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iOS 8 on iPad 3: First Impressions & Performance



The iOS 8 update is exciting, and a little frightening for iPad 3 owners. Although not as old as the iPad 2, this device is not as powerful as the iPad Air which means a small performance hit.

Installing iOS 8 on the iPad 3 brings a collection of new features, but you won’t find continuity on the iPad 3 — which means no answering phone calls, sending texts or switching between apps with ease.

After installing iOS 8 on the iPad 3, performance took a small hit. The iPad 3 is still usable, but it feels slightly slower. Some lag disappeared after running apps for the first time, but overall the device feels more like it did on iOS 7 than on iOS 7.1 — slower.

The iOS 8 video below highlights some of the new iOS 8 features that you can expect, but on an older device like this not all the upgrades make it to the user.

Here’s a look at the iOS 8 on iPad 3 performance. This is our first impression after a day with iOS 8 on the iPad 3 and only a few hours of use. I normally use the iPad Air, but I also occasionally swap over to the iPad 3 so that i know how it handles from one update to the next.

Installing iOS 8

It took a while to install iOS 8 on the iPad 3, mainly because I chose to install it as soon as Apple released the update on September 17th. After a lengthy download, two to three hours, the iOS 8 installation completed with no trouble.

Some users ran into iOS 8 installation problems where the update stopped halfway, requiring users restore to factory settings and restore from a backup. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a current backup.

I was able to install iOS 8 over the air without deleting any files or apps, but it needs a lot of space so you’ll want to remove files you don’t need or install by plugging in to iTunes.

iOS 8 Performance

What you need to know about the iOS 8 iPad 3 performance.

What you need to know about the iOS 8 iPad 3 performance.

After installing a major update like iOS 8 I check a variety of key areas to make sure the device is still usable. In this case it better be, since my wife is the main user of the iPad 3 in our house.

In addition to looking at the iOS 8 speed, I want to make sure battery life is good, Applications work correctly and there are no random crashes or connectivity issues with WiFi or Bluetooth.

Here is how the iOS 8 iPad 3 update performs after several hours of use.


I have not run into any apps that will not work on the iPad 3 with iOS 8 installed. From the stock apps like Safari and Messages to Pandora and other streaming apps I have not experienced any crashes in my limited time with iOS 8 on the iPad 3.

iOS 8 Battery Life

It is much to early to tell if the iOS 8 battery life on the iPad 3 brings a major change, but even after the power consumed installing iOS 8 and doing all of my testing I have 67% battery life left with a day of standby time and several hours of actual usage.


Small and large updates can break WiFi on the iPad. I went through a lot of trouble with WiFi on the iPad 3 while using the iOS 6, but it is working well and Bluetooth is also up and running. This is a WiFi only iPad 3 so I can’t test cellular connectivity.

iOS 8 widgets are new, and a nice addition to the iPad 3.

iOS 8 widgets are new, and a nice addition to the iPad 3.

Bugs & Issues

After using the iPad 3 with iOS 8 installed for several hours I did not experience any odd bugs or issues. Most of the noticeable changes are added features and overall speed.

It may be that some issues appear with extended use, but this is a good sign for now.


Speed is one area where the iOS 8 iPad 3 update falters. The iPad 3 is an older device and it simply doesn’t run iOS 8 as well as the iPad Air. The iOS 7.1 update delivered a speed boost to the iPad 3 that was very much appreciated. With iOS 8 the iPad 3 feels sluggish like it did on iOS 7.

When starting Safari for the first time after the update it took a little longer to load, but that improved slightly. I also experienced keyboard lag, but after an app loads completely that disappears as well.

Overall the entire experience of using the iPad 3 feels a little bit slower. I can still use this device, but I’m already looking forward to updates.

iOS 8 Features

The iOS 8 iPad 3 update does not deliver connectivity to the iPhone, like newer iPads do, and there is no AirDrop to the Mac either, but Apple still adds several features that I enjoy using on the iPad 3.

A predictive keyboard is one iOS 8 iPad 3 feature I enjoy.

A predictive keyboard is one iOS 8 iPad 3 feature I enjoy.

  1. iOS 8 Widgets – The iOS 8 widgets offer fast access to information in the Notification Center. This includes weather and other useful details at a glance.
  2. New Keyboard Options – The iOS 8 keyboard with predictive text works on the iPad 3 and it is a nicer way to type longer messages. I’m also looking forward to trying the iOS 8 keyboard from SwiftKey.
  3. Messages – Although this iPad is linked to my Wife’s messages, the Messages app still delivers the handy voice and video options as well as a fast photo option. You an also leave group messages, which is a huge deal.
  4. Family Sharing – I am setting up Family sharing tonight so that any apps and movies I buy are also available for my wife. This is an amazing iOS 8 feature that multi-user households will enjoy.
  5. Spotlight – Spotlight connects to the web now so when I search for a movie or something that is not on my iPad or in the App store I see results without the need to tap to search the web first.

