iOS 5 on iPhone 3GS: Final Impressions and Performance

Shortly after Apple released iOS 5, I loaded it up onto my iPhone 3GS and expected a chaotic, sluggish experience. However, as you might know, my first impressions of iOS 5 were much different. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the software ran on my two year old phone and I began recommending the software to everyone I know who owns an iPhone 3GS.

So, three people.

Since then, more than a few of you have written in to me describing your experiences with iOS 5 and your iPhone 3GS. A good portion of you had similar experiences to mine. A terrible installation process followed by sweet relief.

iOS 5Others had issues. For the most part, they had to do with battery drain, the fact that some applications were missing after installation (this can be remedied), the lack of Siri, and just overall sluggishness.

All of that, of course, came mere hours after the update was released and I wanted to come back and see how you guys were faring with the update and also fill you in on my experience has been two weeks after release.


I have honestly been waiting for some kind of issue to occur over the last 14 days or so whether it’s a battery that can’t hold or sluggishness and thus far I haven’t noticed a thing.

I consider myself an average user. I browse the web. I use a bunch of applications (Twitter, Facebook, ESPN are my three most used) and leave them for considerable amounts of time idling. I check my email. I text. And I occasionally play a game when I’m on-the-go.

None of these have been made worse with iOS 5. In fact, I think it has made them even better. I can now save websites. Applications work as usual and I’ve seen no slow down switching between them. I don’t see any abnormal battery drain when leaving them open. Email is functional. iMessage has, for the most part been fantastic. And gaming has been par for the course.

And then there is the new stuff. Notifications are a dream come true. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the new options with the camera. I’ve actually been setting and adhering to Reminders I set on my phone. Photo Stream has worked as it should. Syncing has been headache free.

In summary, I can’t complain. This was not the experience I was expecting after hearing about all of the horror stories from iPhone 3G owners upgrading to iOS 4. In fact, the experience has been so good that I am thinking about passing on the iPhone 4S.

I’m serious.

There were two major things that were going to draw me to Apple’s refreshed iPhone. The first, is if it had LTE. If the iPhone 4S had LTE, I would have bought it day one.

Two, if iOS 5 was terrible on my iPhone 3GS.

In addition to neither of those happening, Apple decided to keep the iPhone 4’s design, a design that I’m still not fond of. (I dislike the glass.)

So, where do I go from here? I’m in no hurry to ditch my iPhone 3GS so I think I’ll be waiting to see how I like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and if I can’t convince myself to get it, I think I may just keep my 3GS until the iPhone 5 comes out next year.

I rarely ever say this but thank you Apple.

iOS 5 on the iPhone 3GS is fantastic.

Agree? Disagree?

Let me know.