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Did older Apple iPhone models get speed boost with iOS 9.2.1 update?

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Did older Apple iPhone models get speed boost with iOS 9.2.1 update?
Yesterday, we told you that Apple had started pushing out iOS 9.2.1. While just a maintenance build containing bug fixes and security updates, there actually is a reason for those rockin' older iPhone models to be excited about this update. For example, a YouTube video shows the side-by-side comparison of an Apple iPhone 4s running both iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9.2.1. While the phone does boot up slower using the latest iOS update, it actually loads some applications just as fast or faster with iOS 9.2.1.

Apple has traditionally disabled some features when sending out a new iOS update to models that are one or two-years old. Despite this, some users have complained that Apple is using planned obsolescence to force those with an older iPhone to shell out the cash to buy the newest model. A class action lawsuit was filed against Apple last month, claiming that Apple misled with its statement that iOS 9 would be compatible with the Apple iPhone 4s.

The plaintiffs included Apple marketing documents in their filing, which stated that iOS 9 was faster, smoother, and more responsive than iOS 8. Not only were these statements not true in their experience, the suit claims that Apple had to know about the drop off in performance.

Up until iOS 9.2.1, iPhone 4s users had found no improvement in their user experience with iOS 9. But the latest build of Apple's mobile OS seems to have turned things around and could be a sign from Apple that older devices will be treated more kindly with future iOS updates.



source: iAppleBytes via AppleInsider

34 Comments
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posted on 20 Jan 2016, 21:32 1

1. patrickf3 (Posts: 33; Member since: 11 Feb 2015)


At least it doesn't totally cripple the phone like previous versions of iOS did. It's about time they did something about it and fixed what they did to the older devices.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 21:53

3. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


Yes iOS 8 is a staple in iOS history. It's been fixed within a few patches (2-4 months). iOS 9 is nearly perfect.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:04 2

4. engineer-1701d (unregistered)


i would loss my mind waiting that long for keyboard to pop up or things to populate

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 23:51 1

13. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


I guess you haven't used an android from more than 4 years ago running latest android. (Wait I don't think that's even possible). You can find an iPhone 4s lying around for free and use it - it's still a great primary device and many people still use it. I haven't seen anyone using android as old as that anymore.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 00:07 12

14. yann (Posts: 223; Member since: 15 Jul 2010)


Dude, stop trolling.
My wife used 4 years Galaxy Nexus II - GT9250, without any problems. The battery was already exhausted and one month ago I bought her HTC One A9. Before Nexus II, she used HTC Hero almost 4 years also without problems.
So there are many android devices that work perfect after 4 years.
It is not just iPhone.
You're right that the Android devices do not use latest Android OS, but cutted iOS for older devices also do not have the same functionality, right?

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 00:18 8

15. vincelongman (Posts: 4440; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


I've read the Nexus 4 still performs like day one
Especially with a 6.0 custom rom

I think the Nexus 4 and 5 will still be smooth for another 2-5 years
Can't say that about my iPad Mini 2, hoping iOS 9.3 bring it closer to iOS 7

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 01:18

16. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


Yes, latest iOS on older device do not add all the functuality (especially the ones that require hardware like FP, FT, Slo-Mo Video,) but many functions are added to older devices with upates including all the new graphic animations and the devices still handle them well...

My point is lots android gets dropped by manufacturers before the first year is over, a few lucky ones get beyond that, and only single digit amount of android phones actually go beyond 3 year period for updates (and very seldom it's the latest).. Also consider that in iOS all devices that get updates - get them instantly.. with android for the first 6 months around 10% get them, so all the querks do get worked out before more device get them (if any more)... When it comes to hardware demanding features -maybe that's a good thing, but when it comes to security updates - it's a terrible scenario.

My point was if there was a more than 4 year old android device running "Marshmallow", engineer wouldn't be talking (no pun intended)... Yet we have nothing to compare to in android world.

Yes, Apple should probably cut down on graphical enhancements on older devices - make it more android like without animations, transparencies, blur effects, and so on - and concentrate on raw features. -- but as you can see the world is filled with people who primarily look at how thing look: a la "iPhone cant do anything android can because I cant change icons and fonts" proves this. And under Steve, my 3GS ran iOS 3, 4, 5, 6, all thru 6.x.x nice... I would agree that after Cook, updates are worse in quality compared to SJ era...

But I'm using a 2012 iPad 3 and the keyboard is instant!!! besides as you can see in the video, once he loaded the keyboard for the first time - it loads up quckly after that...

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 09:19 2

27. buccob (Posts: 2566; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


what is the point of receiving a "System Update" if you will not receive the functionality, only the looks and Version Number...

In android you will receive Functionality one way or the other (third party)....

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 11:00 1

28. Leo_MC (Posts: 1504; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


What kind of functionality do you think lacks from 4s?
How about security fixes that comes with new versions?

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 14:17

29. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


ios updates do add functualities and features to old phones, not just looks and version number. And it's the same on iOS - there are plenty of third party alternatives if you want it including the ones you get with Google - I know you know that, so why make that argument.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 01:40 6

17. Sovat_fc (Posts: 224; Member since: 30 Aug 2014)


Bet you haven't seen people using Samsung Galaxy S III running Marshmallow.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 01:57 1

18. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


I bet you haven't seen iPhone 4s running split screen and doing it quite well... that's not the point, 3rd party root/jailbreak isn't something that proves the point here, does it?

