Has iOS4 Ruined the iPhone 3G?

Since the release of iPhone 4 and iOS4, the tech world has been caught up either praising the new device to death or parsing Antennagate into oblivion.

But while so many have been focusing on the glory and flaws of Apple’s newest product, my attention has been squarely on an old one: my trusty iPhone 3G, which is now 2 years old – and is signficantly crappier, thanks to the iOS4 update.

After the initial update, my 3G was so slow as to be almost completely unusable. Basic tasks like checking email or opening a browser could take well over a minute to complete – unless, of course, they crashed first. Using Maps was essentially pointless, and more demanding apps like Evernote were basically rendered useless. Prominent blogger Waxy suggested doing another full system restore after installing the upgrade and that did solve problems. And then, with the release of iOS 4.0.1, some similar improvements were to be found.

But it definitely isn’t perfect. App response is still sluggish. Trying to listen to music and browsing the web at the same time is often an exercise in frustration, and often results in both the browser or the iPod app crashing. Everything is slower. Overall, the device has gone from being a smooth, slickly-functioning device to feeling like an overtaxed, nearly obsolete piece of tech. Searches across the web reveal this to be a seemingly common phenomenon.

This would, of course, not be a problem if one could downgrade back OS 3.1.3. I know I for one wouldn’t miss the few updates iOS4 gives 3G owners to get my regularly functioning phone back. Alas, Apple doesn’t let you. And most users will find the process of downgrading quite onerous, particularly on a Windows box.

So it seems that Apple, whose focus with the iPhone has always been a smooth user experience, has slipped up on this one, simply in allowing the iPhone 3G to have the update – or refusing to allow a downgrade.

But lest we get ahead of ourselves, tell us Techi readers: Has upgrading to iOS4 ruined your iPhone 3G? Or it it just an isolated few cases making a mountain out of a molehill?

Written by Navneet Alang

Navneet Alang is a technology-culture writer based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter at @navalang
SEE MORE ARTICLES BY "Navneet Alang"

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Comments
  • Sam

    I too had some slowness after installation. I have since done a factory reset, and it seems a LOT better. Still maybe a tad slower than 3.1.3 but usable.
    -Sam

  • http://www.trifunk.com ariel

    my iPhone 3G has been terrible. I have to reboot it 3 times a day to have my emails coming in. I went to the apple store and the guy told me I probably should not have upgraded to the iOS but it is too late now.

  • http://www.schiffner.com Schiff

    iOS 4 has certainly ruined my iPhone 3G. Sluggish, apps crashing… all that for folders and a better mail app? Grr…

  • tyler

    i agree, slower with 4.0. of course apple gets it from both sides. everyone was all up in a tizzy after tehy announced 4.0 that the 3g wouldnt get multitasking. Well it runs like crap with multitasking disabled, do you really want to see what it runs like with it enabled? I still use my 3G, but if it werent for jailbreaking–more specifically iMemory Enhancer I wouldn’t. It has made me want to upgrade to the iphone 4 though, which I will be doing this week. 2 years is enough, time for an upgrade…

  • Karma

    My 3G is almost unusable and so frustratingly slow…

  • http://www.itsjusthair.com Nia

    I have noticed no difference after the second iteration upgrade, but after the first upgrade I had to change all my email accounts to Fetch to kill the new “battery life suck”. The only complaint I can think of is that the camera ap takes a few extra second to ready for use, but the shutter button seems much faster on the other side. meh…

  • Christine Bethke

    Hit the nail right on the head! Thought it was just me and the locations that I was using my iPhone! Are they planning on fixing this at all or are they hoping we upgrade to the new bumper phone?

  • http://www.joesmalley.com Joe

    My 3G is noticeably slower. I will try a full restore as suggested- thanks.

  • Damian

    iOS4.0 rendered my 3G unusable. Texting or emailing was an exercise in frustration as the keyboard played catch-up. Turning off auto-correction helped in that regard (the culprit is the new spell checker).

    iOS4.0.1 has been an improvement. Hoping for further gains in the next release. It’s worth sticking with it IMO. As tempting as it is to think it’s an exercise to make us all upgrade, Apple haven’t let me done yet. They’ve earned some trust.

