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iOS 8.1.1 to Improve iPhone 4s & iPad 2 Performance



The iPhone 4s and the iPad 2 are two devices that have seen degraded performance with iOS 8, but a new upcoming update in the form of iOS 8.1.1 could fix many of the issues that these older devices are experiencing.

Apple released the first beta of iOS 8.1.1 to developers yesterday, and while it’s meant to mostly just fix some smaller bugs, it looks like the update will also improve performance on the iPhone 4s and iPad 2, which are the two oldest devices that support iOS 8.

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.

According to Ars Technica, the preliminary release notes suggest that iOS 8.1.1 will come with a handful of bug fixes and performance improvements that will greatly impact performance on the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2.

As for what exact performance improvements will come with the update, it’s not clear, but users should at least look forward to experiencing a much quicker user interface on the older devices.

iPhone 4s

Until the update releases, though, iPhone 4s users don’t necessarily need to suffer that much. There are actually things you can do and settings that you can adjust to increase the performance of your iPhone 4s running iOS 8, most of which are fairly easy to change.

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.

You can navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. Tapping on Reduce Motion will open up another screen with a toggle switch that you’ll flip on.

This feature turns off 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.

iOS 8.1 iPhone 4s performance is much better than iOS 8 or iOS 8.0.2 according to users.

iOS 8.1 iPhone 4s performance is much better than iOS 8 or iOS 8.0.2 according to users.

While it isn’t that impressive, it’s something that’s cool at first, but users can quickly get bored with. 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 it on.

Of course, the difference in performance 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.



  1. Tim

    11/05/2014 at 8:12 am

    “Usually the biggest culprits for sluggish performance on older iPhones are the animations and pretty effects that make iOS 8 look really good.”

    iOS 8 has no pretty effects. It does NOT look good. iOS 8 is as ugly as iOS 7 was, which I avoided because it looks like it was designed by a four year old. Avoided like the plague.

    iOS 6 was king. Elegant and three dimensional. Aesthetically pleasing and smooth. I miss it. iOS 8 is inferior in every respect except for the Safari enhancement increasing the number of open web pages, and the ability to block phone numbers. If I could have had those two features on iOS 6, I would’ve stayed there. I don’t know what Apple’s design teams were thinking.

    I took your suggestions. Is there a way to shit down the ticking clock too? I’d love to dispose of that worthless feature. I never noticed the parallax effect and had to go out of my way after reading your article to realize it was there. Stupid. Gone. It would’ve been better with the three dimensional app icons of iOS 6 instead of this flat, ugly garbage.

    Boo to Apple for making an operating system that decreases aesthetics across the board, considerably reduces user friendliness, and makes our phones go whacky while we scramble to keep up with your multitude of bug fix updates… Try doing that regularly via wifi.

  2. junaid

    11/11/2014 at 9:12 am

    hi i am using iphone 4s i update 8.1 the battery life drain faster when i use wifi or 3g the battery suddenly drain 100% to 12% for an hour and apps crasing some times can 8.1.1 be good battery life and speed performances.please fix battery and apps crash…………..

  3. Adrien Bisson

    12/01/2014 at 4:39 am

    Ok, at the risk of blaming the messenger here (sorry), I am going to call BS on Apple and all of their media hacks who make excuses for this crime. I have an iPad 2, which is now basically trash. You said “it’s simply an older phone that’s reaching the end of its life cycle.”, but that’s unacceptable. It was perfectly fine running 7. It should never have been eligible for 8 because it doesn’t function. Yes, I have made all of the tweaks that people have recommended, including these in your article. Their benefits are minimal, as was 8.1.1. The browser still crashes, crawls, jitters, fails to render images… But unlike 8.0, at least copy and paste works. I find it hard to believe that anyone actually tested this software on an iPad 2. How could they release it when copy and paste was non functional?

    Apple, why did you destroy my iPad?

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