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iPhone 3G Slow Down After iOS 4 Upgrade? Here are Some Tips

As an iPhone 3GS user, I have upgraded to iOS 4 right after Apple announced the public release. So far, I am quite happy with the update. Multitasking, unified inbox, folders and spell check are some of my favorite features. Apple’s engineers also tweaked some of the UIs to improve the responsiveness. Perceptually, I think iOS 4 offers better performance over the previous OS.

However, it is another story for iPhone 3G users. Many users claimed that iOS 4 is not a crappy update. In the Apple’s technical support forum, you can find lengthy discussion (38 pages) about the performance issues of iPhone 3G after upgrading to iOS 4. Users complained the UI is less responsive. It takes 5 seconds to open SMS app. The iBook app runs so slow and even the unlock slider works slower than before. These are just some examples of the complaint. Someone has also posted a video demo on YouTube to show you the slow performance after the iOS upgrade.

Obviously, the difference in performance for iPhone 3G and 3GS is due to the different computing power. The iPhone 3G is riding on a 412MHz ARM 11 chip, while the processor of 3GS model runs at 600MHz. Added to that, the 3GS model has 128MB RAM more than its predecessor, that also contributes to the speedier performance.

The limited computing power of iPhone 3G, however, shouldn’t be an excuse for Apple to deliver a crappy OS for millions of existing 3G customers. Recently, as reported by Wall Street Journals, Apple finally takes action to investigate the series of complaints related to the performance issues. Probably, it may be addressed in the upcoming iOS release.

Some Recommendations Before Apple Offers the fix

If you are an iPhone 3G user, here are a few recommendations.

For those who are still running iPhone OS 3.1.3, keep using it. At the mean time, I do not recommend the upgrade. Just stay away from it until Apple releases iOS 4.1. Especially, don’t help your wife or girl friend to upgrade the 3G to iOS 4. Here is an interesting post from the Apple’s support forum:

I hear about os 4.0.1 coming up next week.
Hope they fix all the problems. Yesterday i upgrade my wife’s 3g and now she want to kill me.

On the other hand, if you have already upgraded to iOS 4, you may consider to downgrade it back to iPhone OS 3.1.3. Lifehacker offers a great downgrade guide that you may find useful. However, it’s not as straightforward as you think.

If downgrade is not an option, you can try out these fixes that possibly improves your iPhone 3G’s performance:

  • Double hard-reset – Interestingly, some users reported that a double hard-reset can improve the performance. I do not have iPhone 3G to test out the solution but some claimed the solution works. If you have no idea how to hard-reset your iPhone, check out the instruction here.
  • Disable Spotlight Search – According to an iPhone 3G user in ModMyi forum, you can simply turn off spotlight search to boost the performance on iOS 4. To disable spotlight search, go to Settings -> General -> Spotlight Search and deselect all items.

Please let us know if the solution works for you and stay tuned about any related update.

About Simon Ng

Founder, developer and chief blogger of simonblog.com

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28 Responses to iPhone 3G Slow Down After iOS 4 Upgrade? Here are Some Tips

  1. Sebastian K July 30, 2010 at 1:30 am #

    Just another thing. Since 3.1.3 the camera app uses the gps to geo position your photos. This nice thing increases the time it takes to open the camera app since it looks for the current position. If you don’t want that, try turning off the location services. Saludos

  2. Banana Joe July 30, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    The reality is iOS 4 was not made for 3G, it has inferior hardware, is like MacOS x Snow Leopard on pre Intel Macs, simply is not made for it. It;s time for upgrade the phones if people wants a newer OS.

  3. garaged July 30, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    Banana Joe

    I don’t know you, but I would like my 400USD phone last a little more than 1 year, and it’s 11 month now !!, come one

    • Chris September 2, 2010 at 6:42 am #

      Why the hell would you pay $400 for a 3G when the 3gs and 4g come cheaper with a contract from ATT. Oh yeah…you want to jailbreak your phone, which is PROBABLY why its running like shit.

