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iPhone 3G slow with iOS4? Take it to the Apple Store



Reports of the iPhone 3G turning into a hot slug when updated to iOS4 are gaining momentum. TUAW has a good rundown with potential solutions. The Mobile Gadgeteer says it just shouldn’t be done. And the problem has hit the mainstream via The Wall Street Journal. But while others are having trouble, my 3G is running better than before.

Prior to the announcement of the iPhone 4, my plan was to upgrade this year and let my wife use my 3G. Yeah, seems cheap to give her my hand-me-downs, but she doesn’t really care about gadgets and only wants to check email, surf the web, and listen to Pandora. (Of course, now she’s getting into other apps too.)

I’d noticed the battery life on my 3G had taken a hit recently, so after my upgrade, I took the old one to the Apple Store for a battery replacement. Turns out they don’t do replacements in-store, contrary to what a Genius had told me earlier, and don’t replace unless the battery is actually drained or faulty. They did a diagnostic and found software problems that they claimed were affecting battery life and performance, so they did a complete repair and reinstall of the OS. I asked the Genius if this was the same as doing a full erase and reinstall on my own and he said no.

After that, I reinstalled a few apps and reloaded it with media via iTunes (for my wife, so I did not simply restore my old profile). I checked the battery drain for a couple of days before getting my wife set up with it, and it was actually improved, particularly when idle. She’s been using it for a few weeks since with no battery or performance problems, except for one glitch playing Pandora via Wi-Fi (not sure if this is fixed or was just an anomaly; no problems with playing via 3G). She does keep it plugged in at work while playing music, but it has been going unplugged overnight without severe draining. In fact, she just called me after her dentist appointment this morning before getting to work. I don’t know if an at-store repair and reinstall will fix every problem with iOS4 on the 3G, but it seemed to work for us.



  1. tivoboy

    07/29/2010 at 7:07 am

    Can anyone out there comment on ios 4 peformance on a 3gS?? I can’t seem to find a report/review that covers that solution. After having taken the iphone 4 back, I’m back on the 3gs for a while now. :-(

    • Sumocat

      07/29/2010 at 7:22 am

      I would imagine the various 3G fixes would apply to the 3GS. If you want to keep an OS reinstall as a last resort, another solution that’s come up is disabling Spotlight Search for certain items. Has gotten positive results for some with 3GS. Via Lifehacker.

    • Maximu5

      08/07/2010 at 12:50 pm

      Well i do have 3GS and ios4.0, after i’ve updated battery started to drain quicker especialy on stanbuy with apps running in the backround (as a fact iphone 4 in standby keeps battery live still even if you got 30 apps in background) mine drain 7% in over 2 hours which is significant blow, while switching off all background apps keeps battery still. Don’t really have to much of perfomance issue unless too many apps are in backround, which makes phone a bit sluggish. Appart from this it is seems to be fine, would like to do a full reinstall at apple!

  2. andy

    07/29/2010 at 8:55 am

    Apples reliance on customer loyalty seems to bet getting further abused, early up takers of there technology are once again receiving the brunt of the issues and just like Apples over censorship (now also in the bookstore) reported in the last few days this will create another setback that I’m sure the company could have done with not coming to light at the moment in time.

    However for them to neglect the full testing of iOS4 on the 3g , means inturn there neglecting the need of current customers it seems there so focused on “this changes everything” that they forget what everything is or was and that should be providing full support to current consumers of there products.

    It is another setback once again for Apple it will be interesting to see what’s next in the news regarding iPhone/iPad issues (antenna, manufacturing and service charges) and their steps to refund cases won’t make up for the iPhone 4’s lack of function over form.

    But Apple have created such a loyal following that people may just put up with what issues there are for the sake of owning the latest Apple product.
    Personally, I’d be happier with an older iPhone – at least then the issues are all ironed out.

    However, it’s also interesting to see how much excitement new technologies can bring. New technology and innovation is important for new business, illustrated by entrepreneurship grants and new business competitions like

    Guess it’s not all bad!

