iOS 4 On iPhone 3G: A Little Performance Relief

I decided to upgrade one of my iPhone 3G’s to iOS 4 and leave the other one on iPhone SDK 3.1.3 after purchasing two new iPhone 4’s. Realizing that the upgrade did not have much to offer, the fate of the iOS 4 iPhone 3G was to be utilized as more of an iPod touch for my six-year-old daughter.

I followed some of my own advice and started turning off many features that I felt my daughter wouldn’t use like Notifications, Sounds, Vibrations, Bluetooth, Location Services, 3G Data, Cellular Data, Data Roaming, iPod Controls. I even placed the iPhone in Airplane Mode and turned off Spotlight Search. I did turn restrictions on, if for no other reason than just to disable iTunes, Installing Apps, and especially In-App Purchases. I loaded up the iPhone with no less than 100 Apps (almost all were games), her favorite television episodes, movies, music, and family photos. Wi-Fi was enabled around the house and she’s been using e-mail as well as Skype to communicate to family and friends.

What I didn’t realize was that I was unknowingly configuring the iPhone 3G for the best possible performance running iOS 4. The battery life has been phenomenal since the update with the feature configuration I used for her, almost on par with our family iPad (which is also a Wi-Fi only device).  Several blogs have reported that simply turning off Spotlight Search (Settings > General > Home Button > Spotlight Search) is all it takes to get back some of the performance lost when upgrading from iPhone SDK 3.1.3 to iOS 4.0. While I haven’t determined if this configuration change alone does the trick, I can say that I have not seen the same severe degradation in performance the others have reported. Keep in mind that I turned off way more than just the Spotlight Search, and have no reason to turn those other services back on in the near future.

iOS 4 Home Button Settings

Now that users seem to have accepted the iPhone 4 issues, attention is shifting to the older iPhone 3G and its issues when upgrading to iOS 4. It is unknown if the just-released iOS 4.1 beta 2 will address any of these performance issues, or if it’s just wishful thinking. I for one will be keeping my second iPhone 3G on iPhone SDK 3.1.3 for a little while longer.