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iOS 6 on iPhone 3GS: First Impressions and Performance



This morning, like I always do before installing a major iOS update on my iPhone 3GS, I felt a bit of apprehension. Not as much as I normally do considering I will only have my iPhone 3GS for a few more days (or weeks), but still I was apprehensive nonetheless. After debating for maybe a minute, I decided to install iOS 6. After using it for most of the day, here are my first impressions of iOS 6 on the iPhone 3GS.

As many of you know, my experience with iOS 5 is up and down. I assume that that’s the case for many of you as well. What started out as a fantastic experience soon turned to a rather mediocre one. iOS 5 on the iPhone 3GS wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t bad enough to make me regret installing it.

Over the last few months, it started to show its age. Apps took forever to open or delete, the UI was sluggish, sending out messages was often a chore. Still, it was hard to complain given that the phone is and was three years old. Its lack of performance though made me wonder whether Apple would update the iPhone 3GS to iOS 6.

Read: How to Update to iOS 6.


Installing the iOS 6 update on the iPhone 3GS took awhile.

As we now know, Apple announced iOS 6 for the iPhone 3GS at WWDC 2012 and subsequently released it to the masses earlier today.

Like I said, this morning, I was a little apprehensive given my experiences with iOS 5 but given that I have a new phone on the way and because someone needs to be the guinea pig, I decided to take the plunge.

At first, I regretted my decision.

I have a 16GB iPhone 3GS, and lo and behold, iOS 6 needs 2.5GB of free storage space to install. I have been operating with less than 500MB of space for as long as I can remember and I use most if not all the apps and files on my phone. Needless to say, cutting down the space wasn’t easy and it didn’t help that trying to delete apps on the iPhone 3GS with iOS 5 took often took several minutes.

Read: 5 Overlooked iOS 6 Features You’ll Love.

Finally, I trimmed my storage down and I was ready to go. Well, ready to go make a sandwich because the entire process from download to install took me well over an hour. I don’t know if that’s typical, but it took my aging smartphone an eternity to get iOS 6 up and running.

My iPhone 3GS restarted and gone was iOS 5 and in its place iOS 6. After I entered the necessary information for iCloud and what not it was time to dig in.

And what a discovery.

I don’t know how Apple managed to do it but after spending several hours with iOS 6, I find it to be a better experience than iOS 5 both from a feature standpoint and in terms of performance.

Overall Performance

First, let’s start with the performance. As I said, iOS 5 was at times extremely sluggish. Moving about the OS was often slow, apps took a long time to open and often crashed, and even simple things like opening up Messages became frustrating.

With iOS 6, I have encountered none of this so far. The UI is snappy, opening and closing apps and windows is as fast as it ever has been, deleting apps doesn’t take an eternity and I can even open Messages and my email at will without noticeable slow down.

It’s refreshing and thus far, a noticeable improvement over iOS 5.

Battery Life

While the performance may have improved, I haven’t noticed any significant changes with battery life just yet. It’s tough to make an extremely accurate assessment when I’ve had the software for less than a day.

What I will say is that I haven’t noticed  any significant decrease in battery life and I’ve been using my phone like I always do. When I post my final impressions, I’ll have a better gauge on how iOS 6 affects the 3GS’ battery.

Now, for some thoughts on some of the features and how they perform.


One of the features that I’ve been looking forward to most is Apple’s new Maps app. Not because I hated Google Maps but because I was interested to see if Apple’s app could match up.

Other than the cosmetic changes and what not, it’s kind of sort of the same thing, especially for me since I don’t get the turn-by-turn directions or 3D maps. Those aren’t coming to the iPhone 3GS.


What I am saying is that navigating from point A to point B is the same as before. There are some nice little additions like large signs for freeways and updates about accidents but it’s not going to blow you away. It’s a good map app that works as advertised. One thing I really wished it had: built-in Transit directions.

I know I am going to miss those but I have a feeling Apple is going to gradually improve this app as time goes on and it’s my hope that that’s included.

As for performance, so far so good. It doesn’t slow down, even when I have traffic going and it found my location within less than a block.


Another feature I have looked forward to is Passbook, an app that allows you to use your phone like a mobile wallet, storing things like gift certificates and tickets.


Passbook still doesn’t work for my phone.

Unfortunately, thus far, I have been unable to use it because when I try, I am given a Cannot Connect error when trying to reach iTunes.

Hopefully, this little kink is worked out soon because I’d love to get my hands on it.

