iOS 4 review

Complete review of Apple's iOS 4 software for iPhone and iPod touch

Complete review of Apple's iOS 4 software for iPhone and iPod touch

iOS 4 (previously iPhone OS 4.0) continues Apple's relentless yearly mobile OS update cycle. If 2007 was the mainstreaming of the multitouch user interface, 2008 all about the App Store, and 2009 was filling in the feature list, then iOS 4 promises to be... well, that's why we're here.

(And yes, iOS. That's the new name Apple has licensed from trademark-holders Cisco to represent the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch -- and maybe soon the Apple TV and who knows what else -- family.)

Back on April 8 at the sneak preview event, Apple promised 7 "tent-pole" features and 100+ general user features overall, along with 1500 major new API for developers. We're going to walk you through the ones that matter most.

Note: iOS 4.1 is now available. See our complete iOS 4.1 walkthrough for the latest on Game Center, HDR photography, Ping social music network, and the other new features.

See also our iPhone 4 review for more on hardware specific features.

iOS 4 in 10 minutes: video quick-start guide

If you don't have time (yet) to read this massive iOS 4 walkthrough and are eager to get the basics down now, here's a quick 10 minute video guide to get your started.

We're showing it off on an iPhone 3GS, which should be similar to how it will work on an iPod touch G3. If you're using the iPhone 3G or iPod touch 2G you won't get the multitasking and wallpapers. You'll blame Apple. Apple will blame the hardware. The hardware will try to frustrate you into upgrading to an iPhone 4. You've been warned.

Note: If you haven't updated yet, save yourself some time and potential hassles and go read our getting ready for iOS 4 post first first. Then once you're good to go, sit back, relax, and hit play on the video below.


YouTube link

What Hasn't Changed

As always, we'll start off by telling you what hasn't change so we can clear the deck for what has. For more information on any functionality that's pretty much identical to past versions, check out our previous walkthroughs:

And here's a quick list of the unchanged apps in iOS 4:

  • Stocks: Similarly, Stocks got landscape and a slew of swipe-able data last time, so the update love gets skipped this time.
  • Weather: Almost comedically at this point, it's still unchanged from iPhone 1.0. Still no HTC TouchFlo 3D style animations, no landscape mode with more/different information. Not even a Calendar-style icon update to show current local weather. Nada.
  • Voice Memo: Introduced in iPhone 3.0, it looks pretty much the same in iOS 4.
  • Clock: With nothing but a lap feature added last time, we lose the "but" and keep the "nothing" for iOS 4.
  • Calculator: Upgraded back in 2.0 for landscape scientific mode, all Calculator gets this time is a slight icon tweak towards the red.

(We're not counting getting a resolution bump for iPhone 4 Retina Display as a functional change.)

System-wide enhancements

Spell check

Spell check, which debuted in iOS 3.2 for iPad, is a system-wide addition to iOS 4 now as well. Words the OS thinks you've misspelled will be underlined in red (familiar to any Microsoft Office or Mac OS X user). Tapping on them will give you a popup containing a recommended replacement. Tapping the popup replaces the misspelled word with the (hopefully!) correctly spelled one.

Combined with the iPhone's existing -- and industry leading -- predictive auto-correct, it's a powerful combination.

Text Replace

iphone_30_icon_cut-copy-pasteCut, copy, and paste also gets an iPad-debuting feature with "replace" now added to the popup options.

Additionally, if iOS 4 autocorrects a word and you immediately backspace, a popup will appear offering to replace the correction with the originally typed word.

VoiceControl

We haven't found any specific documentation on this yet, and it doesn't seem to be listed as one of the options flying by on the on-screen suggestions, but per the comments below asking "what time is it" will now have VoiceControl speak the current time to you. It's possible other commands have been added as well. If you come across any, let us know.

Wi-Fi

iPod touch (and I believe iPhone) can now stay connected to Wi-Fi even when in sleep mode. This means background VoIP calls, push notifications, and other apps that require an active Wi-Fi connection can just keep working.

Virtual Keyboard

Instead of just hitting the globe key to cycle through languages on the virtual keyboard, you can now hold it down to get a popup showing all currently enabled international keyboards.

iOS 4 international keyboard pop up

Bluetooth Keyboard Support

You're going to get tired of us saying "like the iPad" but remember when we told you spring's influx of iPad news would be important come summer's new iPhone news? You were warned for a reason. iPhone is getting iPad's Bluetooth keyboard support. Thank goodness for that.

Over-the-air Carrier Setting Updates

Based on reports from Rogers/Fido users in Canada, iOS 4 adds the ability for Carrier Setting Updates to be pushed out over-the-air (OTA) to iPhones and installed on-device. (In previous versions iTunes would handle the update and sync it over).

ios4 carrier setting update

Home Screen

iphone_30_icon_home_screenSpringBoard, the app behind the Home Screen gets an iOS 3.2 for iPad-style update to support custom wallpaper. Yes, the default background in iOS 4 is water drops on gray, which is not default but included in the iPad's wallpaper gallery. Also like iPad, the Mac OS X reflective Dock (buh-bye grid) and translucent top bar have been brought over.

(If you get a new iPhone 4, or do a clean install of iOS 4, you'll also note Clock, Compass, Calculator, and Voice Memos have been moved to a Utilities folder by default -- more on Folders later).

iOS 4 default homescreen

In addition to the iPad wallpapers, Apple has also introduced a few new ones, all seemingly focused on livening up the home screen without being too visually distracting. Natural textures and muted patterns get an obvious focus here with stones, rocks, and textiles front and center.

(See all of them in our iOS 4 wallpaper gallery)

In addition to previous status icons, the top bar will now show a north-east pointing arrow to alert you that location-based services (GPS) are being used. (So you'll see this in Maps and when using navigation, location-based social networks or games, etc.) An orientation lock icon will also show if you've enabled the widget to lock your screen in portrait mode (see below).

iOS 4 title bar icons

The color bands indicators across the top of the screen that highlight running voice or data connections (green for Phone, red for Voice Memo, blue for tethering) get expanded. Red now serves double-duty to indicate a VoIP app (like Skype) is active in the background.

How the SpringBoard has been once again extended to visualize new, core-level OS changes is where things get more interesting...

