Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 4 | iLounge Article


Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 4

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First announced on April 8th and promised for a worldwide release on June 21st, Apple’s iOS 4 upgrade was officially released for public consumption earlier today. The fourth major release of Apple’s mobile device operating system has also been given a new name: iOS, representative of its place on Apple’s entire suite of mobile devices and not merely the iPhone. Despite this, however, today’s release only encompasses Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch devices; an iPad release is scheduled for later in the year.

Downloading and Installing

As with all previous iPhone and iPod touch updates, iOS 4 is downloaded and installed via iTunes. Note that you will need to be running iTunes 9.2 to receive the update. Unlike previous updates, iOS 4 is free for all supported iPhone and iPod touch users, however this update also represents the first time that earlier iOS devices have been excluded—iOS 4 will not run on the original iPhone or the first-generation iPod touch.

The download and installation process is relatively simple: Users can use the “Check for Updates” option found on their device Summary page in iTunes 9.2 and it should locate, download and install the iOS 4 update automatically. In some cases, iTunes may have already discovered the update by itself, in which case you will simply see an “Update” button instead of a “Check for Updates” button.


Note that the installation may or may not preserve all of your existing data—as with previous iOS updates it may result in the wiping of your device’s data under certain conditions. In at least one case we received a warning from iTunes that this was going to happen as part of the upgrade process, however the absence of such a warning should not be considered a guarantee that you’re not going to have to reload everything.  As a rule, it would appear that second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G devices will require a complete restore as part of the update process, while iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch models may be able to upgrade in-place.


In addition to the backups that iTunes normally keeps, an additional backup of your device will automatically be made prior to applying the update.  Unlike previous updates, iTunes will specifically notify you of this.


This backup may take some time—unlike previous iOS updates, iTunes will backup ALL of the data from your iPhone or iPod touch, including your media content. This ensures that all content can be restored to the device even if it does not already exist in iTunes. Following the update, iTunes will automatically restore all content back onto your device as a separate process, rather than simply syncing it from iTunes in the normal manner.


Model Differences

iOS 4 also represents the first update where some features are only supported on specific iPhone and iPod touch models. While some of this variation existed with previous updates, it was generally obvious due to hardware limitations—for example the lack of a camera on the iPod touch.

With iOS 4, the differences are a little bit more vague, with only the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch devices supporting the full range of features offered by the new version. The iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch will support iOS 4, but users of these devices will find features like multitasking and home screen wallpaper support to be conspicuously absent. Further, the 2007 devices: The original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch are left completely out in the cold: iOS 4 isn’t even available for these devices.

It’s probably also worth noting here that the 8GB iPod touch still being sold by Apple is actually a second-generation model and users of these devices will still experience the same limitations as any other second-generation iPod touch.

General and System-Wide Changes

iOS4 introduces a number of significant changes to the overall operating system, adding significant features such as multitasking for third-party applications, system-wide spell check and home screen enhancements.

Multitasking (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, 3G iPod touch)

Probably the most-anticipated feature of iOS 4, Multitasking now allows third-party applications to perform certain important tasks in the background and access other new features in the OS to provide better user interaction when running in the background.

What it Does

In computer parlance, multitasking refers to the ability of multiple programs to run simultaneously, and to be clear the iPhone OS has always inherently supported multitasking: E-mail and text messages arrive in the background whether those apps are running or not, the iPod keeps playing music after you close the app, and the Phone app doesn’t have to be active for an actual phone call to be received. The problem was that until iOS 4, multitasking was restricted to Apple’s own core applications, presumably on the basis that only Apple knew best how to manage the resources of the iPhone operating system and preserve the best user experience in terms of battery life and performance.

iOS 4 finally changes this approach and allows third-party applications to multitask, albeit in a limited fashion. Third-party apps can perform certain specific tasks in the background, but they are not allowed to simply continue running in the background. Instead, apps are limited to the following specific functions when not running as the foreground application:

Background Audio: Third-party applications will now be able to take advantage of what Apple’s own iPod application has been able to do for three years: Keep playing music or other audio in the background after the app has been closed. Apple has already demonstrated this with Pandora Radio, and numerous other third-party audio streaming apps will no doubt begin to take advantage of this feature as well. Essentially, this allows third-party audio applications to work in much the same way as Apple’s own iPod application—not only will audio keep playing after the app is closed, but the home screen, lock screen and in-line headphone controls will be used for the currently-playing app.

Background VoIP: Applications such as Skype will be able to stay online in the background so that users can receive calls while using other applications or simply while the iPhone is in standby at the lock screen. In-progress calls using VoIP applications should appear with a status indicator at the top of the screen similar to the one used for the built-in Phone app.

Background Location: Navigation and other location-based applications will be able to poll for location information in the background so that they can provide voice guidance or update location-based online services. This mode will use cellular tower information whenever possible to save on battery drain from regularly accessing the GPS hardware. Apple has already demonstrated this with TomTom and Loopt, and Navigon has indicated that it will be adding support for this in an update to its Mobile Navigator app.

Local Notifications: With iPhone OS 3.0 last year, Apple introduced a new “Push Notification” feature that allowed network-based services to send notifications to iOS devices. Although this feature was great for services such as Facebook and AIM where notifications were coming from the Internet anyway, it was of less use for applications that resided natively on the device such as task management and reminder apps. This forced some developers to set up their own servers and synchronization systems merely to be able to provide reminders to their users. Local Notifications address this by allowing third-party applications to schedule notifications directly on the iOS device. These work in the same way as Push Notifications in that the notification can update a badge on the icon, display an alert and/or play a sound, however you will not need an active Internet connection to receive a local notification.

