Apple's iOS 7.1 brings iPhone 4 speed enhancements, iBeacon improvements

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2014
Along with the addition of headline features like CarPlay, Apple's latest iOS 7.1 update brought a welcome speed boost for the four-year-old iPhone 4, as well as new iBeacon handling that allows apps to search for signals even when closed.

iPhone 4
Source: ArsTechnica


When Apple launched iOS 7 in September, users of legacy handsets like the iPhone 4 experienced sluggish performance as the old hardware tried to keep pace with the advanced operating system.

As seen in the chart above, created by ArsTechnica, iPhone 4 users upgrading from iOS 6.1.3 to iOS 7 saw sluggish app launching and a significant hit to overall system performance. For example, the "zoom-in" animation seen when opening an app was noticeably jerky, as was pulling up Control Center.

After conducting a series of tests with the iPhone 4 running Apple's recently released iOS 7.1, the publication reports performance is greatly improved. Tweaks made on the backend now offer users of older hardware a smoother experience, while app launch and system startup times have been dramatically reduced.

Apple attempted to make iOS 7 as backwards compatible as possible, but the operating system's design is heavy on animations, transitions and other graphical flourishes built to take advantage of the latest A7 system-on-a-chip.

The company looked to solve some of the performance issues with iOS 7.0.3, but for iPhone 4 owners, the changes did not offer a substantial improvement.

iBeacon enhancements

In a separate report from BEEKn, iOS 7.1 brings new functionality to Apple's iBeacon protocol, opening the door for "always on" beacon tracking.

Apple Store
Apple's own Apple Store app was one of the first to support iBeacon integration.


Conducting various tests with iBeacon-compatible apps, the publication found iOS 7.1 allows software to search for beacon signals even after the app has been closed and the iPhone rebooted. Previously, apps would only receive iBeacon notifications when open or running in the background.

With the new implementation, once an iBeacon app is installed, it will constantly "look" for signals until a user opts out via the Location Services settings menu, turns off Bluetooth or deletes the app. What remains unclear, however, is how Apple plans to handle iBeacon spam, which can now be pushed to devices as long as a provider's app is installed.

Finally, the publication feels that Bluetooth LE is more responsive in iOS 7.1 as region changes, exits and beacon identification are now logged almost instantly. The findings have yet to be verified.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,292member
    Couldn't they simply disable the animations on iOS 7.0 for the iPhone 4? Why first create a poor experience at launch while apparently they could have optimised the software as we see now. They should have known it was sluggish if they actually installed and used it prior to release 7.0

    Or not release it for a [S]4[/S] 3 year old phone in the first place.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    ALSO, the brightness toggle in the slide up control panel has a new physics effect. Try swiping rapidly in either direction, and watch it bounce off the boundaries.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,292member
    ALSO, the brightness toggle in the slide up control panel has a new physics effect. Try swiping rapidly in either direction, and watch it bounce off the boundaries.

    Same for the audio control. Weird that my brightness was set to ? 10%. I thought I left it at ? 50%
  • Reply 4 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    philboogie wrote: »
    Weird that my brightness was set to ? 10%. I thought I left it at ? 50%

    Daylight Saving?
  • Reply 5 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,292member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    philboogie wrote: »
    Weird that my brightness was set to ? 10%. I thought I left it at ? 50%

    Daylight Saving?

    That is US for now; we change our clocks in three weeks time, the 30th. (for reasons beyond me)
  • Reply 6 of 66
    [B]Download failed due to software failure. [/B]
  • Reply 7 of 66
    mikeg2000 wrote: »
    Download failed due to software failure.
    Lucky you
  • Reply 8 of 66
    Is it just me or does anyone else notice that IOS 7.1 is not an improvement at all, just a slightly less crappy version of 7.0 It still isnt an improvement over IOS 6. To be an improvement would mean its actually better than previous generations. But the real question is this, will you be able to charge your phone again without all the BS that so many people experienced the minute they upgraded to 7.0 and not get some lame explanation about lint in the charging port causing thousands iphones to Not be able to charge even with apple equipment....
    We shall see.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    patsupatsu Posts: 407member
    I have no problem charging my iPhone and iPads in 7.0.x or 7.1 (so far).

    iOS7 is better than iOS6 in many ways on newer hardware. But there are shortfalls in 7.0.x.

    7.1 is actually pretty solid.

