Apple has made it so that that iOS 8, which goes out to the public today, will work on iPhones reaching all the way back to the venerable 4S. Which is good! But as Ars Technica found out the hard way, subjecting your elderly iPhone to new software may not be worth it. At least not yet.
The 4S, which first hit the streets nearly three years ago, does its damnedest to keep up with the software designed for its bigger (and even biggerer) younger siblings. But it just plain doesn’t have the hardware to support some of iOS 8’s biggest features, like Touch ID, AirDrop, and the Metal graphics API.
And even with the stuff it can handle, the poor 4S gets winded pretty quickly. Ars points out that the phone’s guts offer about a quarter of the performance of the iPhone 5S, and an even smaller fraction compared to the newest iPhone 6. Apps launch more slowly—sometimes taking 50 percent longer to load—with herky-jerky transitions that hang and hesitate. [read]