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Apple iPhone 3G
Apple's iPhone 3G is allergic to iOS 4

Apple just can't catch a break these days when it comes to issues surrounding its iPhones. We all know about the problems involving the iPhone 4, but complaints have also been flooding in from iPhone 3G owners.

What seemed like a kind gesture by Apple to provide iOS 4 to owners of the two-year-old iPhone 3G is turning into a bit of a mess for the boys from Cupertino. Owners who have upgraded to the latest version of iOS are witnessing massive performance slowdowns, reduced battery life, and overheating machines.

The complaints started appearing on Apple-oriented discussion forums soon after the update was released; here are just a couple of examples from Mac Rumors and the official Apple Discussions forum (38 pages long, 36 pages long).

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is now looking into the problem, but declined to state anything more than that. IOS 4 for the iPhone 3G is already crippled relative to the versions available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (no multitasking, no home screen wallpapers), so it remains to be seen what else could be sacrificed to improve performance on the two-year-old phone that is using the same CPU/memory configuration as the original three-year-old iPhone.

TUAW has even made the recommendation that those who haven't upgraded to iOS 4 should stay far away.

Updated 7/29/2010 @ 9:48 am

Neowin reports of a "fix" for the performance problem that involves disabling Spotlight search on the phone. Many users are reporting that this restores performance:

To remedy the sluggish performance (or at least one cause of it) go to “Settings->General->Home Button->Spotlight Search-> deselect every option” and this will stop background indexing on the phone.

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Apple QC, blows goats
By afkrotch on 7/28/2010 6:39:29 PM , Rating: 5
Just goes to show that Apple probably has some of the worst quality control of a Fortune 500 company. Guess even their development teams has been mystified by the magical "it just works" phrasing from their marketing team.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Treknologist on 7/28/2010 7:04:37 PM , Rating: 5
Hmm, did anyone say "fragementation?" Funny how many people criticize Android OS for being fragmented, yet here is something akin to that happening with the iPhones.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By adiposity on 7/28/2010 7:31:59 PM , Rating: 5
Their very oldest phones run OS 3, while everything else is running v4, provided the users update.

This is nothing like the fragmentation of Android phones, where there are at least 3 major groups of OS:

Soon to be four, as a lot of phone will get 2.2, but not all the 2.1s will (Droid Eris, for one).

Personally I think fragmentation is not a significant issue for Android, but it's definitely more "real" than for iPhones, as only Apple's 3-year-old phones are running a different OS.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By weskurtz0081 on 7/29/2010 10:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't the 3G a 2 year old phone?

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By adiposity on 7/29/2010 11:24:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, 3G was released 2 years ago, but IOS4 is running on 3G. Only the original iPhone does not run IOS4.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By omnicronx on 7/29/2010 11:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
Hes not making a direct comparison, he said akin too which I find to be true. Apple is now making iOS for more than one device, they are not merely targeting a single piece of hardware. This puts a lot more stress on developers when trying to distribute an OS especially to older hardware. Theis article is a perfect example of the kind of things that can happen.. Development cycles will be longer, and code could become sloppy if the correct amount of time is not taken.

Add the iPad into the mix and things get even more complicated..

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By adiposity on 7/29/2010 11:39:35 AM , Rating: 2
There is some similarity, but in truth Android fragmentation, while not a significant problem for Google, is very different from Apple's situation.

With Android, no one source is controlling the updating, and "fragmentation" is guaranteed.

With IOS, Apple controls all updates, and unless the user deliberately decides not to update, they can keep all phones running the same version if they choose. In the case of the 3-year-old iPhone, they chose not to update it. If the trend continues, it means 3 years of your device not being "fragmented" from the rest.

In the case of Android, it's unpredictable. Droid Eris, and Moto Droid, released at the same time (running 1.6 and 2.0 originally), will be fragmented. Eris will remain on 2.1, and Moto Droid will go to 2.2. Eris isn't even a year old and it has already lost update support.

Of course, this isn't Google's fault. It's HTC's decision. And this is precisely the issue with fragmentation. It can happen to any phone, at any time, with Android OS. Frequently, when a new version comes out, it creates a new group, while never completely eliminating the old group (see 2.0, 1.1, and 2.0.1 for those that were not really fragmented). With Apple, if they "fragment," they decide when, and this essentially allows them to guarantee 3 generations of support. Google can't offer this.

