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iOS 8 Download: Should you update your iPhone or iPad?

Andy Vandervell

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iOS 8

iOS 8: Should you wait to update?

The final version of iOS 8 is now out, as are the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But if you're not buying either phone should you download iOS 8 now, wait or perhaps even stick with iOS 7? We take at look which devices should run it fine and which ones are worth waiting before updating.

We haven't been able to test every single device in this list yet, so please share your experiences in the comments if you do update.

Last Update, 19th September at 16:30

VIDEO: iOS 7 vs iOS Performance Comparison

We put two iPhone 5S's side-by-side to see how they compared. The result...

...almost identical performance. We'll be testing more devices soon.

iOS 8 Support: Can I download iOS 8?

The list of devices that support iOS 8 is surprisingly long. It's impressive that Apple continues to support so many older devices with software updates, though that doesn't necessarily mean you should update straight away. Here's the full list.

iPhones: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

iPads: iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini 2

iPods: iPod Touch

Devices that miss out include the iPhone 4, but amazingly the iPad 2 is still in the mix. Clearly there remain plenty of iPad 2s out there that Apple wants to keep going.

Probably don't download: iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad mini & iPod touch 5

It's great that Apple continues to support these older devices, but we'd advise against updating to iOS 8 immediately and perhaps considering sticking with iOS 7. iOS updates generally add more features, particularly background updates, that drain battery life faster and really hit performance.

This is a particular problem for older devices, and the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad mini (1st-gen) are basically based on the same core components.

The iPhone 4S and its A5 processor and 512MB of RAM is the most problematic. Apple's OS doesn't need huge amounts of RAM to run smoothly, but it's still half as much any current devices and that will show. The iPad 2 has the same core specs, too.

The iPad mini (1st-gen) uses the second-generation A5 processor, which is more efficient, but it's no more powerful than the other two. The 5th-gen iPod touch is an iPhone 4S on the inside, so the same applies to it.

Update: It's only taken a day to find out that updating to iOS 8 on the iPhone 4S is a bad idea. Performance is significantly worse, with some loads speeds over a second longer. Individually this isn't a huge problem, but the combination of lots of slower loading speeds leads to a sluggish experience. Several users have reported serious bugs on the iPhone 4S, too, suggesting it's a bad idea to make this update. The same goes for the iPad 2, iPad mini and iPod touch 5.

Update: Looks like the 1st-generation iPad mini may fair better with iOS 8 than the iPad 2 it is based on. Here's a report from reader Jon Gilbert:

"I upgraded mine. So far there doesn't seem to be any noticeable performance issues. There are a couple of apps that have developed bugs with iOS 8 but they are probably ones you won't have. All the mainstream apps work fine. The mini gets the improved camera interface, which I was surprised about, and the family sharing option is great."

Wait and see: iPad (3rd-gen)

The third-generation iPad, otherwise known as the first iPad with Retina display or just iPad 3, is a strange beast. It was replaced within less than a year by the iPad 4, and the reason lies in the processor. The 3rd-gen basically runs a super-charged (that's probably being a tad generous) version of the A5 chip, dubbed A5X.

The tricky bit is that the GPU is much more powerful than the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S (mainly so it could drive the extra pixels), but the CPU is more or less the same -- a 1GHz dual-core based on the ARM A9 design.

Chances are it should run iOS 8 well enough, mainly thanks to the extra graphics power handling the glossier effects debuted in iOS 7, but we'd wait before committing.



Update: We haven't tested the iPad 3 yet, but user Chris V has. He says:

"I have an ipad 3 (the first model with retina display), and it took a while to update, but once it had updated, it ran absolutely fine - I'm not noticing any perceptible lag to anything - though saying that, I tend to turn background updating off (with the exception of automatic app updates), and I keep the animations to a minimum."

Should work fine: iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPad 4

None of these devices should have any problems running iOS 8. They run iOS 7 comfortably and iOS 8 isn't much more taxing on a basic level. The only question, particularly for older iPhones, is whether the battery is up to the task.

iOS 8 doesn't appear to be that different, but battery problems immediately after new software releases are common. They normally settle down after subsequent updates, or after a hard reset, but it might be worth waiting a few days before updating if you want to be careful.



Go ahead and download: iPhone 5S, iPad Air
 and iPad Air mini 2

We've been running iOS 8 on an iPhone 5S since the very first beta. Early betas were very buggy, but we've had no problems at all recently. Battery life is fine and it's stable. The iPad Air and iPad mini 2 are based on the same core chip, so should run just fine.

Next, watch our iOS 8 tips, tricks and secrets video

Gelatinous Cube

September 17, 2014, 7:55 pm

Not exactly helpful! "Should I download" turns out to mean "how will my device run"; not "is there any point? should I wait for 8.1? is it garbage? what can I do that I can't do now?" - you know - useful stuff.

Dimuker Hadzhikuker

September 17, 2014, 11:07 pm

Very useful actually, I was looking exactly for performance advise as I am on iPad 3. Initial iOS 7 update was a disaster and the performance got decent only months later with 7.1...So yeah, I've had my lesson and will probably wait a bit before updating ;)

Rob-L

September 18, 2014, 12:53 am

Thanks for the advice. I have an iPad 3 and was wondering about the performance hit. I think I'll take your advice and wait a bit and find out if other people are reporting issues with iOS 8 on and iPad 3.