Task Completion: iOS 4 will now allow applications to take up to 10 minutes to complete tasks in the background after you exit the app. This will be particularly useful for applications that upload or sync information with online services. For example, an application could finish uploading photos to a service like Flickr in the background after the user exits the app, saving the user the trouble of having to leave the app open and wait for the upload to complete.

Fast App Switching: Applications can suspend in the background when the user leaves the app and return to the exact same place when the user loads the app up again. Applications will not actually run in the background, but merely freeze in their current state, allowing them to be quickly reloaded so the user can pick up where they left off. Any iOS 4 native app should take advantage of this feature automatically.

What Multitasking Won’t Do

As already noted, iOS 4 doesn’t introduce a “carte-blanche” multitasking environment where third-party apps can simply stay running and do as they please. Apps will be limited to the specific behaviours described above and nothing else. Apps cannot launch or perform any background tasks by themselves until the user specifically launches the app—Task Completion lets the app finish what it’s doing after the user closes it, but it doesn’t allow the app to keep running indefinitely. Likewise, Local Notifications can only display information that has been scheduled by the app when it was last run, they can’t actually launch any background processes. One significant limitation of this is that applications that sync with online services will still not be able to sync up and download current content until the user actually opens the app.

How it Works

iOS 4 only supports multitasking on the iPhone 3GS, third-generation iPod touch and upcoming iPhone 4. The multitasking features are inherent in the OS and although applications must be updated by their developers to support the new multitasking features, there is nothing the end user needs to do—the multitasking features for a given app should “just work.”

To facilitate quickly switching between applications, however, Apple has introduced a new recently-used apps dock. On devices that support multitasking, double-clicking the Home button from within any app will slide up the current screen to reveal a dock displaying the four most recently opened applications. You can open these applications by tapping on them in the usual manner, or swipe to the left to display more recently-used apps, four at a time.


Note that ALL recently-used apps are displayed here, regardless of whether they support any iOS 4 multitasking features or not. Pre-iOS 4 apps will simply behave and launch from here in the same way as they did from the home screen in iPhone OS 3.x. Keep in mind also that you don’t have to launch apps from here to take advantage of fast-app switching or any other iOS 4 multitasking features—you can still launch apps from their normal home screen position in the same way that you always have. The app switching dock is primarily there to provide a convenient way to move between apps.

The app switcher does provide one additional hidden feature: If you tap-and-hold on an app icon in the dock area, a red button will appear over each icon. Tapping on the red button for an application will terminate that app and remove it from the recently-used apps list.


Note that unlike other mobile platforms, iOS 4 is supposed to handle memory and resource management automatically, and most applications won’t actually be running in the background—this “task-killer” functionality is included for cases where a specific application needs to be restarted rather than situations where a user needs to close a bunch of apps for performance reasons.

On multitasking-capable devices a double-tap of the home button is now hardcoded to open the app switcher. Older devices that do not include multitasking capabilities still allow the home button to be customized for other functions as before.

Playback Controls & Rotation Lock

With the home button double-tap reassigned to the app switcher, the pop-up iPod playback controls are no longer available in the same way on multitasking-capable devices. Instead, swiping to the right from the app switcher will reveal a set of media playback controls.


The standard play/pause and track navigation buttons are here. Conspicuously absent compard to the previous playback controls is a volume slider, presumably redundant as all current iOS devices now include hardware volume buttons. To the right of the playback controls is the icon for the currently playing application—this defaults to the iPod icon when no music is playing, but will be replaced with any application currently providing background audio such as Pandora Radio or even the Safari icon when streaming audio in the browser.


To the left of the playback controls is an orientation lock button that can be used to lock the screen in portrait view. When locked in a portrait orientation, a lock icon will also appear in the status bar beside the battery meter.


Note that these new playback controls are only available on multitasking-capable models. The older non-multitasking capable devices still display the pop-up playback controls in the same manner as before.

Home Screen

iOS 4 adds a few iterative enhancements to the home screen. Although the same basic layout is used as in prior iOS versions, users can now replace the black background with a custom wallpaper and organize applications into folders.

Wallpapers (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, 3G iPod touch)

First introduced with the iPad back in April, iOS 4 now gives users the ability to specify a wallpaper for the iPhone or iPod touch home screen. As with multitasking, this feature is only supported on the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch, as well as the upcoming iPhone 4. Users of these devices can specify a wallpaper for their home screen simply by visiting the Wallpaper setting in the Settings app. In the wallpaper settings, screen previews of both the lock screen and home screen are shown with the currently-selected wallpaper for each.


Tapping on these previews will take you to the standard wallpaper selection screen, where you can choose from a pre-installed wallpaper or select one from your own photos. iOS 4 has also bundled several new wallpapers that provide suitable textured backgrounds for the home screen.


Selecting a wallpaper is handled in much the same way as in prior iOS versions, excpet that when actually choosing a wallpaper, you will be prompted for where you want to use it.


Setting a wallpaper from other applications, such as directly from within the Photos app, will produce the same prompt for whether to set the wallpaper on the Lock screen, Home screen, or both.

Note that iOS 4 doesn’t provide any way to remove the Home screen wallpaper and return to the default black background. If you prefer basic black you’ll need to create your own 480 x 320 black image and store it in your device’s photo library to use as a wallpaper. That said, the textured backgrounds included with iOS 4 provide some nice alternative options without appearing too cluttered.