In spite of these issues, I believe Android to be the superior OS in many ways, and I don't care about fragmentation much, as long as I get about 2 years of updates. If developers worry about fragmentation, they can target 1.5 and their app will work everywhere.

To me, Android fragmentation isn't an issue, but not getting the latest update for a new phone (Droid Eris) is. That's not fragmentation, so much as lack of long term support.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By omnicronx on 7/29/2010 12:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just trying to explain that Apple is going through a form of fragmentation itself, not that they are going through the same situation as Android (which as you very nicely explained, are not).

That being said, you seem to forget that with Android, the carriers are also very much so involved in the upgrade process. While phone manufactures definitely play a big part, its irrelevant what HTC(just using them as an example) wants to do if the carrier does not want to support it.

This also adds to the problem. Android 3.0 is suppose to take care of this from what I've read. Looks like they are taking a similar approach to MS with certain OS files that can be updates independently of carrier/manufacturer files etc so they can push out small patches and bug fixes without a full update. This will help eliminate some of their fragmentation.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By JasonMick on 7/28/2010 7:23:29 PM , Rating: 5
Just goes to show that Apple probably has some of the worst quality control of a Fortune 500 company. Guess even their development teams has been mystified by the magical "it just works" phrasing from their marketing team.

It seems to largely stem from their obsessive secrecy which causes them to skimp on real world testing. That really forms a deadly combination with their perpetual desire to cram high end (hot -- both literally and metaphorically) electronics into tight metal packages. The result are devices that look great and at times function great, but have glaring problems like overheating, in addition to a variety of software woes.

I remember seeing the iPhone 4 hardware and regretting my EVO purchase. D@MN, I thought, that display looks great. Now I couldn't be happier that I made the choice I did.

No offense to AT&T (I do think they're *trying*), but to get stuck on a capped connection with a more expensive plan and a faulty phone would have given me endless headaches.

I feel bad for the early iPhone 4 adopters and am thoroughly glad I went EVO -- I've had very few issues with the phone thus far.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By adiposity on 7/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By KayDat on 7/28/2010 9:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a reasonable comment to me. I mean, iPhones and iPads alike seem to have issues overheating, something that you would think should be ironed out before mass production.
Besides, he was posting a comment, not an analytical article.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By JasonMick on 7/28/2010 10:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
This doesn't sound like analysis, it sounds like fanboyism.

No its merely a comment on the inherent design limitations with current technology that Apple's butting its head into.

As Scotty says, "I cannot change the laws of physics, Captain!

I too am jealous of the iPhone4 display, but I don't justify it with accusations of ineptitude. I will just wait until it comes to an Android phone.

I'd be fine with it on an iPhone... if the rest of the phone worked. I'm happy with any well functioning bleeding edge smart phone. What I dislike is failing antennas and junk like that...

I'm not sure if you're calling me an Android fanboy or an iPhone fanboy, but either way you're wrong.

I meant my comment on the display merely as buyers remorse at seeing what appeared to be the next big thing come along. The same thing happens to me whenever I buy laptops. Seems like a month or two after I get one, they always release some new graphics chips or something else that makes me wish I could magically get a redo. But you can always play that game.. just gotta buy the product and endure the long wait for the upgrade. :)

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By sprockkets on 7/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By JasonMick on 7/28/2010 11:14:50 PM , Rating: 5
Soooooo, what prevents apple from testing the iphone4 in their facilities? Or what prevents them from testing iOS 4 on older phones?

That's not a good way to get realistic real world results. You need testing in multiple cities and under a variety of environments (urban areas, rural areas, etc.).

You are just a troll who crammed about 12 different past articles on Apple's troubles with the obligatory "It just works" slogan at the top, for an article about a bug in Safari 5.

My advice to you is to put your hands over your eyes and hum a happy song whenever you see a negative article about Apple. That way you can ensure that you remain in happy fantasy land and never have to hear that its products might have been less then perfect.

I suggest the same thing for those who are unhappy with my articles that have been critical of Microsoft, Android, or others where criticism was due.

Putting a picture of a unicorn clearly belongs to a news article, and not your blog.

C'mon now, lets leave the unicorn out of this. What did he ever do to you?