Phone App

One feature that many might overlook, and that I absolutely love, is the new Phone app which features a number of new options when you receive a phone call.

Earlier, one of my younger brothers called me and because I didn’t want to talk to him, I made a swipe up on a little phone icon and very quickly give him an automated reply that asked him what was up.


Sorry Ned!

That way, he didn’t feel ignored and knew that he could just shoot me a text or that I would call him back.

I have a feeling that I am going to be using this feature quite a bit.

Other Features

Other features of note, at least for me, include VIP Mail which I will be using extensively in an effort to sort through the piles of email I get. The Do Not Disturb feature will come in handy when I need to shut down for the night as it shuts off those pesky Notifications that often wake me from my slumber.


And I absolutely love the new sharing interface for photos and videos. It makes it extremely easy to choose between emailing, posting and a lot more.


For me, that’s what’s stood out so far but with over 200+ features, I’ll be discovering more as time goes on.

Should You Upgrade to iOS 6?

By now, you’ve probably scrolled through the previous a thousand words and found yourself here, wondering whether it’s smart to upgrade your iPhone 3GS to iOS 6.

For me, it’s a clear yes.

The new features, especially some of those smaller ones, are extremely handy. And one the biggest changes from iOS 5 to iOS 6 isn’t that big of a change at all because Apple’s new Maps app is a solid replacement for Google’s version. (I couldn’t care less about having 3D maps. Seems a bit gimmicky to me.)


iOS 6 doesn’t look much different but it packs some extremely useful features.

iOS 6 also seems to be a lot faster than the version of iOS 5 that was running on my iPhone 3GS. That could be because it’s day one or it could be because Apple worked out some kinks, I won’t know until more time passes but I’m not complaining at this point.

So, if you asked me right now, I’d say that Apple has made the iPhone 3GS, a phone that is now more than three years old, even better and that for many of you upgrading to iOS 6 is going to be worth your while.

For those that have joined me on the new OS, how has your experience with iOS 6 on the iPhone 3GS been so far?



  1. Allison

    09/19/2012 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks for the thorough review, I will be looking for/reading a few more reviews about upgrading a 3GS to iOS 6.

    • Allison

      09/19/2012 at 4:48 pm

      but definitely good to know about your positive experience!

    • Tina

      09/22/2012 at 5:39 pm


      • AKK

        09/23/2012 at 8:16 am

        Youre an idiot abut he fuck up

      • jijan

        09/23/2012 at 10:16 am

        Go buy iphone5 lol

      • Kathy

        09/25/2012 at 12:06 pm

        i have a 3gs and everything works on my phone and im not even any kind of pc tech im just a cosmetologist but i can even build a computer that is very sad

      • scott

        09/27/2012 at 4:13 pm

        You’re an idiot. How could you blather on that long and not notice you had your caps on?! I love how you actually ‘shifted’ to make your idiotic pc technician comment.

        Are you 11?

      • usman malik

        11/03/2012 at 2:13 pm

        sure i also want my phone update to ios 6 curent my cell version ios is 4

      • Rachel

        11/18/2012 at 12:00 am

        can you help me with my iphone it wont let me upgrade anything it says that 4.2 is the newest update and it is clearly not!!

        • Nicholas Khan

          05/26/2013 at 1:20 pm

          Either You have an iPhone 3G or your itunes is outdated do you have a background on your home screen

      • Nicholas Khan

        05/12/2013 at 8:20 am

        thats funny i can roll back to ios 5.1.1

  2. Oopsy

    09/19/2012 at 5:26 pm

    You should probably proofread this article and hope it isn’t held against you professionally in the future. There are mistakes that will confuse your less technical readers (android update? I’d hesitate too since we’re talking about an iOS device) and it reads like you had to hurry and write this before the battery on your laptop died.

    • Everyone

      09/19/2012 at 5:58 pm

      ohhhh why don’t you just shut up. Do YOUR OWN review if you’re going to be a grammar nazi….

    • Alex

      09/19/2012 at 6:32 pm

      (android update? means we getting now what android been using for years.

      • Geri O

        09/20/2012 at 5:52 am

        Maybe so, but at least now those features will work properly without fear of freezing, random reboots, data drops, and laggy screens. I’m doing this on a RazrMaxx and I wish I could post a video of the herky-jerky process it has been. Go ahead and pull out yer book of derogatory names for Apple users because I will be in line Friday morning for an iPhone 5.

