Shortly after the official release of iOS 8, news outlets like BGR, Gizmodo, and Huffington Post were instructing iPhone 4S users to refrain from updating (which were practically regurgitations of an Ars Technica piece).
I'm not here to sway you in one direction or the other, but I will offer my honest impression as an actual 4S user who not only tested each iOS 8 beta as it came out, but is currently running the public build of the new operating system.
Yes, it is time for a new phone, but until then, here's to all you 4S owners curious about updating to Apple's latest OS.
Don't Miss: The 33 Best Hidden Features of iOS 8
First, a Closer Look at My Device
Before getting too far in, let me just give you some information about the my personal 4S: carrier, model, storage, etc.
My phone is also horrendously cracked, just so you get a better picture of what I'm working with here.
We're Missing Hardware
The device itself is missing essential hardware that helps maximize the iOS 8 experience. This includes:
- Touch ID
- Air Drop
- Metal and OpenGL ES 3.0 (graphics processing isn't as smooth)
- Proper Bluetooth support (for new Hand Off feature)
Smaller Screens Are Still Cool
It's been said that the 3.5-inch display on the 4S is not nearly large enough to support iOS 8, like the Mail app for example, which leaves little room to compose an email with suggestive text enabled on your keyboard.
This is all bullshit. I can see my drafts just fine, and if you think it's an issue, use a minimal, third-party keyboard, like Fleksy, that can add more screen real estate.
Another small feature that I noticed I'm missing is location-based app suggestions, but I'm actually grateful that I don't receive those on my lock screen—I don't need to be reminded just how close I am to McDonalds.
It Really Doesn't Slow Down Your Device All That Much
4S-ers, must keep in mind that compared to newer iPhones, our device is indeed slower—but that was the case with iOS 7, too. While the iPhone 6 comes with an Apple A8 chip, and the 5S shipped an A7, the 4S came with a now underwhelming A5. Not only that, but it does not support 4G/LTE data. So yeah, it's slower—but you knew that.
While the iPhone 4S is the proverbial runt of the litter, Apple did state in their keynote that iOS 8 would support the 4S. I doubt their team would include that graphic if the device didn't pass internal functionality testing.
Previous arguments claimed that iOS 8 created noticeable lag, but it isn't that drastic. Check out the chart below from Ars Technica, which gives a better indication of how much slower the 4S runs by comparing the time it took to open apps on iOS 7.1.2 versus iOS 8.
Each app was launched, timed with a stopwatch until it was ready for user input, then force-closed and opened again two more times; the speeds above are averages of those times.
As you can see, besides a cold boot, no action had a significant change in time, with a difference of less than one second. As someone who is known to be impatient, I can handle milliseconds.
Decide for Yourself
In essence, people are just complaining because they can. I personally haven't noticed a significant decrease in my iPhone's performance. It's also hard to not want to use all the awesome iOS 8 features, like interactive notifications, third-party keyboards, and widgets.
I realize my phone is older, so it isn't going to look all that great compared to a newer device, especially the iPhone 6, but that doesn't mean you need to listen to people telling you not to update. Chances are they're not sporting the 4S like you are, so weigh the pros and cons, then decide for yourself—we're just here to help.
Cool with iOS 8 on Your 4S? Check Out What Else You Can Do
There's a lot to learn about the new iOS 8 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, so make sure to visit our iOS 8 tips section to explore all of the new features and hidden tricks. You can also check out the 33 coolest new features and 11 of the more hidden features in iOS 8's new Messages app.
Also be sure to follow Gadget Hacks on Facebook and Twitter for more great tips.
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