For more, check out our iOS 8 vs iOS 7 slideshow that walks through many of the new iOS 8 features.

Should I Install iOS 8 on the iPad 3?

After spending a day with iOS 8 on the iPad 3, most users should wait before installing this update. If you can’t delay the update because you really want the new iOS 8 features listed above you won’t hate the iPad after installing, but you’ll experience a slowdown.

We’ll share an iOS 8 iPad 3 review soon, after we spend more time with the device to see if the slow performance is due to updates and growing pains, or if they are a perm fixture.



  1. lilly

    09/18/2014 at 1:49 pm

    ive heeard that when people try to download ios 8 it doesnt upload and they have to rest their settings.

  2. Ricky

    09/18/2014 at 2:20 pm

    i have an ipad 3 with ios 8 installed, and i can anwer to or make phone calls (iphone 5 under the same wi fi)! have you tried?

  3. MaryJane Sarvis

    09/18/2014 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you for this iPad 3 info! I am upgrading to the iPhone 6plus and I need a new iMac for my work. That leaves no funds to upgrade my beloved iPad. I’m loving 8 on my 5S so it’s tempting, but going to wait.

  4. Frank Barlow

    09/19/2014 at 11:24 am

    Last page visited not as easy to use or as sensible to view as it was in IOS 7
    Wish I could downgrade to previous Safari

  5. Cris

    09/20/2014 at 1:31 am

    Thanks for taking the bullet I have an iPad third gen and I wasn’t sure about installing iOS 8. I was regretful installing iOS 7 that I have been looking to see what people’s experience with iOS 8 is. Thanks for the review, I think I’ll hold off until a better update appears.

  6. M. Long

    09/20/2014 at 5:44 am

    Thank you. I have an iPhone 4s and a iPad 3. I will not be doing the download until you say it’s ok.

  7. Ev

    09/21/2014 at 5:46 pm

    I kept telling myself not to update my iPad 3 to iOS 8 but I got caught up in the moment. HUGE regret! My iPad is so slow & sluggish, I even tried a complete restore as a new device but it didn’t help. Hopefully a future update will speed things up but Apple wants you to upgrade, LOL. I called & told my father not to update his iPad 2.

  8. Jim

    09/22/2014 at 5:32 am

    Well, you might like it …but I can’t seem to upload photos to websites and I can also not attach photos to emails, where’s “the paper clip”…inserting a photo into an email works sometimes but otherwise it just spins and spins and spins.

  9. cantime77

    09/23/2014 at 12:04 am

    Don’t jump the gun. There are hardly any compelling reasons in the first version of the 8.
    Wait for 8.1 at the least.

  10. Doc Weird

    09/25/2014 at 2:35 pm

    There is a huge security bug in iOS 7.1 Safari. Huge as in “attacker can execute code on your device and gain full control over it”.

    Apple isn’t going to patch this, even now that it is out on the web and common knowledge to criminals. I see that as the only real, and soon to be mandatory, reason to update.

  11. Imagebloke

    10/04/2014 at 3:43 pm

    Hi there

    Very interesting post. I have the iPad Air and I can definitely say it is it’ll as snappy as it was on iOS7. Opening pages for example takes a fraction more but I think Apple shoukd fix these minor bugs with the release of iOS 81. It also happened to iOS7. Animations are always smoothly and more often than I would like to see four finger gestures don’t work. It is annoying but I thimk after the next update it should be much better.

  12. MaryJane Sarvis

    10/04/2014 at 4:17 pm

    I’m still waiting to update. Lid like to but I’m still hearing about problems. Will 8.1 make it better or should 3 owners resign to staying in 7. Unless there’s the Safari scare.

  13. crsm

    10/15/2014 at 5:46 pm

    If iOS 8 isn’t any different than iOS 7 then why the sluggishness? I guess the remedy is a new iPad.

  14. Ján Šichula

    10/25/2014 at 5:49 am

    Hello Josh Smith,

    thank you for very useful review full of important information for all of us running older Apple devices. Now have you been able to upgrade to 8.1? If yes, what are your impressions especially as it relates to speed.

    Jan Sichula

    P. S. I presently owe iPad 2 and am considering upgrade to iPad 3.

    • Maryjane Sarvis

      10/25/2014 at 6:04 am

      I’m so sorry I updated. It’s awful. Has ruined my iPad 3. I’m an artist and use my iPad daily but its now too annoying to believe. The camera roll is so sticky and slow. It’s like being back in an old computer. Just opening an image takes forever and scrolling through nearly impossible. I called my Apple repair guy and got no answers. I waited until 8.1. Now I’m looking for a loan or some way to get a new iPad.

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