    • Adam Mills

      09/19/2012 at 7:21 pm

      I write about Android updates quite a bit and that was a total brain fart on my part. Fixed it.

      • Jess

        09/20/2012 at 6:17 pm

        Sounds like Oopsy is know it all with nothing better to do .. I had no problems understanding your article.. Found it very helpful thank you. Everyone has typos and mistakes even after proof reading! We are human after all.

    • jim

      09/22/2012 at 9:55 am

      Hater , you sound jealous ! LMAO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Kenny

    09/19/2012 at 5:52 pm

    Yes me just upgraded my 3GS and it takes me almost 2 hours to complete and i can said it more smoother after running few apps n some interface. Also upgraded my new Ipad too but haven’t try it out and now in the moment of downloading the update for my 4S.

  4. seraphim

    09/19/2012 at 6:07 pm

    I only just recently came across your 3GS articles. They inspired me to update my 3GS to iOS5.1.1 last week, and I totally dug the improvements. I was awaiting your word on the iOS 6 on the august 3GS platform before jumping in myself. So far, so good, right?

    On another site, they ran sunspider before and after on a 3GS and the result was a 15% improvement in browser speed. App launches were about even.

    Initially I was going to jump in with two feet for the ip5, but then I realized that I don’t even max out the capability of my current 3GS. So, I dowloaded iOS5, and LEARNED HOW TO USE IT!

    I then went out and boughgt a new case for it (Otterbox Commuter), which gaved me a whole new mojo after my same old two and a half year old cover (Otterbox Impact)

  5. AppleFan

    09/19/2012 at 6:44 pm

    Nice article, my experience was similar, better performance with iOS 6

    • Nicholas Khan

      05/12/2013 at 8:21 am

      Is it better is it way faster than ios 5 becuase im still on ios 5.1.1

  6. Eric

    09/19/2012 at 6:49 pm

    Wow android has had all these things forever! Glad to see Apple looking at the jailbreak community for ideas.

    • RazrsEdG (@RazrsEdg)

      09/19/2012 at 8:16 pm

      Apple will claim they invented it and bring a lawsuit so no, keep Android and iOS features seperate.

  7. Austin McWilliams (@AustinMcDubs)

    09/19/2012 at 6:52 pm

    Was nervous about updating – now I’m not. Thanks!

  8. Dan (@OhMDee)

    09/19/2012 at 6:55 pm

    Fantastic post, Adam – one of the best I’ve seen. The in-depth analysis is much-appreciated.

  9. Ilikeithere

    09/19/2012 at 7:18 pm

    Battery is awful, no?!! … I’m afraid it is.
    Ps: oopsy, this is an android update! Oops, on you, eh?

  10. Android

    09/19/2012 at 10:26 pm

    Perhaps it seems faster now that you have some free memory……

  11. bitblasterguru

    09/19/2012 at 10:46 pm

    Pretty much the experience here. After what was nearly 2 hours, my 3GS rebooted and I was greeted with a somewhat zippier phone! I too was thinking I had nothing to loose, since I was considering a new iPhone 5 in the very near future. Now though I’m thinking my 3GS isn’t quite so bad (after my iOS 5 experience) and that I might stick with it for another year.

    Thanks for the review!

  12. Ziozzi

    09/20/2012 at 12:56 am

    I also had a 3GS full of stuff with IOS 5.0 on it. It was ramming and crashing, everything took forever to be done. Updated to 5.1.1 two days ago and it is a different phone! Snappier and quicker & so on.
    So it’s not IOS6 that made yours faster…
    Benchmark tests show that IOS6 is significantly slower than IOS5.1 on 3GS opening the mail app, music app and itunes store, for example.

    • seraphim

      09/20/2012 at 6:52 am

      Yet faster browsing ala Sunspider testing.

      I’ll take faster browsing over faster opening of my mail any day.

  13. Panchan

    09/20/2012 at 1:49 am

    I think I need to read more before upgrading my device

  14. tom

    09/20/2012 at 6:07 am

    thnks mate

  15. Ralph Lejano

    09/20/2012 at 7:02 am

    Sir i have a iphone’s software is out dated it runs with version 4.1. it was jail broken before.. how can i update it to ios 6 thanks!!

    • Jason

      09/20/2012 at 10:23 pm

      If you did some backups, search ‘dfu recovery’ and follow the instructions. Or you can directly update by using iTunes in

  16. Becky

    09/20/2012 at 7:05 am

    I have an iPhone 4 (not 4s) and upgraded to iOS 6 yesterday too. Performance is good and in particular, Safari seems to be loading pages faster.

