Dear Lifehacker, As attractive as buying a shiny new gadget might seem, I don't want to drop hundreds of dollars on a new phone when my old iPhone still does everything I need. That said, I'm also suffering from at least a little new-phone envy. Anything I can do to make my old iPhone faster?Sincerely, Supporter of Last Year's Model
Dear Last Year,
As timing would have it, my Android phone's having some trouble so I just swapped my SIM back into my iPhone 3G, so I've been looking into this very issue. And I've got good news: You've got several options for speeding up that old iPhone. Below, I'll highlight a few of those options.
My Favourite Option: WhiteD00r
Whited00r is a replacement firmware for the iPhone 2G and 3G (as well as iPod touch 1G and 2G) that's designed specifically for aging iOS devices. It's exactly like iOS, except it's optimised to run fast on old devices while also introducing many of the features old iPhone's can't get from the most recent iOS updates. Among other features, Whited00r supports:
- Homescreen wallpaper
- Batter percentages
- Bluetooth and USB tethering
- Tap-to-focus camera
- Video recording
Essentially Whited00r offers a ton of upgrades to old iOS devices without the serious slowdowns you'll experience if you try upgrading to iOS 4. (Which isn't even an option, depending on how old your device is.) Whited00r devices are also jailbroken out of the box, so you can also enjoy our favourite jailbreak hacks.
To install Whited00r on your device, just follow along with Whited00r's installation guide. When I installed Whited00r on my iPhone 3G, I had to follow the instructions in the "Solve installation errors" section, so if at first you don't succeed, troubleshoot! Be sure to check out the post-installation scripts if you want to squeeze even more performance from your device.
The "Just Give Me What I Had" Option: Downgrade
If you don't want to deal with a third-party firmware that isn't officially supported by Apple, you may just want to downgrade that old iPhone to iOS 3. Here's how to do that. You won't get the nice features available in iOS 4, but you will get an iPhone that works just as well as it did — well, back before anyone had heard of the iPhone 4.
The Grasping at Straws Option: Tweak iOS 4
If neither of the options above seem attractive to you, you can try one of the many reader-suggested tips mentioned here. Folks around the net have claimed that performing a double hard-reset, disabling the right features, and clearing various caches on your iPhone can bring iOS 4 up to usable speeds on an old device. To me, these options feel more like practicing superstition than actually fixing anything. Your mileage may vary.
These are the three best methods I've tried with my iPhone 3G (my favourite, as I said, being Whited00r), but that doesn't mean you don't have other options. Readers, if you know of any other tried-and-true methods for speeding up and old iPhone, let's hear it in the comments!
And to you, Last Year's Model — hopefully one of these methods proves helpful for you!