why is internet slow on my phone
Internet Tips and Tricks

Why Is the Internet Slow on My Phone? (13 Tips to Boost Phone Internet Speed)

Ever found yourself asking, “Why is my internet so slow on my phone?” You’re not alone. After all, a fast internet connection on our smartphones isn’t just nice to have – it’s essential.  

But don’t worry. We’re here to discover the common culprits of sluggish mobile data and Wi-Fi woes on iOS and Android devices. Plus, we’ll share top-notch tips to fix slow internet and boost your phone’s internet speed 

Whether you’re looking to ramp up your mobile data efficiency or enhance your Wi-Fi connectivity, we’ve got straightforward, user-friendly advice for everyone. Let’s get right to it and turn those buffering blues into smooth streaming and browsing joy. 

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4 Common Reasons for Slow Internet on Phones

Weak Signal & Poor Network Coverage

Weak signals can seriously affect your phone’s internet speed. When your phone struggles to catch a strong signal, it has to work extra hard to maintain a connection, which can slow down your internet.  

Network coverage also plays a big role in your phone’s internet speed. If you’re in an area with spotty coverage or a weak signal, you’ll likely experience slow internet. Choose an internet service provider with reliable coverage where you live and work.  

Additionally, the physical environment also affects signal’s strength. Building materials, such as concrete and metal, can hinder signal, acting as barriers that weaken your connection even further. Look for spots within your home or office where your phone’s signal and internet speed are at their best. 

Outdated Hardware or Software

Outdated hardware (e.g., old phone or an outdated network card) can limit internet speed. Newer devices, with newer modems and processors, can handle faster speeds thanks to newer network technologies such as 4G LTE and 5G. So, if you’re using an older phone, chances are you can’t take full advantage of your connection.  

Similarly, outdated software can also affect your phone’s performance. If you last updated your phone’s operating system or apps a while ago, it could lead to slower internet speeds. Newer updates often include performance improvements and bug fixes that help your phone run more efficiently.   

Network Congestion

Network congestion happens when too many people use the same network simultaneously, causing a “traffic jam” that slows down everyone’s internet speed. Just like a busy highway, a congested network can’t handle all the data requests, leading to slower internet for everyone.  

The real-world impact of network congestion on user experience can manifest in frustrating ways, including: 

  • Delayed loading times for web pages and apps, making even simple online tasks take longer than usual. 
  • Buffering or interruptions during video calls and streaming services, leading to poor video quality and dropped connections. 
  • Slow download and upload speeds, affecting how quickly you can send files, download content, or update software. 
  • Increased latency in online games, resulting in lag that can disrupt gameplay and competitiveness. 
  • Difficulty in accessing cloud-based services, such as email or online storage, which can hurt your productivity and access to important information.

Congestion is more likely to occur during peak hours, like evenings and weekends, when many people use their devices. During these times, you might notice that your phone’s internet speed is slower than usual.  

ISP Throttling

ISP throttling is when your internet service provider intentionally slows down your internet speed after you’ve used a certain amount of data.  

Some ISPs throttle your data speeds once you’ve reached a certain usage threshold, even if you have an unlimited data plan. Throttling could be the culprit if your phone’s internet speed slows down consistently towards the end of the month.  

You can use a VPN to bypass ISP throttling and improve your phone’s internet speed – but more about that and other tips to boost your phone’s internet speed below. 

12 Tips to Boost Phone Internet Speed

Now that we’ve identified some common reasons for slow internet on your phone, let’s dive into how you can improve your phone’s performance. In the following sections, we’ll provide you with 10 practical solutions to help you get the most out of your mobile internet connection.  

Before troubleshooting your phone, you must address the essential solutions to improve your Wi-Fi speeds. 

You can check out our blog post about boosting slow internet for detailed information on these solutions, which include:  

  • Reducing the distance between the router and your mobile device  
  • Updating your router or modem  
  • Running a speed test  
  • Changing the frequency on your router 

Once you’ve taken these steps to optimize your Wi-Fi connection, you can proceed with the following tips to boost your phone’s internet speed and improve your overall experience.  

1. Update Your Device’s Hardware & Software

Keeping your phone’s hardware and software up to date is crucial for better internet speed. If you’re using an older device, consider upgrading to a newer model that can handle faster internet speeds. If purchasing a new phone isn’t an option, try replacing your phone’s network card or upgrading its internal components.  

Regularly updating your phone’s operating system and apps can also make a noticeable difference in performance. Make sure to check for updates and install them as they become available. These updates often include bug fixes, security patches, and performance. 

