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iOS 9 on iPhone 5: First Impressions & Performance



The iPhone 5 iOS 9 release is finally here which means users around the world now have access to the device’s third major system update. With that in mind, we want to take a look at how the official iPhone 5 iOS 9 update is holding up on day one.

In June, Apple confirmed the iOS 9 update and an iOS 9 release window. For weeks, iOS 9 betas teased iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners with new features and enhancements. Then, last week, Apple finally confirmed a iOS 9 release date for all compatible devices.

The iOS 9 release date is today and the iOS 9 update is now available for select iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. Apple’s iPhone flagship from 2012, the iPhone 5, is one of the devices capable of running the iOS 9 update and it’s an extremely enticing download for those still rocking the first 4-inch iPhone.


The iOS 9 update comes loaded with new features including a new Notes app, performance enhancements, changes to the keyboard, a new font, and more. It’s a tempting update and one that I installed immediately.

Several hours ago, I made the jump from iOS 8.4.1 to iOS 9 on my iPhone 5. Per usual, I want to supply iPhone 5 users with some feedback about the update’s performance in the hours after the initial iOS 9 roll out.

These initial iPhone 5 iOS 9 update impressions don’t serve as my final review of the software but they should help those of you who are struggling over the decision to install now or wait. Remember, there are some very good reasons to wait.

iOS 9 Installation

At 10:01AM PT, Apple released iOS 9 for the iPhone 5. And I, like so many others, tried to download it Over-the-Air right when it was released.

As expected, Apple’s servers got slammed with requests for iOS 9 and this lead to some initial hiccups that prevented me, and many others, from downloading the iOS 9 update Over-the-Air through Settings. The day was off to a great start.

Instead of sitting around waiting for the download problems to subside, I decided to try and install via iTunes. Oddly enough, I didn’t have any issues installing the iPhone 5 iOS 9 update using the application.


From start to finish, the iPhone 5 iOS 9 download and installation process took me about 25 minutes during peak hours. The 860MB download completed extremely fast. It was the installation process that took the longest.

Download issues are still popping up though they aren’t the download issue that I saw early in the morning. Instead, some users are saying that their iOS 9 update is getting stuck.

If that happens to you, all you need to do is hold down the home button and the power button (mine doesn’t work) at the same time and wait for the phone to reboot.

iOS 9 on iPhone 5 Performance

These iOS 9 impressions aren’t going to touch on the many features that come with the iPhone 5’s iOS 9 update. I’ve chosen to focus on performance instead. If you want to learn more about iOS 9 features, take a look at our full length iOS 9 review.

Before I dive into these impressions, remember that I am just one person with one version of an AT&T iPhone 5. I probably don’t use the same applications that you do and I probably don’t use my iPhone 5 the same way that you do. Mileage always varies when it comes to iOS updates so use these impressions as a general guide.

iOS 9 Apps

I’ve been using the iPhone 5 iOS 9 update for a few hours now and I’ve been testing the various applications on my device to ensure that they’ve made a smooth transition from iOS 8.4.1 to the iOS 9 update.

Prior to installing the iOS 9 update, I installed several app updates that came with iOS 9 support in the hopes that they would help keep things stable after the move.

Thus far, I’ve yet to encounter a single problem. My core group of apps include Asana, Slack, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Hangouts, Chrome, Dark Sky, Amazon, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Xbox One Smartglass. These are the apps I use the most and all of them are performing well with iOS 9 on board.

This doesn’t mean that I’m in the clear, app problems can emerge at any time, but it’s still a very good sign. iOS 9 went through a lengthy beta process so I’m not surprised with the early results.

If you do run into some issues with the update, try installing the latest bug fixes, assuming they have good reviews on the App Store. If that doesn’t help, try reinstalling the app. And if push comes to shove, contact the developer.

iOS 9 Battery Life

I’ve owned the iPhone 5 since the day it came out in 2012. And while I’ve dealt with my fair share of iPhone 5 problems over the years, bad battery life hasn’t been one of them.

My iPhone 5’s battery has been holding up extremely well and nothing has changed after the iOS 9 update. I’m not noticing any abnormal battery drain though I can’t tell if iOS 9 has provided a significant battery boost. iOS 9 promises up to an hour of extra battery life. I should know more as I dig in over the next few days.


