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Apple's Claims of Improved Performance on iPhone 4s and iPad 2 With iOS 8.1.1 Put to the Test

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Following the launch of iOS 8 back in September, many iPhone 4s users reported widespread issues ranging from slow performance to choppy animations. With Monday's release of iOS 8.1.1 promising "increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S", Ars Technica has now put those claims to the test.
iOS 8.1.1 improves performance in a few specific places, ones that may well be important to heavy users. However, it doesn't improve responsiveness or consistency, two of the problems you'll notice the most if you upgrade from iOS 7. Let's look at the short list of things you can expect to improve if you're using an older iDevice and the longer list of things that won't.
In its study, Ars Technica found launch times of system apps like Safari, Camera, and Messages essentially unchanged from iOS 8.0 for users with Apple's A5-based phones and tablets. The one exception was Safari, which saw a minor improvement compared to iOS 8.0, but all system apps still took considerably longer to launch on iOS 8.1.1 than on iOS 7.1.2. Interface lag such as for bringing up the keyboard or Control Center also remains an issue for these devices under iOS 8.1.1

The one bright spot Ars ran into was, surprisingly, in long-term speed and stability. Under certain circumstances, iOS 8.1.1 was found to in fact improve stability and performance despite the confines of 512MB of RAM on these devices. Tests involved loading up multiple memory-intensive tabs in Safari and then using multitasking to switch away from and then back to Safari to measure reloading times.
It's hard to say exactly what Apple has done to improve performance under these RAM-starved conditions, at least not without more input from Apple (the company has declined to comment for this story). We also can't list exactly when users can expect to see improvements, beyond the "play around in other apps and then jump back to Safari" test we've engineered here.

The best we can say is that something about the process of loading and ejecting processes to and from the A5's 512MB of RAM could cause slowness and instability in iOS 8.1, and whatever the problem was has been at least partially addressed in iOS 8.1.1.
Overall, improvements for A5-based devices under iOS 8.1.1 are minor, as has been shown in other testing, although some will appreciate the improved multitasking performance with Safari. As Ars notes, iOS 8.1.1 isn't exactly the vast improvement for the iPhone 4s that iOS 7.1 was for the iPhone 4, but it does offer nominal improvements to the overall experience without making other areas worse.

Apple's A5 devices are definitely showing their age, although they do remain on the market with the original iPad Mini and iPhone 4s being sold as low-end options and the fifth-generation iPod touch still being the current model of that device. The spread between these A5 devices and Apple's latest A8-based iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 models is indeed significant, and it is clearly posing challenges for Apple and developers alike to continue adequately supporting these low-end devices.

Article Link: Apple's Claims of Improved Performance on iPhone 4s and iPad 2 With iOS 8.1.1 Put to the Test
 

furi0usbee

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2008
1,781
1,264
I love my iPhone, but compared to high-end Samsung phones, the iPhone is drastically underpowered, especially when it comes to RAM.
 
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nick727

macrumors member
Aug 12, 2006
40
2
Glad some one is calling [BS] on Apple.
 
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Bahroo

macrumors 68000
Jul 21, 2012
1,860
2
After this , A6 becomes lowes common denominator and Apple offers a all 64 bit only lineuo by next year, then the year after that the A6 gets dropped from software support, A7 is the lowest common denominator, not bad
 
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Tubamajuba

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2011
2,106
2,128
here
I love my iPhone, but compared to high-end Samsung phones, the iPhone is drastically underpowered, especially when it comes to RAM.


Only when it comes to RAM. The A series SoC is consistently ranked near the top of its class every year when comes to performance.
 
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Bahroo

macrumors 68000
Jul 21, 2012
1,860
2
I love my iPhone, but compared to high-end Samsung phones, the iPhone is drastically underpowered, especially when it comes to RAM.

You must have a old iPhone then, because the 6/6 Plus are better performers then what the Android competiton has to offer, Apple A8> Snapdragon 805

----------

Only when it comes to RAM. The A series SoC is consistently ranked near the top of its class every year when comes to performance.

If not #1 at the very top
 
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Bahroo

macrumors 68000
Jul 21, 2012
1,860
2
Glad some one is calling [BS] on Apple.

How is it [BS] as you call it? There is very slight improvements to app loading speeds, but overall system stability is actually consistently better, which is great
 
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saxman211

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2010
257
58
I'm afraid to upgrade on my 5s. I don't know why anyone would upgrade to 8. Anything on a 4s
 
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sphoenix

macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2008
214
0
My iPhone 4S was working fine up until 8.0. However, after restoring it and cleared a few apps I wasn't using, everything was running more smoothly. Safari still not snappier though.
 
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TheWelshBoyo

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2008
270
35
Cardiff, Wales
I love my iPhone, but compared to high-end Samsung phones, the iPhone is drastically underpowered, especially when it comes to RAM.

The older ones, maybe, but the A7 processor hasn't even been outperformed by anything other than the A8 yet.
More RAM would be nice, but you can't compare 2GB of RAM on an Android device to 1GB on an iPhone. Different OSs with different memory managing techniques means there are different RAM requirements.
 
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cr2

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2011
208
15
I wonder, how these numbers are calculated to the 100th of a second. I am curious, is there any tool?
 
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scottwaugh

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2002
359
12
Chicago
I'm afraid to upgrade on my 5s. I don't know why anyone would upgrade to 8. Anything on a 4s

I have to agree (I'm leaving the wife's 5s on 7.1.2), I wouldn't let iOS 8 touch a iPhone 4s or iPad 2 - its nearly all downside and not much upside for that hardware.
 
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MuchoMac

macrumors newbie
Aug 20, 2009
5
0
It made a HUGE difference on my iPad 2

For the last year I've had problems with speed on my iPad 2. I was saving up to get the latest iPad thinking it had to do with old hardware.

The problems normally came after playing some games like Real Racing 3 or Star Wars Commander. The iPad would become unresponsive even during playing the games and eventually would quit the application. The whole system then became unresponsive at all levels until I forced quit the offending app. Even the Mail app would never finish loading.

I had tried even full restores and reinstalls of the system since I am a systems consultant and work exclusively with Apple products. The problem would always come back.

But, since the 8.1.1 update, the iPad 2 suddenly is as snappy as when I bought it a few years ago. All games are working flawlessly and the system is as responsive as ever.

So, if some testing has to be done, maybe try loading a group of high end games first. :)
 
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Tim098

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2013
29
0
I have a 5 and after 8.1.1, performance has suffered slightly. 2 examples are:

1. My home screen has 2 pages. 1st page full of apps and the 2nd page full of folders. Previously, opening and closing out of a folder was smooth with no dropped frames. Immediately after the update and since, opening and closing folders makes it jerk and drop frames in the animation.

2. Same issue with jerkiness and dropped frames but in the stock messages app when the keyboard is up and I activate Control Center.

I haven't really bothered to check other instances of dropped frames but this update seems to have made my iPhone 5 on iOS 8 act like how my old 3GS did when it was on iOS 6 - all jerky and disgusting, which shouldn't be the case as the 5 has one more cycle before it is considered the 'last supported' model and my 5 was perfectly smooth on iOS 8 and 8.0.1 (or was it.0.2? I can't remember).

Anyone else with a 5 or earlier with this issue? I wouldn't expect the 5S and above to display these though.
 
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\-V-/

Suspended
May 3, 2012
3,155
2,689
I have to agree (I'm leaving the wife's 5s on 7.1.2), I wouldn't let iOS 8 touch a iPhone 4s or iPad 2 - its nearly all downside and not much upside for that hardware.
8 runs better than 7 on my 5S.
 
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