Spotlight

iphone_30_icon_spotlightFirst, and strangely least, the Spotlight Home Screen introduced in iPhone 3.0 now gets to look beyond on-device data and reach for the clouds. Literally. Well, insomuch as the cloud here is Google and Wikipedia, which are very welcome additions. (Hopefully Twitter will be added in as well at some point). Tapping either will launch you into Mobile Safari and the appropriate search result page.

Multitasking

iOS 4 icon multitaskingWhile Apple's built-in apps (like iPod, Mail, etc.) have had background multitasking since 1.0. four years, many gripes, and stiffer Google Android competition than later, background multitasking comes to App Store apps. (At least for iPhone 4 and last year's iPhone 3GS).

Why no iPhone 3G? Apple abjectly refuses to put their name on an implementation where hardware constrains software -- see video recording last year -- and that means iPhone 3G isn't up to their multitasking standards.

As to how it works, instead of a traditional "leave full apps running in the background" approach, Apple instead chose to implement a more restricted but, they felt, better performing and power friendly solution involving 7 specific background API (application programming interfaces.)

Local notifications

In addition to the existing push notification service from Apple's servers, which provide sound, badges, and alert popups for everything from IM to game challenges, iOS 4 adds local notifications so something like an alarm-clock app could register an alert that would sit in the iPhone in the background until the proper time, then activate. That takes the online server out of the equation which is good for tasks that don't need additional information from the cloud, and so don't have to activate the radios.

Task completion

There's another API for task completion so that, for example, if you're uploading a picture to Twitter and leave the app, it can register a thread to keep uploading the picture in the background while you do something else. That means the entire app doesn't have to keep running, freeing up memory and lightening battery load, and even the thread will terminate when the upload is done.

Fast task switching and saved state

Fast task switching deals with the perceptive speed that multitasking offers. With previous versions of iOS, if you left an App Store app it would shut down completely. If you went back -- regardless if it was a second or a week or later -- it would usually restart not from where you left off but from the beginning. A few developers tried to add persistence on their own, saving your place when you came back as best as previous OS versions allowed, but most didn't -- especially games which was aggravating when phone calls pulled you unexpectedly out of them. Also, if you closed one app and went to another, you could theoretically be stuck swiping back or forth between 11 home screen pages.

Saved state is now built into iOS 4. If you switch out, Apps have their currents state saved to memory and if/when you go back, the app checks the memory save and resumes from that state. [Thanks Aaron]

To enable fast app switching, Apple's created a new UI mechanic. Now, when you double tap the home button, the screen turns translucent and slides up, allowing you to peek at the apps running "under the hood". (Technically frozen with state saved and threads registered with the background API).

Apps in the fast switcher UI are sorted in order of last usage. That means, if you're moving between a set of commonly used apps, they're most likely right next to each other and not screens and screens away. These two elements combine together to make launching apps perceptively much faster, even though the apps don't have to be running in the background consuming resources just for that convenience.

Positionally the fast task switcher apps take up the space traditionally reserved for the Dock, so while it's a tad confusing the concept of apps at the bottom of the screen being more permanent and easily accessible remains. Behaviorally, while they look like a secret dock, they function like the Home Screen itself in that you can swipe from right to left to scroll through a several 4-icon sets of multitasking apps.

Given even the iPhone 3GS has only 256MB of RAM, we assume Apple will discretely kill off the least-used app in the stack when things get tight. Whether or not that means the icon disappears from the multitasking UI we don't know, but worst case you just have to go to the home screen, re-launch it (hopefully from saved state) and all you notice is a slightly longer start up time. iPhone 4 is supposed to have 512MB of RAM which should allow for significantly more threads to run in background without slowdown or other problems.

iOS 4 helps users visualize what's going on when switching tasks by introducing a new, carousel-like animation. The new animation occurs when you switch between two apps either via the new, double-click-Home to trigger to launch the multitasking UI, or when one app calls another app (i.e. when you're in Contacts and you tap to send a contact an SMS).

Launching or leaving an app retains the same, zoom-based effect as always (though the wallpaper in iOS zooms slightly as well, like on the iPad).


YouTube link

Interlude: Task Killing

At the iOS 4 event, Steve Jobs likened task managers (in the multitasking, not to-do sense) to styluses -- if you need them there's something wrong. Initially this created confusion in iOS 4 when it was noted, if you hold your finger down on multitasking apps, they'd jiggle and bring up a delete icon that, if tapped, removed them.

It appears like there's a couple things going on. First, with built-in Apple apps, like Mail, if you "delete" it from the fast task switcher, you will still receive Mail (it doesn't kill the background thread that checks, sounds/vibrates, and updates the badge) but the app seems to do some sort of data cache refresh at times.

For App Store apps, if you "delete" them it does appear to force a reset when next you launch them, i.e. they won't resume from the previously saved state and their threads seem to be restarted. [Thanks Justin!]

Widgets

Just like to the left of the main home screen is a special Spotlight screen, to the left of the fast app switcher is a special widget dock containing an software version of the iPad's hardware orientation lock control (though it currently only locks in portrait mode). More over, there are three circular controls to skip back, play/pause, or skip forward any music (including streaming music) -- and rewind or fast forward if you hold them down. Lastly, whichever app is currently playing the music, be it iPod, iTunes (streaming podcasts, for example), or an App Store app (like Pandora or Slacker) is shown at the right so you can jump back to it and access further controls.

iphone_4_fast_app_switcher_orientation_lock_ipod_controlsiphone_os_4_itunes_streaming_widget


YouTube link

The presentation may not be as visually slick as Palm webOS' Card view (which looks like iPhone Safari's Page view) or Mac OS X Expose mode, but it keeps tens of millions of existing iPhone and iPod touch users grounded in the interface they're familiar with and that's what Apple is prioritizing.

Note: Previously you could assign the double-click home button action to trigger Phone Favorites, Camera, or Spotlight. On iPhone 3G under iOS those options remain. On iPhone 3GS under iOS, in early betas you could double-click-and-hold the home button to trigger Phone Favorites, but this function doesn't appear to have survive to the final release. Hopefully something will replace it and soon.

