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Why you should not upgrade your iPhone 4S to iOS 8


Apple released iOS 8 to consumers yesterday, and it’s likely that your family and friends have been updating their iDevices happily ever since.

And, with all that new iOS upgrade envy going around, you want to show that you can get Apple’s latest and greatest, too. One factor that makes the iPhone a favorite device for many consumers consists of Apple’s three-year upgrade policy that allows you to have an additional upgrade year beyond the two-year contract life of your device. So, with your three-year-old iPhone 4S, you’re ready to dive into the wonderful world of iOS 8.

Not so fast, iPhone user! There are a few reasons to withhold your iPhone 4S from iOS 8 goodness, so don’t hit that “install” button just yet.

iOS 8 reason not to upgrade #1: icon sizes

Take a look at the display size of your iPhone 4S. Do you know the size of your iPhone display? If you don’t, we can tell you: the iPhone 4S has a display size of 3.5 inches. That’s right, your iPhone 4S display is half the size of a 7-inch tablet display. iOS 8 has been optimized for larger displays, since Apple’s new iPhone 6 models (the base model and the iPhone 6 Plus) feature 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays, respectively. As a result, the new icon sizes in iOS 8 are bound to be bigger and adapted for larger displays, so your 3.5-inch iPhone 4S display won’t adapt too well to iOS 8’s new icon sizes. You may think your 3.5-inch display on the iPhone 4S display is perfect, but you may find yourself wanting to upgrade your iPhone (immediately!) if you decide to upgrade your iPhone 4S to iOS 8 right away.

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In other words, Apple’s decision to “go bigger” this year may impact how well you like iOS 8 on your three-year-old iPhone 4S. Good things come to those who wait, and you may want to wait to upgrade – or not upgrade to iOS 8 at all. Other reasons to refrain from upgrading follow this one.

iOS 8 reason not to upgrade #2: iOS 8 brings more data, requires additional processes

Many an iPhone user has said that Apple’s devices are faster than the competition, but this statement doesn’t apply to the iPhone 4S. Apple decided to implement the use of an M7 motion coprocessor into the iPhone 5s experience, but the company hadn’t utilized a coprocessor in the iPhone 4S when it arrived on the market. In other words, the iPhone 4S still relies solely on the dual-core processor inside to process tasks.

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Additionally, think of all the software changes that’ve arrived over the years. When the iPhone 4S launched, Apple introduced iOS 5 to its consumer base. We’re now at iOS 8, and each year, Apple’s added new features to iOS that didn’t exist in years past. iOS 7, launched last year this time, required 3GB of free memory before you could download Apple’s latest; this year’s upgrade required at least 5.7GB of free memory storage – nearly twice as much memory as that of iOS 7 – to download iOS 8.

Now, iOS 8 brings health data with apps such as Health and HealthKit, and Apple’s new motion coprocessor was implemented to push user health data to the user quickly. Apple hadn’t even begun to contemplate the use of health data in iOS when the iPhone 4S was launched. What this means is that now, in addition to the numerous tasks iOS already accomplishes, the single dual-core processor now has to push the new user data.

With more data comes the need to have faster processors that help to push the data where it needs to go without depleting battery life. Unfortunately, your iPhone 4S wasn’t designed to push fitness data at the same rate and with the same efficiency as the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, or the iPhone 6 will allow. Thus, downloading iOS 8 may slow down normal, everyday tasks on your iPhone and produce more of a buggy experience with app crashes than you’ve ever experienced.

iOS 8 reason not to upgrade #3: not all iOS 8 features will arrive on the iPhone 4S

Apple has convinced you each year that, unlike Android, it doesn’t have fragmentation on its devices (although Cupertino refrained from bashing the same Android users this year that it wanted to win over with its larger displays and how-to-transfer Android phone info guide published thereafter).

We wish that Apple were right, but the truth is, the company’s not being completely honest with you. The truth of the matter is that iOS has fragmentation of its own for the simple fact that each year, when a new update is provided, not all devices receive all of the new features. Some of us here at Inferse upgraded to iOS 8 on the iPad 3, the first iPad with Retina display, last night. What we discovered is that new features like Handoff, Health, and HealthKit aren’t available for the first Retina iPad. If you’ve an iPad 2, you’ll likely find that the new features touted as the best of iOS 8 won’t arrive on your iDevice – though you’re likely to fall in love with the new wallpaper.


With that said, you might be walking around thinking you got the latest – until you see your friend’s or relative’s iPhone 5s and wonder, “Why don’t I have that on my iPhone 4S?” Then, you’ll realize that Apple’s updates are tiered towards newer devices, forcing older iPhone users to upgrade to get all of Apple’s latest and greatest features in iOS and the iPhone experience. Some may despise the Android experience, but if the two-year-old Galaxy S3 gets upgraded to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, it will have all the features of the update – not some of them.

If your 16GB or 32GB iPhone 4S has very little memory storage left, you may find yourself having to delete apps in order to upgrade. At that point, it’s simply not worth it to risk significant apps just to get an iOS upgrade that doesn’t look any different from iOS 7.

In short, iOS 8 might provide a few subtle temptations, but you have to ask yourself, “is it worth the risk?” All smartphones, including iPhones, lag as they age. Do you want to torture yourself to have a few features that may or may not work on your “ancient” iPhone 4S? If not, then we suggest you refrain from installing the new update. If you’ve got good friends, then take a look at their iPhone(s) and inquire as to their experience with the new update before crossing beyond the point of no return. It may be the best decision you ever make.

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