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By sprockkets on 7/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By JasonMick on 7/29/2010 12:57:10 AM , Rating: 5
Dude, I don't care if you post all day about Apple. It's the trolling part we all hate. None of your other posters here act like an idiot.

Did you accidentally forget a factual-based argument to support your wild claims?? It's not too late...


Seeing as how this is about the older iphones, why couldn't Apple test it in the wild?

I was primarily referring to Apple's hardware issues with that regard. In this case I'm not quite sure quite why Apple didn't identify this problem sooner. I'll give Apple that it can at least *usually* use its secrecy and design desires as excuses for problems and shortcomings. This time it merely seems to have screwed up out of pure sloppiness.

Yeah, you do it for others, but Apple is clearly your favorite.

When you claim to be "magical" you set the standards pretty high for yourself.

I do own two Apple products and while I don't find them "magical" I have found them to meet their desired utility, so it's not like I want to see Apple go out of business. I merely would like for Apple to cut the denial and arrogance and take a higher road, improving quality control and customer relations. Is that so unreasonable?

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By tastyratz on 7/29/2010 8:44:37 AM , Rating: 2
I hardly think you are posting in any fanboy fashion there Jason. You acknowledged liking several things and it was outweighed with flaws. They are hardly fabricated but legitimate flaws.

I think this accusation falls more under "you smelled it you dealt it"

It's Apples infallible holier than thou arrogance that attracts all this negative publicity in hopes perhaps of a glimmer of humility. Maybe if dt writes more on major apple flaws, then apple should start doing things right in that glass house? If there was nothing to write about there wouldn't be any articles...

Also I don't know how much I would weight that AT&T is "trying". The fact that they are trying does not fix issues with their network, results do. Until they do its still an inferior network. You don't want your mechanic to tell you he is trying for several weeks, you just want your car back.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By sprockkets on 7/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By JasonMick on 7/29/2010 11:21:12 AM , Rating: 4

You asked. Check your comments on your article dealing with AMD's profit.

Your "smoking gun" is... off topic? If anyone, you seem to be the one trolling here, desperately trying to cast anyone who criticizes Apple in a negative light.

About the only marginally relevant point I can observe is that I had a typo in that AMD article... but I'm sure you've never had a typo in any documents at your work. After all you do live in a perfect fantasy world...

Put it on your blog, not the news section.

I do!


But I'm also not going to stop reporting on Apple's problems because it offends your delicate sensibilities. Sorry, pal!

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By sprockkets on 7/29/2010 12:07:06 PM , Rating: 1
Your "smoking gun" is... off topic? If anyone, you seem to be the one trolling here, desperately trying to cast anyone who criticizes Apple in a negative light. About the only marginally relevant point I can observe is that I had a typo in that AMD article... but I'm sure you've never had a typo in any documents at your work. After all you do live in a perfect fantasy world...

How about "This is Jason Mick. What did you expect?" Your reputation is quite known for sensationalism. Like your headline "Apple bans apps" when no such thing happened nor was supported by anything in that article, or how you put a picture of an open iphone 4 with the line, "Notice how there is no insulation on the metal antenna" when it goes on the outside, not inside, or how you painted Rambus as a company who doesn't make any products when everyone knows they made RDRAM, or your article about Win7 mobile was 80% rehash of your other articles with nothing new of any substance?

Calling it a typo is utterly wrong; you mixed up millions with billions and gross and net profit. That's just sloppy editing.

But I'm also not going to stop reporting on Apple's problems because it offends your delicate sensibilities. Sorry, pal!

Report it all you like. Don't sensationalize, don't paint everything black and white - that's not professional. No one else but you does that here.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Gio6518 on 7/28/2010 9:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
I remember seeing the iPhone 4 hardware and regretting my EVO purchase. D@MN, I thought, that display looks great. Now I couldn't be happier that I made the choice I did.

