Inside iOS 4: Missing features for iPhone 3G users

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple disabled support for some features in iOS 4 to shoehorn the new release into the processing constraints and memory footprint of the 2008 iPhone 3G and second generation iPod touch. Here's what's missing and why.



When running on iPhone 3G, iOS 4 disables multitasking, background wallpapers, Bluetooth keyboard support, and a "data protection" feature. The first generation iPhone and iPod touch can't run iOS 4 at all; those early devices make up less than 10% of the entire number of iOS devices sold (a number that will hit 100 million by the end of June, Apple noted at WWDC).



Apple's three years of OS upgrade support for the first generation models compares favorably with other platforms, where devices are often unlikely to ever see an update. For example, Google's Android OS, which has delivered software updates that are at least on par and often better than most other competing platforms, stopped supporting new updates for the original T-Mobile G1 after a single year.



The HTC myTouch 3G was released in the US less than six months before Android 2.0 was unveiled, but still hasn't received that release yet, let alone the newest 2.2 update, which is currently only available to users of the Google-branded Nexus One. Even many recent Android phones won't be able to update to the latest Android 2.2 right away once it becomes officially available.



Apple has worked to push all of its mobile users to the latest version of the operating system as soon as possible after its release, making it available as a direct download from iTunes rather than relying upon the various mobile operators to distribute it over the air, as Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry, HP's webOS, and Microsoft's Windows Mobile platforms have to do.







No multitasking for iPhone 3G in iOS 4



Deactivated support for iOS 4 multitasking on the iPhone 3G is believed to largely be a product of its limited memory; like the original iPhone, it only has 128MB of system RAM. Unlike the first iPhone, Apple continued to sell the model over the past two years, making its support for iOS 4 critical to moving the majority of the installed base to the latest version of the operating system.



Jailbreakers have noted that previous versions of the iPhone operating system could "support multitasking" in the sense of simply working around the app launching boundaries Apple erected. That results in an implementation of multitasking that works more like Android, where there is no effort to regulate how background tasks work in order to conserve battery life.



Apple's new multitasking APIs in iOS 4 enable a variety of background operations, state saving, and notification alternatives that together result in better battery life and largely automatic process management that doesn't require users to manually hunt down and kill rogue or unwanted apps in the background.



Apple's engineers determined that supporting this more sophisticated level of multitasking on models with less RAM than the iPhone 3GS wouldn't work well, so rather than excluding iPhone 3G users from upgrading, they simply turned off multitasking as a feature so users could benefit from the other improvements to iOS 4 (which as a whole also take up more memory than previous versions of the OS).



On page 2 of 2: iOS 4 eats up RAM, No wallpaper, Bluetooth keyboards for iPhone 3G in iOS 4 .



iOS 4 eats up RAM



Developers report that iOS 4 uses a lot of RAM. In an article comment, Hrissan notes, "IÂ?ve looked at the list of processes & their real memory usage in Xcode for my iPhone 3G after launching and quitting a large game (to make iOS free as much memory as possible).



Daemons for features switched off:

Â? BTServer: 684KB (I have bluetooth off)

Â? accessory: 550KB (I never use accessories)

Â? lockdownd: 1.56MB (Monitoring activation status Â? I have an unlocked

Â?Â*ptpd: 1.29MB (Tethering, I have tethering off)



Also look at these 2 daemons:

Â? aosnotifyd: 2.6MB (Mobile.me sync Â? so much for 1 open socket?)

Â?Â*dataaccessd: 3.74MB (Exchange calendar sync Â? oh my God!)



"I love new iOS 4 features, but it seems memory optimization was not the top priority. It is possible even that supporting 3G was decided on the later phase of development."



No wallpaper for iPhone 3G in iOS 4



While the increased memory requirements of iOS 4 multitasking are easy to understand, some have questioned why Apple doesn't support background wallpapers on Home screens. One user who emailed Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs about the issue got a characteristically terse reply (as noted by Gizmodo) stating, "The icon animation with backgrounds didn't perform well enough."



While jailbreakers have been putting background images on the Home page of the iPhone for years, Apple's implementation of wallpapers is more sophisticated, using drop shadows to isolate icons and their text labels from the underlying graphic to improve their appearance and readability. The new iOS 4 also renders shadows under the icon dock.



