Big GUI Speed Difference between iPhone 4 and 4S?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ryanflucas, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. ryanflucas macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm in the market for a unlocked iPhone 4, but I haven't decided if I want a 4 or 4S. I make calls, text, email, web browse the most. Simple gaming (card games). I only use the camera for snapping photos to help with price checks while shopping or snapping photos in antique shops. I have an iPad 3 with Siri now and hardly use it. I would be using it with my unlimited data plan on T-Mobile. I've used a 3GS in the past, but currently use an Android device with a custom rom.

    I'm aware one is dual core while the other is single. Aside from that, do you see any big GUI speed differences between the two devices when using iOS 7? I don't think what I'm doing is going to take up massive amounts of graphic processing power.
  2. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    There's a huge difference between iOS 7 on an iPhone 4 and 4S. IMO, I think the iPhone 4 on iOS 7 is unusable. It's pretty good on the 4S, however.

    You can see my thread regarding this.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy either of them. They are old tech. Depending on what Android you have, I would keep it.

    If you had to buy one though, definitely the 4S.
  3. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Definitely go with the 4s.

    The speed difference is actually quite significant, because the A5 processor of the 4s is far superior in terms of multitasking and graphics performance. Basically, for everything you do, it will feel smoother and zippier on the 4s compared to the 4, as IOS7 itself can be quite computationally intensive, even if you just use your phone for the very basic tasks.

    Also, IOS7 on the 4s gives you more features compared to the 4, such as turn-by-turn on maps, Siri and FaceTime over 3g, panorama and filters in camera.

    Since you will be taking photos, the 8mp camera of the 4s will definitely be an improvement over the 5mp camera of the iphone4 as well.
  4. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2008
    I agree with the posts above. iOS7 on the iPhone 4 is a dog. I have the 4 running iOS7, and I HATE it. A friend has the 4S, and it runs iOS7 noticeably faster than my phone.
  5. CosmoPilot macrumors 65816


    Nov 8, 2010
    South Carolina
    I've had every iteration of iPhone. The performance boost from 4 to 4S was astonishing in terms of noticeable/tangible performance. The downside I had going from the iPhone 4 to 4S was battery life. iPhone 4 and previous versions always had amazing battery life. Once the 4S came along, battery life is now classified as good to great. That was the price paid for getting a significant boost in performance.

    At some point, the 4 will no longer be supported by iOS software. Not sure how long you plan on keeping your new phone; however, I recommend getting the newest version you can possibly afford to help future proof your investment. Therefore I say get the's a no-brainer!
  6. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2013
    There's a huge GPU difference. The A5 in the 4S is about 7x faster than the A4 GPU found on the iPhone 4.
  7. ross1998 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2013
    i wouldn't use the 4 or 4s on tmobile because it doesn't support tmobile's main 4g bands.
  8. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    The iphone4 and 4s don't support 4g anyways. :confused:
  9. ross1998 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2013
    I ment hspa which tmobile and atnt markets as 4g. Didn't mean LTE, sorry for confusion
  10. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    In places where T-Mobile has refarmed their networks, 3G and 4G work just fine on all GSM 3G and 4G capable iPhones.
  11. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    It's a massive difference. I've had a 4 all along and it's slow. I just purchased a coworkers 4s and it's much quicker. It's the difference between unbearable and quite nice.
  12. ross1998 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2013
    Even in Seattle, which is one of their best markets, the pcs hspa is never as reliable and widespread as their aws hspa. It's getting their but it's just not the same thing especially if your not in a major city.
  13. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020


    Mar 19, 2012
    Go with the 4S. iOS7 on the iPhone 4 is unsuable. And not only that, the graphics on the 4S are "7x faster" and the iPhone 4 uses the same GPU as the 4 1/2 year old 3GS while pushing 2x the resolution and 4x the pixels running apps made 3 1/2 years after the phone was released.
  14. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    I would go as far as to say the 4S is the minimum phone to run iPhone OS 7 on that I would recommend.
  15. Autosaver macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2013
    I used to use a 4 on iOS7 and it was SO laggy. I then bought a 4S (Used) and performance went up by miles. It was a huge difference.

    I heard iOS 7 is getting more enhancements for the 4 though to speed it up. I'm not sure what the performance is now. It was a POS at launch.
  16. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012

    HPSA+ is commonly referred to as 4g. Not to be confused with LTE. Thank AT&T for that bit on confusion. :)
  17. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Guess I'm being redundant, but there's a HUGE difference between the 4 and 4s. 4 was basically the same hardware as the 3g was. The 4s isn't just dual core, it's A9 versus A8, and faster ones at that. Well over 2x the GPU power also (might be 4x, I can't remember).

