Get a Faster iPhone 3G With iOS 4

I recently installed iOS 4 on my iPhone 3G (the dev GM), and have been playing with it for the last week. As cool as the newer (available) features were, I was one of the many that had been experiencing a very slow OS. I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I needed to speed the phone up!

After looking through the many posts detailing that there was in fact a speed issue across many of the phones, I started looking into why mine would fall into that category. No one seemed to have a specific source of the problem, but then it hit me: I remembered that I had jailbroken my phone last summer (which still had a visible remnant, the percentage indicator next to the battery). I had removed the jailbreak via a “restore from backup,” since my phone had been extremely slow with it applied (however, even after restoring to an official firmware my phone seemed really slow).

I decided to lookup “iPhone 3G completely remove jailbreak,” to see if I had performed a proper uninstalltion of the jailbreak. I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary, and it appeared that I had followed all of the correct procedures. Taking a leap, I decided to do a complete restore again, but this time without restoring from my backup (I still made one just in case); when I was prompted, I chose to setup a new phone. Guess what, it worked.

My phone runs great. Sure, there’s the occasional lag with some apps, but that was there since day one (it is older hardware). Until my new iPhone 4 shows up in the mail, this will get me by just fine.

Update: Yes, I’ve tried the double-hard-reset method; however, I have found that doing a clean install and setting up a new phone worked the best for me. I have a feeling it’s because of the jailbreak-leftovers.

Update: Looks like Apple is looking into the issue: Apple Looking into Slow iOS 4 Performance on iPhone 3G @ Ars Technica.

Update: Another tip: try disabling all of your Spotlight search-able content.

35 Responses

  1. Jeremy Zimmerman says:

    I was having some goofiness with my iPhone as well after unlocking. Specifically, it would always check my email every time I opened a web page, thus delaying the web page for up to a minute. Lose all my data from every app, I did an “erase all settings” command on the iPhone. A few minutes later my iPhone rebooted. All the OS settings were gone, but so was the problem.

    P.S. I also read about the double forced reboot. It appears to clear out all the phones RAM and cache files. Can’t hurt.

  2. Jeremy Zimmerman says:

    OOoops, I mean… “I didn’t want to lose all my data from every app,”

  3. brandon says:

    I wasn’t *too* worried about losing my settings, mainly because almost every app I use is synced in the cloud in one way or another (and my main data, email, contacts, cal, are all synced via Google Sync). It only took about 20 mins to reconfigure my phone back up to par.

  4. shane says:

    When you “setup as new phone” – how hard is it to get your apps back on the phone?

  5. brandon says:

    Not too bad; it’s a pain re-arranging them the way I had it before, but thankfully there’s folders now :)

    It’s just a matter of syncing the apps back, really.

  6. Robson Nunes says:

    nothing else.

    to FIX the SLOW performance on iPhone 3G with iOS4, just do a Hard Reset: press and hold the lock button and the home button together till the iPhone shutdown. Wait some seconds (15 +-) and then turn it on again.

    do it twice.. or even more.
    I had to do it 3 times.

    It fixes a lot of things on iPhone, and this is recommended by Apple Service.

    My iPhone 3G is running as fast as ever.


  7. brandon says:

    @Robson I did try a hard reset, and while it did improve the speed, I feel that the restore helped even more. I think a combination of the techniques really helped.

    Also, I think it cleaned up a lot of stuff that was left over from the jailbreak, so that helped, too.

  8. Robson Nunes says:

    @brandon u´re right, of course.
    to the slow performance issue, hard reset (*twice or more) is the key.. but other things may be fixed on a combination of it with restoring process, just as u said, sure.

  9. Jon Miller says:

    So are we saying that the only way to go for an IOS4 upgrade is by scrubbing your phone?

    • brandon says:

      What I’m saying is that if you’re having speed issues, then yes, scrubbing seems to work well (especially if you’ve jailbroken in the past).

  10. Robson Nunes says:

    NOT at all. As u see, I didn’t need to restore my iPhone… And the hard reset is a known procedure since earlier iOS versions. If u have other problems then u must try restoring it.

  11. STOMPY says:

    Hard reset seemed to work for me.

  12. Chris Khoo says:

    I don’t think it’s anything to do with jailbreak… mine’s (3G) is super slow as well after iOS4 update and I haven’t jailbroke it.

    Will try restoring now… seems like everyone is recommending that across the board.


  13. Robson Nunes says:

    With or without jailbreak, hard reset fixes the slow issue. As well as restoring and setting up a new phone. I suggest u to hard reset it as I said before. Only if it don’t work u should do a restore, to do that follow what Brandon said. Good luck

  14. Jimmy says:

    I have an iPhone 3G with 4.0(+multitask & home screen option) firmware. It’s a bit slower with 4.0 on my iPhone. If I do a hard reset as you say, it will fix anything?

    * My iPhone is jailbroken.

