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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Late last week, Lifehacker posted a video comparison of the performance of iOS 4.0 and iOS 4.1 on an iPhone 3G.
The video demonstrates the results, but here they are in all their glory:

- Messages: iOS 4.1 Wins (By a Little)
- Maps: iOS 4.1 Wins (By a Lot)
- Photos: iOS 4.1 Wins (Just Barely)
- Safari: iOS 4.1 Wins (Just Barely)

While the speed advantages ranged from marginal to significant, iOS 4.1 clearly outperformed iOS 4.0. It's still significantly slower performance than you'll get from a 3GS or iPhone 4, and we're still not sure it's a big enough improvement that 3G owners will want to ditch iOS 3. The most obvious difference was UI responsiveness. The UI didn't get stuck nearly as much on an interface element or when trying to enter text. If you are set on using iOS 4, the upgrade is worthwhile for that alone.
In late July, Apple acknowledged that it was looking into reports of performance problems for the iPhone 3G under iOS 4.0, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs confirmed late last month in an email to a customer that a software update addressing the issuing was forthcoming.

At last week's media event, Jobs announced the release of iOS 4.1 set for this week, noting the iPhone 3G performance issue as one of the bugs addressed in the update.

Article Link: Informal Testing Suggests Minor Performance Increase for iPhone 3G on iOS 4.1


macrumors 68000
Jun 14, 2003
It is a big enough difference to upgrade. I had downgraded from 4.0 to 3.1.3 due to the really poor performance. 4.1 does kick it up a significant notch and I would say that the improvements I've seen are better than those posted here.


macrumors newbie
May 4, 2010
it'd be better to have a video of iPhone 3G running 3.1.3 vs running 4.1 :)

also, run the bench multiple times, in order to have an accurate benchmark.

i tried 4.0 on a 3G and it was painful.


macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2008
This "minor difference" is enough to make one not throw the phone against the wall.


macrumors member
Sep 20, 2008
AppleCare should cover loss of use...

I went to the 5th Av store today to begin the documentation process of getting a Genius to file a case on my 3G, and trying to get a break on something to encourage me to buy an iPhone 4.

Obviously we were misled into upgrading to 4.0 on a 3G. Apple only stated that certain features were not going to be available for 3G users, but never said that performance would create a severe usability problem—so much so that it deserves a class-action suit for lack of accountability for AppleCare-covered devices that thus cannot be used properly, as sold and warranted.

I got nowhere with the Genius or the manager, but figured as much anyway.

What really struck me as odd is that the manager of the flagship NYC store said that a program on was available at some point to downgrade to 3.X, but was recently removed in light of the impending 4.1 release. I said I had never heard of any Apple-sanctioned method, and certainly would have here on MR. They searched for it on several Apple sites, both inter- and intranet, but couldn't find what he was talking about.

Has anyone heard of this? I Googled and only came up with the variety of step-by-step methods many of you have used, which require a jailbrake of some form, correct?

Just thought I'd share this. I am really pissed that Apple has forced our hand to renew a contract we may not have wished to with AT&T, and made a handicapped iPod out of a perfectly good iPhone when running 3.x, and then purchasing an iPhone 4.

Conspiracy theorists (and lawyers) can jump hard on Apple for essentially creating obsolescence.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2010
I'd rather Apple give me a supported way of downgrading from iOS 4.0.2 to iOS 3.x on my 3G, since many feaures of the current and next iOS are unavailable to me.


macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2009
It would be interesting to see a performance comparison between iOS 4.1 and iOS 3.1.3 on the iPhone 3G.

It could turn out that keeping iOS 3 is still better, after all.


macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2010
If I stil had my 3G and upgraded to 4.0....then I wouldn't of had my 3G much longer because it would have been out the window.
I can only imagine how frustrated some 3G owners must be. Might even be enough to drive some people away from the iPhone.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2009
Dublin, Ireland
I'm a big Apple fan, have iPhones, MacBooks and i'm a developer for iOS, but I have to say that the 3G is absolutely unacceptable on iOS4,

it's very unlike Apple to release such a poor performance on a UI, seamless UI stuff is what they do best, it's their signature IMO,

They should have just left the iPhone 3G at 3.1.3 rather than ruin the entire iPhone experience for users of the 3G.