    • Jao

      09/20/2012 at 8:52 am

      I was upgraded my iPhone to iOS6 – and it was run smoothly just not like my previous iOS 5.1.1 version… I enjoyed music and appreciates photostream features on my phone. At first I was hesitated to upgrade my device to its latest software, but when I read your article, it was convinced me to upgrade this – plus a risk from my phone and you never made me disappointed on this one… A BIG Thanks to you! :)

  17. Tony

    09/20/2012 at 8:13 am

    Perhaps your speed improvement was partially due to more memory being freed up?

  18. seraphim

    09/20/2012 at 9:01 am

    iOS 6 has now been on my 3GS for the past hour and a half or so

    Spiderbench tested at 4047 immediately after installation (4667 on iOS5.5.1 previously).

    No lags or hesitation that I’ve noticed so far in other usage. Viva la 3GS!

    *I do wish the 3GS had a better camera…other than that, I’m happy

  19. sobeRx

    09/20/2012 at 9:03 am

    Stumbled upon this site for the first time, just doing a search for ios6 features on the 3GS. Thank you for the great review and exactly the information I was looking for! 10/10 would visit again.

  20. VernonJButler

    09/20/2012 at 10:03 am

  21. Iain Baxter

    09/20/2012 at 12:44 pm

    Guided Access is huge, if you want to allow a toddler to play with an app, and they find the Home button irresistible.

  22. Khwaja Ehsan

    09/20/2012 at 1:58 pm

    I have the same good experience. The 3GS seems snappier. One other noter, you need 2.5GB of free space if you are doing the oupdate over the wifi I think because my 8GB has only about 220 MB of free space but had no problem updating using the iTunes and USB cable method. Took lot lesst time too (about 40 minutes and 20 of it for the download of the OS which is about 800MB).

  23. Jed

    09/20/2012 at 2:43 pm

    So once iOS 6 is installed, how much more space does it take up than the last update?

  24. Kelvin

    09/20/2012 at 4:57 pm

    I installed iOS 6 on my iPhone 3GS 32Gb last night. My experience is similar to yours – screen swiping and app launching feels more responsive than 5.1.1. Happy with the upgrade so far – keep on trucking little 3GS!

    I could do without the Passbook bloatware though.

    • Rachael Durant

      05/25/2013 at 3:09 pm

      When you updated your 3GS to the IOS 6 did you lose anything, like apps, passwords, notes, contacts. etc? I want to do it but doesn’t want to lose anything at all.

  25. Ranjan

    09/20/2012 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for the great review, I too upgraded to ios6 on my 3GS, but unlike you my battery seems to be draining a lot faster than it did before, will have to see what it is like tomorrow after a full recharge. I am down to 3% right now when usually I’m at 40 % by this time in the day.

    • Kelvin

      09/20/2012 at 7:36 pm

      Hi Ranjan, check to see if you had the iCloud / push services / location services turned back on by the update. I had to switch some of them back off through Settings after the update was done.

    • SP

      09/26/2012 at 6:27 am

      I am facing the same problem , Battery drains out very fast , despite closing the applications like locations services.

  26. Stephen Kurlow

    09/20/2012 at 5:51 pm

    I totally agree performance has improved dramatically with iOS6 on an iPhone 3GS. One of my favourite rope and fly games no longer hesitates and jitters like it did with iOS5. Well done Apple on the improvement.

  27. Kim

    09/20/2012 at 8:14 pm

    Since I did the update any text I send out goes to the person I’m sending it to but also comes back to me! Weird….any suggestions to fix it?

  28. Jason

    09/20/2012 at 10:17 pm

    Would you still recommend ios6 for iphone 3gs with ios 4.1 -jailbroken?

    • SKS

      09/20/2012 at 11:20 pm

      Definitely. iOS 6 runs great on iPhone 3GS. As the article says, its a clear yes. Go on.

      • Rachael Durant

        05/25/2013 at 3:13 pm

        Did you lose any apps, notes, contacts, passwords, photos when you updated to the IOS 6? Does everything stay the same on the phone the way it is now, when updating to the new IOS 6? I don’t want to lose my desktop picture or any of my apps. :(

  29. robibob

    09/20/2012 at 10:45 pm

    I upgraded my 3GS from iOS 5.1.1 and was blown away ! Big improvement in moving around, starting apps and emails, opening the camera from the home screen and it feels like a very fast phone like never before. I did not yet recognized a shorter battery life. For me: Upgrade to iOS 6 absolutely recommended.