  3. Jamie

    07/29/2010 at 1:03 pm

    I had my iPhone 3G battery draining too quickly after updating my iPhone to iOS 4.0. I didn’t bother to take it to Apple since i had a bad experience with them before. Took my iPhone to a local iPhone Repair Center in Frisco called Dr. Cell Phone. They replaced the battery in just 10 mins.

  4. Xavier Lanier

    07/29/2010 at 10:45 pm

    At the iOS4 launch event a few months ago, Steve Jobs pretty much shrugged off the idea of upgrading the iPhone 3G to iOS4, citing relatively slow hardware. Pretty clear he wants everyone to upgrade to iOS4 by just buying a new iPhone.

  5. joao

    07/31/2010 at 8:18 am

    IOS4 is making my life miserable.
    I have turned everything off have restored the phone and nothing really helps. Every day functions like SMS and phone are dreadful.

    I am sure that the owners of 1 1/2 year old 3G iphones (like myself) feel p**d off about this. Totally unacceptable considering the 600 euros I paid for this phone.

    • steveo

      08/16/2010 at 11:11 pm

      I have a 3G and when I get a text it can take 5 or more seconds to be able to read it. Before the upgrade it was a lot quicker.

  6. Dave Kawalec

    08/01/2010 at 11:16 am

    I had horrible performance issues with my 3G after upgrading to 4.0 and then to 4.0.1. I found a tip which worked wonders for me:

    1. Turn off Spotlight Search: Go to Settings | General | Home Button | Spotlight Search, and uncheck everything
    2. Reboot your iPhone 3G: Just a normal power down and restart
    3. Turn Spotlight Search back on: Go back to same screen as step 1, and re-check everything you unchecked in Step 1

    You can more read about it on my blog:

    • art zamora

      08/10/2010 at 3:59 pm

      This appears to be the best bet to getting the 3G to perform near its normal capacity. I saw this posted elsewhere or your site last week. Glad you posted it for others. As a long time Apple fan, the i0S4 debacle is really bad. The antenna issue is overblown by one to many Verizon bloggers.

  7. Matt Hart

    08/10/2010 at 6:18 am

    After installing IOS4 on my iPhone 3G, it’s performance has been terrible. Having to wait 2 seconds between typing individual letters when sending an email or SMS is not acceptable. The problem that I and an lot of other users will have is that if we downgrade to IOS3.x now, none of our apps will work because they have all been upgraded to IOS4. Deep down the 3G and 3GS are not that different, but it seems that the coding of IOS4 has not taken into account the core compatibilities of the iPhone. Further digging into my iPhone’s file structure has revealed 100’s of error logs for my applications.

  8. Srikanth

    08/13/2010 at 2:20 pm

    I am going to HTC EVO with Sprint..I cann’t put up with this Iphone and ATT nonsense…..

  9. snickiety

    08/13/2010 at 2:29 pm

  10. Darren

    08/14/2010 at 1:27 pm

    3G with iOS4 and now get 30-45 minutes of talk time and about 10 minutes of web use – usually drained and shutting down by 10am unless plugged in. Pathetic Apple! And I have been a 3 year Windows convert with 3 different Apple computers. Between this and the longtime disgust with AT&T, Android/Verizon is starting to look good.

  11. Khyron Elric

    08/15/2010 at 1:20 am

    Hi, I have a question. Will the guys at the Genius Bar do the same thing for an iPhone 3G that is out of warranty?

  12. Bolt473

    02/22/2011 at 5:24 pm

    You don’t have to go to the Apple store. Just turn off restrictions (if they’re on), sync your iPhone/iPod Touch, and click on the Restore button in iTunes. When it’s done, and the iPhone setup page appears, tell it to restore from your backup. I did this on my Mom’s iPod touch 3g and my sister’s WiFi iPad and it makes them much faster. Same thing as what the Genius Bar does.

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