It was only when I played with an iPhone 4 that I remembered what I loved about iPhone, and this has been lost on the 3G with iOS4 unfortunately.


macrumors member
May 27, 2003
Come one, MacRumors

Remove this news article and replace it with a set of comparison experiments that are properly done. A user doing different things under two different iOS versions, what is that?


macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2010
They should have just left the iPhone 3G at 3.1.3 rather than ruin the entire iPhone experience for users of the 3G.
Yeah but... remember when everyone was screaming bloody murder because the 3G didn't get multitasking?


macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2007
Good enough

I don't find my 3G unusable with IOS 4.0 (yeah, I know: "instant gratification takes too long"... but I'm a patient fellow) but this comparison - however rough - has me looking forward to 4.1. To me the gains all looked significant.


macrumors member
May 20, 2010

any possible performance gains for 3GS and iP4?
I know these two devices are already fast, but I would love to see Safari speed increase


macrumors member
Dec 3, 2004
The Moon
This video does not do 4.1 justice. 4.1 is a MASSIVE improvement over 4.0 on iPhone 3G. It’s still slower than iPhone OS 3, but it is much faster and more responsive than 4.0 ever was. With 4.0, I had a daily urge to smash my phone against a wall. With 4.1, no more negative thoughts. The phone is once again usable. Biggest improvements are Maps, big 3rd party apps (games would not even open on 4.0), typing, and overall responsiveness of OS.

P.S. I’m using a 4.1 ipsw downloaded from rapidshare. The official 4.1 might be even better.


macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
Toronto, ON
Tested. Better, but not ideal.

I installed 4.1 on my iPhone3G and while performance has gotten better, it still locks up occasionally and certain buttons still require multiple presses to go through.

Certain apps simply crawl along so slow, they're unusable. Angry Birds for example stutters along on 4.1, even though it ran just fine on the previous OS.

I was on the verge of throwing my iPhone against a wall several times. The performance is just unacceptable. 4.1 goes a bit of a way to alleviating that as it stands, Apple never should have made 4.1 available for iPhone3G.

I mean, did they even test this piece of *****? :mad:


macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2006
Minor?! Silliest thing I've heard.

My phone (3G) was close to useless since 4, now it works fine again (with 4.1).

If that's not "major" I don't know what is...


macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
4.1 will be a quality update for 3G owners. I think it's safe to say that the 4 series iOS will be the last for 3G. You have to drop the past sometime.


macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2008
Beverly, Massachusetts
iOS 4.1 on the iPhone 3G still looks slower than iOS 3.1.3, and really slow compared to iOS 2.2.1. Too bad the iPad will be the same (performance wise) in several years. Apple could have optimized iOS for the 3G.


macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2008
London, U.K.
It's still significantly slower performance than you'll get from a 3GS or iPhone 4

Given a software update cannot magically change the hardware that is hardly surprising and would have been the same for each phone running OS 3.1.

What would be a more useful comparison is how a 3G running iOS 4.1 compares with 3.1, given that is the benchmark for acceptable performance to most users of the phone.

That said, I think the difference in speed between iOS 4.0 and 4.1 shown in that video for Messages was far more significant that "a little". Yet the Safari one almost seemed faster on 4.0, but with different actions were performed on the two 'sides' it is impossible to draw any meaningful conclusion from it.



macrumors 604
Nov 5, 2009
....Apple could have optimized iOS for the 3G.

it seems they optimized it on 4.1 as best as they can and it clearly shows that they have tried to fix the problems w/ 4.0... you can't ask for everything new to just work perfectly after 2 hardware cycles have passed by...


macrumors newbie
Sep 16, 2008
On 4.1 (on a 3G) note will not sync via network. It is faster on the 3G though!


macrumors newbie
Sep 6, 2010
That video, comparing iP3G iOS4 with iP3G iOS4.1, is favoring very much the iOS4 performance on iP3G. After iOS 4 upgrade, iPhone 3G just sucks, its pure trash...

With the iOS4, my iPhone3G sometimes don't even have response. Just dies, crashs... If with iOS4.1 the minimum of any of this problems persists, I just quit iPhone's forever! Is a situation of trust, and I am beginning to believe that Apple make is iPhone just to work 2 years top, and force customers to move to others Apple iPhone models.

I just hope iOS4.1 show me that I am wrong! :mad:
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