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iOS 4 Murders iPhone 3G ... but Nobody's Perfect

iOS 4 Murders iPhone 3G ... but Nobody's Perfect

Apple is once again facing a storm of complaints -- this time over the deathly effects of upgrading an iPhone 3G or 3GS to the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 4. Though the problem is not as bad as Apple's recent Antennagate flap, it "does add to the perception that Apple's products aren't as vaunted as they once were portrayed to be," said Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Market Intelligence.

By Erika Morphy MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jul 30, 2010 5:00 AM PT

Apple is looking into reports that its iOS 4 does not run well on older devices such as the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

To be sure, Apple has warned from the beginning that not all of the features -- in particular, the multitasking in iOS 4 -- could be supported on older devices. However, owners of those phones have found that upgrading resulted in problems more extreme than the lack of new features.

Complaints and comments on tech boards include battery life that is substantially diminished when iOS 4 is installed on these handsets. There are also accounts of the phones becoming very hot. Most of the complaints, though, center on devices that slow down to the point where they are barely functional.

Don't Upgrade

3G and 3GS owners don't have to upgrade, Rob Walch, host of Today in iOS, told MacNewsWorld -- and given the proliferating reports of trouble, it is best that they don't.

"Look, these are old phones that were designed for what was then OS 2.0," Walch pointed out. "Smartphones age faster than computers, too. It is not surprising that people are having these problems."

The latest version of the device, compared with the earlier generations, he noted, has quadruple the internal memory and probably twice as much processing power.

Turn Off Spotlight

For those with older handsets who already have upgraded to iOS 4, Walch suggests disabling as many functions in Spotlight as possible. That feature appears to be a trigger point for upgraded users, at least based on the calls he has received on the subject.

The best way to do that is to go to Settings, General, Home Button and click on Spotlight Search, according to a Today in iOS listener. Then, uncheck everything except Contacts, Applications and Music.

The listener said he tried a hard start, a restore, and restore as new, said Walch, but that clicking off the Spotlight features was the most effective.

Another approach is to downgrade a 3G or 3GS from iOS 4 to iOS 3.1.3. Step-by-step instructions are available online, courtesy of Lifehacker.

Another Black Eye for Apple

This latest headache for Apple comes on the heels of Antennagate -- the brouhaha over reception problems many iPhone 4 users were having because of its antenna design. After complaints reached a crescendo, Apple eventually apologized for the problem and offered users a special case, the Bumper, which addressed the issue.

It's not as though the problems 3G and 3GS owners are having will be the last straw for Apple, despite the antenna issues, Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, told MacNewsWorld.

It is to the company's credit that it is looking into the upgrade problems instead of ignoring them, as Apple appeared to have done when the complaints about reception first surfaced.

"I don't think this is as bad a problem, but it does add to the perception that Apple's products aren't as vaunted as they once were portrayed to be," Sterling said. "Sometimes, it is now clear, they don't work -- or have glitches. That is a bit of a change for Apple."

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