Every so often I have one of those dreams… you know the ones. You’re somewhere and you’re running, but for some reason you’re getting nowhere. It’s like you’re running in slow-motion or you’re waist-deep in treacle and hardly moving. You feel helpless. Eventually you wake up and if you remembered the dream you breathe a sigh of relief that everything is back to normal… until you go to use your recently ‘upgraded’ iPhone 3G that is.
You see I read about iOS 4.0 and all it’s neat new features and thought… well it can’t hurt to upgrade my two year old iPhone 3G. I mean Apple are really on top of their game when it comes to hardware and the operating system so what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, iOS 4.0 was duly installed and now my iPhone 3G is living that dream! It has made the phone so slow it’s no longer pleasant to use. Everything about it is slower, some things by a significant amount, for example:
- The phone now takes at least three minutes to power on.
- The whole interface ‘stutters’ when flicking from screen to screen, or re-arranging icons.
- Tapping on the ‘Messages’ icon now results in a blank white screen for around ten seconds before the list of SMS conversations appears. (Previously it was instant).
- Text input is much less responsive with about one in eight characters not even registering. The result is a lot of blank spaces which you then have to go back and correct (this never happened before).
- Most applications take two or three times as long to load, and when tapping on the camera icon it’s a good ten seconds before the ‘virtual shutter’ opens.
- Sometimes when taking a photo, the ‘shutter’ closes and then reopens but the photo isn’t saved.
Why even tonight I downloaded and installed iOS 4.0.1 in the vain hope it might make a difference, but all it has done is knock a couple of bars off my signal strength indicator so now I see just one bar on the O2 network in my house (where I previously used to see four or five bars).
So what about the benefits of iOS 4.x for us 3G users? Surely there are some plus points to offset this lardy performance? Well:
- I’ve discovered that folders are a ‘nice to have’ but hardly essential. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a huge number of applications anyway, so the benefit is limited.
- Unified inbox – now that is worthwhile. I can now check my mail in one place instead of four, but it’s not worth the trade-off in speed.
- The camera zoom facility is more of a novelty that anything else. Given that it’s digital zoom, I don’t see the benefit of zooming when the photo is taken, rather than zooming in with a gesture when you’re looking at it afterwards?
Beyond that I haven’t really seen much benefit in going with the 4th generation iOS software on the iPhone 3G. What’s more this isn’t my phone being old and cranky or getting ‘full’, seeing as immediately prior to the first iOS 4.0 upgrade it was still pretty sprightly. Furthermore, friends of mine who also own the 3G and who have upgraded, have also complained about subsequent lack-lustre performance. Of course it would be nice to be able to downgrade the phone back to iOS 3.1.3 but apparently this isn’t a supported option according to Apple, and while Apple Store staff and even tech support acknowledge the problem, there is no ‘official’ line from Apple on these problems.
So what can one do? Well as it happens… not a lot. If you search the web for solutions there are a few, but these seem to require jail-breaking the phone and there’s no guarantee you won’t just brick your phone for good! You could ring tech support but all you’ll get is a shoulder to cry on and perhaps a bit of sympathy. But there is one glimmer of hope. I am assured that Apple do read the feedback they’re sent, so I have posted this missive to them over at:
…here’s hoping that they are taking notice and will do something about it quickly. If you’re having similar problems and your iPhone 3G is in the ‘slo-mo’ dream, then help the cause by leaving your feedback at the above link.