A new phone comes out. Yours slows down. A conspiracy? No.

Brian X. Chen, New York Times:

It happens every year: Apple releases new iPhones, and then hordes of people groan about their older iPhones slowing to a crawl.


The phenomenon of perceived slowdowns is so widespread that many believe tech companies intentionally cripple smartphones and computers to ensure that people buy new ones every few years. Conspiracy theorists call it planned obsolescence.

That’s a myth. While slowdowns happen, they take place for a far less nefarious reason. That reason is a software upgrade.


Tech companies make it simple to upgrade to a new operating system by pressing an “update” button, which seamlessly migrates all your apps and data over. While that’s convenient, it isn’t the best way to ensure that things will continue running smoothly.

A better practice is backing up all your data and purging everything from the device before installing the new operating system. This “clean install” works more reliably because the engineers developing operating systems were able to test this condition more easily, Mr. Raiz said.

The premise is that a clean install will clear cruft from your iPhone, make your phone run faster with a newer version of iOS.

Read the article, see if you agree. Is there any truth to this recommendation? Is a clean install going to yield enough of a speedier phone to be worth the effort?

Anecdotal, but I’ve run lots of betas, all via the update mechanism, have never (ok, maybe once or twice in ten years) felt the need to do a clean install.

Interesting article, looking forward to reading the comments.