Background music, location, and VoIP

Speaking of streaming music, perhaps most famously, Apple is allowing apps to register three specific types of the threads for persistent backgrounding (they can just keep running until you close them). Again, this isn't the whole app running, just one thread from the app, so the idea is it won't slow down performance, use up memory, or drain battery to the same degree. These API are for streaming music, location, and VoIP (voice over IP).

This means you can listen to Pandora, Slacker, etc. while surfing the web. Navigon, TeleNav,TomTom, etc. can keep using the GPS and alert you to directions while you're on the phone, and to further save resources, non-critical location apps like FourSquare, Gowalla, Loopt, etc. can be alerted when you change cell towers. Fring, Skype, Line2, etc. can answer calls and receive messages when you're not in the app, making them more equal telephony citizens.

What's still missing are background API for timeline updates, so that IM, Twitter, RSS, etc. could update like Mail does and have new messages ready and waiting when you return to the app. Also, there's no API to let internet sessions like SSH, RDP/VNC remain active when you exit an app making it more onerous for network administrators and others to manage remote machines. Hopefully these can be added in future revisions.

Folders

iphone-os-preview-icon-folders20100407There are over 200,000 apps in the App Store and likely a ton more by the time I finish writing the sentence. Literally. iPhone 1.0 had one Home Screen but with only the built-in apps available back then, it wasn't even a limitation. With WebApps, it grew to 9 pages for a 148 app limit. With iPhone 3.0 we were given 11 pages, for 180 apps viewable, but you could eventually install many more and use Spotlight as a way of finding and launching them. Organizing them still wasn't a real option.

Enter Folders. A Folder is simply a grouped icon that holds up to 12 other icons inside it. (And for those keeping count at home, the new math means a whopping 2160 apps can be kept available at once. Shudder).

The way it works is you tap a Folder icon and once again the Home Screen fades and splits open, this time below the Folder. Inside the split are all the apps contained in the group.

iOS 4 Folders open

To create a Folder, you begin by tapping and holding an icon to put it in jiggly mode, just like you did before to delete or move it. Then, drag it over and drop it on top of another icon to create a Folder. (This works better when icons aren't at the right edge of the screen, as the move behavior seems to supersede the Folder behavior, causing the icon to wrap to the next line before you can drop on top of it.) Once created, iOS reads the apps' category data and tries to name the folder for you, but you can easily edit it and change it to anything you want.

To remove apps from a Folder, put them in jiggly mode inside the Folder and drag them out (or just delete them if you don't want the app anymore at all). You can also move them around within the Folder to customize their order.

iOS 4 Folders jiggly mode

Folders can be put in jiggly mode and moved as well, but not deleted (they can only be deleted by removing all the apps from within them, and which point they self-destruct for you). You can even move them to the Dock, which means you could have 48 apps readily available at any time for quick launching.

And while you still can't delete Apple's built-in apps, you can take the ones you're not using and hide them away inside a folder so they waste as little Home Screen space as possible (as Apple now does by default with the Utilities folder mentioned previously).

Again, not as visually exciting perhaps as Mac OS X's Stacks, but it keeps current iPhone users in a familiar interface while adding much-needed functionality.


YouTube link

The ability to manage Folders has also been added to iTunes 9.2, mirroring the creation, editing, and removal features found on-device. iTunes 9.2 iOS folder management

Messages

iphone_30_icon_messagesMessages in iOS 4 gets the same built-in Spotlight search that Mail and other apps got with iPhone 3.0. It appears at the top of the main messages screen. (There's no search within an individual Messages thread). [@justin_horn]

Messages (finally) gets a character counter so you'll know when you're getting close to, or going past, the SMS limit (which would cause a second message to be sent). It kicks in after you've typed 50 characters or so. [@iMuggle]

iOS 4 will now put an exclamation badge on the Messages app as a way to inform you when an SMS text or MMS multimedia message fails to send.

iOS 4 messages app exclamation badge

There's also a new API to allow in-app SMS for developers who want to include the functionality in their own apps. While this might be similar to the iPhone 3.0 embedded email option, and whether or not it will let users reply to SMS without leaving an app, it doesn't seem as elegant a solution as a global background messaging system.

Calendar

iphone_30_icon_calendarCalendar removes two long-standing gripes and adds something pretty much invisible from the interface but awesome in terms of functionality.

First, you can now show all or hide all calendars or individually check/uncheck just the calendars you want to see.

Birthday calendars have also been added to the option, something that was previously only possible to see under certain setup conditions.

Lastly (and most excitingly), Apple has finally added Calendar access for developers. What this means is you may soon see apps where you can buy tickets for a local movie and have the show time automatically added to your Calendar.

Photos

iphone_30_icon_photosPhotos, at least for Mac users, gets the same iPhoto '09-based organizational features introduced with the iPad: Events, Faces, and Places.

If you have a Mac with iPhoto '09 and you've let it automatically file your photos by time stamp (Events), through facial-recognition algorithms (Faces), and via geo-location (Places). All these join the previous Albums view to form the bottom tab bar.

Landscape mode is also now supported in album and gallery views [@antonioj].

Previous betas included a Rotate function under the action button that would turn a photo 90 degrees, but this doesn't seem to have made it into the final. Hopefully it will return.

If you Email Photo, you now get the option of sending a small, medium, or large version (shrunken pixel dimensions and hence file size), or at actual size.

Lastly, developers have been given access to the photo and video library (not just the image picker as in previous OS versions).

Camera

iphone_30_icon_cameraTap to focus, introduced in iPhone 3.0 for still photography, now gets expanded to video recording for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

Still photography maintains its leg up, however, via a new 5x digital zoom. When you tap the screen, a slider pops up allowing you to swipe to the right to increase magnification and swipe left to decrease.

With iPhone 4, there's an additional control to swap between the beefed up 5mp back-facing camera, and the all new front-facing VGA camera (if you want to take a self-portrait/profile picture). There's also an icon to show the new rear-mounted LED flash. This feature sounds like it's automatic for still but can be turned on and left on for night-time video shooting, but we'll have to wait and see when iPhone 4 ships.

iOS 4 iPhone 4 camera switch and LED flash icon

Developers also get full access to and control of video playback and recording.