I have a couple friends with the iPhone 4 , and ill take my 4.3 screen over they're 3.5 any day. I feel my phone is more responsive, and prefer the apps I get on Android. Though there is only 1 app I'm missing I wish I could have, i'd be missing over a dozen if I had the iPhone.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Stoanhart on 7/28/2010 11:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I'm not sure how this can really happen. In an open-hardware ecosystem like Windows PCs or Android phones, sure - how could the OS vendor test all different hardware combination? But this is Apple! They only had to test, what, 4 devices? I'm sure they had some lying around the old HQ.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Bruneauinfo on 7/29/2010 1:51:18 PM , Rating: 1
poo poo poo Apple. Poo Poo Poo Mac. Poo Poo Poo iPhone. Poo Poo Poo Steve. Poo Poo Poo Jobs. Poo Poo Poo iPad. Poo Poo Poo Poo Poo Poo Poo. And more Poo Poo Poo on Poo Poo Poo with Poo Poo Poo sprinkles.

and more brilliant apple-hater commentary after the break.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Smilin on 7/30/2010 11:29:25 AM , Rating: 2
You're one dim troll.

Yes you should all be praising Apple! Why can you all not see that this issue is a testament to how great they are?

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Bruneauinfo on 7/30/2010 1:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
i'm the troll? i thought you were the troll. or maybe everyone here is a troll. maybe this whole site is a troll!

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Smilin on 7/30/2010 2:09:31 PM , Rating: 2
Your mother is a troll.

RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Smilin on 7/30/2010 2:10:23 PM , Rating: 2

fffssssssss... Ooh BUURN!


RE: Apple QC, blows goats
By Bruneauinfo on 7/30/2010 4:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
And a proud family of trolls that we are missy.

I experienced this
By Goty on 7/28/2010 7:30:56 PM , Rating: 4
I upgraded my 3G to iOS4. Two weeks later, I bought a Samsung Captivate. Coincidence? I think not.

RE: I experienced this
By Ard on 7/28/2010 7:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
Not quite the same story as yours but very, very similar.

Had an iPhone 3G, upgraded to an iPhone 4, got pissed off that my data connection kept dropping if I even slightly closed my hand around the phone, returned the iPhone 4 on day 27, managed to get AT&T to hold a Captivate for me, tinkered and customized the Captivate, and been happy ever since :)

I really wonder if Apple even bothers to run QC/QA on these products. It's a laundry list of problems. Antenna issues, proximity sensor issues, and performance crippling OS on approved older hardware. What else is going to surface?

RE: I experienced this
By amanojaku on 7/28/2010 8:30:37 PM , Rating: 5
What else is going to surface?
Jobs: "It... It's not magical. And... it doesn't work."

RE: I experienced this
By DuctTapeAvenger on 7/29/2010 11:05:43 AM , Rating: 2
Minus the OS4 upgrade (Every time an upgrade rolled out my 3G got slower, so I stopped with the upgrades a few months back), that's exactly what I did. The Captivate is infinitely better than my old 3G. I was even able to find someone willing to pay me enough for the 3G to cover the phone and a case.

RE: I experienced this
By SnakeBlitzken on 7/29/2010 12:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
That's my plan exactly. How do you like it compared to the 3G?

RE: I experienced this
By Goty on 7/29/2010 3:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
I like it a lot. The interface is fine (very similar to the iPhone, actually) and very responsive, the camera is serviceable and the video recording is good for a phone. I like the amount of control I have over everything, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to ditch my 3G in the first place. I've rooted the phone and removed all of the AT&T mess that came with the phone (the only mildly useful apps are just AT&T versions of things that are already part of the OS) and I plan on doing quite a bit of tinkering.

The only thing you might be disappointed with coming from the iPhone is the Android Market. It's not as polished or as easily navigable as the iPhone app store, but it works.

Lovely Parody of the issue
By Brandon Hill on 7/28/2010 6:33:24 PM , Rating: 5
Here's a YouTube parody of the issue at hand :-)

RE: Lovely Parody of the issue
By Smilin on 7/28/2010 8:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like a demo of the issue at hand.

Funny I was just talking to a couple of guys at work bitching about this. One had already downgraded back to 3. The other was ranting about his wife's phone.

RE: Lovely Parody of the issue
By MonkeyPaw on 7/28/2010 8:44:39 PM , Rating: 2
I unwisely upgraded my 3G to iOS4 (iTunes recommended it, after all), and it has turned my phone into a frustrating, crappy mess.

Since the upgrade, my phone has gotten noticeably slower doing every-freaking-thing, and every app lags or is unresponsive for 3-4 seconds after opening (including things like notepad or calculator). My phone will occasionally just stop working. The buttons do nothing, and you just have to stare at the locked screen for 4-5 minutes, after which the phone restarts itself. I guess that's nice, since you can't remove the battery to hard-reset it yourself.

