Living with the iPhone 4S as a main phone in 2019 (iOS 6)

My current main phone is a Samsung Galaxy S9. However, another phone I own is an iPhone 4S which I have downgraded to iOS 6.1.3. iOS 6 is the last iOS generation that has the classic user interface which iOS 7 abandoned for a more modern UI.

The current stable version of iOS (at the time of writing) is 12.4.1, and the latest available version of iOS is iOS 13.1 beta 1. iOS 6 is several major versions of iOS out of date. As you can guess, not many current versions of apps work on it. Any app that requires iOS 11 or later or does not support the iPhone 4S on its current version will refuse to offer an older version either for some reason, probably something to do with iOS 11 being 64-bit only and iOS 6 never having run on any 64-bit device.

First selection of apps I downloaded were games from developers such as Ketchapp, such as Twist and Stick Hero. Games like PAC-MAN and Stack did not support iOS 6 with their current version of apps but did have an older version which did. Apps like WordPress and Google, which demanded at least iOS 11 on their current versions, refused to even offer an old version and had to have an older version downloaded using a trick in iTunes and then sideloaded.

I’m actually typing this from my 4S now on iOS 6 using the WordPress app and so far it’s working fine. Viewing Notifications in the WordPress app, however, causes the app to break completely and the only way to get it working again is to reinstall it.

Siri works fine; of course, features like ‘Hey Siri’ are missing and some languages only support one gender’s voice. However, testing out Siri, she appears to be capable of opening apps; stating her loyalty to Apple when I asked her about her preference between iOS and Android; sending text messages, and searching the Internet for definitions.

I chose Opera Mini as my preferred web browser. From my experiences with old iOS devices, Safari always lags and crashes on older iOS devices but Opera runs smoothly and rarely crashes. Some pages don’t display properly but quite a lot do as well. Opera Mini is amazing on old devices; it even runs well on my ZTE Racer, an Android phone from 2010 which wasn’t even a flagship at the time!

How well does it run? The iPhone 4S started off on iOS 5 and iOS 6 is its first major OS upgrade. It’s actually very snappy and opens some apps almost instantly but others like games take a little longer to load. Most apps run well and I can hold several apps in the background without lagging, unlike the exact same phone running iOS 9, which stutters when switching between apps and multitasking while keeping a smooth experience is almost impossible!

If you want the better app support, there’s always iOS 8.4.1, of which can be updated to from the Settings menu of iOS 6. I decided to stay on iOS 6 for the nostalgic user interface and snappy performance, but for some people, iOS 8 may be more suited to their needs. iOS 9, however, is near unusable on the iPhone 4S and that suits nobody unless you love waiting for ages for an app or webpage to load and you love that feeling you get when an app crashes, which you probably don’t.

Anyways, what iOS version does your older iDevice run and how well does it do so? Make sure to comment on this post. I did hope you enjoyed!

-Chas

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