Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

Summary: It's time for Apple to offer a downgrade option to users of iPhone 3G devices who upgraded to the latest OS.


Since iOS4 became available, I've been hearing reports of people experiencing terrible performance on their iPhone 3G shortly after upgrading to the latest OS. Problems range from hanging apps and slow swiping to freezing iPhones.

As of this writing, Apple has not officially acknowledged that there's an issue other than advising users to do a restore and then manually sync everything back. Basically, starting as if your iPhone is brand new. Apple is also stating that

"Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS."

This weekend I heard multiple reports of people bringing their iPhone 3G running iOS4 to the Apple Store and in some cases, having Apple exchange it for an iPhone running 3.1.3. According to reports, you still have to be within the one year warranty of the original purchase date of the iPhone 3G in order to be considered for the exchange.

I should mention that the above is not an officially sanctioned offering from Apple, so there's no guarantee that you can exchange your iPhone 3G.

If you're wondering how your iPhone 3G might work after you upgrade it to iOS4, check out the video below (thanks to appadvice)

To be fair, I think it's OK that Apple has offered up the option to upgrade your iPhone 3G to the latest OS. The only issue I have is that Apple isn't coming clean with all of the issues that you might experience. If the company mentioned other issues, not just that multitasking doesn't work, then it would be ok.

Of course, now that there have been widespread complaints from folks who have been dealing with poor performing iPhone 3G devices after upgrading, Apple should offer the ability to restore to an earlier OS again.

Did you upgrade your iPhone 3G? How has your experience been?

UPDATE: Roger sent word that since installing iOS4 on his iPod Touch 3rd Generation, the battery loses power at an alarming rate even when switched off. There's a discussion thread dedicated to the topic, which as of this writing is 42 pages deep.

UPDATE2: rory sent word that if you turn off "spotlight search" in settings, the iPhone 3G comes back to life. Comment below if that fixed the issue for you.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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  • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

    I did upgrade my 3G, and performance is most definitely slower. On just about everything. It seemed also slightly unstable at times, although that seems to have improved since I installed 4.0.1. Still slow though! Painfully in many cases!
    I would miss the app folders, but I would go back to iOSv3 if someone could show me how.
    • Downgrade to XP!

      Um... I mean [i]downgrade to iOS3!!![/i] :)
      • You're nothing if not consistent.

        @NonZealot <br><br>All this bad Apple news is making you giddy.<br><br>~~~~~<br><br>If have a 3G and upgraded to iOS 4, and then 4.0.1. Both upgrades were very difficult and time consuming. In both cases, I had to load the new iOS code as a restore and then re-sync all my stuff back onto the phone. I found that approach on another website, not even on Apple's support site. Like many others, my OS and app performance was terrible.<br><br>After reading this article, I turned off Spotlight Search (see UPDATE2 above) and my performance is back to normal after a full reboot of the phone (albeit without the Spotlight Search functionality). All in all, it's a good trade-off, that will allow me to buy some time to see if iPhone is coming to Verizon before I upgrade.<br><br>Bad on Apple for their handling of this one. They didn't set correct expectations or offer a smooth upgrade experience. I will say, in terms of support and direction for legacy product upgrade paths, Apple could learn something from MS.
    • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4


      It is fairly easy. I have done it. Just google it and I am sure there are some youtube videos about it too.
    • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

      I've had the exact same experience. iOS 4 was TERRIBLE. iOS 4.0.1 was an improvement but it is still slow.

      I'm ready to turn it in for a new phone. I like how I can get upgrade prices on an iphone4 but not on an HTC Aria.
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4


        "I'm ready to turn it in for a new phone. I like how I can get upgrade prices on an iphone4 but not on an HTC Aria"

        thats because you have an iPhone currently and are looking at another iPhone. It is called a promotion for current iPhone owners to allow them to upgrade sooner. You cannot get that price if you do not already have an iPhone.

        Its really not that all hard to comprehend
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4


        uh duhhh ;-)

        i realize it's a promotion. From apple's standpoint at least. However, I would like a way out of the terrible OS, and on to a phone that doesn't have antenna problems.

        From a consumer's standpoint that's not hard to comprehend either.
    • Turn off Spotlight Search like UPDATE2 says ...


      If you like the iOS4 features, and can live without Spotlight Search, it's a good trade-off of functionality. It worked well for me.
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4


        I turned Spotlight Search back on, and still have great performance. Issue fixed!
    • SOLUTION: Downgrade to 3.1.3
    • Would Apple correct the bogus bars on iOS3?