2. Choose the Right Network & Data Plan

Different networks and data plans can significantly impact your phone’s internet speed. When selecting a network provider, consider their coverage and reliability in your area. Additionally, choose an ISP with a data plan that suits your needs. Some plans offer higher speeds, while others prioritize affordability.  

Before settling on a data plan, closely examine your monthly usage to see how much data you need. If you’re consistently exceeding your data limit, consider upgrading to a higher-tier plan offering faster speeds and more data.  

3. Use a VPN to Bypass Data Throttling

Generally speaking, virtual private networks (VPNs) can increase your latency and slow down your internet speeds. But did you know that a VPN can also help you boost your internet speed? It encrypts your internet connection and hides your data usage from your ISP. And when your ISP can’t see how much data you’re using, they’re less likely to throttle your connection.  

Many reliable VPN services are available, so choose one that fits your needs. Look for a VPN with a strong privacy policy, fast servers, and user-friendly device apps 

4. Optimize Your Phone’s Settings

Tweaking some settings on your phone can also help improve its speed. For example, you can disable auto-sync for certain apps, turn off automatic updates, or enable data saver mode to reduce background data usage.   

Turning Off Automatic Updates 

On iOS: 

  • Navigate to Settings > App Store. 
  • Toggle off App Updates under AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS. 

On Android: 

  • Open the Google Play Store app. 
  • Tap on the Menu (three horizontal lines) > Settings. 
  • Tap on Auto-update apps and select Don’t auto-update apps. 

Enabling Data Saver Mode 

On Android: 

  • Go to Settings > Network & internet > Data Saver. 
  • Toggle on Use Data Saver. 

iOS does not have a direct “Data Saver” mode, but you can limit background data usage by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and selecting Wi-Fi or disabling it entirely. Airplane Mode  

Additionally, a quick toggle of airplane mode on and off can help refresh your phone’s network connection, potentially leading to improved speed.

Here’s how: 

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to access the Control Center (iOS) or Quick Settings (Android). 
  • Tap the airplane icon to enable Airplane Mode. 
  • Wait a few seconds, then tap the airplane icon again to disable Airplane Mode. 

Following these steps, you can optimize your phone’s settings, leading to a better and faster mobile internet experience. 

why is internet slow on my phone

5. Clear Cache & Browsing History

Your phone’s cache and browsing history can impact its internet speed. As you browse the web, your phone stores temporary files and data to help load pages faster in the future. Over time, this cache can become cluttered, causing your phone to slow down. 

Clearing Cache on Android: 

  • Open Settings and navigate to Storage. 
  • Tap on Other Apps to see a list of your installed apps. 
  • Select an app whose cache you want to clear, then tap on Clear Cache. 

Clearing Cache on iOS: 

  • Go to Settings > Safari or the settings of whichever browser you use. 
  • Scroll down and tap on Clear History and Website Data. 
  • Confirm by tapping Clear History and Data. 

6. Disable Auto-Updates & Background Data Usage

Auto-updates and background data usage can significantly consume your bandwidth, leading to slower internet speeds. When apps run in the background or download updates, they can deplete your data allowance and negatively impact your phone’s performance.  

We advise managing your phone’s settings for app updates and background data usage to mitigate these issues. By taking control of these settings, you can ensure that apps only update over Wi-Fi, conserving your data and potentially boosting your internet speed. 

Turning Off Inactive Background Apps and Programs 

In addition to managing auto-updates, turning off background app refresh for apps that don’t need to update in real time can save data and improve performance. 

On iOS: 

  • Open Settings. 
  • Tap General > Background App Refresh. 
  • From here, you can disable Background App Refresh altogether by selecting Off, or selectively turn it off for individual apps by toggling the switch next to each app. 

On Android: 

Background App Refresh is not a feature labeled as such on Android, but you can manage similar settings by restricting background data for individual apps: 

  • Go to Settings > Apps & notifications. 
  • Select an app you want to manage. 
  • Tap Mobile data & Wi-Fi. 
  • Toggle off Background data for apps you don’t want updating in the background. 
Disabling Auto-Updates

Ensuring apps update only when you’re connected to WiFi can also help conserve data and improve speed. 

On iOS: 

  • Navigate to Settings > App Store. 
  • Under Automatic Downloads, toggle off App Updates. 

On Android: 

  • Open the Google Play Store app. 
  • Tap on the menu icon (three horizontal lines), then select Settings. 
  • Tap Auto-update apps and select Don’t auto-update apps or Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only. 