Although iOS 4 contains the same limit of 11 home screen panes, you can now organize your applications into individual folders. A Folder can appear anywhere that a normal application icon can, and is represented by a collection of app icons representing those apps stored in the folder. Each folder can contain up to twelve applications. The use of folders increases the number of applications that can be accessed from the home screen from 180 to 2,160.


Unlike many other systems, there is no separate step to create a folder in iOS 4. Instead, you simply tap-and-hold to reorganize your app icons in the usual manner and then drop one application icon on top of another. The two application icons will be grouped together into a folder which will be given a default name based on the category of the applications.


While in edit mode you can tap on the name field to type in your own name instead of the default. Additional applications are added to an existing folder in the same manner: Simply drag-and-drop application icons on top of the folder while in home screen editing mode. To remove appliations from a folder, simply open the folder, tap-and-hold to enter edit mode, and then drag the apps out of the folder. While in edit mode within a folder, you can also rename the folder simply by tapping on the name. The entire process is relatively seamless and intuitive. Folders can also be moved between home screens in the same way as any other application. Note that folders cannot contain other folders.

iTunes 9.2 also allows folders to be created and managed from the iTunes “Apps” sync settings in much the same manner. See our iTunes 9.2 Article for more information.

Spotlight Search

The system-wide Spotlight Search introduced in iPhone OS 3.0 can still be found to the left of the first home screen. In addition to the content previously available, SMS/MMS messages can now be searched from here, and at the bottom of the search results additional options now appear to search Wikipedia or search the web using the device’s default search engine. Selecting either of these options will open the Safari browser and initiate a search accordingly.


Spell Check

First introduced for the iPad with iOS 3.2, iOS 4 now brings a system-wide spell check to iPhone and iPod touch devices. Incorrectly spelled words are highlighted with a red underline, and tapping on an underlined word will provide suggested corrections.


This is a system-wide text entry function that not only works with the built-in iOS 4 apps but should also work in all third-party apps that use standard text-entry controls.

Wireless Keyboard Support (iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, 3G iPod touch)

First introduced for the iPad in iOS 3.2, iOS 4 adds support for external Bluetooth keyboards for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch. Keyboards can be paired from the Bluetooth options under Settings, General and once paired can be used in place of the on-screen iOS keyboard, which will not be displayed by default when a Bluetooth keyboard is available.


As with the iPad, when using an external keyboard, basic keyboard shortcuts are available for text selection and cut, copy and paste. The brightness, volume and media playback controls on Apple keyboards also work as expected, and the Eject button can be used to show or hide the on-screen keyboard.


There have been a few enhancements to the general iOS device settings as well. Application-specific settings are highlighted later on in the changes to the applications themselves.

Network Settings (iPhone)

An option is now available to enable or disable cellular data entirely. Toggling off the “Cellular Data” option disables all 3G and EDGE data access over the cellular network, essentially turning the iPhone into a Wi-Fi only data device. This can be useful in situations where you don’t have a data plan on your device or are coming close to exceeding your data cap. You will still be able to make and receive phone calls with cellular data off.


AT&T users may also notice that the “Internet Tethering” option has finally appeared here as well. Although new to AT&T, this is not an iOS 4 specific feature—other carriers have supported tethering since it was first released in iPhone OS 3.0, and there have been no changes in iOS 4 in terms of how this feature works.

Location Services

iOS 4 provides more granular control over location services. Previously only available as a global on/off toggle, you can now control which specific applications have the ability to determine your current location.


Applications that have requested your location data within the past 24 hours are indicated with a small compass arrow next to them. iOS 4 also provides a similar status indicator by the battery icon to indicate when location data is being used.


Passcode Lock

You can now choose to use a more complex alphanumeric passcode to secure your device. This option was available in iPhone OS 3.x, but only by creating a profile through the use of Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility. The “Simple Password” option is enabled by default which uses the same four-digit password option as before; toggling this option off will prompt you to instead enter an alphanumeric password using the normal iOS keyboard.


You can also now access the passcode settings screen without having to set a passcode first. Most options will appear greyed out and a “Turn Passcode On” button appears at the top of this screen. This allows you to specify whether you want to use a simple or complex passcode before having to actually set it.


Austria has been added to the list of countries that ratings can be selected for. The actual Movies, TV Shows and Apps restrictions screens also now include checkmarks beside all allowed ratings and not merely the highest one. This makes it more clear which specific ratings are allowed.


Home / Spotlight Search

As noted earlier, on devices that support multitasking, a double-click of the Home button is now hard-coded to display the app switcher. As a result, the Home button configuration screen is no longer available on these devices. The “Search Options” sub-menu previously found under the “Home” section has been renamed “Spotlight Search” and is now displayed directly under General settings on these devices. Older iPhone and iPod touch models that do not support multitasking and the app switcher still include the “Home” settings and place the “Spotlight Search” option in that section as before.

Spotlight Search

Search Options has been renamed “Spotlight Search” and adds “Messages” to the list of data types that can be searched.


Further, as noted above the location of the Spotlight Search option now differs depending on whether the device being used supports multitasking and the app switcher.

Keyboard Settings

The keyboard selection and settings screens in iOS 4 have been redesigned to provide additional options. Prior iOS versions simply provided a list of keyboards with ON/OFF toggles beside each one. iOS 4 on the other hand provides a list of the currently active keyboard layouts with an “Add New Keyboard” button displayed below to add additional keyboards.