      @rossdav@... <br><br>If they don't take care of such things with iOS3, it would send a very mixed message.
      Lester Young
  • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

    Since upgrading to iOS4 my iPhone 3G performance has been awful. Everything is slow, be it an email, searching for contacts or even sending a text message (exactly as the video presents). I tried a soft reset, a hard reset (two times) and leave the phone with the default apps, but neither solved the problem. So it looks like I'll have to wait for iOS 4.1 to see if the problems are solved. Or maybe change to an Android or WP7.
    • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

      Maybe you should use iOS 2 that originally came on the phone, or iOS 3 that you upgraded to for FREE last year, rather than the FREE upgrade to iOS 4, which seems to be beyond the capabilities of the 2+ year old phone. Most other phone don't give the option to upgrade an old phone to the latest, greatest phone OS. iPhone owners have the option. With 2+ year old iPhone 3G, you can choose between latest and greatest features but slow, or last years features, but faster. Most other phones have years-old firmware that never gets updated at all.

      Wait, get this. You could even but a buy a brand-new iPhone4, if you want the greatest latest brand-new cell phone.

      That is if you really have an iPhone. You're not a shill or a troll just trying to bait controversy, are you?

      All of these options would be better than getting a wanna-be iPhone. Android will try to be like the iPhone. Windows have yet to have a decent phone after trying for over 10 years. Good luck with that.
      • I'm not an MS Shill

        @TrollDetector and I've had these same issues with MY iPhone... does that mean I'M trying to bait controversy? Honestly if AT&T had a halfway decent Android device I might be tempted to get one... Does that mean I'm trying to bait controversy? No and no... all I'm doing and presumably all dvm was doing is giving an opinion. Not spreading FUD, not putting down Apple, Google, Microsoft, or whoever... so go elsewhere to detect trolls.
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

        I would understand if dvm said he was upset at Apple because they didn't warn him that upgrading his 2-3 year old phone to the newest, greatest feature set, may result in super slow performance. That would make sense.

        I would understand if dvm said he wanted to revert to iOS 3.x.

        I would understand if he said that he wanted to get the new iPhone because his 2-3 year old phone was getting long in the tooth for his taste.

        All of these options make sense. But to skip over all of these options doesn't make sense.

        I would not expect 4.1 to help so much. Apple has performed some optimization miracles in the past, but the earlier phones just don't have a processor that can handle the tasks we are coming to expect of our phones today.

        Then to say that maybe android or windows would solve a problem of having a 2-3 year old phone does not follow logically. These other phones are at best trying to copy the iPhone. If the writer is concerned about processor speed, he would want to consider a new iPhone that has the A4 chip, which is optimized for smartphone/mobile device use. Not only does it use the battery efficiently and prolong battery life, but also gets more juice out of the ARM processors than the standard ARM chips in other mobiles. So logically one would expect the writer to consider the faster iPhone before the other slower smartphones. I'm not saying that he shouldn't consider the iPhone wanna-bes. Competition is good. His logic was just faulty.

        If he wants a faster phone, why not also consider the fastest -- iPhone -- that uses the battery sparingly, and still has more features than the imitating platforms. It didn't make sense for him to skip the better, faster phone among the list of alternative new phones to consider. If had added iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 (with speedy A4 chip) to his list of potential new phones then what he wrote would've made more sense.
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4

        @TrollDetector I am 18 months into my Iphone 3g and when Itunes told me my SW on my device was "Out of Date" I went ahead and updated it. Lots of technology today has free updates (many Apple updates/upgrades fix previous issues like Safari crashes and WIFI bugs (see the release notes).

        So, when I let Itunes go ahead and do the update I had not Idea that the Iphone 3G would be virtually Unusable. It's not just "slower", it's a dog. There's a bug, clear and simple. After a reboot, for upto 30 mins it's quick, it's cool but then, something happens - not sure what but some "bug" is hitting the CPU massively. A reboot each time will mostly clear the bug - for a while. My Safari crashes are back. The Genius bar said "some of your apps might not be compatible with the update" - Hhh? I thought all Apple apps were certified. And in any case, I've tested not launching a single app and I still get the bug. Your response above is a little childish. If my Mum had an Iphone and Itunes told her to update it - she would. You wouldn't blame her if it then ran slowly/buggy - you'd blame Apple. Plain and simple.
  • Try the install again.

    If you are having trouble, try the install again. Before I got my iPhone 4, I upgraded by iPod touch 2G to iOS4. It was a bit weird at first. I reinstalled and it's now far more stable than ever, which is really saying something because iPhone OS 3 was quite stable. About the only issue I have is with one of my flash based apps, but that was fixed in iOS 4.

    And the iPhone 4 ROCKS.
    • I'm sorry, your experience doesn't count

      Just like the millions of people who had no troubles with Vista, your positive experiences with an OS don't count. We [b]MUST[/b] focus solely on people who have had problems with iOS4.

      Cue the double standards...
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4


        Like the double standards about the iphone4 attenuation and other smart phone attenuation?
      • RE: Apple should advise against upgrading iPhone 3G to iOS4


        No double standards there. Other phone manufacturers put their phone antenna in a place where if you hold it naturally, it doesn't cause the attenuation.