Apple Investigating Issues With iOS 4 on iPhone 3G, Users Have Few Options

When we looked at adoption of the latest iPhone operating system, iOS 4, last week, we suggested that one reason 49% of users had yet to update might be “that some of the iPhones running iOS 3 are doing so because iOS 4 would slow their phone down.”

After seeing site after site reporting issues with iOS 4 on the iPhone 3G, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has finally caught on to the issue and “is looking into the matter.”

From the beginning, users were told that a number of features would be missing from iOS 4 on the iPhone 3G – most notably multitasking – but no mention of performance issues were ever made. Soon after 3G owners began updating to iOS4, however, complaints about performance and battery life began peppering the blogosphere and Apple Support Forums. According to Apple, “iOS 4 works with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G”, but some users are disagreeing with that, saying that the latest OS not only slows down their phone but makes them essentially unusable.

While there is no news beyond Apple “looking into” these issues, there are a few options for iPhone 3G owners who have already made the upgrade.

First, LifeHacker points to this tip on Gizmodo, which says that disabling the Spotlight search feature, in conjunction with a “double hard reset“, can help performance immensely.

There is also a way to downgrade your iPhone 3g to iOS 3.1.3, the final operating system release of iOS 3 before Apple moved on to iOS 4.

And finally, Joel Evans writes for ZDNet that there is a last resort – complain enough until Apple just replaces your iPhone 3G with one running the old OS. According to multiple reports, Apple Stores had a stash of old iPhone 3Gs to offer as replacements and told one customer that “Apple was working on a ‘fix’, so stay tuned”.

Hopefully, Apple will come up with a more sustainable fix, such as offering an updated version of iOS 4 for the 3G or, if nothing else, a way for users to simply downgrade to iOS 3.1.3.

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