YouTube

You can now watch YouTube videos in portrait mode if you really want to. They'll still default in landscape, so you may have to rock the accelerometer back and forth to get them to switch.

Maps

iphone_30_icon_mapsA minor tweak, but the current location/current direction button changes from the previous crosshairs to a north-east pointer to match the new location services icon used in the title bar. (No iOS 3.2 for iPad-style terrain mode, at least not yet).

For developers, overlays can now be added to embedded maps to show extra data like routes or annotations.

Notes

iphone_30_icon_notesWhen you first enter notes it looks unchanged from previous versions of the iPhone OS. However, there is now an Accounts button at the top left of the list page and tapping it takes you to a new screen where you can choose to view All Notes, just the notes on your iPhone, or just the notes that are synced via IMAP to your email account(s). Yes, that means over the air (OTA) notes sync is finally here -- with the caveat that Exchange doesn't seem supported yet.

(UI-wise this is similar to how you back out/left in Calendar or Contacts to toggle data sources.)

The way these show up in Mac OS X is via the built-in Mail.app client in the Notes tab.

On Gmail they show up as a generic label. In other IMAP clients, regardless of OS, they'll show up as generic IMAP folders.

iTunes Store

The iTunes store itself is the same, however, audio streaming from the app has taken a huge leap forward. Since iPhone OS 2.2 you've been able to tap the title of a podcast to begin streaming (rather than downloading) the audio, even in the background while using other apps, but it was sometimes hit or miss. It would drop out, it would time out, you couldn't really scrub through it, and if you left it for a while it would lose its place and start over.

In iOS 4 it's rock solid. You can scrub and it re-buffers and keeps playing flawlessly. You can stop it and come back hours or even days later -- even after using the iTunes app to search for other things or the iPod app to play different audio -- and it still knows where you left off and starts playing again instantly without missing a beat.

iphone_os_4_streaming_audio_itunes

As mentioned previously in the multitasking section, when iTunes is using the background music streaming API (I'm assuming thats' what it's using) it gets the widget position in the fast task switcher interface, complete with widget controls.

Settings

iphone_30_icon_settingsThis year, like every year, some of the more numerous and interesting changes Apple delivers in their new OS are tucked neatly away in the Settings app.

General: Network

You can now choose to not only turn off 3G data or roaming data, but all cellular data.

General: Location Services

At the iOS event, Apple made a big deal about user privacy when it came to location (like a shot at Google). That manifests here with far more granular controls over which apps are allowed to access your location data (GPS, Wi-Fi mapping, and cell tower triangulation) and the aforementioned north-east pointing arrow that shows up when any app has used your location in the last 24 hours.

General: Spotlight Search

Since double clicking the home button is now a hard-wired to launch the fast-task switcher for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, the Home Button setting is gone and replaced by direct access to Spotlight Search preferences. iOS 4 settings spotlight search

Since iPhone 3G won't be getting multitasking those options remain under iOS 4 for that device.

General: Passcode Lock

Previously available only through an Enterprise profile, iOS 4 brings stronger, alphanumeric passcodes to all iPhone users. That means you're no longer stuck with only a 4 digit pin, but can now create longer passcodes with far greater variation. Of course, longer, more varied passcodes are more of a hassle to remember and enter, but that's the cost of good security.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars

As previously mentioned, Notes will now sync over IMAP and the settings for that appear here. First, all the way at the bottom, you can choose which account to use as the default for note sync.

Inside MobileMe, Gmail, or other IMAP accounts, you can choose whether or not to enable sync. Again, there's no support for Exchange ActiveSync accounts yet (including Gmail via GoogleSync).

Safari

When you tap into the Safari's URL bar in iOS 4 and start typing, Safari starts to do a "keyword search", i.e. display predictive results based on your bookmarks and history. Anything that contains the text you're inputing either in the URL or history is listed below the URL field so the moment you see what you want you can just tap it and go.

This makes it easier to find something if you don't remember the exact web page address or if you know you recently saw a site, and know what it was about, but don't remember where exactly it was. Just start typing a few words you do remember and let Safari do the heavy lifting. Highly convenient and certainly "awesome". [To misappropriate the term from Mozilla]

iOS 4 safari awesome bar

Also, welcome to iOS search options, Microsoft Bing.

iOS 4 Setting Safari Search Bing

Messages

Here's where you can turn on that new character count option.

iPod

The iPod app now has an overlay that shows you information about songs and podcasts. While functional it's not terribly attractive so it's nice to be able to toggle it off right here.

App Store

iphone_30_icon_appstoreiPhone 2.0 brought us the iTunes App Store, iPhone 3.0 added in-app purchases, and now iOS raises the mercantile stakes once again with...

iAd

iphone-os-preview-iads20100407iAd will provide developers with an easy-as-Xcode way to place advertising in their apps, both paid and free. Apple is setting a high bar for their ads, however. No simple Google-style text, annoying punch-the-monkey, or jarring transition out of the app and into the browser, they claim to want great looking, highly interactive, emotionally compelling content that will connect with rather than alienate users. Served every 3 minutes. Yeah...

Functionally these are built in HTML5 (no Flash need apply) and seem to work as apps-within-apps. Tapping on a banner brings up a full-screen ad-as-webapp and examples shown included plenty of animated UI effects and content that ranged from videos to freebies like wallpaper, to free and paid apps you could download from within the ad (no trip to the App Store needed). An exit button is persistent at the top left so users can quit the add at any time.

Apple will be selling and serving the ads, so all we can do is hope they're unobtrusive and actually reach the quality levels presented. For paid apps that also try to include in-app iAds, that bar will rightly be very, very high.

iphone_4_iad_banneriphone_4_iad_adiphone_4_iad_html5iphone_4_iad_gameiphone_4_iad_mapiphone_4_iad_app

Quick Look

61x61_quicklookJust like Mail can preview documents, Quick Look will allow developers to present the same functionality in their apps.

Accelerate

2000 hardware accelerated math APIs probably won't be seen by users, but there's not doubt we'll feel them in the games. Zoom. Zoom.

File Sharing

Again it looks like the iPhone is finally getting in iOS what the iPad got in 3.2 with the file/document transfer feature now exposed in iTunes sync.

iOS beta 3 file transfer via iTunes sync

Now all we need is an elegant way to share and wirelessly sync those documents across multiple devices and users. MobileMe 2.0, souped up iWork.com 2.0, where are you?

