Neurophysiological experiments show that the strength of synaptic connections can undergo substantial changes on a short time scale. These changes depend on the history of the presynaptic input. Using mean-field techniques, we study how short-time dynamics of synaptic connections influence the performance of attractor neural networks in terms of their memory capacity and capability to process external signals. For binary discrete-time as well as for firing rate continuous-time neural networks, the fixed points of the network dynamics are shown to be unaffected by synaptic dynamics. However, the stability of patterns changes considerably. Synaptic depression turns out to reduce the storage capacity. On the other hand, synaptic depression is shown to be advantageous for processing of pattern sequences. The analytical results on stability, size of the basins of attraction and on the switching between patterns are complemented by numerical simulations.