Keyboards can be removed or reordered from this list by tapping the “Edit” button in the top-right corner.


Some keyboards have more detailed options, indicated by an arrow to the right of the keyboard name. Tapping on the keyboard will bring up an additional options screen allowing you to set the layout for software and hardware versions of these keyboards.


As with prior iOS versions, when more than one keyboard is configured, a small globe icon will appear to the right of the spacebar in the on-screen keyboard. With iOS 4, tapping-and-holding on this button will provide a pop-up list of keyboards.


iOS 4 also adds several additional keyboard layouts: Catalan, Chinese-Simplified Stroke, Chinese-Traditional Cangjie, Chinese-Traditional Stroke and Vietnamese. Keyboard layouts are also now sorted alphabetically based on the current language and not on their native language (ie, “Spanish” now appears in the S section and not the E section).

International Settings

Languages have also been added to match the new keyboard settings, including language support for Català, Magyar and Vietnamese.

New Regional Formats include: Slovenian, Portuguese for Guineau-Bissau and Mozambique, Spanish for Equatorial Guinea, Russian for Moldova, Romanian for Moldova, Armenian, Mauritius and French for Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Maritnique, Niger, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin.

iOS 4 now also supports multiple calendar formats which can be selected from the International settings. Formats include Gregorian (default), Japanese, Buddhist and Republic of China.


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Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 9.2 (Updated) »

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hey guys just download iOS 4 and was going through the settings and found a setting in messages not on your screen shot. Im on at t and there is a toggle for group messaging on/off any one know what this is?? thanks.

Posted by phil in Lake Dallas, TX on June 21, 2010 at 6:48 PM (CDT)


Where the &*# is mms?

Posted by Kelvin on June 21, 2010 at 8:10 PM (CDT)


Great job (as usual) Jesse!

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 21, 2010 at 8:47 PM (CDT)


Best of all on updating my iTouch 2G (that i won on a iLouge art contest, thanks again) is that smart playlists that are not working at all on iOS3 are working 100% now. Just this feature working again makes updating worthwhile.

Posted by Walter Segundo on June 21, 2010 at 9:02 PM (CDT)


Where is the iPod out setting?  I have an Alpine iXA-W404 and the dock connection stopped working after I updated to iOS 4.  Thanks.

Posted by Me on June 21, 2010 at 11:30 PM (CDT)


Phil (#1) & Kelvin (#2): The MMS settings are carrier-specific and determined by carrier configuration files. If MMS is not appearing then it’s either been turned off under Messages in the Settings app or it has been disabled by your carrier—perhaps inadvertently by an incorrect configuration file in the update. Similarly, “Group Messaging” is likely appearing as a result of an AT&T specific configuration.  Since I don’t have that setting, I’m not entirely sure what it means.

I know that Rogers in Canada pushed out a carrier update a couple of days before the iOS 4 release, and reports are that iOS 4 should now be able to receive carrier updates over-the-air and not just via iTunes..

Me (#5): I suspect the iPod Out feature will require new accessories that have not as-yet been released, or in the very least some kind of firmware update to existing car systems. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising that iOS 4 broke the connection to the Alpine—such things have happened with prior updates also—but hopefully this is something that Alpine can fix for you with a firmware update, or that Apple can address in 4.0.1.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 9:06 AM (CDT)


@Me.  I have the same Apline unit and the same problem.  The Apple Knowledge boards have posts with similar issues with Alpine.  Hopefully there will be a software fix very soon.

Posted by PeteJ on June 22, 2010 at 10:17 AM (CDT)


as mentioned in article that 3g users wont be d by lack of features in update because they will be updating to a faster model. ive only just bought my 3g and im made to feel as though my iphone is slow and outdated. to put this right my iphone is so much faster with n ew update im happy with what ive been given thanks. why would i want to spend another £400 on a new phone.

Posted by tracey cross on June 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM (CDT)


Hey i did the update and noticed that i cannot change the background of my wallpaper ( home menue) and or LOCK SCREEN seperately… just still works the same as before i did it… what do i do?

Posted by Matt on June 22, 2010 at 4:17 PM (CDT)


So I found a change of my own with Bluetooth audio.  Pre-iOS4, the volume level out of the iPod was locked so that you can only change the volume using the Bluetooth headset/headphone’s controls.  Now that audio output is variable which is great for Jabra Halo owners like myself.  The Jabra Halo’s lowest volume level is still too high for most people.  I can now listen to my podcasts at night without blowing my eardrums out.

Posted by DustoMan on June 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM (CDT)


re Spotlight Search

To see Search Web or see Search Wikipedia is hidden

Pressing the space key brings this up. to re hide press search and then the x on the search box.

People may know this but I searched and couldn’t find this peice of info. :-)

Posted by kev on June 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM (CDT)


#4 Walter: I had the same problem with Smart Playlists. Turning off “Live updating” solved the problem. I’m glad to hear this is no longer necessary.

Posted by JP on June 22, 2010 at 7:14 PM (CDT)


The ipod touch doesn’t support multi-tasking or the home page wallpaper. Just so everyone knows. They skimped on the Ipod.

Posted by Kevin on June 22, 2010 at 7:51 PM (CDT)


Actually, home wallpapers and multitasking are supported on the third-generation iPod touch—the 32GB and 64GB models released in the fall of 2009.  The 8GB, 16GB and 32GB iPod touch models released in the fall of 2008 are secone-generation iPod models and in the same category as the iPhone 3G in terms of lacking support for multitasking, home screen wallpapers, and Bluetooth keyboards. 

