iOS 5 Works Just Fine On iPhone 3GS

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Reports are coming out that the iOS 5 beta works just fine on the 3GS, which is a relief since just a couple of weeks ago it was rumored that the 3GS wouldn't work at all. According to Apple (emphasis added):

iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation) this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn't spell out what, exactly, won't work on the slower iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod touch. But some research from 9to5Mac and Banolka on YouTube gives us some ideas, at least in the beta.

What we know works:

- Notification Center
- Twitter Integration
- Newsstand and Periodical Store
- Grid Lines and Exposure/Brightness Settings in Camera app
- Reading List in Safari
- Volume Up Button to Take Pictures

And what doesn't (but it's a short list, so far):

- Image editing (red eye, cropping, magic wand)
- Reader is missing (we've heard mixed reports on this)

So, it looks like 3GS users are in good shape going forward, but, of course, all of this may change as the beta period goes on and we get closer to release this fall. What might be most difficult to implement for the 3GS is a feature that doesn't even exist yet. We reported earlier today that Nuance/Siri Voice Features might still be included in iOS 5 and I wouldn't be surprised if that particular feature was not enabled on the relatively underpowered 3GS.

Top Rated Comments

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122 months ago
Reader is not an "Always there" feature. Just like in Safari on the Mac, the website needs to be recognised as an article to enable the Reader button.

It's there when it's needed but you won't see it on every site.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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122 months ago
Hopefully some will take this as a lesson to assuage the usual "sky-is-falling, let's crucify Apple" reaction to mere rumors.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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122 months ago
The iPhone 3G was an anomaly because the only internal change was the 3G chip. Going forward it seems like every iPhone will get a spec bump so the 3rd version of iOS for a particular model of the phone will hopefully be a much smoother affair than the 3G+4.x.x debacle.

That said, the gap between the 3GS and 4 isn't great (faster clock speed + double RAM - having to power retina display) so I'm more interested to see what iOS 6 means for the iPhone 4 this time next year.

Edit: Also, remember that this is a beta so we don't know how far it's been optimised yet; any devs with a slow 3GS just need to moan at Apple so users need not wait until 5.2.1 ;-)
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122 months ago
That's no surprise to me. The 3GS had some kick-ass hardware for 2009. You know, the "S" was for speed.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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122 months ago
I had to chuckle a bit reading these threads where the overwhelming consensus was that the 3gs "couldn't possibly handle" the demands of ios5, yet somehow the iphone 4 would plow through it with ease.

"iOS 5 for iPhone 3GS?"
https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1163470

"No iOS 5 for iPhone 3GS?"
https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1158210
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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122 months ago

What? This sucks. Maybe put a cap on the size of the images we can edit, but to remove it completely? I wonder what else Apple refuses to give us.


It's a beta. It means all features may not have been implemented.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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