Home Apple iOS 8 on iPhone 5s: Impressions and Performance

iOS 8 on iPhone 5s: Impressions and Performance

The iOS 8 update is here and iPhone 5s owners are already installing the latest update so that they can gain access to many new features that fix complaints about group messaging, add in support for third-party iOS 8 keyboards and much more.

After spending a week using the final version of iOS 8 on the iPhone 5s we can share our early review of iOS 8 with a special look at what’s working and what’s still a work in progress. We specifically look at iOS 8 performance on the iPhone 5s and other factors to help users decide if they should install iOS 8 on the iPhone 5s or wait a while.

Although there is a limited time to downgrade back to iOS 7.1.2, this method could close by the end of the day, leaving you on iOS 8 until Apple delivers an iOS 8.0.1 bug fix update, or until it addresses any bigger issues in an iOS 8.1 release months down the road.

There is always a chance for something to go wrong after an iOS update, and especially with a major update that adds dozens of features and changes how apps interact with iOS and with Touch ID on the iPhone.

We’ll help you figure out what you need to be aware of and how well iOS 8 runs on the iPhone 5s.

iOS 8 Installation

On the actual iOS 8 release date installing the update is a pain due to so many other people trying to do this at the same time, leading to long download times. The easiest way to avoid this is to install iOS 8 manually. If you plan to wait a few days, or even a few hours, the iOS 8 problems should disappear.

Many users ran into iOS 8 storage problems when they discovered the iOS 8 update needed close to 5.8 GB free, even though the iOS 8 update is only 1.1GB in size.

If you plug-in to iTunes to install you don’t need the same amount of free storage space to upgrade.

iOS 8 Performance on iPhone 5s

Here's a closer look at the iOS 8 performance on the iPhone 5s.
Here’s a closer look at the iOS 8 performance on the iPhone 5s.

After installing the update there are some important iOS 8 performance tests we run to make sure you won’t end up with any surprises when you take the same steps later. After using iOS 8 on the iPhone 5s for a week we have a very good idea of what works and what doesn’t work. During these tests we pay special attention to the iOS 8 battery life, connectivity to WiFi and LTE. We also pay attention to how well the device runs, makes calls and look for any other iOS 8 problems that may appear.

Apps

We are already seeing some iOS 8 app updates arrive, which is great news for users that want to use all the new iOS 8 features.

The only real iOS 8 app problem I’ve run into is while using the new iOS 8 predictive keyboard tool. This covers up some buttons on apps that usually place them right above the keyboard and that have yet to update to shift up when predictive text is on. To get around this I often need to turn the predictive text off while using the app.

Only one other small issue I’ve run into is odd handling of share options in apps like Alien Blue. When I try to submit a link to view a SideBar in this Reddit app on the iOS 8 GM, it does not do anything. This is likely due to small changes in sharing behavior and something that I expect to see fixed soon.

All of the apps I use to access social media, stream music and videos and manage Fantasy Football are running fine on iOS 8 on the iPhone 5s.

One great thing about iOS 8 apps on the iPhone 5s is the ability to use Touch ID and Safari Extensions. With LastPass installed and extensions turned on I can open LastPass from the share button in Safari, unlock it with Touch ID and then tap to log in to a webpage. There are other apps that can do similar things.

iOS 8 Battery Life on iPhone 5s

iOS 8 battery life is a huge concern for many users. This makes a lot of sense considering the high chances of really bad battery life after installing a major update.

iOS 8 battery life is good on the iPhone 5s, but I still need to charge at the end of some days.
iOS 8 battery life is good on the iPhone 5s, but I still need to charge at the end of some days.

On the final version of iOS 8 by iPhone 5s battery life is very good. There are still days I need to charge up in the evening to last all day, but on those days I am talking on the phone for one to two hours.

I’ve already used the new iOS 8 battery usage tool to find apps that use the most battery life (Settings -> General -> Usage -> Battery Usage) to make sure any drain is not due to rogue apps. Hangouts uses a lot of battery life with background activity.

Connectivity

Another place iOS updates commonly break the iPhone or iPad is WiFi or LTE. I have not experienced any WiFi problems on iOS 8 for the iPhone 5s.

LTE and Bluetooth both appear to be working fine. I run into issues making phone calls inside my house on Verizon, even with 3 bars of service, but that is not something completely new on iOS 8. This is more likely related to coverage at home.

Bugs & Issues

Overall iOS 8 is stable and does not include a lot of bugs that interrupt my day. FaceTime Audio is still not great at switching from WiFi to LTE or the other direction when I leave or arrive at home. While on a long FaceTime Audio call there are inexplicable drops in the call even with a great WiFi connection.

I will continue to monitor the iOS 8 performance on the iPhone 5s for any bugs.

Speed

On older smartphones the iOS 8 update may slow things down, but I am not noticing any iOS 8 performance issues when opening apps, switching apps and during general use of the iPhone. I don’t expect that any will appear in the coming weeks, but I will monitor this as I install iOS 8 app updates.

