iOS 6 vs iOS 7: did performance drop?

iOS 6 vs iOS 7: did performance drop?

With iOS 7 now officially out, we had hordes of iPhone users report their experience with the new OS through pretty much every possible medium. The first revamp of the simplistic OS has definitely rejuvenated iPhone owners' interest in their devices, and that's no surprise – the changes are significant. But, a common question we've seen being asked is whether the new iteration made things better or worse, at least as far as performance is concerned.

Thankfully, we were prepared for this, and we ran a few benchmarks on an iPhone 5 before and after we updated from iOS 6 to iOS 7. And while we've been hearing that the now older iPhones, like the iPhone 4, are struggling with the load of the new OS (not that they were handling iOS 6 all that handsomely in the first place), the situation with our own iPhone 5 was actually kind of uneventful. Across the board, tests provided largely the close to or the same scores, as you're about to see. In fact, the differences were so small that it felt like the two OSes are largely identical in terms of performance.

Here are the benchmarks we tested:

Browsermark 2.0

Browsermark is one of our favorite benchmarking tools as far as web browsing goes, because it tries to replicate what you'll usually do once you fire up Safari, providing some pretty relevant feedback as far as real life usages goes. As we hinted above, the differences between the performance under iOS 6 and iOS 7 are close to non-existent here. The scores were averaged over three separate runs.

SunSpider 0.9.1

Another browser benchmark, we once again tested the iPhone running iOS 6 and iOS 7 three times respectively, and then extrapolated the average. Once again, the differences in performance were negligible.

GLBenchmark 2.7

The GPU-intensive GLBenchmark 2.7 should give you a better clue as to what to expect once you turn on the more graphics-intensive applications out there, like games. The short answer is that you shouldn't be any more concerned than you were before the switch.

Benchmark / OSiOS 6iOS 7Change (%)
Browsermark 2.028002784-0.57
SunSpider 0.9.1731.9727.5-0.60
GLBenchmark 2.7 
T-Rex HD (onscreen)
14 fps13 fps-7.14
GLBenchmark 2.7 
Egypt HD (onscreen)
41 fps37 fps-9.75

So, as you can see for yourself, the differences are pretty minimal, almost non-existent between an iPhone 5 running iOS 6 and iOS 7. Seeing as we enjoy iOS 7 more than its predecessor for now, we're definitely happy to see that the seemingly heavier iOS 7 didn't really impact performance, meaning that the experience in that regard will be just as great as with iOS 6, but with the added benefit for a refreshed UI and all the new features.

Related phones

iPhone 5
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1440 mAh(8h 3G talk time)



1. android_hitman unregistered

the reports have nothing to do with benchmarks ... the problem is with the lag overall ...

5. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

And Android showed the way to solving lag - add more RAM.... I wonder if the iP6 will see 2Gb of RAM?

11. Chaseism

Posts: 82; Member since: May 08, 2013

Whoa...Thank god for Android otherwise mankind would have never known that more RAM would reduce lag... The disparity of power from phone to phone is getting smaller and that has nothing to do with Apple or Google. Technology is getting cheaper and we are finding that last year's phone will stay relevant for much longer than it did in the past (anyone remember trying to upgrade software on a Windows Mobile Phone?) But regardless, we may always see last years phone take a small hit to power for an OS built for the current model. As long as it isn't noticeable, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Remember the iPhone 3G running iOS 4? Those were some brutal days...

17. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Okay - how about Android showed the way to reducing lag on phones by adding more RAM? Amazing how once phones started shipping with 2 Gb of RAM, lag went away? Now that lag isn't much of an issue with 2 Gb, expect UI bloat (GS IV, anyone?) to occur and we will need more RAM (Note 3, for example) to fix the lag issue again. Android leads the way though (on phones).

19. Kreft

Posts: 84; Member since: Dec 27, 2012

Even with 2gb ram I wouldn't have a non stock android phone. The dumb bloatware skins are ridiculous.

31. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

the iphone 3gs had 256mb ram, the iphone 4 and the 4s had 512mb ram, the iphone 5 has 1gb also increase the ram we all knew everything about ram even before android and ios... we have also experienced it with the pcs didn't we?

69. Chaseism

Posts: 82; Member since: May 08, 2013

But you can't judge performance of iOS and Android on hardware alone. Yes, more RAM will help with lag on newer phones. But I doubt people who are buying the iPhone 5S are going to see the kind of lag people may see on the iPhone 4S. Hell, let's say Apple put 2GB of RAM in the iPhone 5S. It wouldn't be unreasonable that two years from now, that phone won't run iOS 9 as well as the current iPhone...but it should do a decent job. Also, you cannot compare raw hardware power between iOS and Android. PhoneArena has pointed out in the past that iOS sips power in terms of battery and hardware. Android requires a faster processor for it to run smoothly. iOS doesn't. And that's not a knock against Apple...they've created an incredibly efficient OS. RIM doubted that the original iPhone could have such a huge touch screen and yet have a long battery life...and it did. tl;dr - RAM will help the phone with lag. But as technology progresses, 2GB of RAM will need to turn into 4GB of RAM. And although Android phones usually pack on more RAM and a faster processor, Android needs those to run smoothly. iOS doesn't because it's built to run smoother on less power.

84. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The Note III has 3GB of RAM to handle the new multi-tasking addons. The Note II can run to apps on the sscreen at the same time. It has 2GB of RAM. The Note III can not only run 2 apps, but it can run 2 identical apps and you can open a 3rd app window on top of that. Also as a fact, I have used Android 4.x on older Android phones that have 1GHz CPU's and 1GB of RAM and they had NO LAG. Speaking specifically of the Galaxy S II.

24. Mxyzptlk unregistered

iPhone 3G users at that time could've easily updated to the next model. iPhones are future proof for about two iOS updates. More RAM isn't going to reduce the lag Android still experiences. Optimization and cutting down on the bloat will. But that will never happen because OEMs love slapping their skins onto devices and there's far too much discrepancy in Android for there to ever be true optimization like iOS is for iDevices.

29. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Or you know, install a ROM and never see lag again. My S3 is running stock 4.2.2 and has never seen any lag. Also, Google has properly optimized hardware with software, which is why the Nexus 4 is still ranks among the best. And yes, iOS phone are good for two OS updates. The iPhone 4 is almost unusable on iOS 7 since thr update yesterday. It lags more than my computer from 2002 did.

38. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

they should wait for the ios 7 jailbreak there are many tweaks in cydia (like accelerate) that will make the iphone 4 extremely fast...

43. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

The person who has the iPhone barely knows how to work it. Explaining the mechanics behind jail breaking would be damn near impossible.

53. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Because rooting is so a walk in the park.

59. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Every phone I've had offered "one-click" root options and/or Tool Kits that rooted and installed the customer recovery of your choice with ease! If you can read and follow direction you can root a phone.

61. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

It is if you have half a brain to follow instructions. Obviously, you don't.

79. XiphiasGladius

Posts: 813; Member since: Aug 21, 2011

Actually it is a walk in the park. Ever heared of the App Framroot?

83. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I actually agree with Mxy here. Rooting and installing a custom ROM can be a total pain in the ass, especially when the ROM is in beta and features don't work. I mean, I'm willing to do it because I find the amount of work and nerdiness involved to be quite fun. HOWEVER, the average customer finds instruction sets that involve more than three steps to be a waste of time. I spent literally about 8 hours when I rooted for the first time reading instructions and trying to understand, step by step, exactly what I had to do. Even after that, I still managed to soft brick my Atrix in the course of the ROM installation, and it took about another hour before my phone was working with the new software. I mean, hell, I actually had to use DOS command prompts at one point to finish the job. Ain't nobody got time for that!

60. quakan

Posts: 1419; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

So even though millions of ios users have jailbroken before, they just won't for the life of them figure it out next time? Troll.

70. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

This exact statement is by far my most hated from the Android fanbase. Why is it the USERS job to make the phone a good experience? For a smooth operating system it shouldn't be a requirement that the user goes through the trouble of reading what a custom ROM is, reading how to install one, download all the tools, attempt to root the phone (assuming your phone can be rooted), and install the ROM (hope this part goes right or you have to unbrick, if you can even figure out how). All of that for simple improvements that should have been there to begin with. I dumped my Galaxy Nexus after a year for this exact reason. It isn't fun to constantly scour forums for the latest ROM and Kernal update just so you can keep the smooth scrolling and somewhat better battery life that you already should have had. Apple has fantastic products with great battery life out of the box. No tinkering required to get the most performance out of your phone. That's how a user experience should be.

85. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

False. The lag many see on Android phones is not the Android OS. Its the TouchWiz layer that runs on top of it. Phones with what they call Vanilla Android which is stock Android with no skin, doesn't have the same problem. Also I have a Galaxy Note II, it has NO lag even with 2 apps on the screen at the same time. Why does an iPad and iPhone have lag with iOS 7 yet only one app is on the screen at any one time?

51. Tsoliades

Posts: 228; Member since: Dec 22, 2012

My friend's iPhone 4S lags like crazy now. I wasn't very impressed.

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 31594; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Can't wait to line up tonite

8. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

it clearly shows iOS6 won all benchmarking test than iOS7, though by a little margin. In case pf android, old Nexus7 showed better benchmarking result after updating to 4.3!

21. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Disagree. My Nexus 7 got 2x faster after the 4.3 update.

23. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

But you are comparing Apples to Androids. Literally. Apple is a hardware company. Android (Google) is not.

26. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Re-read your comment again. Nexus 7 did get faster after the 4.3 update. My cousin's iPhone 5 saw a boost in speed but my other cousin's 4S is lagging.

27. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I can't wait to hold the best in my hands. Apple can just shut up and take my damn money.

63. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

You are so lucky PA has to settle for idiots like you for their Apple fanbase that they had to remove the thumbs down button.

77. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I thought you had an ip5. What's the incentive to get the newer model? Also, "best" would mean apple wouldn't be getting your money ;)

28. Rocksteady unregistered

Yeah Rihel_95, totally agree, updates are supposed to bring performance improvements, not reduce it.

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