Looks like Apple might need to offer a "downgrade" option for 3G users, kinda like MS did with XP and Vista. Oh wait, didn't Apple make fun of that plan? How ironic!

RE: Lovely Parody of the issue
By mmntech on 7/28/2010 9:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
I had the problem with the cold molasses speed of iOS4 on my 3G. It's pretty easy to do the downgrade yourself. Just do a Google search for it.

Apple really did drop the ball on this one. The fact that you need iOS4 to use the iBook app is more salt in the wound.

RE: Lovely Parody of the issue
By Omega215D on 7/29/2010 3:44:32 AM , Rating: 2
My phone! The buttons do nothing! ;)

By chazzzer on 7/28/2010 10:37:56 PM , Rating: 5
From: Steve Jobs ( )
Subject: Re: iOS 4 makes iPhone 3G unbearably slow

Non-issue. Just buy an iPhone 4 and avoid using the 3G.

3GS Isn't Much Better
By Aikouka on 7/28/2010 11:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 3GS and it's really not so rosey on this side either. I've noticed that multi-tasking seems to cause significant slowdown issues and sometimes apps simply refuse to work properly. How do you fix it? Simply open up the "task manager" and close the tons of apps that still reside in memory.

I really wish Apple would provide a white list feature if they're going to implement multi-tasking like this. That way, I could allow only a select few apps to store state data.

RE: 3GS Isn't Much Better
By kmmatney on 7/29/2010 12:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
it would be nice if you could set which apps multitask, and which ones don't. I've noticed that turning off Spotlight Search made my 3GS a bit snappier on iOS4. The camera still starts slower than before, though.

and silence is golden
By Chaser on 7/29/2010 9:42:11 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone notice that since the iPhone design issues have risen along with Consumer Reports pulling their recommendation for the 4th iPhone that the usual 2 or 3 Apple fanboi trolls -that are always in red, that I never read- have vanished?

This must be a very trying time for them. This one,two knockdown punch of free bumpers (ha ha!) and Android's unprecedented market growth must be almost too much for them to bear.

RE: and silence is golden
By joeballow on 7/29/2010 8:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
They may have had a rough go for a few weeks, but I doubt they are hurting, they are wiping the floor with most of the competition as far as revenue.

By Shatbot on 7/28/2010 6:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
You mean you haven't upgraded? Tisk.

What about the 3GS?
By dubldwn on 7/28/2010 8:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
Since I upgraded to iOS4, texts send slower and my camera opens slower. I just figured it was because the new operating system was heavier and thus ran a little slower on my older hardware. I imagine this phenomena would be amplified on the 3G.

Make it GREEN for Android
By BruceLeet on 7/28/2010 8:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
So Kris, how about that 6.

Are the people at Apple clueless?
By Targon on 7/28/2010 11:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
It is almost a given that new OS versions will not only add features, but will also require additional resources to support said features. So, what happens when you put a new OS on an old device?

Hmmmm, OS requires more RAM, and if you cross a critical point between virtual memory usage and available RAM, the device slows to a crawl. The amount of RAM on the older devices is a critical issue here, and is probably the reason for the problem. How difficult is it to check available memory and virtual memory to verify if this is the problem?

There could be another issue here, but this would be the first thing to check, and a "study" to investigate shouldn't be necessary until this basic concept is checked.

not surprising
By chromal on 7/29/2010 1:20:39 AM , Rating: 2
iOS 4 was designed with the 512MB RAM iPhone 4G in mind. the 128MB RAM iPhone 3G is unsurprisingly offering a iOS 4 experience that is degraded from what they knew in iPhoneOS 3.x.

By Dingmatt on 7/29/2010 3:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
Can't wait till my iCrap contract runs out in December, decent android phone here I come.

You updated it wrong.
By chick0n on 7/29/2010 8:39:24 AM , Rating: 2
Apple software/hardware have no bugs?

You trust Apple wrong.

for later
By Smilin on 7/29/2010 9:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
Late reply way down here where it wont be noticed but I gotta get this down so I can "I told you" later..

There will be a class action lawsuit.

Steve Jobs to iPhone 3 users:
By CarbonJoe on 7/29/2010 1:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
Steve Jobs to iPhone 3 users: You're using it wrong.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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