Is It Worth Downloading iOS 9 If You Have An iPhone 4s?

Users of the iPhone 4s are able to download the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, but is it a good idea?

The worry for users of the older generation iPhone is that the major improvements of iOS 9 are not suited to the handset. Although bug and security fixes will be available, users still clinging to their older iPhone will be disappointed with the functionality of the new operating system, writes Chelsey B. Coombs for Gizmodo.

Is It Worth Downloading iOS 9 If You Have An iPhone 4s?

Smaller screen negates benefits of iOS 9

Issues first arise due to physics, with the 3.5-inch screen size of the iPhone 4s considerably smaller than the iPhone 6. As a result, installing iOS 9 means that text is crammed into the smaller screen, making apps difficult to use.

At first it appeared that opening apps in iOS 9 on the 4s would not be considerably slower, but Coombs ran into problems with the camera app. During testing she suffered considerable delays in opening the camera app, where speed is essential.

When it comes to editing photos, iOS 9 fixes an iOS 8 bug that improves photo editing. There is now considerably less delay when looking at a photo you have just taken, with wait times reduced from approximately 20 seconds to around 3 seconds.

Low Power mode a bonus, iPhone 4s hardware restricts other features

One bonus is the new Low Power mode, which improves battery life by suspending background refreshing and some visual effects. Aside from that the 4s is held back from benefiting from iOS 9 by its hardware.

While newer versions of the iPhone feature Touch ID and Apple Pay, and support for Airdrop, Handoff and Metal API, the 4s does not. Neither does the older handset support new iOS 9 features such as Spotlight Search and Siri Suggestions.

In summary it’s a tough choice for iPhone 4s users. iOS 7 works perfectly well on the older handset, but it seems likely that Apple and third-party developers will phase out support for the operating system in order to focus their energies on iOS 9.

According to Coombs, iOS 8 users may benefit from an upgrade because it fixes certain annoying bugs, but it’s a tougher call for iOS 7 holdouts.

About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at