Gary, you might want to mention you need iOS4 or greater to install on the 3GS.

  • Clarified. Thanks.

  • Anonymous


  • Grr. I thought apple didnt exactly freeze the apps and put in the ram. I thought they would only let them do certain things like audio streaming, download and notifcations. Not the whole app running. And it would keep the rest of the app in its hardware drive instead of ram

  • Respringing on a JB’d i4 also puts the RAM back to around 352 MB but keeps the apps in their frozen state as can be seen when double clicking the home button.

    I’m not sure if there’s a difference in the speed compared to Remove Backgound and Re-springing though.

  • Test it. iMovie when you’re full of apps in the background and when it’s been cleared. I noticed a big difference.

  • Anonymous

    Right they made certain commonly used services available for apps to run in the background. But still even if you don’t think an app is running it could well be using one of these services for whatever the purpose.

    Just keep that task window clean and your good to go.

  • Leventco

    Also, another quicker way of doing this is using an assigned Activator 🙂

  • Half_Pint

    I still don’t know why they didn’t include some way to properly “quit” an app when you’re done with it. I hate having to go in constantly to clear out unused apps. I like the 48-hour auto-quit idea though.

  • Rey

    Great useful article. I got Remove Background on release and it’s the best tweak I have yet since iOS4. Kills everything in one shot.
    In the case where you don’t ever want an app to stay in the background you can use Backgrounder by creating an exception and turning off multitasking for that app. Next time you open and close it, it won’t stay in the background.
    Good for apps you use just once in a while, like games (unless you game a lot).

  • James00


    Install remove recents…only apps with ios 4 multitasking support will appear in the fast app switcher bar

    Install remove background and activate via activator…I use the double tap on the status bar. It’s a little quicker than going into sbsettings.

    With these two tweaks your phone will be lightning fast.

  • Yes… The “Remove Background” + SBSettings toggle… I recommended my friend on his 3GS. works neatly.

  • Nando83p

    is there any cydia plug in that alows you to access the multitasking bar without having to double press the home button?

  • Jsaldf

    how about this solution:
    single click to minimize, double click close!

  • I just got my first smartphone, an Iphone 4, and I have no idea how to close the apps in the background that you mentioned.

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  • Donny471

    Zephyr or activator