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In a previous post I warned: 3G owners beware, iOS 4 slows things down and I would not recommend it to you — especially since most of the new features won’t work on this model (but folders, threaded emails and a unified inbox does work). I strongly suspect that my battery life is now also worse.

The performance of my 3G under iOS 4 was appallingly slow and the battery life was probably cut by one third again (it wasn’t doing so well lately anyway). Now I couldn’t make it through a day — even if I took or made no calls.

Restarting, rebooting, restoring the iPhone made little difference (although restarting and rebooting typically improves performance somewhat) and bringing all my Apps up to date did nothing at all — perhaps worse: They were all slow.

When launching Messages my screen would go blank for at least five seconds, typically fifteen and sometimes more than thirty. My wife, trying to SMS my daughter from my iPhone thought it had frozen. The camera takes many seconds to get ready for a shot — the opportunity often lost by the time it is ready to shoot. Email pours in like molasses on a cold day.

When I’m entering data I’m way ahead of the display, several keycaps are zoomed up waiting for text to appear — then I lose some of my keystrokes. Most smart phone users in a meeting have completed their calendar entries while I’m struggling to give the event a name!

I trawled the web to find out how to downgrade my iPhone from iOS 4 back down to software version three and found no legitimate means — other than those that might void my warranty (e.g. Downgrade iPhone 3G & 3GS From iOS 4 To 3.1.2, How to Downgrade Your iPhone 3G[S] from iOS 4 to iOS 3.1.3 and Downgrade iOS 4 iPhone 3GS, 3G and iPod touch to iPhone 3.1.3 / 3.1.2 [How to Guide]).

I needed something that would not void my AppleCare cover, albeit in its last month. I made an appointment with my local Apple Store Genius Bar and took my ailing 3G in for a consultation. True enough, they don’t have an official method of downgrading but they will replace the phone with a refurb — which still comes with the older software version 3. Plus they’ll extend my Apple Care by ninety days. What’s not to like about that?

I think the poor battery life swings the exchange, not sympathy for iOS 4 being slow on a 3G.

When you connect the replacement iPhone to your iTunes you have to set it up as a New Phone — not Restore. An error message comes up complaining about different software versions when you try to Restore.

I’ll add some images to explain this process in the next few days. It’s neither pretty nor perfect — but you end up with an iPhone 3G with software version 3 on it. I wanted to get this news out quickly to those who want to downgrade with Apple’s blessing.

UPDATE: No sooner than I get my replacement 3G iPhone under software version 3 set up and restored — there’s a delivery for me. My backordered iPhone 4, expected a month from now, had just been delivered! I guess my refurb 3G becomes my iPod touch now!?

FOLLOW UP: Here’s a story which blames Spotlight for the sluggishness Turn Off Spotlight Search For Performance Boost on iPhone 3G Under iOS 4.

Suggested reading: iOS 4 and iPhone 3G is a match made in… what’s the opposite of heaven?


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  1. […] FOLLOW UP: How to legally downgrade an iPhone 3G from iOS 4 to software version 3 (and extend your warranty by … […]

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