Dear Lifehacker, My iPhone 3G has been intolerably slow since I upgraded to iOS 4, and while I know I can downgrade back to 3.1.3 if I really can’t stand it, I was wondering if there was anything I can do to speed things up and still use iOS 4. Signed, Short on iPatience
You’re far from alone with this problem (in fact, Apple’s officially looking into it), and while we’ve offered one or two suggestions in the past that might help, your question seems like a good opportunity to take a more detailed look at possible solutions.
Note: The tips below are based on various suggestions we’ve tried and that other netizens have helped speed up their phones. We’ve tried each, but can’t guarantee they’ll work for you.
The Double Hard Reset
You won’t lose anything by performing the DHR, so it’s worth a try. As I said, I never noticed an improvement after a DHR, but a lot of people have claimed success with this method.
Disable Unnecessary Features
The next iOS optimisation step we’d try consists of disabling unnecessary features. You can pick and choose which features you’re willing to disable. Remember, we’re only going off anecdotal evidence from Lifehacker readers and various other 3G users around the internet.
Note: One reader suggested that the DHR will help you see the effects of these adjustments. If it does in fact help, the same probably holds for any of the following adjustments.
Delete Your SMS Messages: Today, our friends from down under at Lifehacker AU suggested that deleting text messages will also improve iOS 4 performance on the 3G. The only problem with this is that the iPhone’s SMS backup is kind of lame, so you have to do some work if you want to keep them around. (iTunes does back them up, but it’s buried in a file helpfully named 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28.mddata. Webapps like this one will do the parsing and return a friendlier PDF, XLS, or HTML backup, but you’re also uploading your texts to a third party service.)
(The following tips were suggested by Lifehacker AU reader alirobe.)
Turn off SMS Previews: Settings -> Messages; set Show Preview to Off
Turn off Email Previews, Threading, and Other Features: Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Change Show to 25 Recent Messages, Preview to None, Load Remote Images to Off, Organize By Thread to Off.
Clear Your Phone History: Phone -> Recents -> Clear.
Turn off iPod Features: Settings -> iPod. Turn off Lyrics & Podcast Info, Sound Check.
Start from Scratch
The final possibility involves installing a fresh iOS 4 image (returning to factory settings) but not restoring your backups. If you were to do so, you’d have to re-sync all your media, email, contact, and calendar information manually. Basically it’s like setting up a new iPhone from scratch, which is kind of a frustrating option if you’ve spent any amount of time setting up your iPhone.
Hopefully, after one or more of these adjustments, your phone no longer feels like this:
But if it does, remember: You can always downgrade your 3G to iOS 3 to get your old performance back—you just won’t have all the bells and whistles of iOS 4. Then again, if you’re feeling really cocky, you could enable multitasking and home screen wallpaper on your 3G. In my experience, it’s not worth it.
With all that said, I’ve downgraded and upgraded my 3G about four or five times since the iOS 4 release, and each time I upgrade, I quickly remember why I downgraded to begin with. On my 3G, iOS 4 doesn’t seem to run fast enough, no matter how much tweaking I do. As I said, though, many Lifehacker readers and iPhone users have had better luck, so my experience isn’t necessarily indicative of what you’ll experience.
Best of luck!
P.S. If you’ve been fighting this battle, whether or not you’ve succeeded, share your experience in the comments.