Phone

The biggest addition to the iOS 4 Phone app is iPhone 4 exclusive -- FaceTime. When connected to Wi-Fi and making a call to another iPhone 4 user, the Hold button gets replaced with a FaceTime video icon. (Where the hold option goes under these circumstances is as yet unknown.)

Tapping that initiates a FaceTime video call. During the FaceTime video call, the person you're calling fill the screen, your own camera input is boxed in the lower left corner (you can touch and drag it to move it around), and mute, hang up, and switch camera buttons line the bottom of the screen. (Switch camera toggles between the rear-facing and front-facing cameras on the iPhone 4).

Mail

iphone_30_icon_emailMail gets a unified inbox. Let's write that again -- Mail gets a unified inbox. For those with multiple email accounts whose previous iPhone experience involved tapping into and out of those boxes many, many times a day this is a hugely welcome addition.

As with Calendars, Notes, etc. you can tap a button on the top left, in this case Mailboxes, to back into a selection screen where you can then go into All Inboxes, a specific account's inbox (which is considered fast inbox switching), or into the complete folder and sub-folder system of a given account (how Mail has worked from iPhone 1.0 to iPhone 3.0).

Once inside, All Inboxes is visually indistinguishable from an account-specific inbox, it simply contains all of their messages.

What is distinguishable are the small carets (technically greater-than symbols) to the right of replies that indicate a message is part of a thread. A number, typically 2 or 3, accompanies the caret to indicate how many replies are in the thread.

Tapping on a message that's part of a thread doesn't take you to the message but rather to a second list-view, similar to the inbox itself, but containing only the messages from the thread. Tapping on one of them then takes you to the message. A thread view contains a small vertical bar at the top with the subject of the thread and time of the most recent reply. A button to the top left of the message that's part of the thread also contains the subject of the thread and lets you back out and see the thread again. The button then switches to contain the name of the inbox so you can back out again, leave the thread completely, and see all your messages.

So yes, the tap, tap, tap of inbox navigation persists, albeit shifted from moving into and out of inboxes to moving into and out of threaded messages.

Like iOS 3.2 for iPad, you'll be able to open email attachments in apps. Now there's no iWork (Numbers, Pages, Keynote) for iPhone yet, but plenty of apps should support it as they push out the iOS 4 compatible versions.

Great news for heavy ActiveSync users, iOS 4 supports multiple accounts. So, for example, you can now have your work Exchange server and home Google account both set up to push through ActiveSync (which is what Google Sync users behind the scenes) at the same time. Win. Win.

Also for Gmail users, the Delete button has no been properly renamed as Archive (since Google really doesn't want you deleting anything if they can possibly help it).

Lastly, in previous versions of the iPhone OS, when you wanted to abandon an email, you would hit Cancel and get options to Save (store the email in Drafts), Don't Save (trash the email), and Cancel (go back to writing the email). The naming of these options was likely too confusing so in iPhone OS they've been replaced with a big red Delete button (to trash the email), Save as Draft, and Cancel. And yes, you can still cancel a cancel. (iPad, by contrast, still has Save and Don't Save, but no Cancel since it's in a popover rather than full-screen menu and you can just tap away to cancel).

Safari

iphone_30_icon_safariMore iPad to iPhone cross-polination means we get search auto-complete in iOS. As you type, suggestions appear in a list view below. And as with the iPad, while Google and Yahoo! branding remain in the search boxes (along with Bing now as well), they no longer get brand advertising on the keyboard -- it simply remains labeled Search now regardless of which engine is set and default.

While HTML5 video would work under iPhone 3.1.3, it would launch the full screen QuickTime player to do so. Under iOS, it seems to play in-line as well [MobileGeekdom], like it does on the iPad.

If history is any indicator, Apple will likely also integrate whatever advancements WebKit and the Nitro JavaScript engine make between now and release this summer. However, there's no sign of Safari 5 desktop's key new features -- reader (think built-in Instapaper) and extensions.

iPod

iphone_30_icon_ipodWhen you have a song playing in the iPod app and you tap the album art, in addition to all the previous controls that popped up, you now get a dark overlay with white text giving you the info metadata of the song or podcast. This is another iPad bring-over, though not the most attractive one by a long shot. (Remember, it can be turned off in Settings).

Album art has been added to album views, jazzing up the track lists.

And in yet another iPad-like update, on-the-go playlists are dead, long live... just regular old playlists. You can add them via an item in the playlists list, at which point you get a popup that asks you for a name. Next, you tap on any songs you want to add, and when you're done, you have a new playlist. If you're not happy with it, or any playlist, just swipe to bring up the usual red Delete button and annihilate it.

Contacts

When you sync contacts from more than one source (i.e. Exchange and MobileMe, on-device and Google Sync, etc.), and there are duplicates, rather than showing the same contact twice iOS 4 will instead create a single, linked contact. This works on any iOS 4 device, including iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, recent iPod touch, etc.

If you look at a linked contact, the header will show Unified Info at the top so you know it's linked. At the very bottom of the contact it will show you the source of the links (i.e MobileMe, Google). Tapping on the source lets you see the original, non-unfied info from just that source.

ios_4_contacts_unified_info

If you don't like the idea of your contacts being linked, you can tap edit and hit Unlink. If iOS 4 missed linking a contact that ought be linked, tap edit, scroll down to the bottom, tap Link Contact and choose the contact you want linked.

ios_4_contacts_link_contacts

Game Center (Preview)

Game Center is Apple's entry into the social gaming network space (think Xbox Live or Playstation Network for iOS devices). With Game Center you'll be able to invite friends to play, use matchmaking to challenge other players, gain achievements, and have your scores displayed on a leader board.

Game Center won't launch with iOS this summer, but is scheduled for release "later" this year.

iphone_4_game_center_inviteiphone_4_game_center_matchmakingiphone_4_game_center_achievements2iphone_4_game_center_leaderboard

Game Center

iBooks

iphone-os-preview-icon-ibooks20100407Though not a built-in app (you'll need to go get it from the App Store when it becomes available), as part of iOS Apple announced they were bringing iBooks to the iPhone.