  30. Joseph Bert Jr Sutherland

    09/20/2012 at 10:51 pm

    Is their apn setting in the new update?

  31. Red

    09/21/2012 at 12:01 am

    I thought I was kidding myself, but it does seem to run a wee bit better than ios5 on my 3gs.

  32. Luke Johnson

    09/21/2012 at 3:10 am

    This is a great review, I’m tempted to take the plunge. I’m a little worried that it is performing better because the upgrade just wiped the OS clearing cache and temp files (if the apple OS works this way) but in a month’s time will performance remain consistent?

  33. Jack

    09/21/2012 at 5:46 am

    Also upgraded to IOS 6 and indeed my phone seems more responsive.1st downside: the standard Youtube app is gone. A new iphone-specific app with different GUI can be downloaded from the store. Btw. this means you’re out of luck when upgrading your ipad (which I also did), where it’s better to use the youtube website for now.
    2nd downside: moving the passbook icon to the last screen in one go makes my iphone do an automatic restart (tried this several times). Workaround: move icon one screen at the time.
    Finally one minor problem: when installation of a new app is completed, the “open” button displays some long technical string instead of the word “open”.

  34. Muralidhar

    09/21/2012 at 6:11 am

    Thanks for a wonderful review ! I just updated my 3GS to ios 6 and so far, very good :) Like it !

  35. HannahG.

    09/21/2012 at 7:29 am

    Is it still a good idea if my iPhone is only 8GB?

  36. anywidget

    09/21/2012 at 12:47 pm

    I did my update yesterday(I had to update to iTunes 10.7 first)…I took a couple of hrs, but it went pretty smoothly. It always freaks me out updating after hearing the nightmares, but I have been very lucky with all of my updates…never have had an issue.(Knock on wood)

    IOS 6 is very snappy and I love all the new features. Going to be passing this one onto my son when I get the 5, so I know he will be getting a solid little unit and armored with my Otterbox cover, it may live to tell about it.

  37. AlexZ

    09/21/2012 at 7:37 pm

    Nice article, thanks! I have not updated my 3GS to iOS6 (yet), but I am wondering if all the people who are reporting performance improvements after upgrading, had reset their iPhone prior to the upgrade. Running iOS5, I find that after 1-2 weeks of use it is becoming increasingly (sometimes unusably) slow, even when I exit all open apps; however when I reset the phone it becomes as spiffy as it ever was.

    In other words, is it possible that the performance increase people notice is simply due to the fact that the upgrade forces a reboot, and not to the change in OS itself? If so, it will be interesting to see if it will still be snappy in a few weeks.

  38. Striz

    09/21/2012 at 8:05 pm

    Well, I have a lowly 8gig 3GS, when I go to the update window it says IOS 6 is 504 mb but needs 2.1 gigs of available storage?? hhmm, dont think I can spare that much space, def time to update my phone!

    • mich

      09/21/2012 at 9:02 pm

      Works great in my 3gs 32GB. Faster than 5.1.
      My only concern is the wifi signal. I don’t know if the ios6 is the cause of weak signal. I am at the same spot at home but the 3gs cannot detect the wifi although when I was in 5.1.1, wi-fi is really weak at that spot at home.

      Does anybody experience the same thing? OR it’s just me?
      I will also check my router’s firmware if it is currently updated.

      • Red

        09/24/2012 at 7:57 pm

        How’s ur wifi connectivity? I think I’m having the same problems. Its erratic though. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so much.

        • Oats

          11/12/2012 at 6:22 pm

          Did you get any further feedback on this?

  39. SAMSOL

    09/21/2012 at 11:47 pm

    THe battery life is abysmal on ios6 for 3GS. I have seen a 40% decrease in battery life.

    • Zekoi

      09/22/2012 at 1:23 am

      I also experience the same. Battery life significantly decreased. Browsing on App Store is also lagging a lot.
      Other than that , everything else is working well, I can even say faster than iOS 5.

    • Olga

      11/01/2012 at 12:48 pm

      Me too!! The battery life dropped dramatically .

    • Nikki

      01/19/2013 at 10:45 pm

      I have a iphone 4 and since doing the last 2 ios updates the battery life SUCKS so don’t feel bad………lol

  40. Stefano Scaglione (@steve74it)

    09/22/2012 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for this post, I was tempted to update but I was afraid to brick my iPhone 3GS as happened to those who updated the 3G to iOS 4.
    After reading your article I updated and now I am happy to have done so.
    iOS 6 is certainly not worse tha 5.1.1 in speed, rather I find it a bit faster.