I haven’t run into any major battery drain issues and I haven’t seen any widespread complaints about iOS 9 battery. That’s important because battery drain issues are typically front and center after major iOS updates.

If you are dealing with battery drain problems after installing the iOS 9 update on your iPhone 5, take a look at our tips and fixes.

iOS 9 Wi-Fi, Cellular Data & Bluetooth

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular data issues are also extremely common after major iOS updates. And while I’ve seen a few people complain about them post-release, I haven’t seen the same kind of volume that I typically see after major system upgrades. iOS 8 was a black eye for Apple so the focus on performance isn’t surprising.

I’ve used the iPhone 5 on several different routers without any problem. Speeds are normal and I’ve been able to connect without any issues. At least thus far.

I’ve been able to successfully pair the iPhone 5 with several Bluetooth devices including headphones and speakers. No problems there. I’ve also been able to pull down excellent LTE data speeds with AT&T’s network. No problem there either.

Issues with connectivity can pop up at any time so I’m going to keep our list of fixes handy just in case I do run into something in the days ahead.

iOS 9 Problems on iPhone 5

I’ve already detailed some of the initial iOS 9 problems plaguing iPhone and iPad users. Most of these issues are small and from what I can tell, isolated. I haven’t seen any widespread iOS 9 problems pop up today and that’s a great sign for iPhone users. We typically see hero level issues emerge shortly after release.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have issues on board my iPhone, it just means I haven’t run into any. Problems can pop up at any time and I’ve discovered bugs weeks after an iOS release. From where I’m sitting though, iOS 9 is stable.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks digging into the iPhone 5 iOS 9 update. I might find something, I might not. If I do, I’ll be sure to warn you.

iOS 9 Speed

If you’ve followed my journey with the iPhone 5, you’d know that the iOS 8 update gave me problems. My device started exhibiting speed issues after downloading the iOS 8.1 update and it unfortunately, it still hasn’t recovered.

I was hoping for an iOS 9 miracle but thus far, it’s more of the same. It still lags a bit when I open a folder, open an app or scroll through the home screen. The lag is also apparent when using the phone’s multitasking feature.


When I say lag, I am talking about a brief slow down, not a full on freeze. Lag is annoying but the phone is still usable.

My hope is that the problems vanish once the iOS 9 update settles in. That can sometimes take a few days. This is a three year old phone so I’m not expecting the world but it would be nice to once again see fluid animations and transitions.

Should You Install iOS 9 Right Now?

I love iOS 9’s feature set and I think you will too. That said, if the iPhone 5 is your daily driver, my advice is to wait a day or two for the smoke to settle. The last thing you want is for iOS 9 to wreck your phone’s performance.

Wait a day or two, gather feedback from a few other sources, and then make your decision. The iPhone 5 is an old phone and you need to tread carefully.

I’ll be back in a week or so with a full review of the iPhone 5 iOS 9 update. For more on iOS 9 features, please take a look at our review.

12 iOS 9 Release Date Tips

Get Familiar with iOS 9

Get Familiar with iOS 9

Before you install iOS 9, you should get familiar with iOS 9 and its changes. We've put together a walkthrough that will take you through these changes and we highly recommend taking at look at all of these changes before you make your move.

You'll also want to consult our full iOS 9 review for a broad look at features and performance on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. 



  1. Adrianhfrierson

    09/17/2015 at 9:03 am

    0=005my buddy’s sister-in-law makes $63 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired from work for 8 months but last month her pay check was $21022 just working on the laptop for a few hours…. Find Out More

  2. clive

    09/17/2015 at 9:27 am

    Nice read Adam, thank you for sharing. Would you go back to 7.1.2 if possible?

  3. Rel

    09/17/2015 at 9:46 am

    I have Iphone 5 still thinking if I’ll update this software since my mom’s iphone 4s got update to ios 8 it went wrong especially the wifi. The problem is the wifi got blocked and cannot be used it says “wifi not available” and the wifi logo turns gray it means you can’t used it forever but it solved when we brought it to the phone repair shop but still weeks, days or month my mom can’t open the wifi. So for me I don’t know if I’ll update it to my Iphone 5

    • Radit2

      09/20/2015 at 9:43 am

      Hi Rel, im sorry to get to know somebody else got the same problem with 4s. I dont think that was an issue with iOS 9. thats just a generic issue within 4s itself, as far as i know.
      three years ago, my 4s was just four months old when it got plagued by that “greyed out wifi”. the only solution was, i asked for a new replacement unit from apple care in my country.