      • nick September 2, 2010 at 6:49 am #

        Might be wrong here, but I assume he meant that he spent 400 bucks on it when he got it, which I assume was before the 3GS/4G was out … ;)

        • Chris September 2, 2010 at 7:58 am #

          I don’t think the 3G was ever $400. $300 for 16 gig and $200 for 8 gig. And if you bought your phone 11 months ago, you could’ve gotten a 3GS for $300 or $200. Why would you pay 400 for a 3g?

  4. James Issac July 30, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    well first i came to know about the iOS 4 Upgrade for iPhone 3G, but afterwards few frnds update it… ad got some problem regarding processing slower…. is there anything regarding this problem Apple is working on?

  5. Bannana Joe July 30, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    The fault is not of the consumers, is of the greedy companies, that still sells the iphone 3G like new and they actually knows is pas news. here people stills buying pentium 4 and G4 imacs and they didn’t tell this computers can’t run fluid any new OS. Now, an like new 3GS is around 300 dlls to 350 dlls from ebay. I recommend sell the 3g and get an 3gs, there’s no big difference between iP4 and 3gs and cost 300 bucks less. Besides, for now, there is no application that requires the iphone 4 that bad. And you will stil with fresh iOS4 and not a remaked iOS 4 for the 3g.

  6. wayne August 3, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I agree with Garaged.

    my phone is on contract and therefore can not be sold and is only 9 months old .
    i love this phone apart from this crappy upgrade. if Apple is going to put out new firmware they need to at least inform the public that its not suited for the 3G and provide an alternative. or they need to put a disclaimer on their products that this hardware will only be supported for the next 11 months and sell it at a discounted price. At the end of the day we the consumers are the ones who feel it when these corporation giants just make bad decissions and yes i know nothing will be done about it but it feels good to vent on a forum with peeps that can relate.

  7. nick August 14, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    There are no Settings -> General -> Spotlight Search settings, at least not on my 4.0.2 iPhone 3G. Is this something you get when jail breaking ?

  8. Srikanth August 14, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    Hey nick…Here is the path for the Spotlight search…
    Settings -> General -> Home button ->Spotlight Search

  9. Nick August 14, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    @Srikanth

    Yep, found it.

    Seems like interwebz are flooded with that erroneous path for some reason. :)
    Not sure it helped tremendously, but I’ll take whatever I can get, including placebo in these desperate times. Don’t want to give in to Steve and get a new iP4 … yet … :)

  10. SB3G August 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    I had updated my 3G to ios 4.0.1 last week, notice the UI lag time – slider bar, open apps. Jailbreaked it later so the multi-tasking and wallpaper could be use. The phone seems really slow to response, however, i had performed the following items and it seems to improve the speed similiar to before:
    1. Disable all Spotlight search
    2. 2 times hard reset
    3. Delete the behind the scene open apps (the one that left open in the background after you thought you close them)
    4. Use the FreeMemory apps to free up memory
    I think the one that slow down the phone the most is the behind the scene open apps, as 3G memory is much less than 3GS/4, you will run into trouble if you had many apps still open in the background.
    Hope this help you all…

    • echo April 11, 2011 at 6:21 am #

      ho w to delete the behind the scene apps sir> ikndly email me pls.

  11. Jhana September 11, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    Since upgrading (and this morning I installed the “fix” ver. 4.1) still pretty much every single app shows a blank screen for 3-4 second before the app loads. I turned off the spotlight search option as recommended above and the apps are loading 50% faster, but still not the performance I had before the “upgrade”. I also disabled location services for everything except google maps which I use daily.

    what a pain :-!

  12. Charles November 27, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    I remove the services the new search and hard rebooted twice. It seems to be running fast now. Lets see for how long.

    Also how do you “3. Delete the behind the scene open apps (the one that left open in the background after you thought you close them)”

    Not sure where this option is.

  13. Sam January 9, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    >>>Just stay away from it until Apple releases iOS 4.1. Especially, don’t help your wife or girl friend to upgrade the 3G to iOS 4.

    I realize this is off-topic, but I’m sure plenty of single women, as well as wives and girlfriends, might be reading this article themselves instead of asking a man – or anyone – for assistance.

    • Robert November 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      First and foremost, turned off all Spotlight Search options and shazam – the camera is literally back to normal, next to no lag. Very simple work around fix.

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