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Wednesday, July 14

iOS4 Sludge

This post has been percolating for a while, and I finally got motivated to flesh it out after posting a comment over at my favorite mac blog, Cult of Mac.

I am lucky enough to have an iPhone 4, antenna faults and all. The screen beautiful. The processor zippy. The folders much needed. The camera fast and flash a welcome addition. Being an Apple fanboy, before I landed this delightful, if clunky, piece of machinery, I had loaded iOS4 onto my iPhone 3GS. Aside from the folders shrinking my eleven pages of apps down to three, I quickly found out that this was a huge mistake.

I am also lucky enough to have one of the original copies of Free Memory, before Apple made them remove the Free Up RAM feature and turn it into a mere memory monitor. The iOS 4 upgrade crippled the Free RAM feature, but even then, launching it shows the open background apps. From what I can tell, the third party apps do quit when closed and not switched. The huge problem is that Apple apps stay open. On 3G and 3GS, it seems that through memory leaks, the RAM slowly vanishes until there's nothing left for even the running Apple apps.

Until it was was updated for iOS4, I had resorted to launching Free Memory to check what was running, quitting it, and then force-quitting all of the Apple apps to get the pool of RAM freed back up somewhere near 128MB. (To force-quit an app, with the app in the foreground, hold the Power Button until the red slider comes up. Then release the Power Button and hold the Home button at the bottom for about five to ten seconds until the app goes poof!) Though Phone and Mail then relaunch automatically, force-quitting them seems to help with the leak. Safari and SMS seem to stay closed until next use. Not elegant at all!

I also ran Into the battery issues, which I assume are from background apps and switching. iPhone4 seems to get around these by doubling the RAM and increasing battery life. Thank god, because my 3GS had become almost unusable and reminded me way too much of early OSX. I am just nerdy enough to put up with this kind of behavior for a while, but I can't imagine an average user having a good experience.

Is anybody out there having a good experience with iOS4 on their 3G or 3GS phone? Has anybody seen the same problems I ran into and found other solutions? Hit the comments.

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