iOS 8 has been released to the millions of iPhones, iPods, and iPads around the world, including devices as old as the iPhone 4S. However, the update isn’t necessarily the best for all devices out there. Even though the iPhone 4S is compatible with the new update, it offers reduced features, slower boot times, weaker performance, and a generally lower quality experience than iOS 7.
The iPhone 4S was released back in 2011 as the latest and greatest iPhone, but three years of advancement has turned Apple’s flagship smartphone into a distant memory, discontinued as of September 9. While iPhone 4S owners can still take advantage of the iOS 8 update that shipped with Apple’s new iPhone 6, a number of issues have risen that make the device perform worse than keeping iOS 7 on it.
For starters, a number of features didn’t make it to the iPhone 4S, including Touch ID, AirDrop, and Open GL ES 3.0. These features didn’t make it because the iPhone 4S lacks the necessary hardware to handle these capabilities, such as a fingerprint reader.
When it comes to raw performance, the iPhone 4S’s A5 processor has nearly half the processing power of the iPhone 6’s A8 chip, making iOS 8 run much more slowly than iOS 7 for the device. According to speed tests performed by Ars Technica, the iPhone 4S takes nearly three seconds longer to boot, twice as long to boot Safari and generally longer to boot any other applications.
So should you upgrade right away to iOS 8 if you own an iPhone 4S? Maybe not. Apple usually releases iOS 8 updates several weeks after launch that address early bugs, as well as generally improve performance, especially for older iPhones. It might be worth waiting if you don’t need the new features of iOS 8 to wait and see what Apple does to improve performance for Apple’s aging iPhones.