  4. James Archer

    09/17/2015 at 1:32 pm

    Just downloaded it to my iphone 5. Had a merged contacts issue from using another ios device, (not connected). I found when deleting contacts, my battery went from 75% to 52% in 30 minutes. I then turned it on flight mide to save the battery, and it continued to drop from 52% to 45% in 10minutes. The phone went red hot whilst doing this. Also i has used up my data allowance, so shouldnt be using any 3G. So far disapointed in battery life.

  5. Chye Ann

    09/18/2015 at 12:37 am

    This update is utterly crap for my iphone 5s. Extremely weak wifi signal, graphic distorted when multi tasking, phone extremely laggy and freeze most of the time.

  6. Max Bot

    09/18/2015 at 3:43 am

    Perfect article! Thanks for the info.

  7. Vivek

    09/18/2015 at 3:50 am

    Its just very enexpectable in iphone 5. My icons is not flying after unlock phone. Its very bad and. Cheap version

  8. [email protected]

    09/18/2015 at 9:29 pm

    This piece of shit update does not work worth shit my phone has been stuck on a “slide to update” screen for hours …. I am LIVID!!!!!

  9. Agrippa

    09/19/2015 at 8:45 am

    I updated my iPhone 5 to iOS 9 last night. It doesn’t feel better than the previous. When multitasking and scroll to the end, it freezes and I can’t scroll back. I also don’t quite like keys’ appearance. The photos also froze once.

  10. Marcus

    09/21/2015 at 4:47 am

    iOS 9 is causing lag on my iPhone 5 that 8 did not cause. Facebook now keeps crashing when I try to open a photo album of a friend. And yes I did reboot after the install. Be wary of this update on an iPhone 5.

    • harnavjot

      09/27/2015 at 1:58 pm

      Having same problem. Does anyone know any solution to this issue?
      Should this be fixed by Apple or Facebook??

  11. Jen

    09/22/2015 at 4:12 pm

    Awful update, the keypad looks ridiculous in little letters! Child like and tacky

  12. Aditya Jain

    09/22/2015 at 11:26 pm

    I have updated iphone 5s with iOS 9. After using it i felt few issues. I hope iOS 9 will come up with some of updates and it will fix the bugs.

    Please let me know when it will come with new updates.

  13. CindyO

    09/23/2015 at 6:29 am

    iphone 5s is frozen after trying to install iOS9. I can’t do anything with my phone, including shutting it off. It keeps trying to install until it dies.THIS SUCKS!!!!!

  14. YouTuber

    09/25/2015 at 12:49 am

    Now that I updated my iPad to iOS 9 my iPad won’t let me get ANY APP that isn’t on the iTunes or App Store. Some apps you know are only on the internet like screen recorders for YouTube. You can install them but when you click on them it says IPHONE DISTRIBUTION (company name) has not been trusted on this iPad. Until this developer has been trusted, their enterprise apps will not be will not be available for use. PLEASE HELP I NEED OT UPLOAD A VIDEO

  15. Shawn

    10/02/2015 at 11:47 am

    9.01 has completely fried my iphone 6 ! I want to go back out of it and they won’t even give you the option! Friggin commie’s !

  16. Nate Withrow

    10/02/2015 at 12:03 pm

    Somethings is wrong with iOS 9.0.2 issue with the software

  17. MelB

    10/07/2015 at 4:49 pm

    I did not have any download issues but find that my battery is down to <20% daily and that never used to happen. I'm talking on weekdays when I'm working and not even using the phone. I do use Bluetooth to keep a Fitbit synched but had that before the update and never had battery issues like I do now. Additionally, neither the Fitbit app nor the RunKeeper app are accessing my music properly. Both have settings that are turned on to access music, but neither will actually play or control the music unless I also have the music app running. That is new since iOS9. Otherwise no real issues. The news app is useless, as are the other new "required" apps that you can't delete.

  18. Mr Bishun

    10/16/2015 at 5:56 am

    That’s what happens when you buy fruit instead of smart phones

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