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iOS 5.1.1 on iPhone 3GS: Final Impressions and Performance



Earlier this week, iOS 5.1.1 arrived for the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch. As an iPhone 3GS owner who had been experiencing problems with iOS 5.1, I was extremely excited to see the update and hoped that it would take care of the issues that have been plaguing my device for the last several weeks.

In my first impressions, I told you that everything seemed to be working better.

Notification Center seemed to be alerting me to messages, something that only worked occasionally before the update. Apps didn’t seem to be crashing as they had in iOS 5.1. Battery life seemed to be a little better but as I had only been playing around with the software for a few hours, I couldn’t make a decisive decision. And finally, the random rebooting of my phone seemed to stop.

Read: iOS 5.1.1 on iPhone 3GS: First Impressions and Performance.

I have now spent four solid days with the software and I wanted to share my final thoughts about the software’s performance on my iPhone 3GS.

iOS 5.1.1 on iPhone 3GS: Final Impressions and PerformanceThe update isn’t perfect. However, I have come to accept that this will never be the case because of how old the iPhone 3GS is. In fact, I’ve said all along that I am absolutely shocked that Apple has managed to get this software out to the iPhone 3GS as quick as it has.

That being said, there are still moments when the phone pauses when opening up an app or when I try and open up my messages to read. Granted, the sluggishness doesn’t happen all the time but it’s still there and it can be annoying especially when time is of the essence.

I’ve also experienced a some random reboots over the past few days, something that began happening only a couple of weeks ago. I’ve tried to get to the bottom of what’s causing them but so far, I’m lost on answers. One time I was using Facebook. Another time was looking at my iMessages. Another time I was trying to switch a song that I was playing.

There doesn’t seem to be any correlation at all and that’s frustrating. My hope is, that as time goes on, it gets better. Again, this isn’t a fault of iOS 5.1.1. It was happening to me in iOS 5.1.

Other than those two issues, iOS 5.1.1 has shored up some of the other issues that I was having.

In the weeks building up to the iOS 5.1.1 release, applications were often crashing. Since installing the new update, I haven’t experienced a single crash of an app. That has been nice.

In addition, my phone now alerts me to new messages through both push notification and in the Notification Center. Before the update, I often wouldn’t be prompted when new messages arrived.

Read: How to Jailbreak iOS 5.1.1 for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, and iPod touch.

As for battery life, I haven’t really noticed a drastic improvement. It seems about the same as it was before the iOS 5.1.1 update. Heavy use seems to take its toll on the device but it can last for quite a while when I am only using it moderately.

It’s still not as bad as the battery life on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Overall, it’s an update that I think iPhone 3GS owners will want to install. It doesn’t foul anything up that wasn’t fouled up already and it definitely fixed some things on my phone.

That being said, I am becoming quite sure that iOS 5 is the end of the road for the iPhone 3GS. I had held out hope that Apple might release iOS 6, especially since the phone is still on sale, but the phone has shown its age recently and it’s hard for me to be confident in an iOS 6 release any more.

I can’t complain though. This phone has lasted a lot longer then I thought it would. And it’s especially impressive when you think about how bad iOS 4 was on the iPhone 3G. In any event, I hope I’m wrong in my assumptions and Apple does in fact release iOS 6 for the 3GS.

How have the last four days with iOS 5.1.1 been for all of you?



  1. jullian

    05/11/2012 at 6:26 pm

    ive only installed the update today and cant complain really. i think its incredible that the 3gs is still recieving updates considering how quickly companies tend to forget the older lines. i am rather happy with my 3gs and have had no urge to switch to 4/4s or another brand. PLEASE apple, keep the 3gs dream alive :D

  2. Andrew

    05/12/2012 at 2:23 am

    Facebook on iPhone 3GS is quite laggy in my opinion, been waiting for it to roll out a fix or smth. Some of my apps have been crashing too, but i haven’t exprienced a sudden reboot or any sort of thing like that (hope it nvr happens). Like you said, i guess it’s just the phone getting old and may not be the software problem. Cheers!

  3. Aamir

    05/13/2012 at 1:47 am

    I am with you. iOS 5.1.X is the final version for iPhone 3GS. iOS 6 won’t support iPhone 3GS officially.