Chris B

September 18, 2014, 9:43 am

I have an ipad 3 (the first model with retina display), and it took a while to update, but once it had updated, it ran absolutely fine - I'm not noticing any perceptible lag to anything - though saying that, I tend to turn background updating off (with the exception of automatic app updates), and I keep the animations to a minimum.

andyvan

September 18, 2014, 10:19 am

We're going to be updating this with more info as we test. Just done a quick side-by-side with two iPhone 5S's and iOS 7 is a little faster at the moment. We're updating an iPad 2 at the moment to see how it runs.

Edit: Early tests were a tad misleading. No real difference anymore. We'll post a video tomorrow.

Owen Hamilton

September 18, 2014, 1:30 pm

I have an ipad 3 and apart from taking a while to update which is usual, it runs fine, the battery does seem to drain a bit faster though, I haven't tried a reset yet but might do if it seems to be an ongoing issue, I like the word suggestions when typing, but I don't like what they have done with ibooks where night mode is set to come on automatically, you can turn this off when a book is open but not in the actual app itself, plus the book thumbnails seem to be bigger than before.

Guest

September 18, 2014, 3:56 pm

I have an ipad mini (1st gen) wondering if anyone updated theirs? How was it? Thinking twice right now if I should update mine.

Ralph Claitor

September 18, 2014, 4:27 pm

How did the iPad 2 install go? Mine terminated with no error message and rebooted about 1/4 of the way through the install step after downloading and 'preparing download' with no problem. IOS 7 still there. Repeated later with same result.

sdhn

September 18, 2014, 5:15 pm

I have an iPad 2, 64GB ..... Do NOT download iOS 8 - it is horrible. Apps crash way too much, It takes aout 5x longer to open apps, and half the time it's unresponsive. Stick to your iOS 7 if you have yet to update. I do wish Apple would allow you to revert back to iOS 7, but that would mean less iPad Air sales.

mw

September 18, 2014, 6:07 pm

I have an iPad2, 32 GB... Unfortunately I didn't read the reviews here before installing ios8. I've seen bugs with iMessage dropping addresses, etc. Unfortunately, unless you update your other devices iCloud won't be accessible... Any remedies?

They want EFX

September 18, 2014, 8:39 pm

ipad mini first gen... anyone try it yet?

ImmortalWind

September 18, 2014, 9:38 pm

I have tried it. It's a little bit slower than 7.1.2 but better than 7.0.

I can still downgrade, but I really hope that 8.1 will be out soon.

I'm not sure yet if mini worths upgrading...

Tyler Dobkins

September 19, 2014, 1:01 am

i have the iPad air and the iPhone 5s and they work like a gem on iOS 8 i love it! my brother has the iPad mini 1 and it works fine on iOS 8 to!!!!

Tyler Dobkins

September 19, 2014, 1:03 am

so yes it does work great on iPad mini also i tested iPad 3 and 4 works fine but iPad 2 is not the best.

Tyler Dobkins

September 19, 2014, 1:05 am

and if you have iPod 5 it works like a gem to!

Tyler Dobkins

September 19, 2014, 1:07 am

yes it works like a gem

Prem Desai

September 19, 2014, 8:52 am

I have a wide range of Apple devices and won't be updating any of them yet.

Why?

Apple have a different idea to the rest of the world about testing. Based on previous experiences, this version of iOS is more like a beta release. There will be tons of issues with battery life and stability. I'll wait for these to be ironed out first.

Jon Gilbert

September 19, 2014, 9:09 am

I upgraded mine. So far there doesn't seem to be any noticeable performance issues. There are a couple of apps that have developed bugs with iOS 8 but they are probably ones you won't have. All the mainstream apps work fine. The mini gets the improved camera interface, which I was surprised about, and the family sharing option is great.

ImmortalWind

September 19, 2014, 9:14 am

For a matter of fact, check these tests: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2...

Owen Hamilton

September 19, 2014, 12:26 pm

whoops sorry everyone, I actually have an ipad 4, but what I said still stands, ios8 took a while to download as it always does, the battery drain does seems faster and what I said about ibooks still stands.

Gelatinous Cube

September 19, 2014, 9:57 pm

Hmm. Try running Airplay to an Apple TV on an iPad 3 - it'll make you weep.

David

September 20, 2014, 12:33 pm

Do we have enough testimonials by now that iOS 8 works indeed fine with the iPad Mini 2 (mine was bought in Oct. 2012)?

Steven D. Keirstead

September 20, 2014, 8:51 pm

Still happy with the update? I’m wondering if I should ignore Andy Vandervell’s advice above and update mine.

SlienceOfSound

September 21, 2014, 3:01 am

Battery life is considerably worse on iPhone 5s with iOS 8.

Cindy

September 21, 2014, 3:35 pm

My iPhone 5S and iPad 4 Display become so lag after after downloading iOS 8. When i open an app or press any button, it response very slow. For instance, opening a Facebook app take about 30s for it to load, answering a phone call take half a seconds to response. Not only that, my iPad keep restarting when I am FaceTime-ing about 3 minutes. This update has got me so frustrated! It is so unstable!

Anyone can give me an idea?thank a lot

iPhone 5s, iOS 8

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