  41. John

    09/22/2012 at 10:20 am

    My iphone 3gs has so man problems with ios6 it is like half way broken all thi stuff this guy says happens to my phone this is so much bullshit

  42. Crystal

    09/22/2012 at 1:56 pm

    My iphone 3gs downloaded ios 6 but when installing it said error occurred & didnt install nor willit let me retry (brings up same error) PLEASE HELP!

  43. OneLong

    09/22/2012 at 5:13 pm

    If you have any games, they will be unplayable with ios6 on a 3gs. By FAR the WORST software update I’ve ever had for a product. And let me say, that after 20 years that is really saying something.

  44. jim

    09/22/2012 at 8:27 pm

    My wife’s 3Gs (8GB) phone still has 4.1 on it. Is there a way to still only install 5.1.1 on it without going to 6.0 just to be safe?

  45. jijan

    09/23/2012 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for the review. I have same problem like your 3gs. Hope the problem will solve with ios6.

  46. Jenn

    09/23/2012 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t get it. I have a 32 GB 3GS and since installing iOS 6 everything has been really slow. It takes forever to load pages in Safari and for videos to load. And some of my apps crash multiple times. And this morning I unplugged my phone from the charger at 8 am and by 11 am the battery was down to 38%. All I had used it for was to check Facebook for about 10 minutes. Why does it seem like I’m the only one having issues on iOS 6?

  47. Frank

    09/24/2012 at 2:30 am

    I have found the upgrade to 6 to be an utter nightmare. Battery goes flat in 10% of the time it used to. Many of the so called features are minimised on the 3GS compared to their functionality on a 4. Maps is a joke compared to google maps. It’s a sin what Apple has done for the 3GS.

  48. chris

    09/24/2012 at 2:31 am

    Upgraded from 5.1 on 3gs 16gig. Performance seems the same, gaming is running well despite one of the above comments, need for speed runs as well as ever. I always had a good experience with 5.1.1 snappy performance etc, the update seems to kept this the same.

  49. Rachel

    09/24/2012 at 5:52 am

    The upgrade to ios6 on my 3gs has had a HUGE impact on battery life for me. I am glad the iphone 5 is in the mail. If I were keeping the 3gs, I would probably try and find a way to go back to the old OS, despite the new features.

  50. Willmoot

    09/24/2012 at 7:48 am

    Upgraded to iOS6, everything looks ok by now. I haven’t notice any improvement regarding the speed, because my 3Gs was working great with 5.1.1. I was “cleaning” it regularly, leaving few hundred MB of free space all the time and that worked for me fine. I enjoy the new features, sharing and phone app improvement. Thanks for the article!

  51. Sheila

    09/24/2012 at 4:37 pm

    Where did my FaceTime go when I updated to ios6?

  52. Katharine

    09/25/2012 at 8:54 am

    Jenn: believe me, you’re not the only one having issues with the iOS6 update on your iPhone 3GS. Since I installed it, apps keep crashing (Twitter is the most badly affected); I keep receiving messages saying that my apps need updating; but when I try to do this, I get another message saying that the phone is unable to update my app at this time. Battery life is truly dreadful. Loading pages in Safari and loading videos takes so long that I usually give up.

  53. stylishblogger

    09/25/2012 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks so much! Was really worried about upgrading to iOS 6 for my 3GS incase it made it slower.. Now I’m pretty certain about upgrading.. Thanks for the great review.. Just wondering how it’s running now after a few days?

  54. Ceemonster

    09/25/2012 at 10:10 pm

    I read this article thinking that upgrading was a good idea. But no! My phone shuts down at 50%. I try rebooting it and it won’t reboot without charging. And takes 5 min to charge up again showing red, before it comes back with 51%. BEWARE! Read the Apple discussion boards. Apple says it is not their fault! Of course! All we did wrong was push “ok” for the update. It’s a conspiracy to sell upgraded phones. For those people where the upgrade worked, good for you. I am one of the unlucky ones. : (

  55. mark

    09/26/2012 at 2:28 am

    i installed ios 6 on my iphone 3gs and when the installation was complete it restarted the phone and now i cant get no service network signals and its asking for a re.activation to continue ..the wifi works on it but needs a network signal to activate the phone

  56. fati

    09/27/2012 at 12:52 am

    dear kindly tell about this problm , i hav facing some problm with iphone3gs wifi device covering

  57. Manish Rajan

    09/27/2012 at 4:03 am

    I updated my 3gs from 5.11 to 6. i was very much tensed that how will it work. After the successful update i was really amazed to see the new ios. My battery life increased about 35% more. The phone processing increased a lot. so now no app crash, no app late response.
    so my upgrade was a nice decision.
    Thanks to apple that 3gs is only the device in apple which can all the modern ios till date.