Keep in mind that as noted in the article, the 8GB iPod touch currently being sold by Apple is actually a second-generation iPod touch—the same model first released in the fall of 2008.  Last fall Apple merely updated the OS to 3.x and re-released it at a lower price, but the hardware is identical to the earlier model.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 7:59 PM (CDT)


Originally a little miffed at Apple for not allowing Home screen wallpaper on the 3G but after a day of use, I’m beginning to think Apple should have added the iPhone 3G to the incompatible list alongside the original iPhone and iPod Touch. This thing is painfully slow now. Were it not for the combined Inbox feature I’d have already attempted a downgrade back to 3.1.3.

Posted by Paul on June 22, 2010 at 11:03 PM (CDT)


I just download it IOS 4 on my Iphone 3G. Thought that I could change my App home screen wallpaper but it does not support it. Not FAIR!! This phone is still on SALE and it should support it, It is not descontinued yet. To be honest, The only change I really need and like is the 5x Zoom for my cam. Thanks.

Posted by David on June 23, 2010 at 12:09 AM (CDT)


can you get an alert / reminder pop up for birthdays in the birthday calendar? Its no use if you cant get a reminder!

Posted by shaz on June 23, 2010 at 8:23 AM (CDT)


@David (#16): To be fair, the release notes did indicate which features were not compatible with older iPhone and iPod touch models.  Of course, who actually reads those ;)

@shaz (#17): Sadly, no. The BIrthdays calendar is read-only in the same way that iCal subscribed calendars are, so you can’t edit the events even to add a notification.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 8:42 AM (CDT)


I updated to 4.0 on my iPod touch 3rd gen and everything that uses the Internet is extremely slow. I have rarely have had these problems before the update. I can’t be my Internet connection because my other wireless devices are working fine.

Posted by Henderson on June 23, 2010 at 9:25 AM (CDT)


Most of the “power” smartlist users on the forums are reporting that they’re as broken as ever. Perhaps they’ve got the code up to the “standards” of the 5G nano (which is still utterly borked), but actual, full smartlist support is still MIA.

I realize that this is of no consequence to most readers, but the continued silence on this issue in these reviews is troublesome. For people who manage their libraries and iPod family devices via smartlists, the fact that Apple hasn’t had them working properly on a single new device since the 4G nano should not be blithely glossed over.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on June 23, 2010 at 9:39 AM (CDT)


Sorry to report but iPOS4 will be getting taken off my iPhone 3G as soon as I can.
It has resulted in a slow to respond device - simple thing like trying to send a text can be frustrating.
And, as a side note, the upgrade of iTunes to 9.2 has ended up with more freezes/crashes of iTunes in the last couple of days than in the last two years with previous versions of iTunes.

Once again, I failed to take heed of the old adage, once bitten, twice shy. I should have waited for the posts from frustrated upgraders finding their devices borked to appear on the internets…

All we need now is the BSOD…..

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on June 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM (CDT)


Was hesitant about updating my iPhone 3G (plan to upgrade to the new iPhone 4 within the next two weeks) from hearing about multiple people having slowdown issues.  I did a complete backup, restore, and restart and am not seeing much of the slowdown described.  That’s with a 16GB 3G that is nearly filled to capacity with content. 

Utilizing threaded emails and folders, obviously no multitasking, but happy with the update thus far.  My suggestion is to completely restore your phone for the update for anyone who is also wary or wishing to go back to the 3.1.3 firmware.

Posted by Marc on June 23, 2010 at 12:41 PM (CDT)


@ Jesse: Where is this “iPod Out” setting? You wonder above if it will be for new accessories yet to be released, or perhaps available when existing accessories receive their own software update. But wouldn’t the setting be on a menu now? (even if ineffective)

Since this feature was first identified in April, I haven’t seen any definitive explanation for what it is (or will be), any update?

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 23, 2010 at 1:19 PM (CDT)


@Code Monkey (#20): I’ve been seeing the same issues with Smart Playlists as before, so it almost wasn’t worth mentioning in the article. What is interesting, however, is that i’ve also seen one or two random problems with Smart Playlists not updating in iTunes after a sync, requiring a restart of iTunes to do so.  I haven’t yet been able to reproduce this problem, and have only seen it occur in one of my libraries, but it’s something to look out for nonetheless.

@Bob (#21): You’re the third person I know personally to have reported the same problems following a complete iPhone 3G upgrade, yet both of my own iPhone 3G devices perform more or less as well as they did before—not great, but acceptable. The only issue I had with one was that a bunch of orange “other” capacity was filled up following the restore that wasn’t taken up before, suggesting that the restored media files didn’t all get catalogued properly. A second manual backup-and-restore process, followed by resyncing the content from iTunes, seemed to solve that issue.

This might be a valuable suggestion for others as well—from at least one report I’ve received, it seems that it might be the upgrade-based backup/restore process in iTunes 9.2 that’s actually borked, and not the iPhone 3G itself.  A manually-initiated “restore” should work the same way it did in prior versions of iTunes, restoring only application data and settings and letting iTunes sync your media and actual apps on as it normally would.

Unfortunately, regressing an iPhone to 3.1.3 is going to be more trouble than it’s worth—iTunes itself won’t let you do this and you’ll have to resort to the jailbreak-style methods.

