Testing the speed of iOS 11 versus iOS 12 on the iPhone 6 and iPad Mini 2

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 10
Apple made some big speed improvement claims regarding iOS 12 on older devices, like as some apps launching twice as fast, and CPU ramp-speed increasing across not just older devices, but also newer ones as well. AppleInsider puts the claims to the test.





If your device supports iOS 11 that means you'll be able to run iOS 12. That means that if you have devices like the iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2 reaching back to September 2013, you're set!

We already pitted Apple's flagship iPhone X running iOS 11 against one running the first developer beta of iOS 12, but for this one, we wanted to see how much of an improvement we'll get with older devices.

For our iPhone test we used the iPhone 6, along with the oldest tablet to support iOS 12, the iPad Mini 2. The iPad Mini 2 uses the same A7 processor as the iPhone 5s so there are performance parallels.

iOS 12 benchmarks


Starting from completely shutdown, iOS 12 launches about two seconds quicker on the iPad mini 2 than on iOS 11. Moving around on the home screen it's also much smoother and more responsive.

Last year's iOS 11 is almost unbearable to use with consistent stuttering and slowdowns. Opening up the camera app the launch speeds are similar between the two operating systems.

We launched Geekbench 4, and the CPU test finished with a similar score of 1295 single core and 2179 multi-core in iOS 11.4 and 1293 single core, 2203 multi-core in the iOS 12 beta.

iPad mini 2 benchmarks


The GPU compute benchmark finished with slightly higher score of 591 in iOS 12 vs. 588 in iOS 11.4. Our iPhone X running iOS 12 scored 17,198, over 20% faster than 14,314 in iOS 11.4.

We tested three games starting with "Angry Birds 2" which took 19 seconds to launch in iOS 12 and 31 seconds running iOS 11.4. Next was "Pokemon Go" which took 39 seconds to launch with either OS. Asphalt 8 was the last game we tested, taking 32 seconds with both versions of iOS.

At this time we started to notice a trend where the Apps starts to launch quicker on iOS 12, almost instantly after we tap on it, where it takes a few moments longer with iOS 11.4. This could be a result of the faster CPU step-up Craig Federighi mentioned in his presentation.

We see this once more moving on to the native news app, iOS 12 is more responsive but oddly news loads faster under iOS 11 taking 8 seconds vs 12.

The next 5 apps, iBooks and Books, the Appleinsider app, Amazon Prime Video, Google Drive, and YouTube all launch about one second faster under iOS 12. Finishing off with "TV," iOS 11.4 takes 5 seconds longer to launch versus iOS 12 -- 11 seconds vs 6.

TV app launch times on iPad mini 2


We then wanted to see if iOS 12 had an improvement in RAM management, which could result in more apps staying opened in the background.

We ran through all the apps once more. Both OS versions managed to keep each app open until we go back to "Pokemon Go" which had to be reloaded under both OS.

iPhone 6

Moving onto our iPhone 6, iOS 11.4 managed to launch 6 seconds quicker. The newer iOS 12 was slightly smoother and more responsive, but nowhere near the subjective difference we saw with the less powerful iPad mini 2.

iPhone 6 boot times on iOS 12


Apple's Camera app opened slightly quicker in iOS 12.

Once again, our Geekbench 4 CPU and GPU scores were almost the same under both versions of iOS. The CPU test resulted in 1560 Single core and 2686 multi-core in iOS 11.4, 1545 single core and 2722 multi-core in iOS 12. GPU results were 4213 in iOS 11.4 and 4248 in iOS 12.

iPhone 6 benchmarks on iOS 12


"Angry Birds" once again launched much quicker under iOS 12, taking 40 seconds compared to 41. iOS 11 launched "Pokemon Go" about 1 second faster, and launched "Asphalt 8" about 4 seconds faster. The iOS 12 beta also managed to launch News, Books, and the Appleinsider app slightly faster.

Amazon Prime Video, Google Drive, and the YouTube app were a bit faster under iOS 12, where the App Store took two seconds longer to launch with the latest OS. And to finish off, the TV app once again took 5 seconds longer using iOS 11.4.

TV app launch times on iPhone 6


To check RAM management, once again we re-launched each app and the results were the same, both keeping all apps but just one game open in the background.

This first iOS 12 beta breathed new life into our iPad mini 2, which was almost unbearable to use under OS 11. If you're someone with an older iOS device the ultimate release of iOS 12 is great news, and we applaud Apple for their focus on performance and not dropping compatibility for older devices.