Apple found that doing this on the significantly slower iPhone 3G resulted in a significant slowdown that made it perform badly enough to simply drop the feature rather than ship something that either looked bad or felt slow and jerky. Jailbreakers report that activating wallpapers on the iPhone 3G under iOS 4 does indeed result in sluggish performance.



No Bluetooth keyboard support for iPhone 3G in iOS 4



Deactivated support for iOS 4's Bluetooth keyboard feature is also a hardware issue. The first two generations of iPhones supplied basic Bluetooth 2.0 support. Starting with the iPhone 3GS, Apple added Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) capable hardware.



The newer specification improves device setup with the "Secure Simple Pairing" mechanism and implements "Extended Inquiry Response," which reduces power consumption in low-power mode.



Enhanced encryption in hardware



Data protection is a new feature in iOS 4 that "enhances the built-in hardware encryption [of the iPhone 3GS and 3rd generation iPod touch] by protecting the hardware encryption keys with your passcode," according to an Apple tech support article.



"This provides an additional layer of protection for your email messages and attachments. Third-party applications can use the data protection APIs in iOS 4 to further protect application data."



The original iPhone and iPhone 3G along with the first two generations of iPod touch lack hardware support for data encryption, so none of them could support the new feature that improves upon it either. The iPhone 3GS' hardware encryption was recently the subject of reports that assailed the feature as "worthless."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91
    I've been deliberating all day on whether to update my 3G with iOS 4. Hardly seems worth it. Might even slow it down?



    Anybody updated 3G with new iOS?
  • Reply 2 of 91
    rokradrokrad Posts: 143member
    Hmmm why doe it say third generation iPod touch? Mine has all the features offered other than phone features.... Do they mean second generation iPod touch?
  • Reply 3 of 91
    balsakbalsak Posts: 17member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post


    I've been deliberating all day on whether to update my 3G with iOS 4. Hardly seems worth it. Might even slow it down?



    Anybody updated 3G with new iOS?



    Yes benchmarks have show iOS 4 slows down the 3GS, but remember that the 3G will not get multitasking. You will probably get a slight performance drop, but I doubt Apple would even release it if it was anything notable.
  • Reply 4 of 91
    BuffyzDeadBuffyzDead Posts: 327member
    How, in a measurable and detailed manner, does the iPhone 3G perform under iOS4?



    That is the real deal maker/breaker as far as upgrading is concerned.



    Omission of features is one clear thing.

    Actual performance, of the iPhone 3G under iOS4, is the real knowledge needed.
  • Reply 5 of 91
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Balsak View Post


    Yes benchmarks have show iOS 4 slows down the 3GS, but remember that the 3G will not get multitasking. You will probably get a slight performance drop, but I doubt Apple would even release it if it was anything notable.



    I have not noticed a performance decrease... If anything it feels like I actually got an increase in performance on my 3GS. Taking pictures is so much more responsive that it really isn't even close to the slow response I used to get. It looks polished and works great. I certainly recommend to all 3GS users to upgrade.



    I too would be curious how it runs on the 3G devices. Apple will probably do some performance tuning in the next minor update if there was performance items that were dropped due to time to market.
  • Reply 6 of 91
    bslaghtbslaght Posts: 40member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post


    I've been deliberating all day on whether to update my 3G with iOS 4. Hardly seems worth it. Might even slow it down?



    Anybody updated 3G with new iOS?



    I updated my 3G and the performance is horrific. I have been running 4.0 since the GM was released at WWDC.



    - 5-7 seconds to open Messages app

    - 6-10 seconds to open iPod app

    - 8-10 seconds for camera lens to "open"

    - lots of sound studders when running iPod and other alerts (email/sms) happen.

    - overall just sluggish.



    It reminds me of the 2.0 days when apps first came out and you had to reboot your phone before you play some games without the risk of crashing. After a fresh boot, things aren't to bad, but over the day it gets pretty sluggish.



    The only advantage to 4.0 on 3G is folders and "combined" inbox. Everything else is pretty worthless.



    I am really hoping 4.01 is out soon and speeds up 4.0 on the 3G, however I can't imagine Apple is too concerned with the older hardware as they want people to buy a new handset



    I am not to upset, my 3G has served me well and I will move up to iPhone 4 as soon as I can get my hands on one.