4s is also MORE than 4 years old, S3 is only 3 years old... how about something older...

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 03:11 1

19. Mfa901 (Posts: 280; Member since: 14 Jul 2012)


go on youtube and search HTC HD2 running marshmallow

posted on 23 Jan 2016, 12:48

33. oozz009 (Posts: 520; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


I don't want to get into this but FYI, HTC HD2 is totally an exeption. It's thanks to the hardware that the phone keeps on getting updates via developers sites but no other HTC can do that. Still, a cool phone that is!

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 05:12 1

22. xfire99 (Posts: 833; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)


The release date are just 5 MONTHS bewteen ip4S and S3. Dont mislead with years.
Galaxy S2 with Android 6.0:
https://www.google.se/search?q=galaxy+S2+android+6&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=yrygVrzXF8aZsAHXvbiIBA

Now show us iphone 4 running latest iOS 9

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 06:36 2

23. Cicero (Posts: 870; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)


Yes you can! If you pack Android 2.3 Gingerbread by naming 6.0 Marshmallow like Apple did with extracting large parts of software from new ios, changing some ui views and trumpeting that older Apple devices can work with the latest ios.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 07:23

24. Hexa-core (banned) (Posts: 2131; Member since: 11 Aug 2015)


Hhahaa. right!

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 09:13

26. buccob (Posts: 2566; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


I guess you've never been to other countries as well...

Older, cheaper Android devices are the norm, specially for poor countries... and yes most suck and are slow... but the high end devices will get enough updates that won't make them useless...

in fact, using an older Android version you still get separate updates for system apps and google services... so stop trolling

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 21:50 2

2. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


What I've noticed is that ONLY time it took extra time (lag) were applications/tasks that needed to pull content from the Internet. Other than that pretty smooth operation/animations and so on. Apps load longer but considering nearly 5 year old device - I have no idea why people are saying old Apple devices are "crawling" or "unusable". Confirmation - 2012 iPad 3 is running smooth on iOS 9.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:20

7. ibend (Posts: 4615; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


I guess 9.2.1 cached AppStore before test, so it look significantly faster.. but overall 8.4.1 still faster especially when bring out on-screen-keyboard

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 23:50

12. AlikMalix (Posts: 5887; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


Or iOS 9.2.1 was recently installed and iOS 8.4.1 has been there for a year and it's still cashing all the software.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:48 5

10. TechieXP1969 (limited) (Posts: 10115; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


But it didn't just effect old devices, the new ones too. My mom's iPhone 6S+ too also got very slow. Stuttering animations and the keyboard would freeze up. It also does on my Note 5 especially when I load some themes.

But a phone that has far less capabilities shouldn't slow down after an update.

I don't see how they even pushed it out. Felt rush and untested.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:10 7

5. Lycan155 (Posts: 254; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)


Respect for apple for taking care of a nearly 4 years old phones

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 23:53

30. jeroome86 (Posts: 1134; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Yeah. They do a good job of updating. My Note 3 won't get Marshmallow which should run it no problem. Glad to have iOS as my primary go to phone. Know it will be supported for a while. Keep a Android for me to tinker with. Still can't believe how bad Lollipop crippled my Nexus 7.

posted on 23 Jan 2016, 12:51

34. oozz009 (Posts: 520; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


It's past 4 years already, close to 4.5:D But yes your right +1

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:13 1

6. matistight (Posts: 440; Member since: 13 May 2009)


Just kill this phone now Apple. You ruined the phone (and all your other phones) by putting iOS7 on it, you're just making it worse.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:21 3

8. ibend (Posts: 4615; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


both still amazing..ly lag -_-

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:27 7

9. oozz009 (Posts: 520; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


They probably made sure to give a speed bump on iPhone 4S with iOS 9.2.1 in order to avoid the lawsuit. In other words, ios 9.2.1 is Apple's insurance policy.

posted on 20 Jan 2016, 22:51 10

11. Tizo101 (Posts: 396; Member since: 05 Jun 2015)


They only did it because they are being sued, nothing to see here.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 03:24

20. nodes (Posts: 730; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


just make 2 or 3 years support, like 4S if they stopped the support on iOS 7.1.
it still runs pretty fast.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 07:27

25. Hexa-core (banned) (Posts: 2131; Member since: 11 Aug 2015)


The irony, you mean...

posted on 23 Jan 2016, 12:39

32. oozz009 (Posts: 520; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


I think majority of iPhone users would prefer to get a longer period of updates instead even if it means slowing down their iPhone by 1 to 2 sec. Besides, people spend time complaining that the 4S is slowed down by the new OS but what about the battery increases that it gets thanks to low power mode and what about all the new shortcuts iOS 9 brought (like the back-link shortcut) that ultimately saves you some time. So it's trading one for the other but in the end you end receiving way more than what you traded for. Hence, it's really not that bad as people think.

posted on 21 Jan 2016, 05:01

21. EcoCare (Posts: 434; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)


I find it interesting that older iPhones eventually slow down exponentially compared to Androids that does in a linear way.

posted on 22 Jan 2016, 19:15

31. jeroome86 (Posts: 1134; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Say what? Oh your joking. My bad. Ha ha ha.

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