iOS 7 on iPhone 4s: Final Impressions and Performance

iOS 7 has been out for a week now, and we’ve been giving the new version a thorough look-over to see how well it performs on the two-year-old iPhone 4s. You might have already read through our initial impressions of iOS 7 running on the iPhone 4s, and that should’ve given you a good idea on how well it ran on the older device.

However, we’re here with our final impressions and we’ll tell you what you need to know before updating your iPhone 4s to iOS 7, if you haven’t done so already (we know how antsy you are). It’s always a murky subject to deal with as far as installing new software on old hardware, but here’s what we think about iOS 7 running on Apple’s two-year-old iPhone 4s.


Overall Performance

After playing around with iOS 7 on my iPhone 4s for over a week, I’m pleasantly surprised at how well it’s been performing. I haven’t noticed any lag or stuttering when navigating the various menus or opening and closing apps. It basically feels like the same experience as on my new iPhone 5s, but without the extra 176 pixels vertically, so I only have four rows of apps instead of five.

The only major thing left out of iOS 7 with the iPhone 4s is AirDrop support. With newer iPhones, iOS 7 allows you to use AirDrop to send files to other iPhones running iOS 7. It’s similar to the Bump app, but it’s now native in iOS 7. I’d say this is a slight bummer not having such a feature on the iPhone 4s, but AirDrop on the iPhone isn’t particularly widespread yet, so iPhone 4s owners shouldn’t feel like they’re missing out.

One thing that is included in the iPhone 4s version of iOS 7 is camera filters. Many comparison charts of iOS 7 features on certain iDevices have sprung up on the internet, and many of them say that the iPhone 4s doesn’t get camera filters, but indeed it does. Opening up the Camera app, you’ll see three circles in the lower-right corner. Tapping on that brings up different filters you can apply in real-time to your photos and videos.

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Battery Life

I’m not noticing any significant changes in battery life with the iPhone 4s running iOS 7. I’m still charging it the same amount, and even using battery-heavy apps hasn’t drained the juice out any faster than before. A FaceTime chat drained the battery from 90% to 71%, but it didn’t drain any more than it would have on iOS 6.

I’m not a heavy user by any means, but I’m usually having the charge the phone about every 36 hours. This time schedule hasn’t changed at all really since updating to iOS 7, so if you’re worried about battery life taking a hit, don’t worry about it.


I’ve heard from any iPhone 4s users about a bug that causes crazy amounts of lag when typing on the keyboard in iOS 7. Pretty much entering in any sort of text, email, messages, etc. was extremely laggy for a lot of users. However, there’s easy fix, although it seems rather temporary, since it involves disabling a feature that you most likely use. If you disable Documents & Data in the iCloud settings, the keyboard should work as normal.

We’ve also heard from users that app icons will appear awkwardly on the home screen after updating and spotlight search doesn’t work properly, but many reports have cited that a simple reboot of your phone can do the trick.

However, these bugs shouldn’t scare you away, and if you don’t even use iCloud (like myself), then the keyboard lag issue won’t even be a problem.

iOS 7 Features I Love

iphone4s-ios7The New Look

The redesigned, flattened user interface of iOS 7 has gotten mixed results from users, but redesigns usually receive a lot of criticism no matter what. Personally, I really like the new look. It was rather surprising at first, with the weird gradients and the mess of colors all over the place, but after navigating around the OS for a while now, I quickly came to realize that it really works, and it gives iOS a much-needed boost in the looks department, especially since the UI hasn’t changed drastically since it was first launched in 2007.

Control Center

I like having iDevices jailbroken because of all the cool features that you can install. However, Control Center essentially gets rid of the need for SBSettings, which is one of the most popular Jailbreak apps around. Control Center provides an easy-to-get-to control panel of sorts with toggles for connectivity options, brightness, music playback, and shortcuts to a few of Apple’s stock apps, including a flashlight shortcut.

Multitasking Tray

The new multitasking tray in iOS 7 also gets rid of the need for another jailbreak tweak called Auxo. The new multitasking tray gives you the ability to swipe through preview cards of open apps and close them out with just an upward swipe — much quicker than the ways of older iOS versions. It’s also more visual, meaning that it uses more processing power. However the iPhone 4s handles the new multitasking tray wonderfully.

Improved Siri

Along with iOS 7, Siri received a nice makeover. She recognizes more commands this time around, and she can now grab information from more sources, including Wikipedia and Twitter, meaning that she can show tweets from a user that you specify. The Siri interface also has a new look, sporting a much modern feel this time around that actually makes me want to use it. I normally don’t use Siri a lot, but the new interface and the added commands may just be the boost I needed to start using it more.

The new Control Center, accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

The new Control Center, accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

iOS 7 Features I Hate

New Notification Center

This is something I wish didn’t change in iOS 7, but it was bound to happen. iOS’s notification center received a big redesign, giving you different views that you can change between, and the ability to act on alerts right from the lock screen. That’s sounds pretty good, right? Well, they got rid of the weather widget and replaced it with text-based weather alerts that don’t even give you the current temperature.

Furthermore, the new notification center simply might be too much for some users. A lot of us don’t need the new “Today Summary” or “Tommorow Summary.” Luckily, you can turn all that off in settings, but we still miss the weather widget.

Control Center

“What? I thought you liked Control Center?” I do, but it’s missing something extremely crucial: customizability. You can’t change any of the toggles or shortcuts in Control Center, which is frustrating considering that it doesn’t include a cellular data toggle. And if you never use the calculator app or the timer, there’s no way to switch them out for something more useful; they simply take up space. I’m hoping for a jailbreak tweak to fix this, but we still have yet to hear about an iOS 7 jailbreak for the newer iPhones.

Final Verdict

Put simply, iOS 7 running on the iPhone 4s is completely fine, and I was pleasantly surprised by its performance on the two-year-old phone. Should you upgrade to it? Go for it! The new look will bring new life to an old piece of hardware, and it won’t bring many hiccups either, so it’s a win-win situation.

However, if you’re jailbroken on iOS 6 and are happy with where you’re at, then I would suggest waiting it out until iOS 7 has a jailbreak available. We’re not sure when that will be exactly, but if it takes just as long as the iOS 6 jailbreak did, then we’ll waiting until February 2014 at least.