iPhone 3G Software Complaints Surface

Users of old iPhone 3Gs are complaining about slowness and bugginess on their phones after upgrading to the latest operating system version. Now, Apple is looking into the problem.

I wrote about my experiences upgrading my iPhone 3G to iOS 4 in late June, when the new operating system version came out. I wrote, "As for performance: There doesn't seem to be any net change over iOS 3.x. My faithful iPhone 3G doesn't seem to run any faster under iOS 4, but it doesn't seem to run any slower either."

But readers told a different story. They expressed their frustration in comments on that blog. Reader Kevin Lynch complained of "slow response, applications crashing repeatedly, typing in apps like iFitness taking forever, text message response unbearably slow etc. etc."

He adds, "My experience has been bad enough that I probably will not get another iPhone even though I was a huge iPhone advocate prior to this latest release. I am actively looking for a replacement."

Reader Jim said: "I never would have upgraded had I been aware of the consequences. I loved my iPhone and recommended many friends to buy it. Now I want to throw mine against a brick wall."

Relief may be on the way. "We are aware of these reports and we are investigating," an Apple spokeswoman told me in a brief phone interview Thursday morning.

Apple has been getting complaints about iPhone 3G problems on its own support forums and on technology blogs, Wall Street Journal Digits blog's Jennifer Valentino-DeVries reported Wednesday.

"The most common criticism is that the phone is slow after an upgrade. There are also many complaints that the phone drains the battery quickly and becomes excessively hot," the Journal said.

One alternative: Lifehacker has instructions for downgrading the phone to an old version of iOS, but it isn't easy, the Journal said. Users can also restore the phone to factory settings, but that deletes saved information.

The Apple discussion thread on iPhone 3G problems with iOS 4 is 36 pages long. Complaints have spawned a spoof video.

Ars Technica's Jeff Smykile notes the problem puts Apple in an "unenviable position," with "a handset that is performing undesirably with an operating system that the company said would be at least partially supported."

Apple could recommend that users downgrade back to iOS 3.1.3, or tell them that older hardware will always have issues running the latest and greatest software; neither of these would be very popular with the 3G-using public. There is also a third option-put even more time and effort into optimizing the OS for a phone that is now two generations old. That's the least likely option in our view.

Mitch Wagner is a freelance technology journalist and social media strategist.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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