@rock (#23): Other than a few leaked images from internal SDK code, I haven’t seen any evidence of this yet either.  My guess is that this is something similar that will activate automatically once a compatible accessory is connected, and therefore doesn’t require a separate menu option. The early Nike+ support worked much the same way—it was invisible until you actually connected a Nike+ receiver, after which the settings and home screen application suddenly appeared.

My educated guess from everything I’ve seen thus far is that this is a method for actually displaying an Apple-generated user interface on compatible car equipment, rather than relying on their own UIs to try to navigate the iPod content directly.  This would certainly provide at least a more unified experience across multiple car systems, if not a better experience overall.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 2:45 PM (CDT)


@Jesse (24), Yes, I suppose since it has been 2008 since Apple made a product that handled smartlists properly, the notable thing would be if they shipped something that restored smartlist support as opposed to keeping things status quo. Still, iOS 4 is notable in that the long standing sort order bug that has prompted 8 bajillion forum posts here and on the Apple forums was fixed, but live updating with any playlist reference or logic nesting is still broken. It’s enough of a change of the status quo I think it should have been mentioned just so people would know it’s no longer necessary to keep implementing the kludge fixes that have been recommended for so long (such as “Playlist IS Music” to intentionally break live updating). For the people using simpler smartlists, iOS 4 is an improvement.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on June 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM (CDT)


@ Jesse (#24) No mention of “iPod Out” in the newly-released iOS 4 User Guide, so perhaps they canned it. If you’re right in that it was only intended for an Apple-generated user interface on an accessory, then perhaps it will be available with some future accessory— I doubt that existing hardware could support this unless the necessary hooks to do this have already been published.

On a somewhat positive note, my factory Honda stereo can now (partially) communicate with my 2G Touch running iOS 4—ever since OS 3 I’ve had to queue up an album or playlist before connecting the Touch because the navigation was neutered by the OS change from 2 to 3. Now I can at least select Playlists on the stereo, but I still can’t select Artists or Albums. Oh well ...

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM (CDT)


@Code Monkey (#25): True enough, and the reality is that I gave up on complex Smart Playlists some time ago as I became tired of things never quite working as expected. For simpler Smart Playlists, iOS 4 did in fact improve things—something I actually discovered a couple of months ago when the betas first came out.  At this point, though, I’m sort of wondering if on-device Smart Playlist updating is something Apple has given up on.  Generally, things work pretty well if you sync with iTunes, and clearly Apple (mistakenly) expects people to be syncing their devices on a regular basis.  I could forgive that assumption if they ever implemented an actual wireless sync solution, but since everything still runs only over USB, it’s a somewhat ridiculous assertion.

Rock (#26): Actually, it’s specifically mentioned in the iOS 4 release notes:

“iPod out to navigate music, podcasts and audiobooks through an iPod interface with compatible cars.”

I’m also expecting that it won’t appear until specific new accessories arrive, as opposed to supporting anything that’s currently out there. However, your experience with your Honda stereo makes it pretty obvious why Apple needs to push their own solution for this… the current implementation of car control systems for the iOS devices is a complete and utter mess right now.  Unfortunately, how much success Apple will have at pushing their own standards in the fact of the automotive industry remains to be seen. After all, remember how well the elimination of 12V FireWire charging went in terms of car accessories—most manufacturers completely ignored Apple’s recommendations until faced with actual, incompatible hardware.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 3:53 PM (CDT)


This update would be awesome if it didn’t effing break everything on the phone! Now my iPod app doesn’t work at all suddenly…apparently leaving it sitting over night breaks apple products. While I hate apple’s designer products (quality gear at over-the-top pricing), I’ve always tried to support their iPods and iPhones, but again, apple proves their “superiority” by releasing another half-baked product and hoping all the tech nerds will fix it for them. Apple will never ever see another dime of my money.

Posted by Mark on June 23, 2010 at 8:49 PM (CDT)


I can no longer navigate the menus using the remote with my iHome iP1 Studio Series speaker system. I suspect it may have something to do with the new “iPod out” protocol.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on June 23, 2010 at 10:32 PM (CDT)


I updated my iPhone 3G 8GB and actually noticed performance improvements.  It seems snappier than ever.

Now to be fair I did do a complete restore from a jailbreak before updating, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with the improved performance.  But I would say there is a noticeable difference between my phone and wife’s (never jailbroken, updated also)

I might start doing restores every once in awhile if it boosts performance like this!

Posted by Chris in KC on June 24, 2010 at 10:07 AM (CDT)


Safari on iOS4 was made to scroll much faster in long webpages.

I’m playing a PS2 game and was reading a very lengthy FAQ on but scrolling to the bottom required me swiping for a couple of minutes non-stop.

After I upgraded my 3G to iOS4 and went to check out the FAQ, I immediately noticed it took me less than 10 seconds to go from the top to nearly the end.

This is a very small detail that meant a lot to me.

Posted by Leo on June 24, 2010 at 11:03 PM (CDT)


One change I really like about the iOS 4 Address Book: it now aggregates Address Book items from my Mac/iPhone/MobileMe together. So, whereas previously when looking at “All Contacts” I would get the same Address Book items displayed multiple times because they come from different sources, now they are listed under one item with a “Unified Info” heading and at the bottom of the page you get a link to the individual Address Book items from each of the sources if you would choose to look at a single one of them. This used to drive me nuts, and kudos to Apple for figuring out an elegant solution! :)

Posted by Jooil on June 25, 2010 at 4:23 AM (CDT)


Has anyone experienced a drop in battery life performance after the iOS 4 update? I seem to notice a 10-15% drop in battery performance.