  • http://logit42.com/ Ale Tello

    iOS 4 on my iPhone 3G was painfully slow, horrible. Most of the new features are disabled (multi-tasking, wallpapers, orientation lock) and still the user experience is sub-par compared to previous versions.

    I ended up downgrading to 3.1.2, obviously this is not something Apple supports, but now my phone is back to being usable.

  • http://www.Inlaymansterms.info Dion Carroll

    I didn’t do the update because I “Knew Better”. I’m getting tired of waiting around for the white iphone 4, so I’m flirting with getting the 3GS just to be on and updated tech level. Even without the IOS4 update, my 3G is painfully slow, buggy and crashy. I’m a mac, but I’m getting sick of the whole iphone craze leading to shortages in the product and loyal customers ready to upgrade feeling left out of the party that you help set up. Just venting.

  • http://www.vishu.net Vishu

    my experience with the 3g has definitely deteriorated since the iOS4 update, it seems sluggish now and the zippy ui is long gone and the app launch times are the order of several seconds (close to a minute), I think this update for the 3g is just to force people into buying the newer model…sigh..

  • http://www.kynth.com Chris

    My iPhone 3G has been severely degraded with iOS4.

    I attempted to downgrade to OS 3.1.3 without luck on my first attempt and had to restore back to the iOS4 backup.

    Haven’t had time to try a second time yet, I *need* a working phone during the week and that limits the windows of opportunities for trying the recommended workarounds.

  • Jon

    Force shutdown and especially 4.0.1 fixed this for me… Although some things are still sluggish, now most of the stuff works better than 3.1.3.

  • http://tiwtter.com/prostophotos Max

    After the upgrade to 4.0 the iPhone has become painfully slow. So slow that after a week I couldn’t bear this no longer and downgraded back to 3.1.3.

    With all iOS4 features turned off for 3G I was surprised it was so sluggish, especially being used to Apple’s practice of new MacOSes working faster on the same machines. This was a major disappointment and I don’t regret downgrading back.

    My only concern is that the app developers will soon only target iOS4 devices and will stop supporting older models, so we’ll be forced to upgrade to new iPhones after a while.

  • Richard

    My iPhone’s battery sucks. I’ve turned off Push, Notifications, Location services, downloaded the MS Exchange profile and turned off Wi-Fi so my battery could last through out the day. By doing this, the phone will last all day but it’s just a phone. There is no reason to have an iPhone that you can’t use. When my AT&T contract ends, it’s bye bye Fruit.

  • Mickey

    It has been somewhat slow for me. The full restore and update to .0.1 made things a bit better, but I believe OS3 was functioning more smoothly. Oh well, time to save up for that iPhone4.

  • http://www.racotecnic.com El Boletaire

    I’ve updated today my iPhone 3G to IOS 4.0.1 and it seems that works better than with the v. 4.0 : )

  • http://logit42.com/ Ale Tello

    @Chris Whenever you attempt to downgrade iTunes will throw an error message (1015 or 3194), that’s because the new firmware has an updated bootroom.

    In order to get rid of this error just download Recboot (http://www.sebby.net/443-recboot-final-release/) and your phone will be working again.

  • Sharon

    After replacing my IPhone4 twice in the first week, I returned it and attempted to revert to my 3G. It was simple never the same – slow to respond, a 2 hour battery life, and finally nothing… Several of the ATT store guys (where I went to buy a previously un-needed 3GS), said that they had seen customers “all day” who had corrupted and unusable 3Gs after upgrading to 4.0 or switching back from IPhone4. Feels like planned obsolescence to me. I took an hour and wrote to Mr. Jobs about this and a few other issues with my former IPhone4. I doubt any of this will be a surprise to him.

  • Phil

    I’ve got all the problems listed on this page. Ios4 has definitely ruined my iPhone 3G. It should never have been available for the 3G and is obviously a ploy to force us to buy the iPhone 4. It’s made a device which was a pleasure to use and made it glitchy and frustrating. It takes move about a minute to enter settings and the predictive text struggles so much. To listen to Steve Jobs talk about how it’s aim to make Apple customers happy, I just laughed. Well we’re a huge bunch of thousands of loyal, often early adopters, and we’re not happy with our ruined phones.

