The Weekly Reboot

Who says that iOS doesn't need to be rebooted from time to time? Since updating to iOS 5 my 4th Generation iPod Touch, the most recent as of this writing, I've had the dubious pleasure of experiencing lag times that would make Android users laugh with glee. Unlocking the device while listening to music, something one would think an iPod would have no trouble with at all, can take upwards of five seconds to do. Want to pause the current song? That might require multiple pushes of the pause button, resulting in a bit of a stutter. This isn't quite what one would expect from an Apple device. Luckily there is a solution.

A wonderfully Microsoft-ish solution, no less: "close" apps and reboot the device.

While Apple's mobile operating system can certainly run with just 256 MB RAM, 512 or more is recommended. Very few people with an iPhone complain about lag, and nobody that I know with anything newer than the first generation iPad has reported speed issues. Lucky owners of the newest iPad even say the system is beyond sleek, with response times much faster than even the flagship iPhone 4S1. This clearly plays into Apple's diabolical plan of using the iPod Touch as a gateway drug. Once hooked, people will spend whatever it takes to get the next model up.

Although I'd love to get my hands on something with more RAM, this doesn't look realistic in the near future. So, to make sure I don't launch my iPod Touch through a window when it's slower than Windows, I do the following procedure every Sunday to buy another week of acceptable response times:

  • double-click the home button to reveal the fast app switcher
  • long-press an icon to put the (potentially) running apps into squiggly mode
  • close every app2

  • click the home button to exit out of the fast app switcher
  • hold the home button and power button for 5 seconds to reveal the power-off slider
  • shut the device off
  • wait until the screen goes dark
  • hit the power button to restart the device ... a silver Apple logo will greet you
  • repeat process the following Sunday

Doing this takes less than 30 seconds and buys me a day of really good response times, four days of acceptable response times, and two days of lag. Sure, I could do this process before going to bed every night, but I'm not quite at this level of frustration. Once a week should suffice for the next few months. That said, I am curious to know what the next release of iOS will bring. Can we expect iOS 6 to make the latest iPod Touch as jittery as a brand new Android "super-phone"?

I certainly hope not.

The quality and completeness of Apple's code seems to have suffered in recent years as the various platforms have become more popular and complicated. This is to be expected, of course, as nothing made by humans can be perfect. That said, it will be very sad if people start saying that Apple's software is no better than Microsoft's ... or worse; Microsoft's software actually starts to outperform Apple's.


  1. your mileage may vary, though. I haven't had the opportunity to see or use one of the new iPads, yet
  2. yes, I know a lot of very intelligent people say this is unnecessary, but they all have the latest iPhones and iPads
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