By proactively managing these settings, you can minimize unnecessary data usage and keep your phone running smoothly, enhancing your overall internet speed. 

7. Fine-Tune App Data Usage and Disable Low Data Mode for Faster Speeds

Cleaning up your phone by removing apps you don’t use much can make it run faster. Imagine your phone is a backpack, and every app is a book. The more books you pack, the heavier and harder it is to carry around. Similarly, when your phone has too many apps, it must work harder, which can slow it down. 

Common data-draining mobile apps: 

  • Instagram 
  • Snapchat 
  • Netflix 
  • Spotify 
  • TikTok 

Here’s how to find data-draining apps on your phone: 

On Android: 

  • Go to Settings > Connections > Data Usage. 
  • Tap Mobile Data Usage to see a list of your apps and how much data they use. 

On iOS: 

  • Open Settings > Cellular or Mobile Data. 
  • Scroll down to see a list of apps and their data consumption. 

Managing Specific App Settings 

For example, to manage Instagram data usage: 

On Android: 

  • Go to Settings and tap on Apps or Application Manager. 
  • Find and select Instagram. 
  • Tap Data Usage and toggle off Background Data. 

On iOS: 

  • Open Settings and scroll down to Instagram. 
  • Tap it, and then toggle off Background App Refresh to stop Instagram from updating in the background. 

Additionally, iPhone users experiencing slow internet should check if Low Data Mode is enabled. This mode restricts background data usage to conserve your data plan but may slow down your internet speeds. Here’s how to disable it: 

  • Go to Settings > Cellular. 
  • Tap Cellular Data Options. 
  • If Low Data Mode is toggled on, toggle it off to potentially improve your internet speed. 

You can enhance your phone’s performance and enjoy faster internet speeds by proactively managing how apps use your data and turning off restrictive modes like Low Data Mode when unnecessary. 

8. Reset Your Phone Network Settings 

Resetting your phone’s network settings can help resolve internet speed issues by clearing any network-related glitches or misconfigurations. This process restores your phone’s network settings to their default state, which can often improve its performance.  

Before proceeding, be aware that you’ll lose all saved network information. This means you’ll need to reconnect to Wi-Fi networks and re-pair Bluetooth devices from scratch. Make sure you have Wi-Fi passwords handy before performing this reset. 

On iOS: 

  • Open the Settings app. 
  • Tap General. 
  • Scroll down and select Reset. 
  • Choose Reset Network Settings. 
  • You may be prompted to enter your passcode. Once entered, confirm the reset. 
  • Your device will restart with all network settings reset to their factory defaults. 

On Android: 

The steps may vary slightly depending on your device’s manufacturer: 

  • Go to Settings. 
  • Scroll down and select System (this might be under the Advanced settings in some models). 
  • Tap Reset options or Reset. 
  • Choose Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth or Reset network settings. 
  • Confirm your selection and, if prompted, enter your device’s pin, pattern, or password. 
  • Your device will process the reset and then restart. 

Once your device powers back up, you’ll need to reconnect to your Wi-Fi networks and reconfigure any previously used network preferences. For many users, this simple reset can significantly improve connectivity and, by extension, internet speed. 

9. Connect to Wi-Fi Whenever Possible

Using WiFi instead of mobile data can significantly improve your phone’s internet speed. WiFi connections are typically faster and more stable than mobile networks, especially in areas with good WiFi coverage.  

Make it a habit to connect to WiFi networks whenever they’re available – at home, work, or public places like coffee shops and libraries. Most smartphones have a feature that automatically connects to saved WiFi networks when in range, so be sure to enable this option in your phone’s settings.  

10. Use an Add Blocker on Your Mobile Browser

Ads can significantly slow your browsing experience by consuming valuable bandwidth and increasing page load times. Installing an ad blocker on your mobile browser can prevent ads from loading and save data.   

Several ad-blocking extensions and apps are available for popular mobile browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari: 

  • AdGuardad-blocking capabilities for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, with free versions available for mobile devices that can block ads in browsers and trackers in Safari. It stands out for its comprehensive app solutions that go beyond browser extensions, providing ad blocking in apps, DNS request control, and protection against malicious domains. 
  • AdAwayAn open-source ad blocker for Android. It requires root access, making it unique for users who prefer more control over their device. However, it doesn’t work reliably on mobile networks like 3G. 
  • Blokadaa cloud-based ad-blocking solution, known for enhancing privacy by preventing apps from sending private data and optionally encrypting network activity through Blokada Plus, their VPN service. 