    It takes some getting used to after using classical iOS for so long though.
  • Reply 10 of 66
    crossladcrosslad Posts: 353member
    Lucky you
    I had no problem with the over wifi download on my iPhone 4. Seems to work perfectly. I did have to free up some space on my phone to allow the download but have since put all the apps back on my phone.
  • Reply 11 of 66
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,172member
    I didn't have charging issues before. 7.0. Now with 7.1 the charging seems to go on-off-on-off randomly. iPhone 4S
    Edit: There's no problem wen chargin from the mac though.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    Dramatic improvements, pft. What a fluff piece. Apple purposefully makes iOS7 slower on old devices, so that you'll *buy a new device*. They could *easily* switch off the animations (there's even a toggle in the settings to do just that, for those of us who find the animations motion sickness inducing) and it would be just as fast and snappy, but then why would you buy a new phone?
  • Reply 13 of 66
    chiachia Posts: 613member
    Originally Posted by coolfish View Post
    Apple purposefully makes iOS7 slower on old devices, so that you'll *buy a new device*.

     

    I think you're mistaken with your cynicism; it's easier for Apple to behave like most Android handset manufacturers by not making any effort to supply system updates for current and older models.

  • Reply 14 of 66
    chiachia Posts: 613member
     
    Originally Posted by mortyfink View Post



    Is it just me or does anyone else notice that IOS 7.1 is not an improvement at all, just a slightly less crappy version of 7.0 It still isnt an improvement over IOS 6. To be an improvement would mean its actually better than previous generations.

     

    It is just you.

    I've found several features which iOS 7 offer, the control centre, AirDrop, the new features with Safari and iCloud, the blocking of nuisance calls and messages, to be of immediate practical benefit for me over iOS 6.

     

    These features work reliably for me, my iPhone 5 works reliably, so, iOS 7 is a definite improvement over 6.

  • Reply 15 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by coolfish View Post



    Dramatic improvements, pft. What a fluff piece. Apple purposefully makes iOS7 slower on old devices, so that you'll *buy a new device*. They could *easily* switch off the animations (there's even a toggle in the settings to do just that, for those of us who find the animations motion sickness inducing) and it would be just as fast and snappy, but then why would you buy a new phone?



    If that was really the case wouldn't they just make it slower for *all* devices on update instead of being stupid and actually make older devices run better?

     

    According to you brilliant theory that would make Apple even more money right?

     

    The iPhone 4 is close to *four* years old. The capacity of the hardware has more than doubled every year since then. At least it has decent (and instantly uppgradable) support for the latest OS version as opposed to 90% of the Android hardware out there.

     

    I am currently running an iPhone 4 (on iOS 6) and as long as I keep over 1.5 GB free it runs just fine. I usually wait with upgrades until all kinks are worked out and then I'll update. And that usually works great for me. So I'm now looking forward to upgrading to 7.1 on it and am sure I will be happy with it until I get an iPhone 5c via work in a month or so...

  • Reply 16 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 16,555member
    mortyfink wrote: »
    Is it just me or does anyone else notice that IOS 7.1 is not an improvement at all, just a slightly less crappy version of 7.0 It still isnt an improvement over IOS 6. To be an improvement would mean its actually better than previous generations. But the real question is this, will you be able to charge your phone again without all the BS that so many people experienced the minute they upgraded to 7.0 and not get some lame explanation about lint in the charging port causing thousands iphones to Not be able to charge even with apple equipment....
    We shall see.

    Odd first post. Haven't heard about that lint thing.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 16,555member
    palegolas wrote: »
    I didn't have charging issues before. 7.0. Now with 7.1 the charging seems to go on-off-on-off randomly. iPhone 4S
    Edit: There's no problem wen chargin from the mac though.

    Your charger?
  • Reply 18 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 16,555member
    coolfish wrote: »
    Dramatic improvements, pft. What a fluff piece. Apple purposefully makes iOS7 slower on old devices, so that you'll *buy a new device*. They could *easily* switch off the animations (there's even a toggle in the settings to do just that, for those of us who find the animations motion sickness inducing) and it would be just as fast and snappy, but then why would you buy a new phone?

    Here's a tin-foil hat, Sir.
  • Reply 19 of 66
    mikeg2000 wrote: »
    Download failed due to software failure.

    Me too. Took 2 hours to recover from backup at least. Quite a bummer.

    The failure also had the side effect of losing my alarm to music settings. I have set three alarms, each to a different song. When I had to restore from backup, the restore fails to restore that association. It's a bug which Apple has failed to fix.
  • Reply 20 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 16,555member
    jonteponte wrote: »
    I am currently running an iPhone 4 (on iOS 6) and as long as I keep over 1.5 GB free it runs just fine. I usually wait with upgrades until all kinks are worked out and then I'll update. And that usually works great for me. So I'm now looking forward to upgrading to 7.1 on it and am sure I will be happy with it until I get an iPhone 5c via work in a month or so...

    Honestly, if you're getting a 5c in a month and you've come this far with iOS 6 on your iPhone 4 I'd stick it out using that OS and make a clean break when you get the 5c. An old grandparent who won't be a their party app user wouldn't appreciate an iPhone 4 running 6.0.3.
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