    • Rachael Durant

      05/25/2013 at 3:20 pm

      So you have the iphone 3gs and upgraded from the 5.1.1 to the IOS 6.1 and didn’t have any issues? You didn’t lose any apps, contacts, notes, passwords, photos, etc. Did everything stay the same as you were updating it, as to you didn’t lose anything? I have the iphone 3GS using 5.1.1 software and was going to update to the IOS 6.1 but want reassurance that I will not lose nothing off my phone like apps, notes, passwords, contacts, photos, even my background photos on my phone. Could you maybe help me out with this and let me know. Cuz I really don’t want to lose anything!!

  58. SABBY

    09/27/2012 at 6:06 am


  59. fkend

    09/27/2012 at 8:14 am

    I upgraded my 3gs to ios 6 and have found that using bluetooth the signal strength meter no longer displays on my car display?

  60. natalie

    09/29/2012 at 11:43 am

    i need help my 16gb 3gs updated to ios 6 now it wont turn on at all it just shows the apple logo and goin back off, tried everything

  61. Gehua Yang

    09/29/2012 at 12:35 pm

    I have been reading online whether to upgrade my 3GS to IOS 6. Your article is the best I can found it is certainly help me determine to do the upgrade. Many thanks and cheers!

  62. D

    10/01/2012 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for being guinea pig. Most helpful.

  63. D180

    10/04/2012 at 3:48 am

    GUYS need ahand here please brandnew to all this but received iphone 3gs was told it was unlocked hasd to restore , so connected to itunes it restored it to ios6 but now my phone is saying no service and its showing the apple logo , do i need to download some other software for this read up about redsnow but cant find afree download for IOS6 version , CAN ANYONE HELP PLEEEEEASE cheers D

  64. Lou

    10/04/2012 at 4:26 pm

    can not get 3g after upgrade the att store says not to upgrade too late for me
    can anyone help?

  65. Onil

    10/05/2012 at 5:14 pm

    Great review. after reading this i’m totally updating my 3GS.

    Could anyone tell me a good case brand that still produces 3GS’ cases like any Incase snap case?(i mean minimalistic)


  66. Kelleh

    10/06/2012 at 8:34 pm


  67. Mcc

    10/07/2012 at 12:56 am

    I’m Lucky one.

    iOS 6 runs great on MY iPhone 3GS

    MY 3GS seems snappier.

    I totally agree performance has improved dramatically with iOS6 on an iPhone 3GS.

  68. Measwe

    10/08/2012 at 2:52 am

    After this update GS3 won’t start if battery is drained and won’t charge battery. Solution: hold power and menu button simultanously. Keep holding menu button after reset to get into recovery mode. Connect to itunes. Now the battery will charge again. You don’t have to restore. Just wait untill enough charge is back in the battery.

  69. Parth R Shah

    10/11/2012 at 11:34 pm

    It seems good to use ios 6 in my iphone 3gs and now my iphone 3gs works better…
    There are no more changes for iphone 3gs in ios 6 …
    and it does not take any more space than ios 5…

  70. Emmanuel

    10/13/2012 at 1:22 pm

    Thks for this very usefull post. I think i will finally upgrade my 3gs. But I need to free some space before, as if I read weel, I need 2.5 Go instead of my actual 0,8…
    and wait to have enough time to perform it… Cheers, Emmanuel from France

  71. Emmanuel

    10/14/2012 at 1:56 am

    I did it this morning : I had only 800 Mo free : no problem !
    It’s faster, and it’s even really faster for updates !!
    I did all my updates (39) in 45 mn !! With the 5.1.1, it was so long, that I haven’t done all those updates…
    To access to the settings panel, it seems to be the same speed to access (5sec blank)
    Mail seems also faster

  72. ALI

    10/16/2012 at 10:11 am


  73. Joris (@zJoriz)

    10/17/2012 at 6:45 am

    Installing took only 25min on my 3GS-32. Maybe because I removed my mp3 playlists beforehand. And it seems to work well so far. Most things work more fluidly than they used to. Maps looks and works sweet as well.