Apple has announced new features, including notes and bookmarks, and that those along with highlights will automatically be synced across all the iOS devices logged into your iTunes accounts. (So you can have the same book, at the same place, with the same annotations on your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad).

Also, iBooks will be able to add PDFs to a second book shelf and open them in the same iBooks interface.

Due to the fracture and regionalism in books, it's going to take Apple a while to get deals in place with all publishers in all areas which means most countries won't have paid content at first, only public domain books from the Project Gutenberg library.

Accessibility

Apple really doesn't get enough credit for the outstanding accessibility features they build into their OS, both desktop and mobile. iOS 4 continues to lead the industry. VoiceOver supports 21 languages to read out loud whatever your finger touches on the screen, and a "rotor" gesture lets you temporarily change languages now on the fly.

Bluetooth support has been extended to more than 30 braille devices with tables for more than 25 languages.

Touch Typing lets you run your finger across the keyboard, hear the letter you're currently over, and release your finger to type it.

The basic rotor has been made visible so sighted users can see it in action, and you can now add custom settings to move through content.

iOS 4 pricing and availability

Apple has announced that iOS 4 will be coming to iPhone and iPod touch on June 21, and iPad later this fall. In a huge departure from previous years, Apple is also making it a free update to all users, iPhone and iPod touch alike. (If you have a compatible device, see directly below).

iOS 4 device compatibility

Before we begin it's important to note that not all iOS 4 features will be available for all iOS devices.

  • iPhone 4 (2010): All features
  • iPad (2010): Coming this fall
  • iPhone 3GS and iPod touch G3 (2009): No features requiring iPhone 4-type hardware (i.e. FaceTime)
  • iPhone 3G and iPod touch G2 (2008): No multitasking, custom wallpaper, and Bluetooth keyboard support.
  • iPhone 2G and iPod touch G1 (2007): not compatible/no update

Yes, the original iPhone 2G and iPod touch G1 don't look to be getting iOS 4 at all -- Apple considers them outdated. Second generation iPhone 3G and iPod touch G2 are getting the update but no multitasking -- Apple doesn't consider them powerful enough (similar to video recording last year). And it should go without saying only iPhone 4 (and perhaps a forth generation iPod touch when it ships this fall) will be able to use hardware specific features like the Retina Display resolution or the front-facing camera.

Additionally, Apple's own iMovie for iPhone will only run on iPhone 4 -- apparently it needs the A4 chipset -- so there might be other apps that go 2010-only. Legacy, right?

iOS 4 device compatibility

Conclusion

Apple is again rounding out their offering with iOS 4, which is the sign of the maturity of the platform. Since they've stated several times now that they're using the iPhone to "educate" users about multitouch interfaces, they're going to continue keeping changes evolutionary for now, and the UI broadly consistent across devices. There won't be any huge, revolutionary changes again until they have to, and they don't have to yet. Restraint can be a virtue.

Some functionality is still not present, like non-interuptive notifications, widgets beyond the limited fast task switcher UI, wireless sync/sharing, less painful file round-tripping, etc. but Apple is no doubt working on this the way they worked on copy and paste and multitasking. The question is how and when, not if. After all, it's only 9 or 10 months until the iOS 5 sneak preview in spring 2011, right?

But this is not a review — our full rundown of the pros and cons will come after the official launch, when we've had a chance to spend some quality time with the final version on the new iPhone 4 hardware.

Congratulations to the iOS team at Apple, phenomenal work. Again.

[Thanks to everyone who contributed screenshots and descriptions for this walkthrough. If you noticed we missed anything, drop us a note in the comments and we'll update as needed.]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 257 comments. Add yours.

jonar1us says:

I was waiting on this Review...GOOD JOB guys (no pun intended)... PreOrder in 24hrs

DK says:

Hey great article Rene. I can't get enough iPhone 4 and iOS news. June 24th can not come fast enough!

Cppounders says:

Great walkthrough. Thanks!
Question: if you receive a text while in an app and choose reply, does it do the "fast app switch" as if you were using the switcher, or the same exit app, launch messages, rinse/repeat as current?

Jellotime91 says:

Hi Rene, I noticed that in Safari there has been a minor design change. In OS 3.x, when you tap the URL or Search field, the cancel button shows above the field and the title area becomes taller to accomodate it. In OS 4.x, the cancel button shows to the right of the URL/Search field, and the title area is not extended.
Nobody has mentioned this before so I guess I have a good eye for UI. :P

Rene Ritchie says:

Any app to app transition (i.e. if you don't press the home button first) does the fast-app switcher animation (including SMS).

Rik says:

Is there any news on the integration of task synchronization? I love that notes are now apart of iOS4 but in my business tasks would be a HUGE asset. Or does anyone know an app that will sync with my iMac's Mail.app task option?

z062007vette says:

In the compatibility section, you mentioned that the iPhone 3G cannot get a custom wallpaper, yet Apple's website shows it with a custom wallpaper, or is that just the default image with the new OS?

Steve Doherty says:

Nice article, and one I've been waiting for.
I'm confused as to why they're not supporting custom wallpaper on 3G, as it easily handles custom wallpaper when jailbroken.
Oh well, the upgrade to iOS 4 will tide me over till I get an iPhone 4.
Cheers,
Steve

Orangensaft says:

Great article that is of high interest to both general consumers as well as hardcore iPhone enthusiasts. Now that the feature enhancements in the iOS are becoming more and more nuanced and sophisticated, a detailed walkthrough of the GM build is that much more nice to have in the days leading up to the general release of iOS 4.

snakes2003g says:

bring on the pre order tuesday morning!

iMatt says:

I really need exchange flag email for follow up support :(

Darrell says:

I didn't notice any mention of a voice control change, I asked my phone what the time was the other day and it responded. I tried this with 3.0 and it didn't work, so I think that's an update. It's a great update, I don't need to get my phone out of my pocket to check the time on the way to work.

kbduvall says:

Great writeup. Thank you very much for taking the time to make such a comprehensive walkthrough.

