iOS 8.1 on iPhone 4s: Improvements on the Way

iOS 8 was released earlier this month, and while many users have been having issues with the update on their iPhone 6 units, performance has been a whole other issue for iPhone 4s users.

Many owners of older iPhones have been reporting slowdowns ever since updating to iOS 8, mostly because the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system is aimed at newer devices. The iPhone 4s is the oldest iPhone that iOS 8 supports, so it’s no surprise that users who have this phone are complaining about performance, as it was just like this last year when iOS 7 was released for the iPhone 4.

However, the first beta for iOS 8.1 has been released, and many developers and testers have already been using the new version on their devices, some of which are using it on the iPhone 4s.

One user says that the iPhone 4s running iOS 8.1 results in “less crashing and it’s a lot smoother,” while other users report that the update is simply a lot better than iOS 8.0.2.

Of course, it’s almost expected that iOS 8.1 will come with some bug fixes and performance improvements for the iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 5, but it’s also nice that users are reporting that the iPhone 4s will be seeing improvements as well, as many users of the older device have been having terrible experiences with iOS 8 on the iPhone 4s.

iPhone 4s

If you have an iPhone 4s and are running iOS 8, you don’t necessarily have to suffer from slower performance. There are several things you can do to at least make the device run a little smoother and that includes disabling animations and all of those pretty effects.

Usually the biggest culprits for sluggish performance on older iPhones are the animations and pretty effects that make iOS 8 look really good. However, if you have an older iPhone, they’re only making things worse. Your iPhone 4s’s processor probably can’t keep up with everything that’s going on, so it’s usually a good idea to turn off animations and get rid of those pretty effects.

Navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. Tapping on Reduce Motion will open up another screen with a toggle switch. By default, the circle will be placed on the left side of the oval. Just tap on the circle to switch it over to the right side, thus turning the oval green and reducing motion. This turns off the parallax effect.

The parallax effect is turned on by default and was a new feature introduced on iOS 7 that gives the home screen a neat 3D look, so when you move your phone around in your hand while keeping your head still, it looks like you’re looking “around” the app icons onto the wallpaper, almost like you’re looking through a windows out into the iOS 7 world. But it’s really nothing more than the OS and the gyroscope/accelerometer working together to create such an illusion.


While it isn’t that impressive, I liked it at first, but I’ve since gotten over the wow factor and just find it annoying now. Plus, it’s even more annoying knowing that it hogs up processing resources, thus decreasing battery life.

Another setting you can change is getting rid of transparency across iOS 8. This gets rid of the glass look that appears when Control Center pops up or when the iOS keyboard appears. It’s really not integral with how you interact with iOS 8 and is really only for looks. Thus, it’s best to just disable it.

To do this, open up the Settings app and navigate to General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast > Reduce Transparency and turn this feature on.

Of course, the difference may be negligible, as it’s simply an older phone that’s reaching the end of its life cycle. However, squeezing as much performance out of it as you can will at least give the device another year or so before you will absolutely need to upgrade to a newer device.