    I noticed some apps/games lag a bit, but I daresay they lagged on the 3GS anyway. Meanwhile I’ll be sure to keep to the iOS5 practice of keeping as few as possible apps running in the background.

  74. Dawn

    10/19/2012 at 11:52 am

    i have a 3Gs and I downloaded the Ios6 and it works great it only took like 10 mins and i love it. but i am going to buy the iphone 5 soon, i hope it is as easy to transfer to. Do i just take my sim card out and put in new phone?

    have a great day everyone


  75. pawan

    10/20/2012 at 10:31 pm

    while i tried to bach of my iphone ,,, there is proble ,, i dont know what happend it, before uptadeit works but now after update 6,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, there is many problem,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Willmoot

      10/20/2012 at 10:48 pm

      Hum, it’s a mistery… My 3Gs works perfectly after iOS 6 upgrade, for 4-5 weeks without any problem.

  76. Liam

    10/26/2012 at 5:05 am

    Only took me about 10 minutes to update mine over my WiFi connection, but still, best thing I’ve ever done to my 3gs.

  77. Novaera

    10/28/2012 at 6:34 am

    After reading the article & all comments, i finally press the “update” button on my old i3GS :D it’s now in d/load progress … hope it works well …

  78. Sam

    10/28/2012 at 6:51 am

    I did not experience any performance improvements on my 3GS. My phone memory has never been close to full. I have had to hard reboot several times since upgrading to get some apps or the App Store to run. Battery life is abyssmal, and this began the first day after the upgrade. Granted, my phone has the original battery and I have ordered a replacement. Yet the decline directly coincided with the upgrade. I opened safari with 20% battery life left and the phone turned OFF in 2 minutes.

  79. gabi

    11/01/2012 at 1:11 am

    hey! a few days ago i also updateted my iphone 3gs to ios 6 but i can’t say the same thing about the baterry life time. for example i leave my iphone with the full baterry when i go to sleep and in the next morning it’s completlly empty…. can enyone tell me why? i mention that i upgraded from ios 4.1 in which case the baterry life time was much better!
    P.S. sorry for my bad English!

  80. crishnaz

    11/13/2012 at 2:14 am

    my 3gs is restarting continuously and im even unable to restore any version of ios to fix it coz always got errors like 3194 and so on… tried a lot of soln bt not yet success, finally im trying to go to factory setting and im waiting to download , it will take next 5 hr to downoad bcoz wwe have slower connection… omg… what to do?

  81. onadinz

    12/01/2012 at 5:08 am

    i upgrade my iphone 3gs 16gb this morning thru itune usb cable, my version is 4.1 ios. but after i upgrade from 4.1 ios to ios 6 says done and then i restarted my phone and then check the version, shows still the same version of 4.1 ios? tried to restart many time but still the same problem, any help??

  82. Dharma

    01/05/2013 at 9:33 am

    i can’t up date my iphone 3g to ios 6.0.2 thus what shall i do ,,,,

  83. ramaraju

    01/24/2013 at 9:32 am

    Hi guys i am using unlocked iphone 3gs if i update to ios 6 will it lock again

  84. Jane

    02/22/2013 at 7:25 pm

    ios6 seems to run well on my iphone 3g/3gs (itunes downloaded 3gs software on it when I had to reboot). Because I have an older device, it can get a little laggy at times. But that doesn’t matter, I can finally use the newer versions of the apps I had

  85. Abdul

    03/11/2013 at 10:59 am

    It’s nice and u can update it without any confusion.

  86. Babu

    03/22/2013 at 8:08 pm

    hi, iam having Iphone 3gs 8GB with 4.1 OS … pls let me know that can i update to OS6

  87. :))

    04/01/2013 at 10:17 pm

    then it’s not iphone 3gs it’s just iphone 3g

  88. kblim

    08/15/2013 at 10:33 pm

    Upgraded my 3GS to iOS6 and everything works well.
    Speed seems to be faster and lagging is totally gone.
    Battery life not much difference (don’t expect much from a 3year old batt) .
    Strongly recommend to upgrade to iOS 6 before iOS 7 come out.
    Unlkely 3GS can support iOS 7.

  89. Han

    09/20/2013 at 8:08 pm

    3GS Upgraded yesterday to IOS 6.1.3, worked amazingly…Thanks for the review!

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