Why Is My Phone So Slow on the Internet?

Tyler Abbott
Staff Writer, Mobile & Wireless
Read More
February 09, 2022
3 min read

If you’re on Wi-Fi, your phone’s internet might be slow because of your router’s location or the number of users sharing the connection. If you’re out in the world, your phone’s internet might be slow because of your network provider and your location.

Why is my phone slow on Wi-Fi?

If your phone's internet is slow while connected to Wi-Fi, there are a few likely culprits:

  • Your router is positioned in a bad spot. Walls, floors, and doors can interfere with your connection. Likewise, appliances, like microwaves and refrigerators, can mess with your Wi-Fi signal as well.
  • You have too many active tabs or apps open. Mobile data plans can only keep up with so many background apps and tabs. If your data connection is working on too many demands at once it can lead to reduced speeds. Consider closing out apps and tabs that you aren't currently using.
  • There are too many users on the same Wi-Fi connection. There’s only so much bandwidth to go around, and if your roommates are streaming a movie in the other room, your connection will likely slow down. Just be careful you don't give your Wi-Fi login to too many people at once.
  • Your phone might be too old. It's possible that there's nothing wrong with your Wi-Fi connection or wireless signal, rather your phone is just old! As apps update over time, the hardware requirements to run those apps increase. For example, the Amazon app runs much more slowly on an older phone than a newer phone purely because of hardware specs. Consider upgrading your phone if you have anything over three years old.
It might be time for an internet upgrade
Info Box

If you have your router in a central location with minimal blockages, have a reasonable number of users, and you're still experiencing slow internet speeds on your phone, you may need to upgrade your home internet.

Find the best Internet Providers in your area.

Why is my phone slow without Wi-Fi?

Internet speed on your phone all comes down to your cell phone provider coverage and your location. Every provider offers different levels of coverage, and they are not all created equal. For example, Verizon the most reliable coverage overall. Or, if you live in a more rural area, your coverage might not be as reliable as it would be in the city, and as a result, you’ve got a case of slow internet.

The solution: change your provider or change where you live. Both of those things are inconvenient, but changing your provider is the lesser of the two evils.

Deprioritization

If you are on the basic unlimited plan for Verizon or AT&T, you may experience slower speeds during peak usage periods. This means that users who pay for premium unlimited plans will get more reliable data speeds during peak periods than users who pay for basic unlimited speeds. So, if you've got a basic AT&T Unlimited Starter plan and you notice your data speeds slow down on your train ride home, it's because you're being deprioritized.

All mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) also are subject to deprioritization. So if you use Visible Wireless, Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket, or Simple Mobile (to name a few), your wireless speeds can slow down to deprioritization during peak use periods.

Does the age of my phone slow down my internet?

It can! The main reason phones slow down over time is because new operating updates leave older phones behind.

Likewise, internet browsing apps update to sync with newer, better phones. If you don’t have the latest and greatest, your phone could struggle with the newest operating system and app updates. An older phone isn’t the most likely culprit of slow internet, but it might contribute to the problem.

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How can I make my internet faster on my phone?

You can try a few things to speed up your internet on your phone like clearing the cache, uninstalling unused apps, and checking your network settings for any connection issues. But if you've tried these things and your phone is still slow on the internet, it’s probably time to upgrade your cell phone provider. Reliable service and coverage might cost you a few more bucks, but it will save you a lot of frustration.

Now that you know, here are your next steps:

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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