Keep in mind that some websites may require you to disable your ad blocker to access their content, so be prepared to make exceptions when necessary. 

11. Use a Mobile Browser Optimized for Speed

The mobile browser you use can also affect your phone’s internet speed. Some browsers are designed to load pages faster, while others prioritize features like privacy or customization. 

Consider trying out a browser specifically optimized for speed and performance. These browsers often include features like data compression, faster page loading, and optimized rendering, which can help improve your phone’s internet speed. 

12. Use Your Wi-Fi Management App

Take advantage of Race CommandIQ or similar apps from your ISP to better manage your Wi-Fi. These free tools let you see who’s using your internet and how much they’re using, block websites, run speed tests, and pinpoint issues – whether they’re with your phone, Wi-Fi, or mobile network. It’s a straightforward way to keep your internet running smoothly.

13. Use Lite Versions of Apps

If you’re puzzled by why the internet is so slow on your phone, Lite versions of popular apps could be a game-changer.  

For example: 

These apps are designed for better performance on slower internet connections, requiring less data and system resources. By focusing on core functionalities and shedding extra features that bog down your phone, Lite apps require less data and system resources to run smoothly.  

This approach doesn’t directly increase internet speed. Still, it makes the most of what’s available, significantly boosting your phone’s overall responsiveness. 

5G Network Not Working on Your Phone? 

5G promised groundbreaking speeds up to 600 times faster than 4G networks. However, the reality for many users has been different, with 5G speeds not reaching their potential due to limited bandwidth allocation and the ongoing reliance on 4G or LTE networks.   

Is your 5G capable smartphone showing LTE, 3G, or even 2G connection? You might not be using your phone’s full internet capabilities. 

What to do if you’re not getting 5G speeds:  

  • Check your area’s 5G coverage. 5G is still being rolled out, and coverage may be patchy or non-existent in some locations. 
  • Inspect your phone’s settings. Sometimes, your phone might not be set to prioritize 5G networks. Go to your phone’s network settings, and make sure it’s set to prefer 5G connections when available. 
  • Restart or reset network settings. Read how to do this under Tip 8 . 
  • Consider switching networks temporarily. If you’re in a crowded area and suspect network congestion is slowing down your 4G or 5G connection, try manually switching to a 3G network. Though counterintuitive, less traffic on a 3G network might provide a smoother experience. 
  • Update your phone’s software. Manufacturers frequently release updates that improve network connectivity. Ensure your device is running the latest software version. 
  • Contact your carrier. If you’ve tried the above steps and still face issues, it might be time to contact your carrier. There could be a problem with your account, SIM card, or an issue specific to your area that only they can resolve. 

By proactively managing your network settings and understanding the limitations of your current environment, you can ensure you’re getting the fastest internet speeds available to you, whether through LTE, 4G, or the promising horizons of 5G. 

Why is the Internet So Slow on My Phone: Conclusion 

Hopefully, we’ve answered why is the internet slow on your phone. Slow internet on your phone can be a frustrating experience, but with these tips, you can boost your phone’s internet speed and improve your overall experience.   

In summary, here are the key strategies to help you boost speed on your smartphone:  

  • Keep your device and apps up to date by regularly updating hardware, software, and apps   
  • Choose the right network provider and data plan that suits your needs  
  • Use a VPN to bypass ISP throttling  
  • Optimize your phone’s settings to enhance performance  
  • Clear cache and browsing history to free up storage space  
  • Disable auto-updates and background data usage to save bandwidth  
  • Connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible for faster and more stable internet  
  • Use a mobile browser optimized for speed and performance  
  • Install an ad blocker to prevent ads from slowing down your browsing experience  
  • Reset your phone’s network settings to resolve connectivity issues  

And because we want your phone not just to speed up but stay speedy, here are some routine maintenance tips: 

  • Restart your phone regularly. Doing so can clear temporary files and free up system resources. 
  • Update your apps and operating system. All software should be up-to-date for the latest performance improvements and security patches. 
  • Uninstall unneeded apps. Each app on your phone takes up space and may run background processes that slow down your device. 
  • Manage app permissions. Limit background data usage for apps that don’t need constant internet access. 
  • Monitor battery usage. Apps that drain your battery can also affect phone performance. Check battery usage in settings and manage or remove high-consumption apps. 

Whether your internet speed is crawling or sprinting, maintaining your device with these habits will keep it running as efficiently as possible. Ready for that next level of internet experience? 

 Consider ordering Race Communications fiber internet for unmatched speed and reliability. Let’s make those digital frustrations a thing of the past!