iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

Summary: iOS 4.0 proved to be so disappointing on the iPhone 3G that many users downgraded to version 3. Lifehacker compared 4.1GM to 4.0 on the two-generation old iPhone.

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iOS 4.0 proved to be so disappointing, performance wise, on the iPhone 3G that many users downgraded to version 3. But at last week's iPod event Steve Jobs gave iPhone 3G users hope, promising that iOS 4.1 (due this week) would address performance issues on the two-generation old iPhone.

Lifehacker informally compared iOS 4.0 to the golden master version of iOS 4.1 on an iPhone 3G, here's the video:

The (admittedly unscientific) video demonstrates the results:

  • Messages: iOS 4.1 Wins (By a Little)
  • Maps: iOS 4.1 Wins (By a Lot)
  • Photos: iOS 4.1 Wins (Just Barely)
  • Safari: iOS 4.1 Wins (Just Barely)

While iOS 4.1 marks a definite improvement over iOS 4.0 on the iPhone 3G, Lifehacker concluded that "we're still not sure it's a big enough improvement that 3G owners will want to ditch iOS 3." It appears that iOS 4 was tailor made for the iPhone 4, and without much consideration for older handsets.

iPhone 3x users are faced with a big decision: are the new features enough to justify slower performance?

iPhone 3G owners: will you upgrade to 4.1?

Topics: Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

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41 comments
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  • Multiples Exchange accounts

    That's the only reason I'm upgrading. Since upgrading to 4.0, the performance has been awful. Let's see how it goes with 4.1...
    dvm
  • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

    I now have an iPhone 4, but 4.0 was as responsive as 3.0 on my older 3GS.
    atari_z
  • No plans to upgrade.

    Version 3 does everything I need.
    ye
  • Hopefully this will help

    I gave my 3G to my Wife when I got the iPhone 4 and when I first experienced the slowness I tried a hard reset and when that barely helped I stopped at the Apple store since I was in the Mall already to see if they had any reported issues and the response I got from the Apple Genius was "Nothing can be done, you should upgrade" So you are right, very little consideration for people with older versions of Apple products was given.
    bobiroc
    • This is not unique to the iPhone.

      @bobiroc: [i]So you are right, very little consideration for people with older versions of Apple products was given.[/i]

      It applies to pretty much everything Apple sells. I wonder if this attitude of theirs will eventually impact people's willingness to buy their products (outside of the Apple faithful).
      ye
      • So not true.

        @ye [i]"It applies to pretty much everything Apple sells.[/i] is certainly [b]not true[/b] with regards to OS X which frequently run faster on older hardware than previous versions, in those cases where older hardware was supported. Granted, older hardware is regularly "thrown over the side" when it comes to support of current versions, but some consumers see that as a benefit rather than a drawback.
        matthew_maurice
    • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

      @bobiroc Dumbest post EVER. So should Microsoft start handing out more memory and faster CPUs when they have a new OS?
      cyberslammer
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @cyberslammer

        [i]"Dumbest post EVER. So should Microsoft start handing out more memory and faster CPUs when they have a new OS?"[/i]

        There are two problems with your insult and reply.

        1. Apple makes both the hardware and the iOS and they decided to support it and it is quite apparent that the software is the most likely cause. Microsoft does not make computers so it not even a close comparison

        2. The 3G model is only about 2 years older than the iPhone 4 so if Apple cannot support a device with updates for more than 2 years then there is a problem as it makes people feel they need to upgrade and in this case replace the device when they shouldn't have to. When Microsoft releases a new OS in the vast majority of cases it will work fine on computers that are 4 - 6 years old unless they were low end when they were first purchased. That being said you can almost always spend quite little to upgrade a PC for Memory to add a bit of performance. The fact that Windows 7 works very well on machines 5 - 6 years old with modest memory of 1 - 3GB and a modest video card shows that.

        So before you call my post the dumbest ever stop to think how idiotic yours is.
        bobiroc
      • I have to agree with cyberslammer for once

        The fact is that Apple upgrades their iPhones at a really quick pace (every year). The 3G is 2 models behind the current one.

        It's the Apple Model. You bought an iPhone, you bought into that model.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @goff256

        [i]"The fact is that Apple upgrades their iPhones at a really quick pace (every year). The 3G is 2 models behind the current one.

        It's the Apple Model. You bought an iPhone, you bought into that model. "[/i]

        So answer me this. Why is that Apple gets defended on this but it is OK for people to complain and say Microsoft doesn't think of the consumer when their latest OS doesn't support their low end computer or hardware that Microsoft didn't make they bought a few years ago. Many have slammed Microsoft for lack of hardware support when drivers are not available or they experience low performance because they went with or in most cases under the minimum specifications to run the software. It is a huge double standard and it is ridiculous. Since Apple made both the hardware and the software then they should have just come out and said that iOS 4 will not work with the 3G and left it at that. After all it is that whole concept that Apple makes or assembles the hardware and makes the software that people claim gives Apple the edge on making their products work so well. The only problem is when they don't work Apple still gets defended.
        bobiroc
      • You obviously don't know me too well

        @bobiroc

        I think those people, the ones who complain about MS products all the time, need to get with the program too. If you want the latest and greatest, sometimes your older model won't run it. It's a fact of life. Technology evolves and we need to change with it.