Posted by Jon on June 25, 2010 at 4:32 AM (CDT)


The Gmail archive/delete “bug” (I do not considering saving a mail I want to delete to be a “feature”) is not changed if you are using Gmail via the Exchange method, FYI.

Posted by Tape on June 25, 2010 at 7:33 AM (CDT)


@Jon (#33): Battery performance under iOS 4 may take a slight hit due to additional background processing, but I haven’t observed any significant differences in the testing I’ve been doing.  The iPhone 3GS seems to suffer slightly more in terms of battery life than the iPhone 3G, perhaps due to the multitasking features available on the newer hardware. Obviously, the addition of other background apps is going to have an impact on battery life as well, although it shouldn’t be significant unless these apps are actually running in the background (ie, playing music, tracking location, waiting for VoIP calls, etc).

@Tape (#34): That’s actually a Google problem and there’s really no way for Apple to “fix” it.  Exchange Servers have no concept of “archive” vs “delete” and of course Google Sync is simply mimicking the Exchange ActiveSync protocol and translating a “Delete” request sent from the iOS device into an archive request.  In essence, Google Sync is a “hack” of a protocol designed to work with Microsoft’s Exchange servers. There’s nothing in the Exchange ActiveSync protocol that would realistically allow Apple to do anything about this, except perhaps to force a delete to actually be a Move-to-Trash operation.  However, I don’t believe it’s appropriate or reasonable for Apple to rewrite a protocol designed expressly to work with Microsoft Exchange servers merely because Google has chosen to implement it in their own non-standard way.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 25, 2010 at 8:47 AM (CDT)


Is there a setting that displays the battery as a percentage like in the screenshots? My iOS4 just has the battery icon with no percent, but it’s ATT, not Rogers. I don’t see a setting for this anywhere.

Posted by Nate on June 25, 2010 at 10:29 AM (CDT)


Well written as usual Jesse.  I am curious if you will be covering the horrible performance of IOS 4 on the iPhone 3G.  The new OS release turns a formerly usable, albeit a bit pokey device into a very beautiful rock, particularly when working with calendars.

Thanks as always for your work

Posted by Doc Chevalier on June 25, 2010 at 10:31 AM (CDT)


@Nate (36): The battery percentage option is only available on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad and be found under Settings, General, Usage on the iPhone and Setting, General on the iPad. It was actually first introduced last year with the iPhone 3GS on iOS 3.0 and is not anything new on iOS 4. It remains unavailable on other iPhone and iPod touch devices.

@Doc Chevalier (#37): Thanks. We’re still looking into some of the reported performance issues with the iPhone 3G as the problem does not seem to occur on ALL iPhone 3G devices.  The two 3G units I have here do seem a bit slower, but remain usable for all of the existing apps—they only seem to struggle with some of the newer apps like iBooks which are specifically optimized for iOS 4 and the iPhone 4.  That said, I do know others who have had serious performance degradation after upgrading, but haven’t yet been able to figure out exactly why that is.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM (CDT)


I have a 2nd gen. 32GB Touch, took the new 4.0, and lost 10GB of free space in the process.  Prior to the download, I had 15GB of free space, now I only have 5GB left.  The orange representing “other” on the sync bar was barely a blip before the download, now it covers 7 1/3 of the sync bars…it went from a few KBs to 10GBs.
WOW!  I’ve lost 10GBs of music space.  What happened?

Posted by jibbs41 on June 25, 2010 at 4:42 PM (CDT)


@#(36): Well, I have an iPod Touch (late 2008 model) and I had it jailbroken to where I could see the percetiage in the top corner. Now my performance on the iPod was slow so I unjailbroke it. But when I did that the percent still stayed in the corner. So you might be able to do that.

Posted by Koosko on June 25, 2010 at 8:07 PM (CDT)


Well I’d like to thank @ Jesse David Hollington in Toronto, for his aside (#24), in a reply to another poster, @Bob(#21).  It turned out to be that answer to my post question @ jibbs41(#39), about my losing 10GB of free space to the orange “other” on the bar at the bottom of the page.  I did the manual restore, and got back my 10GB of free space.  The orange “other” is now at 298MB.  Thank, you, thank you, thank you, kind sir.

Posted by Jibbs41 on June 25, 2010 at 9:51 PM (CDT)


Since upgrading my 3Gs to 4.0 I am unable to access Facebook apps (Mafia Wars and Farmville).  I have been advised to turn the device off and reset it.  I have tried both of these options 2x but with no luck.  Any other advise?

Posted by Ainslie on June 25, 2010 at 10:19 PM (CDT)


@Code Monkey (#20). I gave up on smartlists on my itouch ages ago, but there’s a brilliant iphone app called “SmartPlaylist” that lets you create smartlists on the fly. I deleted most of my saved play lists after using this app. Its just been updated to work on the new OS.

Thanks Jesse for a fantastic overview.

Posted by Ian on June 26, 2010 at 3:07 AM (CDT)


Did Anyone notice a drop in volume. i have an iPod touch 3g and it dropped by a third. very annoying. is there a way to fix this?

Please help!!

