Puzzled by iPad Crashes? Tips & Solutions

If you have an iPad you're probably familiar with the random 'crash' every now and then. If you have an iPad 1, updated to the latest iOS 5, you may see these crashes more and more often. This unreliability gets annoying and frustrating QUICK. We'll look at some tips you can use to cut down on the crashing and save you some frustration.

Mind the RAM

Most iPad crashes come down to one simple thing - lack of memory (not to be confused with storage). You wouldn't know it, because Apple doesn't advertise internal specs, but the iPad 1 has only half the memory (256MB) of the iPad 2 (512MB). This makes the original iPad more prone to crashing as that resource is more quickly consumed. This is especially true when running memory intensive processes from iOS 5 software.

What I'd argue is one of Apple's greatest asset - control of both hardware and software - is also what causes a lot of headache for owners of older hardware. Every year Apple comes out with major updates to iOS. And every year those changes are accompanied with a hardware refresh — that usually includes a faster processor and more memory to run those features efficiently. Most of us download these new updates partly because Apple does a great job marketing them, but also because they practically makes us when syncing. This is when owner's of older hardware take a hit — as they soon find out their device doesn't 'just work' like it used to.

Limit iOS5 Features

If you're experiencing frequent crashes on your iPad, the first thing you should try to do is cut down on the latest features (ridiculous, I know).

  • Bye Cloud The first part to trim is iCloud - either disable it entirely or disable what you don't depend on. If you're having crash issues with Safari definitely disable Safari Bookmarks sync.
(Settings -> iCloud -> Slide them all Off)
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  • Trim the Notification Center
    In the iPad disable notifications for apps that you also have on your iPhone (especially if you have a newer 4 or 4S model). Start using your iPhone as your sole beacon for notifications and alerts. This also helps from having to see redundant reminders and alerts.

  • (Settings -> Notifications -> Pick each app individually and turn off all sliders)
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  • Disable iMessages
    Unless you're making a lot of use out of it, best to disable for memory's sake. Cool feature, but one we rarely use, so off it goes.

  • (Settings -> Messages -> iMessage Off)
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  • No Rude Multitasking Gestures
    These are a new iOS 5 feature too. Turn them off, they're not that useful or intuitive anyway.

  • (Settings -> General -> Multitasking Gestures -> OFF)
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  • Turn off the Spotlight Indexing
    Again, this is likely a little-used feature. Disable and clear up some cache.

  • (Settings -> General -> Spotlight Search -> Uncheck)
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    Sleeping Habits

    It also might help to adopt a regular habit of turning off your iPad when you head to bed and charge it. This will close up all apps — some of which are likely lingering around taking up precious resource.

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    You can also go to the app tray (double-tap home button) and disable apps individually that you're not using (tap and hold app icon until they wiggle, then click the minus badge on each app you want to close). This process is a bit laborious and there's a chance the app doesn't close completely, so just putting your baby to sleep is a better solution.

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    The Sad Truth

    Making these changes should help solve any crashing issues you may be experiencing. It's unfortunate that performance improvements have to come at the cost of feature reduction, but that's the caveat of the fast-paced hardware and software cycle Apple maintains. Hopefully, these suggestions just trim unused bulk and you get back on track with limited inconvenience.