        Windows, iOS, OSX, whatever you use. You will not be able to continually use the latest and greatest with the same machine.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: You obviously don't know me too well

        @goff256

        I am not trying to pass judgment, I am just trying to find out why there is such a huge double standard. When Vista was released in 2007 the uproar about performance was out of control and patches and service packs released later solved the majority of those issues leaving only those with extremely low end computers at fault and Microsoft does not make that hardware. I guess what I am asking is why can't the same people that slam Microsoft just admit that Apple messed up and if this update helps performance even a little admit that it was a software issue. I mean after all Apple makes and brands both the hardware and the software so the have less of an excuse when they have issues right? That is all I am saying and it seems fairly logical to me.
        bobiroc
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @bobiroc

        It's because Microsoft can do no right, and Apple cam do no wrong.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @goff256

        [i]"It's because Microsoft can do no right, and Apple cam do no wrong."[/i]

        Well I am just the type of person to call a spade a spade and Microsoft or any other company is not perfect. If Microsoft truly screws up I will call them on that. I own apple products including two iPhones and a Macbook. I think they make decent products but I know they are just like any other tech company and their products have their faults. The same goes for Microsoft.
        bobiroc
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @bobiroc While I agree that cyberslammer was harsh there is an issue I have with your reply:

        [b]The 3G model is only about 2 years older than the iPhone 4 so if Apple cannot support a device with updates for more than 2 years then there is a problem as it makes people feel they need to upgrade and in this case replace the device when they shouldn't have to. When Microsoft releases a new OS in the vast majority of cases it will work fine on computers that are 4 - 6 years old unless they were low end when they were first purchased. That being said you can almost always spend quite little to upgrade a PC for Memory to add a bit of performance. The fact that Windows 7 works very well on machines 5 - 6 years old with modest memory of 1 - 3GB and a modest video card shows that.[/b]

        Here you are comparing the Apple iOS backwards compatibility with older hardware that cannot be upgraded to Windows 7 backwards compatibility with older PC which have hardware that can indeed be upgraded and done so rather easily. The trick would be to show any mobile smartphone product who's recent OS is backwards compatible and available for the older model smartphones - especially devices that are over two years old. Sure one can run WM 6.1 on some of the older WM devices but not much else and that being via cooking up ROMs for them - I doubt one can get WM 6.1 or 6.5 or whichever version from Microsoft legally... but in that I could be wrong. Blackberry one cannot put an OS that is much newer on any of the older devices unless it is carrier approved or hacked to hell. Seriously there are NO other smartphone manufacturers that have done what Apple has and supported the older hardware for this long.

        It sounds to me like your issue was with some dickhead so-called genius at the Apple Store... one who did not want to be bothered to do his or her job. JMHO of course.
        athynz
  • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

    Running 4.0 on a 3G is akin to purchasing a new OS for your computer that barely meets the minimum requirements. It will work but you won't be very happy with it.
    jwillum
    • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

      @jwillum Exactly, but the techno-whiners will cry because they can't use the latest and greatest on a device they bought two years ago.
      cyberslammer
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @cyberslammer

        Oh so 1 - 2 years is all you should expect to get out of an apple gadget? Great to know.
        bobiroc
      • Yes, actually.

        Every business has their own upgrade cycle. When a company (Apple in this instance) decides to have a yearly update scheme (iOS, OSX, iDevices) then you have to get used to the idea that your device will become an antique quickly.

        It won't work any worse if it doesn't have the latest and greatest iOS version, though.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: iOS 4.1 on iPhone 3G - better than 4.0 (but not as good as 3)

        @bobiroc [b]Oh so 1 - 2 years is all you should expect to get out of an apple gadget? Great to know.[/b]

        Yes if you look at it as a device that you want to keep upgrading the OS on... Personally I tend to upgrade my Blackberry device every year just because I want the latest and greatest and VZW give a decent deal to upgrade even after a year (I paid a bit more than 30 bucks to upgrade my old Curve 8330 to the newer 5830). My iPhone on the other hand I've had for over two years now and really have no interest yet in upgrading it as long as they make the iOS 4.1 work like I keep hearing. I think that's the key though - keep upgrading the software and make it work with the existing hardware for as long as possible... no other cell manufacturer does that. With MS one has to bake custom ROMS to get the latest and greatest and even then it runs sluggishly (and even buggier than WM usual), with BB one's carrier has to approve the newer version for their particular devices and if one is not approved for one's carrier one has to download one from another carrier who has the target version, delete a file, install and keep one's finger's crossed. I'll give it to Apple they are trying their best to keep the older devices relevant...
        athynz