The results were a bit mixed with our iPhone 6 but very impressive with our iPad mini 2. Keep in mind this is the first beta release, and performance typically improves leading up to the official release.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    IMHO, the last sentence of this article should be the first. Interesting results though! 
    irelandStrangeDaysadm1watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 40
    ...one of the biggest slow downs I noticed from iOS10 was in address book searches which seem to hang after a third letter for varying amounts of time... This, rather than game performance is work related ie. 'pro'. This and the loss of many free and paid apps used frequently due to them not being upgraded has me wishing for more user choice and easier restoration of older iOS...
  • Reply 3 of 40
    irelandireland Posts: 17,128member
    Perhaps given this is beta one it’s not a sensible moment to do speed test comparisons.
    StrangeDaysdysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 40
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,663member
    ...one of the biggest slow downs I noticed from iOS10 was in address book searches which seem to hang after a third letter for varying amounts of time... This, rather than game performance is work related ie. 'pro'. This and the loss of many free and paid apps used frequently due to them not being upgraded has me wishing for more user choice and easier restoration of older iOS...
    Security concerns means this not a good idea, people could just downgrade your OS to get more security exploits. 
    Doing qa also would become much harder to do with an explosion of possible confins. There is a reason why people are moving towards apples update model.
    arthurbaracerhomie3StrangeDaysh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 40
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,333member
    ireland said:
    Perhaps given this is beta one it’s not a sensible moment to do speed test comparisons.
    It's always good to test performance improvements. Whether it's major updates or point updates it's good to know what kind of changes, especially with performance, have changed since the last update. This is especially true after a keynote that repeatedly stated that performance will be improving.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 40
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 669member
    Can’t wait for iOS 12. 11 serously f#$&*d the performance of my Air 2 😡
    edited June 10 williamlondonpropod
  • Reply 7 of 40
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 120member
    I realize this isn't the final release of the OS, but...

    The results for the mini don't really seem that impressive. You're saving a second here and there on apps that take 15+ seconds to launch. It's nice to see Apple focusing on improving performance, but this will likely do little for those of us who don't buy the latest and greatest.
    williamlondonJellygoop
  • Reply 8 of 40
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,682administrator
    ireland said:
    Perhaps given this is beta one it’s not a sensible moment to do speed test comparisons.
    We'll do them again at release.
    MisterKitJellygoopdysamoriaGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 40
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,045member
    tylersdad said:
    I realize this isn't the final release of the OS, but...

    The results for the mini don't really seem that impressive. You're saving a second here and there on apps that take 15+ seconds to launch. It's nice to see Apple focusing on improving performance, but this will likely do little for those of us who don't buy the latest and greatest.
    1: its beta. You might have a case if the final doesn’t meet your exacting standards.
    2: you will be surprised how little things add up to a snappier feel.
    3: what other company on the planet supports smartphones this old? Maybe pixel devices. No one else. I suggest you take a good look at yourself.

    racerhomie3williamlondonpscooter63redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 40
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 294member
    Hello guys,

    with all the respect to your work I watch daily, why have you made me to video which is full YouTube. 
    Bay qq are still waiting for someone to do comparison with iOS 10. 

    Thanhs
    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 40
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,682administrator
    frantisek said:
    Hello guys,

    with all the respect to your work I watch daily, why have you made me to video which is full YouTube. 
    Bay qq are still waiting for someone to do comparison with iOS 10. 

    Thanhs
    Or, you know, you could read the article, which is literally the shooting script.
    Soliradarthekatpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 40
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,045member
    It would be interesting to see a comparison with an ios10 iPhone 6 when ios12 reaches final, but it might be a bit hard to find one.  Mrs Entropy has kept her 6 plus on ios10 because she has heard ios11 slows it down too much.
    edited June 10 dysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 40
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,246member
    ireland said:
    Perhaps given this is beta one it’s not a sensible moment to do speed test comparisons.

    And development copies typically have extra debugging hooks and logging enabled by default, which get disabled for the final public release. Although maybe Apple already disables that for the Public Beta? I don't know.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,477member
    > "Angry Birds" once again launched much quicker under iOS 12, taking 40 seconds compared to 41. 