Posted by Steel on June 26, 2010 at 4:57 AM (CDT)


my itunes is telling me that i have no permission for the requested download, i can i do to go round this, i got a ipod touch 8gig and the home button is giving me problems, i’ve had it for about a month, what can i do….please help

Posted by vernon on June 29, 2010 at 9:56 AM (CDT)


this update is confusing. my friend also got the update and has the same 16gb ipod touch as i do yet her ipod supports the home screen wallpaper feature whereas mine doesn’t. anyone know why? -.-

Posted by kelly on July 1, 2010 at 7:14 AM (CDT)


Updated my iPhone 3G and now my iPod is weirding out—I select a song to play (that’s always played before the update) and it brings it up on the screen but then skips over to some other song.  It is extremely frustrating. I’ve turned the phone off/on and re-synced on iTunes a few times to no avail. I still have the problem. I would not have updated had I known this.

Posted by Donna on July 1, 2010 at 5:23 PM (CDT)


Thanks, this was really helpful. Also, in the screen chits you had, the silver bar at the top had a little percentage sign next to the battery, how did it get there? Is it displaying the percentage of battery?

Posted by Tucker Chapin on July 2, 2010 at 12:13 AM (CDT)


Music volume is lower after upgrade. Hopefully, they fix it.

Posted by Kier on July 2, 2010 at 10:01 PM (CDT)


i have the third generation ipod touch, and i updated to the iOS 4 firmware update. but when i go to set a home screen wallpaper i see that it says set to home screen but it scrolls past the option and only does lockscreen wallpaper. i took a screenshot really fast and i can show the options scrolling by. what should i do?

Posted by Sam on July 3, 2010 at 8:54 PM (CDT)


@Kelly (#46): Your iPod is probably a second generation iPod, which doesn’t support home screen backgrounds or fast-app switching, among other features.

As for this article, it was great and insightful. I just updated my iPod (also a second gen, sadly) and it was nice to learn exactly what I COULD do. I really love the idea of folders. Makes everything so much faster for me!

Posted by Maggie on July 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM (CDT)


Installed 4.0 to my iPod Touch 3G (32GB). No slow-down problems, no iTunes crashes.

I’ve had none of the problems that I’ve been reading about in the comments.

Maybe your ipods just suck, guys? :P

Posted by Canadian iPodder on July 8, 2010 at 4:48 AM (CDT)


I upgraded my itouch 3gto 4.0 but it won’t let me multitask or put a picture on the springboard. I can make folders though. Pls help!

Posted by Davie on July 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM (CDT)


i have the 2nd generation ipod touch. Have there been a lot of complaints of problems from users like myself or has it been minimal? also, will the upgrade delete notes, safari bookmarks, and little things like that or are they safe too with a back up? this article was very helpful. thanks so much :)

Posted by Makella on July 20, 2010 at 7:06 PM (CDT)


What the hell Apple? I have a 2g iPod touch that I got barely a month before the 3G iPod touch came out and I can’t get the 2 updates that I was looking forward to the most in this new ios.  And I feel bad for the people who have the 1g iPod.  Why does apple do this shit?  If this ticks anyone else off let me know because I’m half tempted to write a complaint to Apple.

Posted by Bob on July 22, 2010 at 10:51 PM (CDT)


Oh you should definitely write a complaint to apple. I have an 8gb ipod touch and i got it like 2 weeks ago, and i can’t multitask or ad a background?!?! what’s it doing for stupid apple anyway to screw over the 8gb ipod like that? And why would they make a new generation of ipod but only make some of the ipods compatible?!? That’s the gayest thing i’ve ever heard of. I hate apple their whole program sucks!!!!!!!!!

Posted by green day 21 on July 29, 2010 at 5:49 AM (CDT)


help! I just tried to update my touch to 4.0, and now it just shows me the apple icon. When I plug it in to my computer, it gives me a message that it has detected an ipod in recovery mode. I have tried to do a recovery to restore, but it says it can’t (unknown error (21)). What can I do?

Posted by David Horvath on August 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM (CDT)


I used email alot but ios 4 has a bug problem. It doesnt automatically search gmail contacts online and only works if you enable contacts to be saved on the idevice whuich is such a setback. Also somwhow contacts search in exchange 2007 isnt working for me. Thumbs down.

Posted by agmad on August 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM (CDT)


i have an iphon 4 and in ipod settings have it set to continue playing where left off. Ang tim i get a text interuption the music vidieos go back to playlists. Why?? please help, The setting in general is set to play where left of. Thanks.

Posted by barry biondo on August 22, 2010 at 2:16 PM (CDT)


For those of you who has the 2g 8 gb, it says a lot of the features only work on the 2g 16-32gb, and the 3g 32-64 gb. maybe thats why your ipods are getting messed up?

Posted by Chacha on August 30, 2010 at 12:07 AM (CDT)


Can the iPod touch 3rd generation iPod get the ios 4 ?

Posted by Darby on August 30, 2010 at 11:20 PM (CDT)


Well written article. Thanks.

Posted by darren on September 11, 2010 at 10:38 PM (CDT)


hi, there is an icon (indicator or badge) on top of my apple4 screen, and I don’t know what does it mean, can you help me please?? The I con shows an old phone mark with some points(dots) under it at top right of my cellphone beside the bultooth bar.

Thank you.

Posted by Mahmood on August 21, 2011 at 5:28 AM (CDT)


4th. Generation iPod Touch. My location defaults to a point in Hawaii. How do I change this to automatically default to my present location. ie I am in South Africa and have never been in Hawaii. For instance if i take a photo and download it to iPhoto, then it shows the location as Hawaii.

Posted by Anthony Jones on December 3, 2011 at 2:48 PM (CST)

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