iPhone 3G Owners, You Might Want to Hold Off on iOS4

Illustration for article titled iPhone 3G Owners, You Might Want to Hold Off on iOS4

The iPhone 3G is now about two years old, and it's nearing the end of its lifecycle. The proof? Installing the latest iOS4 on it causes it to slow to a crawl, and that's with half of its features missing.

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Judging on the performance of both my and Mark Wilson's 3Gs as well as based on anecdotal evidence on Twitter and support forums, the new iOS4 update is wreaking havoc on older iPhone 3Gs.

Here's an excellent video by Flickr user Adrian Nier showing two 3Gs side-by-side, one updated to iOS4 and the other on 3.1.3:
Click to view

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With my phone, typing has become nearly impossible. One of the first letters I hit pops up, but then stays stuck as I continue to type. It catches up eventually, but without the visual cues that I'm hitting the right keys, it makes typos an inevitability.

Furthermore, opening very basic apps has gotten much slower, and apps crashing to the home screen is much more frequent. Merely trying to open the settings panel took me three tries right after installation, for example. Loading up my photo library takes upwards of 10 seconds. Updating Instapaper takes twice as long as it used to. There's a new pause when I hit the home button from within an app, and when it finally does close, the animation of app icons falling back into place is jittery and stilted.

And what's really to gain by updating? 3G owners aren't getting multitasking, they aren't getting wallpapers, they aren't getting Bluetooth keyboard support. You're essentially just getting app folders and threaded emails. Other than that, there's nothing new. I went from having a slightly sluggish yet functional phone yesterday to an "updated" phone today that can barely handle the most basic of tasks, all with very little new functionality to show for it. But hey, at least it'll be ready for iAds in a couple weeks!

At this point, a good number of 3G owners are probably planning to upgrade to an iPhone 4 in a couple of days. And really, with the specs this phone has, it's not shocking that it can't handle the newest OS. But if it runs this poorly, and with major features removed, you've got to wonder why it was made available for the 3G at all.

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DISCUSSION

steven
steven [gawker help]

Adam, perhaps the 3G slowdowns are a case by case basis? Either that or just for the majority, and not all?

My 3G was bogged down by 3.1. Frequent app crashes, that same typing issues you were describing in your post, etc, just pure hell. I then Jailbroke my phone hoping it would solve the slowdown problems. Unfortunately, Jailbreaking just made the phone consume even more resources. Speedhacking it simply made it run like vanilla 3.1. I couldn't open a text message without crashing at least once. Respringing and restarting my phone were becoming second nature.

I upgraded my 3G to iOS4 this morning, contrary to people telling me not to. It didn't take 3 or 4 hours. I was done in about 1 hour. I've noticed a significant improvement on my 3G. Granted it is not snappy and speedy, but I don't expect perfection with a software update on underpowered hardware. I no longer have the typing issues or slowdowns. The phone runs like it is brand new. I have yet to suffer an app crash, and closing out of apps is a breeze. Texting, typing, searching, they all work significantly better than 3.1. Opening up photos takes 3 seconds. Opening up SMS takes 3 seconds (except for a new message, in that case 10 seconds). But this is 10 times better than my 3.1 experience on my 3G.

Perhaps my phone is part of the minority, one of the "lucky" ones. My girlfriend has had to suffer through hearing me bitch about my "crappy iPhone" every day. She says iOS4 is a blessing to her ears lol. I'm still gonna grab the Droid 2 when it comes out since I'm a physical keyboard kind of guy, but just know that there is ONE iPhone 3G out there with iOS 4 that is nothing but smiles...and so is its owner!