    I am not saying you shouldn't upgrade, but be prepared to slow down.
  • Reply 7 of 91
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    If you've upgraded you iPhone 3G to iOS 4.0 and want to downgrade due to performance issues, this hint should still work...
  • Reply 8 of 91
    flthereflthere Posts: 9member
    I'm not going to upgrade to 4.0, will wait out for 4.1 or 4.01 hoping that Apple still cares for 3G owners.
  • Reply 9 of 91
    st3v3st3v3 Posts: 63member
    My friend is having issues as well on his 3G. But jeez, do you guys ALWAYS have to go off topic and talk about Android?
  • Reply 10 of 91
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bslaght View Post


    I updated my 3G and the performance is horrific. I have been running 4.0 since the GM was released at WWDC.



    - 5-7 seconds to open Messages app

    - 6-10 seconds to open iPod app

    - 8-10 seconds for camera lens to "open"

    - lots of sound studders when running iPod and other alerts (email/sms) happen.

    - overall just sluggish.



    It reminds me of the 2.0 days when apps first came out and you had to reboot your phone before you play some games without the risk of crashing. After a fresh boot, things aren't to bad, but over the day it gets pretty sluggish.



    The only advantage to 4.0 on 3G is folders and "combined" inbox. Everything else is pretty worthless.



    I am really hoping 4.01 is out soon and speeds up 4.0 on the 3G, however I can't imagine Apple is too concerned with the older hardware as they want people to buy a new handset



    I am not to upset, my 3G has served me well and I will move up to iPhone 4 as soon as I can get my hands on one.





    I am not saying you shouldn't upgrade, but be prepared to slow down.



    I upgraded my 3G this morning. Opening apps is a little bit slower, but I'm not suffering anything like your numbers. Opening iPod takes less than 3 seconds; about 5-6 seconds for the camera lens to open; Safari is almost instantaneous; about 5 seconds for messages. Email seems to be the worst affected - the new combo inbox definitely feels slow. All in all, I'm pleased with the update.
  • Reply 11 of 91
    erybovicerybovic Posts: 37member
    Can everyone tell how long it took for them to upgrade or install a fresh version of 4.0 and how responsive it is?



    Also does anyone know the field test mode signal strength for 4.0? *3001#12345#*

  • Reply 12 of 91
    iOS 4 is working great on my iPad......the 2 year old products can run it but not the 2 month old ones....nice move Apple. Nice move.
  • Reply 13 of 91
    I updated with iOS4 and I've noticed that the device seems to stutter a little bit. It's never done that before. Also, it feels like it's warmer that is has been before.



    Regardless. I've had my 3G for years. It's never needed to be replaced, my battery life is excellent. It's been a real trooper. It just goes to show that your devices will love you when you love them first.



    I'm replacing it with an iPhone 4 as soon as I get a chance to buy one, but it's been fantastic and any sluggishness I've experienced in the last few days has not been any actual inconvenience at all.
  • Reply 14 of 91
    brainlessbrainless Posts: 272member
    Apple ? Fragmentation ? How that can be ?
  • Reply 15 of 91
    justfinejustfine Posts: 61member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post


    I've been deliberating all day on whether to update my 3G with iOS 4. Hardly seems worth it. Might even slow it down?



    Anybody updated 3G with new iOS?



    Yes and it was probably an annoying mistake. But hopefully I'll receive my new phone in 2 weeks per my confirmation. I'm glad I didn't upgrade my wife's 3G too. I'm the jerk who always upgrades everything the second it's available. Never again.
  • Reply 16 of 91
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joebloggs View Post


    I upgraded my 3G this morning. Opening apps is a little bit slower, but I'm not suffering anything like your numbers. Opening iPod takes less than 3 seconds; about 5-6 seconds for the camera lens to open; Safari is almost instantaneous; about 5 seconds for messages. Email seems to be the worst affected - the new combo inbox definitely feels slow. All in all, I'm pleased with the update.



    Power your phone off and then back on. I had similar slow (a few seconds) delays in opening apps until I turned it off and back on - and responsiveness is about normal now.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by erybovic View Post


    Can everyone tell how long it took for them to upgrade or install a fresh version of 4.0 and how responsive it is?