    Also the 4 will almost certainly be dropped from the next iOS version, which means it'll no longer be safe to use online for things like web browsing/email. I'd think the 4s will get at least one more year, since a TON of iOS hardware is based on that platform (4s, iPod Touch 5, iPad 2 and sort of 3, iPad mini).
  18. C DM, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014

    C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    4 was a decent improvement over 3GS (a whole new processor architecture, and twice the memory, alone, are huge changes, not to mention camera differences, more radio bands/frequencies, etc.), and certainly quite a big one over a 3G.

    Also, why wouldn't it be safe to use online especially for basic things like web browsing/email? Simply because it won't have the latest version of the OS? Plenty of devices and computers don't, and they are just fine.
  19. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    No it doesn't. It uses the exact same CPU and GPU, although the CPU may have been clocked a bit faster (can't remember off hand). Both used A8s, though the clocks may have been 800 vs. 600mhz.

    2x the RAM is obviously a huge deal, and obviously there are other changes, but the 3g and 4 used basically identical GPU/GPU.

    Because it'll no longer be getting security updates. Technically even text message could be a threat, although I might just risk that, but certainly browsing the web or email is a bad idea on an unsupported OS.

    Things like using the calender/netflix/Nook, etc. should be safe as they're connecting only to known good services.
  20. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Browsing, texting, or emailing on an iOS device with a recent although not the latest OS is a threat? Have there been widespread reports of virus or malware issues due to older iOS versions? Plenty more with older or even current versions of Windows or even Android and yet there's no real problem with most people using those versions either.
  21. deluxeshredder macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2013
    iOS 7 on iPhone 4 is beyond unusable, makes iOS 4 on iPhone 3G look reactive.

    iOS 7 on iPhone 4S is usable, but not nice.

    iOS 7 on iPhone 5 is OK performance-wise, but still far worse than iOS 6.

    iOS 6 runs like a dream even on a 3GS, about as smooth UI-wise as iPhone 5S with iOS 7.

    iOS 7 is a totally broken, laggy and buggy mess on any iPad, with stretched iPhone UIs everywhere.

    iOS 7.1 is a little bit smoother than 7.0, but nothing dramatic and still much slower and buggier than iOS 6 or even Android 4.*.
  22. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Yes, of course.

    The same thing applies to ALL computing systems. In the case of Windows, that's not the same thing as Microsoft continues to support older versions of Windows for years. XP was released in 2001 and is still supported, though that support ends in April of this year.


    It runs fine on my iPad 2, which is the same hardware (but clocked 200MHz faster).

    Works fine on my iPad 2. I have other issues with 7, interface elements that aren't as good, and they severely worsened podcast support, but it runs fine.

    In my experience iOS 7 is MUCH faster than Android. Android 4.x is MUCH slower than Windows RT running on the same hardware (which is sad given RT is almost just Windows 8 and far more capable than Android).
  23. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    While what you are saying about security is certainly sound and applicable in theory (pretty much to anything in general too), as far as iOS devices go, in actual practice, there simply hasn't been a reasonable enough threat or level of threats to warrant much, let alone significant amount of worry about using an older version of iOS. Sure, people should be vigilant, and perhaps more so with older devices, but not to the level where it's something they should see as being dangerous or suddenly think they are in a position where it's no longer safe to use online.


    Are we talking about 4 compared to 3G (as you mentioned)? If so, there are way bigger differences in play there, and they are not even close to being even basically the same. If we are talking about 4 compared to 3GS, the differences are fewer/smaller, but they still exist even when it comes to processor/GPU/memory (even though that's only part of the hardware, and not everything by far). They are not basically the same, even if some things might be close (processor), while others aren't all that close (memory, resolution, camera, radio, etc.).
  24. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    If you want to take the risk, be my guest, but it's irresponsible to encourage others to. That's security through obscurity, which isn't security at all.

    If I said 3G I meant 3GS. 3GS and 4 used the same CPU/GPU.
  25. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    It comes down to reasonable threat--it doesn't really exist to be reasonable enough to just say it's plain unsafe and that's that. One extreme isn't better than the other--can't say it's completely safe, but it's not doing much good to say it's just unsafe (and imply it's basically essentially useless in that respect because of it).

    As for 3GS and 4, the 3GS uses a 600 MHz Cortex-A8 (perhaps downclocked from 800 MHz, while a 4 uses 1 GHz Apple A4 (even it might be downclocked to 800 MHz or slightly lower). Although Apple A4 is based on Cortex-A8 it's still not the same thing. GPU does appear to be the same. RAM is certainly increased. Factoring just those basics--CPU/GPU/RAM--there's still an overall noticeable improvement, even if it's not a huge one, meaning it's not the same thing as far as the end user is concerned, even if some of the components might be exactly the same, while most aren't (even if some of them might be similar).

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