    • mitchell

      06/25/2012 at 9:21 pm

      actually, it will be supported in ios 6, weird that. check their website at and scroll down the bottom for supported devices

  4. Nicholas

    05/13/2012 at 12:57 pm

    I’m convinced that embedded in the original iOS 5.1 update, there was a protocol disrupting the logic board/battery communication specifically directed at the hardware of the iPhone 3Gs. I have two 3Gs iPhones and they both went wonky (random crashing) within days of that update. Since installing 5.1.1, both phones are lucky to go 15 mins. before crashing. Apple’s response…buy a new iPhone.

    • Rob

      05/19/2012 at 10:47 am

      My perfectly running 3GS became a total brick, it’s either white screen of death, following by nothing after hard reset (DFU restores just repeat this cycle). I no longer hand a mobile plan with this phone, my son used it for apps. I would be suspicious too, but seems most people don’t have this issue.

      • simon

        05/23/2012 at 4:47 am

        Having exactly the same issues. These phones aren’t old, they are 2/3 years old. Its the brainwashing of consumers into believing that something needs replaced just because its the old model that has got the world into the state its in now with everybody borrowing to buy (which is in effect what you do when you get a subsidised handset for a fixed term contract). You should be able to use these things until they fall apart, rather than a couple of years. Do you guy a new washing machine every time a new model comes out or do you wait until it no longer washes your clothes and is uneconomical to repair?

  5. Dan

    05/14/2012 at 11:18 am

    Guess its time for a new phone – again. The 3GS only seems old because they’ve developed ios5 to make it seem slow – and just in time for your contract renewal! What timing. It’s the oldest trick in the book but with the network provider tie in providing the repayment plan they’re taking us all to the cleaners. People pay £35 /month without question – Would you buy a laptop every 18 months because the OS updates overwhelmed your CPU? I think this is an incredibly cynical strategy and I just hope it comes back to bite them. Rant over. Thanks for the upgrade review – ill apply it and see if I can get a few more months out of this old dinosaur!

  6. David

    05/15/2012 at 2:27 am

    I have found big improvement in battery life. Seems to use very little battery on standby.

  7. Mike

    05/16/2012 at 10:34 am

    Reading the rewiew looks like that Still the same crap that was on iOs 5. Very slow sometimes and late feedback for some commands. If apple was giving a shit this should be fixed on 5.1.1 but looks like that the 3gs was abbandoned…

  8. Luna

    05/18/2012 at 10:22 pm

    Well I regret updating my iPhone 3gs… I did it because you wrote good things here but it’s really annoying the performance for my iPhone it’s worse

  9. Francis

    05/30/2012 at 7:37 am

    I regret upgrading my 3GS to iOS 5.0 because the performance penalty was incredible. Now I updated to 5.1.1 and compared to 5.0 it is blazing fast! I’m happy again.

  10. dany

    06/07/2012 at 6:11 am

    I do not regret having updated from 3.4 to 5.1! No issues at all I hope the issues people were afraid of were on 5.0 only yey…

    • Rowan

      07/07/2012 at 2:35 am

      Wow, 3.4 to 5.1 – that’s a BIG jump! not that 3.4 even exists lol… but what kept you on (presumably) 4.3 for so long?

  11. Eddie W

    07/10/2012 at 7:46 am

    My iPhone 3GS has slowed way down since ‘upgrading’ from 4.3 to 5.1.1.

    Strava app crashes now w/ 5.1.1. I will be ‘downgrading’ my 3GS back to iOS 4.3.

  12. AMRIT

    10/03/2012 at 7:29 pm

    how i get ios 5.1.1 via pc?

  13. Panayiotis

    10/31/2012 at 7:43 am

    I have updated my jailbroken iphone 3gs (new bootrom) in ios 5.1.1 three days ago and is running fantastic in all applications. The only thing I’ve noticed is battery drainage when using WiFi, other than that no issues at all.

    • Mohan

      12/26/2012 at 9:15 pm

      Approximately how long does the iphone 3gs stay on standby mode on 1 complete charge on upgrading the device to 5.1.1….does the battery drain very fast compared to 4.1??

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