    A 1 second improvement on a 41 second scale is not “much quicker”. Overall great article, thanks!
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamhagarperpetual3airnerdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 40
    Great article. I have a pair of mini 2’s running 11.4 now. The frustrating slowdowns are the system wide functions. Scrolling, screen updates, loading, and such. There is surprisingly still a lot of horsepower beneath the surface. I can run several pro audio/synth apps simultaneously. For example Korg Module playing some high polyphony, a drum machine app. These are some demanding apps and they require real time performance, not offline. They do not choke on the mini 2. I can use them for hours without a single hiccup or dropped note. That is saying something about the capabilities of the several generation old A7 chip. But pull up the simple built in Notes app running all by itself and the keyboard chokes as you type. Go figure. I am certainly looking forward to iOS 12 giving these devices more life.
    muthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 40
    tylersdad said:
    [...] It's nice to see Apple focusing on improving performance, but this will likely do little for those of us who don't buy the latest and greatest.
    I agree that it doesn't seem to improve things much, at least at this point, but it's nice to know it won't make things worse. I heard a lot of complaining about slowdowns after updating to 11. If nothing else, perhaps iOS12 will calm the fear of upgrades.

    MisterKit said:
    [...] pull up the simple built in Notes app running all by itself and the keyboard chokes as you type.
    I wonder if this is a result of predictive text using a network connection to access its brain? It's annoying as hell, and often results in the phone missing characters I've typed.


    Speaking of that, a wish for a future review: Test the time it takes between pressing an on-screen input and something actually happening.

    My biggest complaint about my iPhone 6 with iOS11 is lag and response. I often have to press a button two or three times before it does anything. Sometimes it seems to just not register a touch, other times it just takes so long to DO anything that I think it missed the input. This is ironic given how one of the most common arguments in support of iPhones used to be "no lag." I'd be interested in knowing if iOS12 improves that. (I'm assuming that other people with older devices have similar issues and that it's not unique to me.)
    propodmuthuk_vanalingamtokyojimudysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 40
    FatmanFatman Posts: 127member
    Good article, would be easier if there was a chart comparing mini vs phone for each app or function. Also when you update the article for new os version you can just add the data to a new column to easily see how it affects results.
    entropysigohmmmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 40
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,769member
    Soli said:
    ireland said:
    Perhaps given this is beta one it’s not a sensible moment to do speed test comparisons.
    It's always good to test performance improvements. Whether it's major updates or point updates it's good to know what kind of changes, especially with performance, have changed since the last update. This is especially true after a keynote that repeatedly stated that performance will be improving.
    For a final/public consumer release, yes, but it serves no purpose in a beta build, which are notorious for not being optimized and slower than the public release. The purpose of beta builds is for devs to test their apps for show stoppers, and not for media or even enthusiasts to geek out on speed diffs. No ones stopping you, but it’s rather pointless. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 40
    entropys said:
    tylersdad said:
    I realize this isn't the final release of the OS, but...

    The results for the mini don't really seem that impressive. You're saving a second here and there on apps that take 15+ seconds to launch. It's nice to see Apple focusing on improving performance, but this will likely do little for those of us who don't buy the latest and greatest.
    1: its beta. You might have a case if the final doesn’t meet your exacting standards.
    2: you will be surprised how little things add up to a snappier feel.
    3: what other company on the planet supports smartphones this old? Maybe pixel devices. No one else. I suggest you take a good look at yourself.

    @Entropys, your closing statement is nothing short of bullying and pretty unacceptable. Why does @tylersdad need to take a look at himself? Because he was unimpressed with the results? When I read the article I was too - it was nothing like the magnitude spruked in the keynote... so some of us are disappointed with this first round of results. If it’s a valid exercise to test the beta and publish preliminary results, then it’s valid for everyone to be able to express their reactions to it - constructively & without being shut down.
    lorin schultzwilliamlondonradarthekat
  • Reply 20 of 40
    tylersdad said:
    I realize this isn't the final release of the OS, but...

    The results for the mini don't really seem that impressive. You're saving a second here and there on apps that take 15+ seconds to launch. It's nice to see Apple focusing on improving performance, but this will likely do little for those of us who don't buy the latest and greatest.
    IMHO, there is more to it than app startup. It is how the device performs when you have the app running. If that works better than on the previous version of the OS then I'd be happy.
    I know from way, way back when I was using a 16bit OS (and a CPU with clock speed measured in Kilohertz) and programs were limited to 56Kb of ram how performance could suffer. Startup wasn't the issue but runtime was shit when the top 8Kb was used for different parts of the app code that were overlaid on top of each other as needed. I'm glad those days are long gone.
    hagarJellygooptokyojimuGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
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