Dean says:

looks good but im hoping there's more i think ill wait though because i like to keep a open guy and since my 3gs is getting os4 i think ill wait and see what competition brings my professor was telling me they will be putting dual core processors in phones soon that can out put 1080p video that where i see im going

WatersWest says:

Great article! Question: with a 3rd party nav app such as TomTom, will it only run in the background if you double-tap-fast-switch out of it?? Does hitting the home button kill the task as before? How will 3rd party apps such as this know when you want the app killed completely and NOT running in the background?

(Copy of) Dev says:

Thanks for the summary. One small question - is there no hardware button combination to get to phone favorites anymore? I start calls with that good old to-be-replaced double tap far more than any other method.

Don says:

Still no info on the the number one usability flaw that bugged me from within 30 minutes of getting my first iPhone...
Can we change the appointment alarm from the "dying cricket" sound to something actually noticable?????

bzavala says:

Still no crossfade option for iPod... Bummer!

kayno says:

@(Copy of) Dev double tap and hold doesnt seem to work in GM.. I also dont see any accounts for Notes.. Can't wait to preorder and for the offical iOS4 launch.. cause right now the 3rd party apps dont save state..

Flo says:

Still no custom ringtones for SMS and E-Mail? How hard can it be? sigh

cardfan says:

Not you too. iAd isn't a feature but an annoyance. That's quite the trick though if users are getting excited about this and consider it a feature.
But nice walkthrough. What needs to be added or looked forward to in iOS 5? A global sms system, unobtrusive notifications, wifi hotspot, google nav or similar, more social integration (twitter, facebook), change settings on fly such as wifi, ichat or integrated sms/ichat. Personally, i wouldn't mind tweaks to the UI as that homebutton double tap is used up now.
As it is, a jailbreak is still necessary if you're an advanced user. Sbsettings, 3G Unrestrictor, SMS Quick reply, ifile and safari downloads, you tube downloader, MyWi, lock calendar to see calendar on lock screen, Music Controls if BT hasn't been fixed, safari tab closer...
That's still a lot of jailbreak functions or features. And i only listed my needs.
Looking ahead to the iOS update in fall (ipod time), i see game center and bug fixes.

Fonzman1984 says:

Did I miss it? No mention of Gamecenter??

WilhelmR says:

What about disabling landscape mode system-wide? Wasn't that one of the features?

Jay1775 says:

Really wish for notifications like bb or android...appear in the top and allow you to check as you want.

Nick says:

I'm using the 4.0 GM and noticed a few changes that I have not seen any blog (including TiPB) talk about:

  1. When adding a Gmail account, you now have the option to ARCHIVE. If you turn this on (from Settings -> Mail,C,C), then when you delete the message using the side to side swipe, it doesn't show the DELETE button but shows ARCHIVE. I have an Exchange account and also a Yahoo account and there is no such settings on these. Haven't tested with others like AOL etc.
  2. Settings for other keyboards such as Japanese (needed to configure EMOJI) are now gone. Now, I'm not sure how to turn Emoji back on. Tried a few things but it doesn't seem to work. Bummer!
  3. If you add any additional keyboards [languages], you can delete them using the EDIT button. In OS 3.x, you had to go in and turn them ON or OFF indiviudually as needed.
  4. If you add a Japanese (Romaji) keyboard, and go one menu back, you get this new option of "Editing User Dictionary" [at the bottom] where you can add new, custom words to the dictionary. It probably works with other keyboards as well, but I didn't get to test.
  5. Under Settings -> General -> About, you have a new line item called Regulatory. This shows the standards that iPhone complies with, in each country. This was not there in OS 3.x
  6. Under Settings -> General -> Reset, you now have the option to "Reset Keyboard Dictionary". I can't be sure but I think it wasn't there in OS 3.x [sorry, don't have an older device to verify]
  7. When your device is locked and you input an incorrect passocode/password, the "Wrong Password, Try Again" banner has a softer Red. In OS 3.x, it used to be bright Red.
  8. When your device is locked and you hit the "Emergency Call" button, it switches for you to dial out. However, it starts to make a 3G/Wifi connection (seen in the top bar as the spinning circle) probably to sync your data since you actually might be in an emergency and might end up losing all your data. That's my guess anyway. Again, I'm not sure if that was there in OS 3.x, since I don't have an older device to test.

Enjoy!!
Nick

parabel says:

Is there something I'm missing, or is that "new" "replace..." option along with "copy", "cut" and "paste" absolutely no different from just clicking "paste" while having text selected - and both result in the selected text being replaced with the text from the clipboard? If so, that additional option would just be a waste of space? Or what does "replace..." do exactly?
Thanks for your clarification!

Nick says:

Sorry, forgot to add, an Excellent job by Rene to compile this. The minute I had 4.0 GM, I pulled up this article and was going through all the features instead of discovering them (which probably would have taken a long time)
Nick

Nick says:

Parabel - "Replace" is to replace a word with alternatives if you feel that the word being suggested is not the one that you want. Ex - when you type the word Hell, the autocorrect makes it He'll. You can double tap the word, hit replace and it will suggest Hell as an option.

David says:

Question about "Cellular Data" toggle: when it's turned off, does GPS remain on?
Why it matters: I sometimes travel internationally, and I like to use navigation apps that store the maps on the phone, so no data connection is required, which would cost too much. But when the old OS is put in Airplane Mode (to make sure nobody calls me, using expensive international minutes), the GPS gets turned off, too. I've been waiting for a way to turn everything off but the GPS. Hence my question.
Thanks.

fastlane says:

So, I'm forced to have a trashy background image? No more nice, simple, plain black background?

Nick says:

David - Nope, unfortunately that still doesn't work in iOS 4. I've had the same experience where I was travelling to a new country, had put my phone in Airplane mode and GPS wouldn't work. I thought the iPhone GPS stopped working but after fiddling around and turning off the Airplane mode, everything started back again. Not sure why GPS is tied to the phone component in iPhone.

GraysonIP says:

Nicely done, Rene. Thanks!

G77 says:

fastlane: start your camera app. Put your finger over the lense and take a foto. Assign as background. You have your nice simple black background. Youre welcome....

usmc says:

Awesome review Rene!!! Great job. Thanks.

Wongnog says:

Hmmm, "iOS 4 (previously iOS 4)"....
Really?