    Time to upgrade is all over the map. I don't know if it's responsiveness from the server or number of apps or what it is, but some people are reporting quick results and others take longer. Mine was probably about 2 hours (iPhone 3G, Mac Mini).



    See above for responsiveness. I haven't tried multitasking because it's just not something I care about on a phone.
  • Reply 17 of 91
    icarbonicarbon Posts: 196member
    I"ve noticed that my 3G is significantly more sluggish after the update. I like the folders, and I like the combined inbox, but I don't know if I'd say it was worth it.
  • Reply 18 of 91
    trajectorytrajectory Posts: 647member
    I have noticed a slight slowdown in opening some apps, no change at all in others. Oddly, most of the apps that have slowed down significantly are Apple apps.



    The new iBook app is VERY slow on my 3G, and opening the App Store takes a minimum of 30 seconds to get to the list of Featured apps. The iTunes Store takes 15-20 seconds to load. Safari seems mostly the same, it still crashes every once in a while. Facebook is actually faster, probably because they recently updated the app itself.



    But, the Folders and unified Inbox were worth the upgrade for me.
  • Reply 19 of 91
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,455member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post


    I've been deliberating all day on whether to update my 3G with iOS 4. Hardly seems worth it. Might even slow it down?



    Anybody updated 3G with new iOS?



    I have and I also enabled multitasking and wallpapers. It has been problematic. I thought it would clear up after a reboot and as things got loaded in and used, but it hasn't.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post


    How, in a measurable and detailed manner, does the iPhone 3G perform under iOS4?



    That is the real deal maker/breaker as far as upgrading is concerned.



    Omission of features is one clear thing.

    Actual performance, of the iPhone 3G under iOS4, is the real knowledge needed.



    I'm going to give you my numbers for the same things bslaght did below. The icons/wallpaper animation thing noted is indeed there but doesn't bug me. It clearly would bother Jobs though as it is basically Android smoothness instead of iPhone smoothness. The performance has me concerned enough that I was already pondering reloading it all with no multitasking/wallpapers or downgrading.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bslaght View Post


    I updated my 3G and the performance is horrific. I have been running 4.0 since the GM was released at WWDC.



    - 5-7 seconds to open Messages app

    - 6-10 seconds to open iPod app

    - 8-10 seconds for camera lens to "open"

    - lots of sound studders when running iPod and other alerts (email/sms) happen.

    - overall just sluggish.



    - Messages app open 5.5 sec.

    - iPod App open 5.7 sec.

    - Camera lens open 4.89 sec.

    - Mail opening 3 sec.

    - Safari opening and beginning to load page 6.2 secs.



    I've played at least two games, Tap Tap Revenge 3.0 and Need for Speed Underground that had severe performance issues.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    If you've upgraded you iPhone 3G to iOS 4.0 and want to downgrade due to performance issues, this hint should still work...



    Thanks for the link. I'm pondering reinstalling 4.0 without the multitasking and wallpapers but since I also lost the use of a couple jailbreak hacks I like, I might go all the way back to 3.1.3.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joebloggs View Post


    I upgraded my 3G this morning. Opening apps is a little bit slower, but I'm not suffering anything like your numbers. Opening iPod takes less than 3 seconds; about 5-6 seconds for the camera lens to open; Safari is almost instantaneous; about 5 seconds for messages. Email seems to be the worst affected - the new combo inbox definitely feels slow. All in all, I'm pleased with the update.



    Did you just do a standard update with no wallpapers or multitasking?
  • Reply 20 of 91
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bslaght View Post


    I updated my 3G and the performance is horrific. I have been running 4.0 since the GM was released at WWDC.



    - 5-7 seconds to open Messages app

    - 6-10 seconds to open iPod app

    - 8-10 seconds for camera lens to "open"

    - lots of sound studders when running iPod and other alerts (email/sms) happen.

    - overall just sluggish.



    Mine were about half your figures at first. However, the more I opened them the faster they opened.
    • 2 seconds to open Messages app

    • 0.5seconds to open iPod app

    • 2 seconds for camera lens to "open"

    • no sound studders when running iPod and other alerts (email/sms) happen.

    However, I do notice a slight increase in opening the camera when I have playing music in the background, while Safari, maps and mail were immediate.
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