The iOS 8 performance is good on the iPhone 5s.
The iOS 8 performance is good on the iPhone 5s.

Should You Install iOS 8?

There is no need to install iOS 8 on day one when there are many iOS 8 download and update issues, but for most users installing iOS 8 on the iPhone 5s is a no brainer.

You get a collection of great iOS 8 features shown below, solid performance and better connectivity with the iPad. When the OS X Yosemite release date arrives you’ll also be able to answer calls on your Mac, read and send text messages from your computer and quickly pick up on the app you last used.

iOS 8 Features

Here is a list of my favorite iOS 8 features. There are dozens of great iOS 8 features on the iPhone 5s and there’s a new Time Lapse camera mode that delivers cool videos, but these are my top 10 iOS 8 features.

  1. Texts, Calls, Hotspot & Handoff – Your calls and texts show up on Mac and iPad and you can easily use the iPhone hotspot as well as bring your work with you between devices when you switch from one to the other.
  2. Notifications –  Quickly reply to notifications without leaving the app they are in.
  3. Better Messages – Send voice and video messages. Leave and do not disturb individual Group Message threads.
  4. New Keyboard Features & Third Party Keyboards – Apple adds predictive text and allows keyboard choices finally.
  5. iCloud Photo Library – Access all your photos and videos in full resolution from anywhere. Paid storage starts at 20GB for 99 cents a month.
  6. Family Share – Share apps, movies and more without using the same Apple ID and approve In App Purchases with a notification.
  7. Siri Always Listening – When plugged in you can say, “Hey Siri.” and Siri will launch so you can use the assistant.
  8. Smart Sharing – You can now share to more than the stock list of Apps that Apple picked. This changes based on the apps you have installed.
  9. FaceTime Call Waiting – We make a lot of FaceTime calls and we can finally switch calls easily using iOS 8.
  10. Touch ID Support for Apps – Touch ID now works in third-party apps which makes it possible to secure other apps using your fingerprint.

The iOS 8 slideshow below shows you how the iOS 8 update compares to iOS 7 with a variety of photos and many of the best iOS 8 features you’ll want to try.

What’s New in iOS 8

iOS 8 vs iOS 7 Walkthrough - Home Screen

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iOS 8 vs iOS 7 Walkthrough - Home Screen

We start our iOS 8 vs iOS 7 walkthrough with the iPhone home screen, which is where you'll start your iOS 8 experience after an update this fall. 

These screens are incredibly important as you see them anytime you turn on the iPhone or need to choose an app to launch. There is no way around using them, so Apple needs to make sure they work just right. 

As you can see in the iOS 8 vs iOS 7 comparison above, there is no change between the home screen in the new iPhone software. Apple changed the status bar and some other small visual changes in iOS 7, but there are no updates for iOS 8.  

We could see Apple change the home screen slightly for iOS 8 for the iPhone 6. The new iPhone will feature a larger 4.7-inch display with a higher resolution. This is something Apple may use to add more icons to the screen. Or they could stick with the current layout, it's tough to tell.  

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14 Comments

  1. Raymond. K

    09/18/2014 at 6:00 am

    great little review!

    I myself have also installed iOS 8 on my iPhone 5s, and so far I’m quite happy.

    I did discover one major bug do, (which still remains after reset en re-download iOS 8 through iTunes)

    The bug I’m revering to is, in settings, wallpaper.. when you choose wallpaper, stills, there is no zooming in the picture to have a certain part set as your home-screen… …I’m ok with that because I often choose pics of my own as wallpaper.

    BUT.. when I choose pictures taken with the camera, or uploaded High-res, (a-lot bigger than screen-res) and want to zoom in to use a portion of that pic as background. —Zooming in the picture gets blurred and pixelated??
    –In iOS 7 it stayed as sharp and stopped zooming before they became un-sharp..

    This seems like a BIG! Bug to me!

    Reply

  2. Nic

    09/18/2014 at 7:45 am

    My iphone 4s isnt smooth anymore. It lags, sluggish. I feel as if I am using Beta version of IOS 8.

    It takes too long to stream videos both from Safari or youtube. The time bar of the video doesnt reflect the correct status because it reflects that the video has been buffered completely however ITS NOT!! WHY WHY WHY????

    I really wonder how can they release the software before testing the speed on all models or have they completely taken 4s for granted, which sometime back was the hot selling phone? Even today, ppl like to own that model cuz handling is way better than any other variant.

    Reply

  3. Apollo

    09/18/2014 at 12:33 pm

    I promise, promise you, it won’t be long at all before someone sues Apple for ‘intentionally making the 4S slower with the latest OS so that people will upgrade to a newer phone’.. It’s happened before with the 3GS and iOS5 if anyone remembers that? Hopefully Apple fixes the 4S issues, and fast, with iOS8.0.1! And in case they don’t, and you guys are still frustrated with the 4S performance, now you know what you can do about it :)

    Reply

    • J

      09/26/2014 at 2:29 am

      sue for slower iPhone 4s? yeah, right – and get laughed out of court!

