iPhone 3G: Working Around Slow iOS 4 Performance

| TMO Quick Tip

Following Apple’s confirmation that it is aware of performance issues on some iPhone 3G units after upgrading to iOS 4, a workaround of sorts has surfaced. In some cases, disabling Spotlight category searches fixes the issue returns the iPhone 3G to its normal not-as-peppy-as-the-iPhone 4 performance.

Here’s how to disable Spotlight searching on an iPhone 3G running iOS 4:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap General
  • Select the Home Button Category
  • Tap Spotlight Search
  • Deselect any categories that are checked

According to neowin.net, at least some iPhone 3G owners are reporting this fixes their post-iOS 4 sluggish performance issues. The downside, however, is that you won’t be able to search for content on your iPhone.

In our tests, iPhone 3G performance was about the same with Spotlight searches enabled or disabled. For users that are experiencing slow performance, the workaround might be worth trying until Apple releases a fix for the problem.

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The iPhone 3G is two years old. Time to upgrade folks (or switch to android). There are plenty of bones to pick with Apple, but this is not one of them IMHO.

Just to put things into perspective, the venerable (and now retired) G1 is newer than the iPhone 3G.


Well, I’d say Apple needs to make it easier for people to downgrade back to 3.1.3 if they own a 3G.  There’s nothing wrong with that phone for most people.  Forced obsolescence is not cool.


ime to upgrade folks (or switch to android).

That easy to say. But the bone to pick isn’t if “I” should up grade to a new phone. The bone to pick is Apple shouldn’t of released the software for the 3G if performance is bad… which it is. They should of kept it to 3GS or higher iPhones.

But they didn’t and said it would run on the 3G with some features disabled. But in reality it doesn’t run very well and there isn’t a easy path to downgrade.

That’s the argument.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Forget working around it. Just make a funny YouTube video.

Brian M

After a few reboots (and 4.0.1 update) my iPhone 3G with iOS 4.0.1 is performing very well, without touching any settings like Spotlight.
Last reset 10-02-15 12:16 PM (after some app updates, I like to do an extra full reboot)  So unlike some other people, I haven’t had to do a reset every couple of days to keep the good performance.


MacKeeper_fan_Mod: One of the best selling points of Apple (since I bought my Apple ][+ in 1980) has been the ability of the average user to keep Apple equipment running in usable fashion far longer than the competition. My 3G is in the best shape of any cell phone I’ve ever had after 2 years. Sure, I’d like to upgrade, and I probably will once the supply of iPhone 4 builds up. But don’t tell me a piece of Apple hardware is obsolete after 2 years. If thats the new standard Apple is dead.


I tried disabling Spotlight but it didn’t seem to make any difference. What did make a difference when my 3G was behaving at it’s worst was to do 2 hard resets in a row (this was suggested in some forum I was reading that day). That cleared probably 80% or more of the problem, but it’s still not a good at with 3.1.3.


Didn’t help to much on my 3G. Still really slow, but maybe a bit better. I have an iPhone 4 on order, but it won’t be here for about 3 weeks, which seems like an eternity when dealing with a nearly impossibly slow to use phone.


Since my post yesterday, I have done a restore on OS4 (4.0.1 restored to 4.0.1), let it reboot and then did another hard reset and it now is working quite well, maybe on par with the old system. I have left Spotlight off. Nice surprise!


Followed chicochaz procedure (see above) yesterday. When prompted I saved a backup copy and restored from that. No more problems as of this writing. Thanks for the tip!


hey my apple iphone 3g is running so slowwwwwwwwww what is spotlight chicochaz help me explain to my what you did to your phone in easy language im hopeless with this stuff do i need to sync all my stuff from my iphone to my computer to do this reboot plz help


hey my apple iphone 3g is running so slowwwwwwwwww what is spotlight chicochaz help me explain to my what you did to your phone in easy language im hopeless with this stuff do i need to sync all my stuff from my iphone to my computer to do this reboot plz help

Okay, here’s what you do. Sync your iPhone with iTunes. Let it update if needed. Then click on Restore. When prompted, click on Restore and Update. When it’s done, this likely will take a while, and has rebooted, hold down the power and home keys together until it begins to reboot. Then let them go and it will reboot. This also will take a while. Based on suggestions I picked up elsewhere, it did a second hard reset. When all of this is done you should see a huge improvement in performance. I think iOS4 is just too RAM intensive for the 3G phones, but mine works pretty well, well enough to get me to the end of this year when I will upgrade. Good luck Crazy!

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