  15. Robson Nunes says:

    Sure. Hard reset will do.
    Some tips for you: don’t let lots of programs running on background. You hardware don’t support this. You need to understand it very clear: hard reset (or even restoring and setting a new iPhone and then doing a hard reset) will fix a VERY SLOW PERFORMANCE issue, and also some unusual crashes
    It doesn’t mean you will have a faster performance than when running earlier versions of iOS.

    Hard reset it (twice or more) and tell us about it.

  16. Jimmy says:

    I contacted with a friend who is working in an Apple Store in London and he told me that hard reset it’s fixing broken packages and errors. That’s why improves performance.

    I will do it once a week.

    * By the way, I restored my iPhone back to 4.0 default + jailbreak only, because multitasking and backgrounds makes 3G slower.

    * Backgrounder for multitasking it works like a charm on 3G models.

  17. Bobby V says:

    If I do a restore as new phone, how hard is it to restore my contact information? What about calendar info as well?

  18. Chris Khoo says:

    BTW, I can concur that the hard reset does the job just as well!


  19. Robson Nunes says:

    Jeez I found something else @Brandon:

    I mean, The iOS4 uses about 7 PNGs to make the things look great, like icons with shadows… so, on jailbroke 3G with ios4, the performance decreases so much when using wallpaper…

    Deleting those (“WallpaperIconShadow.png”, “Wallpa…”) on /System/Library/CoreServices/Springboard.appand then hard reseting gives it a pretty smooth performance!

    Had try it already.
    Really worth the trial.


  20. Robson Nunes says:

    Jeez I found something else @Brandon:

    I mean, The iOS4 uses about 7 PNGs to make the things look great, like icons with shadows… so, on jailbroken 3G with ios4, the performance decreases so much when using wallpaper…

    Deleting those (“WallpaperIconShadow.png”, “Wallpa…”) on /System/Library/CoreServices/Springboard.appand then hard reseting gives it a pretty smooth performance!

    Had try it already.
    Really worth the trial.


  21. Robson Nunes says:

    of course, it´s for those with jailbrake

  22. Trance River says:

    @ Robson Nunes says: Jul 9, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Deleting those (“WallpaperIconShadow.png”, “Wallpa…”) on /System/Library/CoreServices/Springboard.appand then hard reseting gives it a pretty smooth performance!

    How do we go about deleting this? Thanks!

  23. Trance River says:

    @ Robson –

    tnx for the tip, i noticed slight improvements after the deletion.. i had double hard reset done as well.. thanks!

  24. Robson Nunes says:

    Well there’s a lot of ways. I use a program called iFunBox… Really good!

    Listen, I must say it’s impressive how the performance speeds up.

    There’s one more thing I suggest: install Cydia’s package Remove Recent.

    Give us a feedback then.
    Good luck.

  25. […] 4.0 update for iPhone 3G and 3GS (as well as iPod Touch 2G and up): I gave my two-cents on how to speed up the iPhone 3G. After I wrote that, I posted the link at 3 or 4 Apple-related sites. It’s amazing how much […]

  26. Mark says:

    Thanks so much for the “hard reset” tip. It worked a treat for me by itself (never jailbroken). Especially it has completely fixed the “sticky” keyboard and “mushy” unlock slider problems.

    I’m surprised this isn’t more widely known in more of the many forums discussing slow iOS4 on 3G etc.

  27. Robson Nunes says:


  28. Can i downgrade my iphone 3g from 4.01 to 3.13
    IF i do not have the SHSH backup?

  29. Nylace says:

    Does hard reset erases my jailbroken data? coz my phone is jailbroken …dp i need to rejailbreak it again? help !!!

  30. Robson Nunes says:

    Don’t worry, you won’t lose anything. As Jimmy said above: hard reset fixes broken packages and errors. That’s why improves performance.

    1.without jailbreak iPhone 3G iOS 4.01 seems to be faster.
    2.u can try backgrounder and set some native programs to close when u leav’em, like safari.

  31. mel says:

    if i restore my foneand set it up as a new foe will i loose music i have purchased off i tunes? wha excactly will i loose? its runing sooo slow im tempted to change my fone :-(

  32. Jimmy says:


    Sync everything with iTunes, then create a backup for your iDevice in case anything goes wrong and you will be just fine. :-)

  33. Robson Nunes says:

    @brandon ,
    here comes a great news: atfer the IOS 4.1 update, Apple solved the slow performance on iphone 3g, as you know.
    Now, 4 those lookin’ 4 jailbreaking it, Dev Team has just realeased the Redsnow 9.6 beta, wich works fine if u have a factory unlocked iphone 3g.

    I did it already, tested the performance with multitasking / background image / battery percentage and it’s awesome!

    I MUST say: if u need to unlock your phone, stay out of this process.


  34. Robson Nunes says:

    double checked this issue and its still pertinent on ios4.1:

    … “on jailbroke 3G with ios4, the performance decreases (…) when using wallpaper…
    Deleting (…) (“WallpaperIconShadow.png”, “Wallpa…”) on /System/Library/CoreServices/Springboard.appand then hard reseting gives it a pretty smooth performance” …

    as it was said before: deleting the wallpaper shadow files on speeds it up.


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