      Reply

  4. Apollo

    09/18/2014 at 12:38 pm

    Also, I installed iOS8 on a 4S yesterday and it is horrid. Runs slow, lags, annimations get stuck or skip frames..it feels like a beta, as a previous commenter mentioned. I, after 15 minutes with iOS8 on a 4S, downgraded through iTunes since Apple was still signing iOS7.1.2 at the time. They are not signing 7.1.2 now but fortunately I’m not stuck on iOS8. The iPhone 5 seems great with 8, so avoid 8 if you’re on a 4S!

    Reply

  5. Juan Zingarello

    09/18/2014 at 9:57 pm

    I received an update request to update my iPhone 5S to iOS 8 and after the phone freezes in the middle of it’s upgrade, I am forced to restart my phone and now my phone goes into recovery mode. I have tried recovering my phone twice via iTunes spending 4 hours on the 2 attempts and the phone won’t recover. Now I am paying a Verizon bill with an Apple iVegetable phone. Very unhappy right now and am using my work Blackberry for the time being.

    Reply

  6. Kush

    09/19/2014 at 2:22 am

    I downloaded the iOS 8 on the first day of the realease .. And when I use the third party apps to play music or even to stream videos on them .. They shut down ..!!! I don’t know why Tht is happening but.. It use to work perfect on the iOS 7.1.2 I don’t know wat is wrong wid this one .. Pls help….

    Reply

  7. Suec

    09/19/2014 at 2:49 pm

    After downloading OS8 & being very excited about the audio message feature I was disappointed to find the mic ghosted out & I can’t use it !!!! Why?

    Reply

  8. Victor

    09/21/2014 at 11:33 am

    Hey all. Well what can I say other than I’m very unimpressed so far with the IOS 8 update. It seriously lacks what was promised as to speed and versatility.

    I have an iPhone 5s 64G and the new crap that Apple has shoved down our throats has my phone glitching like you wouldn’t believe.

    All and I mean “Every single app” that I’m currently using has been slowed down by at least 30%. Most of my apps freeze up at one point or another and I have to do a soft or hard reset in order to get back to my phone options.

    Not only that but my wifi has been seriously curtailed as well. It takes me now 15-20 seconds to load a web page where as the iOS 7 was almost flawless and pretty much instant.

    If this is apples way of making sure you buy the iPhone 6, I’m not sure I can condone their shenanigans. I just might go to a different phone system altogether.

    My sisters phone the Q5 something or other always has more options for games, seems a lot faster than the iPhone in the first place, and has a much bigger screen and play area than the iPhone 5 does anyways.

    Shoving stuff down people’s throats is more than likely going to get the response of “bleep you apple”
    Maybe next time I’ll just buy something that’s more user friendly in the future instead of condoning your BS.

    Well that’s my 2 cents. I hope you’ve enjoyed my rant and please for the love of God if you haven’t downloaded the IOS 8 yet “DONT” you’ll thank me later for saving yourself all the frustration that I’m going through.

    Reply

  9. Claudia Keller

    09/21/2014 at 2:10 pm

    I am having a problem with screen rotation, for instance my messaging and my safari will not rotate. Is there a setting I need to change? I especially liked the rotated screen for messaging because the letters were larger.

    Reply

  10. Peter

    09/21/2014 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve got a 5s 64g, after updating to iOS 8 from 7.1.2 my phone is rubbish, very slow freezes while opening a web page or youtube takes like a min to open pages, movies artwork covers vanished even after restoring the phone no joy. Not to talk of battery drainage, and many more bugs, Apple is so rubbish, it seems they are doing it on purpose so people buy their latest devices as many of us have observed, well I assume this would not go far, very disapointing

    Reply

  11. Sam

    09/21/2014 at 3:43 pm

    Ios 8 is not good at all atleast in my case, I’ve got a 5s 64gb and a ipad air after the update they have become very unresponsive, too slow internet very slogish takes ages to open apps quit on their own while being used and many more, I hope they would do something. Or it’s a way to make clients go for their new devices, in my case I’m going for other products that I’ll be satisfied cod Apple is just a headache

    Reply

  12. Nwosu Onyeka George

    09/26/2014 at 6:37 am

    I just upgraded to ios8 and i noticed alot of changes. Battery drain, slower loading time for safari, weather app not showing weather in my current region and so on. I should’ve just stuck to 7.1.2. I’m not happy @ all. Totally vexed

    Reply

  13. chris9465

    10/08/2014 at 11:18 pm

    all these review websites pretty much all say the same thing….”iOS 8 works well on my_______fill in the blank some issues need to be worked out……but then i read the comments….they never match…..the review says its good….the comments says its horrible…..I learned my lesson on the iphone 4 and iOS 7….it slowed my phone to the point of uselessness…..I have a perfectly functioning iphone 5s and nothing iOS 8 offers is worth the risk of bugs and glitches……

    Reply

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