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iOS4 upgrade on iPhone 3G causes slowdown

It seemed like pretty good news when Steve Jobs and crew said that you could install the newest iOS4 on older iPhone devices. You could put it on your iPhone 3G or 3GS without having to upgrade to the newest iPhone 4 hardware. As it turns out, this blessing may have been a curse in disguise. At least that’s how it appears to be for anyone with an iPhone 3G who happened to upgrade to iOS4. This “upgrade” seems to result in remarkably sluggish performance, slowing the phone down to a nearly unusable crawl. Getting off the unlock screen can take as long as ten seconds and there are significant delays when opening and replying to text messages.

It seems that the processor is to blame. Whereas the iPhone 3GS has a peppier 600MHz ARM 11 processor (and thus runs iOS4 without a hitch), the older iPhone 3G only has a 412MHz ARM 11 chip under the hood. Naturally, the iPhone 4 is more than at home with iOS4.

So, what recourse do iPhone 3G owners have? They could revert back to OS 3.1.3, but even that’s quite the process. It’s almost as if Apple is trying to convince all of them to buy a new iPhone 4 instead. What say you, readers? Have you upgraded to iOS4 on your iPhone 3G? Is it as slow as people say? If not, do you plan to?

[Gadget Lab] Photo: originalgoast/Flickr



About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  1. Someone_with_iPhone

    Its true, when i upgraded mine to iOS4, the iPhone really slows down, the settings and program dont open immediately like 3GS, sometimes the games wont load and the screen remains blank

  2. I am soooo scared because I just upgraded mine also to iOS and Im waiting for my iphone to start and by reading these comments it seems Im going to have to buy another Iphone3G and sell the one I have…I want the 3.1.3 back :( I feel Im gonna have a big fit for doing so. I so did it on accident though. Feeling terrible is there anyway I can go back to what I used to have anyone knows? can I unistall it? so upset I did it. Hopefully its not as bad as Im thinking it will be as I use my iphone as an ipod actually!!!!!

  3. wow thanks guys! ive been so sorely tempted to hit the “upgrade now” button everytime it pops up on my itunes. LOL. i guess im sticking with my 3gs-its working fine for me anyway :)

  4. I’m ready to revert back to a regular phone and pay less for the service. It will be a matter of time before I hurl my 3g at a concrete wall out of frustration. iOS 4.1 is supposed to fix the problem. I hope it comes in time. Apple should at least create a less painful route to restoring the phone back to older version. Don’t they test the software before they make iTunes pressure you to upgrade???? This really s**ks.

  5. I have an iphone 3G with ios4 and it is really slow compared to how it was in the past. I can tell you Apple is not making me want to upgrade my hardware to iphone4. I was very happy with the phone at first, but now i will definately upgrade to an Android phone. Apple has rubbed me the wrong way for sure. I am glad they are providing updates, but they should work on all the hardware. i was also a bit upset when they didn’t provide multi-tasking. i can see why if the phone is this bad just running one app.

  6. Downgraded my 3GS to IOS4. The result is that most of the apps are so slooooow they are painful to use. Google maps is so slow I’ve given up using it. Ditto for many other apps. Tried all the posted “fixes” with little difference in performance. I was so happy with my 3GS I was considering moving from PC’s to MAC. Forget that! If this is how Apple treats existing customers, I’m sticking with my PC and am looking at moving to a Droid 2 on Verizon.

  7. I upgraded and it sucked majorly. I did do this –>Settings->General->Home Button->Spotlight Search
    Uncheck all options

    and it seemed to help a bit. F*ck Apple if they don’t fix us non rich folk who can’t afford an upgrade every six months

  8. Sick of Apple, my contract expires this month, I’m already looking at Droids… Apple can keep iphone 4 (in a jacket) ; )

  9. Did the upgrade, huge HUGE mistake. I paid a pretty penny for this phone a year and a half ago and now it’s barely usable. No more iphone for me in january. i’ll be moving to droid.

  10. Settings->General->Home Button->Spotlight Search
    Uncheck all options. This will speed up the phone. Or just jail break your phones already and you will have no problems!!

  11. I have 2 iPhone 3GS they are only 2 months old . I thought was a deal at Walmart for $97. But now with the new IOS4 in them . Their are act up like drop calls and lock up the screen goes blank. So you can say it’s with dam software . Hello Apple fix it!!!!

  12. I do not own an iPhone but I have an iPod Touch 2G and I upgraded to iOS4, which was a bad mistake due to the facts that I get few major updates and it has slowed down my device. I have had to also restore my iTouch because it was driving me insane with the clock being the wrong time, apps freezing, etc. I can’t wait for an update.

  13. I upgraded to iOS4 and since then was very disappointed by the performance and the lack of interesting new features available to iPhone3G.
    So I decided to “upgrade” to 3.1.3. Yes you read it well, I said upgrade since it’s way better than iOS4 on iPhone 3G.
    It’s a shame that Apple has given the opportunity to iPhone3G to install iOS4. Also, it’s a shame that they don’t offer the opportunity to uninstall iOS4 and reinstall 3.1.3.
    They say they’re customer oriented. With their move, you can see that they’re of course Ca$h oriented.
    I guess lots of readers in the same situation as me will feel they’ve been screwed up. Hopefully there’s a solution (not provided by Apple of course), which enables you to revert to 3.1.3. It’s not a straight-forward process, however you really enjoy it when you’re done!

  14. I recently upgrade my iPhone 8gb 3G to iOS4 after seeing some of the features it offered. All I can is what a mistake that was. It has slowed my phone down so much. If Apple thinks this is going to convince me to upgrade to the iPhone 4, they are so wrong. I can only hope they will be releasing another update to help speed the phone back up or I might have to start looking at some of the other phones available on other carriers.

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