    I will not update to iPhone 4 on principle – I’ll get an android phone – this is so obviously a blatant attempt to force Iphone 3G users to upgrade.

    At the very least Apple need to offer an easy downgrade to ios 3.1.3 and a big sorry for the all hassle caused.
    Sent from my iPhone

  • http://www.mathewballard.com Mathew Ballard

    Yes, my 3G doesn’t run as smooth as it used to. But, I’m understanding. It is just like upgrading an older computer to a new OS. You are going to suffer some because you are using older equipment. All computer based devices are like that.

  • http://blog.leighelliott.com Leigh

    I’ve had the iOS4 installed on my 3GS phone for a couple of weeks now and I haven’t had any issues. The good thing is I get some of the new features without having to risk it all with a new iPhone 4.

  • http://www.deepbluesky.com Jim Morrison
  • ignaciot

    YES. I gave up on trying to use the Google Maps app. Even sending a freaking SMS is sluggish. This is pure garbage.

  • funkian

    Why are you still using iPhone 3G when Steve Jobs wants you do upgrade? Get to it! :)

  • PM

    This is a joke, my 3g was fine before I updated it to OS4 but now it’s so slow I can’t live with it anymore. I will NEVER get the iphone4 because of this.
    I contract was up in April so I held out for the new iphone but upgraded my 3G the day before I was due to change, I noticed straightaway the 3G had slowed down and decided I won’t be forced by Jobs to changing.
    Apple are now offering people so called advancments on the new phone that others had years ago like a decent camera and video.. wow… And it really annoys me it only took them 3 years to put a zoom on the camera of my 3G.. WHY?

    Oh and my Dad bought the iphone4 and it’s rubbish. It drops calls all the time.

  • Darren Lockie

    I worked for Microsoft for 10 years. I migrated to Apple about a year ago and have enjoyed the airbook and ipad experience.

    But in upgrading my Iphone to 4.0.1 has destroyed my faith that Apple was any better than Microsoft. It is a disgrace that they did not test the 4.0 upgrade, did not fix the problem with the 4.0.1 upgrade and now fail to acknowledge that the problems exist.

    My phone is useless. You hear me Apple…it’s useless. I need my phone for work and am on the phone 2 – 4 hour a day…but when the phone crashes every 5 minutes and reboots, it is useless.

    So, I bought an Android phone. It works. It’s fast, but most of all it doesn’t crash.

    Apple, you have squandered your chance. You had momentum. You had your shot…you screwed it.

    • CT

      I agree completely. I’ve just paid off a 2 year contract for an iPhone 3G and in that time I’ve had the handset replaced 3 times due to faulty hardware. The iPhones performance after the software upgrade to iOS4 is unacceptable.

      I held out some hope that ver. 4.0.2 would offer a remedy to the many problems but this is not the case. My iPhone 3G is now sluggish and buggy and totally unreliable as a tool for work. The screen constantly locks-up and the SMS keyboard is temperamental. Apps that worked flawlessly are now glitchy and frustratingly unreliable.

      I have simply lost faith in the iPhone and I’m amazed that Apple could release an OS with so many flaws. It’s as if they’re saying “thanks for your money chump but we don’t give a stuff about you unless you’re forking-out for our latest piece of overpriced, overrated crap”.

      Apple have lost my confidence, and my business. There are simply too many rival products on the market that are far cheaper and much better for what I need, which is most importantly A PHONE THAT WORKS!!!

  • luke

    i still have £385 pound to\pay on my contract 3g iphone but i feel the phone is no longer fit for the purpose of which i took out the contract for. what are my options and who is to blame ,my provider is Orange they say its apples phone there fault mean while im goiner have to pay for a iphone thats no bettah than a 40 quid pay as you go phone. this is unaceptable pratice i feel like just not paying and returning the phone but that will probly just mean balliffs turning up at my door by the way i wasnt even responible for the update being updated [staff at the apple shop were resettin my phone as i was havin problems with syncing but indoing so they also totally screwed over my phone i was a hppy customer but now if this isnt resolved soon i will not let them get a penny of my cash.

  • Garban

    APPLE

    NEVER AGAIN.

    I’VE A YEAR LEFT ON MY CONTRACT.AND A PHONE THAT DOES NOT WORK.

    YOU LOST A CUSTOMER.