Daje says:

If u can't get a custom wallpaper for 3G why does apple have it on their site.?
http://www.apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate/
look at the 3G iPhone.

ghostface147 says:

Interesting. My character count starts at exactly 28 characters.
@Nick: Your number 6 is incorrect. Reset keyboard dictionary was a previous option.

Kyle says:

A feature I noticed is group messaging, which I love. So you can have group conversations via text messaging. (this feature is enabled in settings -> messaging)

Rene Ritchie says:

Added persistent Wi-Fi during sleep, accessibility, and VoiceControl "what time is it". Thanks everyone, keep them coming!

Nick says:

@Ghostface: Thx for confirming. I pointed out the ones I wasn't sure of.
@Kyle - I don't see that group messaging option. Care to post a screenshot?

Frank says:

I am running iOS 4 on my iPhone 3GS and the voice contol will give you the correct time if you say "what time is it?"

Rajiv says:

@daje
That image with the 3G is a mistake on Apple's part.

dloveprod says:

I learned a few things I didn't know, thanks.

Stangs55 says:

Hold up...
This is the first I've heard about being able to keep WiFi connected in while on standby...IS THIS TRUE?
I work in a place where there is zero AT&T reception, but WiFi coverage in 100% of the area.
Could I just get a skype landline number, stay connected to WiFi, and use my iPhone 4 at work through Skype?!

jtz5 says:

Still no sign of AVRCP? Also, in that video, it looked like he could only lock it in vertical mode, not landscape?

AJ says:

Excellent article, Thank you for the detail breakdown.

behrlover says:

This walk through is great, my only question is does anyone really know what in app sms actually does? How does it work? Any videos that can be posted or screen shots?

Bshecko says:

I think I read some the sections in this article word for word on Engadget! Dude, are you stealing articles?! Maybe I'm imagining things but I don't think so...

Dan says:

I do not have iOS4 dev but I was under the impression YouTube was updated to allow portrait viewing. Is this not correct?

Janey says:

"What’s still missing are background API for timeline updates, so that IM, Twitter, RSS, etc. could update like Mail does and have new messages ready and waiting when you return to the app."
Agreed. I think this would be great, at least for Twitter and Facebook.
"Also, there no API to let internet sessions like SSH, RDP/VNC remain active when you exit an app making it more onerous for network administrators and others to manage remote machines. "
Ugh. I was hoping to be able to NOT have to quit my IRC app or SSH app just to check something in an email. :/

Joe McG says:

@Rene
There is a video of Facetime on Engadget that shows you can drag around your own little thumbnail picture when using Facetime.

Mike says:

Does the iOS 4 Calendar app allow for recurring appointments with a set interval (i.e. event recurs every 13 days, rather than the preset defaults).
If you can't set it on the phone itself, will it honor it if it's set from the desktop?
Thanks!
/Mike

fastlane says:

@G77:
Nobody has ever stated whether or not user-created images could be used as backgrounds on homescreens — only that Apple has some to choose from. If that's the case, fine. If not, then that's why I asked.

behrlover says:

@fastlane
Actually the Apple website states
"Personalize your Home screen.
You can change the background wallpaper on both your Lock screen and your Home screen. Choose from a variety of backgrounds included with your iPhone or select any picture from your library. It’s a great way to make iPhone uniquely yours."
http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/home-screen.html

JK says:

why wont the ipod touch 2g support custom wallpaper? How hard can it be?!!!!!!! :(

acroswel says:

IIRC iOS4 removes the one activesync account restriction. Didn't see that mentioned in your article or comments

Smalls says:

Actually, all generations get Wallpaper support.

boandkris says:

Awesome write-up! Just wanted to say that I think you meant we got 11 pages in OS 3.0 not 8! Thanks again!

behrlover says:

Rene,
I believe I read your response where someone asked if you were in an app, and received a sms/mms does it do the fast app switch animation. I believe you answered yes to this, but my next question to that is does it put whatever app your in automatically into multitasking, or would that be to much to ask for.

Mady says:

I'm sorry but this article says that the ios4 for the ipod 3rd generation says that it can't handle multitasking thats not true. You obviously didn't look up compatabilities one apple.com. (yes I know I'm a know it all). but still thats not true.

Mady says:

It says it in little letters in the bottom of the ios4 website.

Anotherspot says:

Still can't change the SMS tones though :-(

robinson says:

Will the IPT 2G get the folders?
Are there any changes in the calendar alerts? For example, being able to snooze them!! That's the most irritating thing about the i-devices.
You're stuck in two ways:
1) You're using the device and an alert pops up, giving you a choice of "Close" or "View Event", but no snooze!
2) The device is in sleep mode, the alert pops up, showing you 1 or many alerts, yet when you unlock the device, they VANISH!! How silly is that.
I really like my IPT, but Palm has this calendar and to-do biz nailed 15 years ago!

Daniel says:

Hmmm
Seems that Apple hasn't changed the annoying SMS or MMS capabilities...
In 3.1.2 it's the same.
If I have the setting on SMS, then I can't receive MMS messages.
But if I have the setting on MMS, then people without MMS capabilities (simple phones) - can't receive the message.. Not to speak of the higher cost for MMS.

Snoop says:

And STILL.... the 11 page limit. LAME.
And I can't rename icons.
I can't remove all apps from inside a folder in just one option. I have to remove all, 1 at a time.
Apple's UI designers are so narrow minded.

Benjamin says:

Still no calendar/contacts integration ? This is THE core function of a PIM. I love my Iphone, but this is really an absurd omission. I have left this on the suggestions page dozens of times. Come on guys, this is basic functionality!

Kush says:

I came here to find out how to multitask and create folders, and also learned about the orientation lock. Very informative and great, and I didn't even read all of it. Thanks! This makes iOS 4 already useful!

genomalice says:

@Ben,
So far the only app I have seen that has been updated to iOS4 is the dropbox app and when you get a SMS, it gives you the same close/reply options and when you choose reply it does the same damn thing! (takes you to the Messages app)

behrlover says:

@GenoMalice - I figured as much, but once you hit "Reply" does it do the animation and put the app you were in currently into the Multitasking tray automatically?

Paul says:

Why can't folders have a password option?

Chad P says:

I thought I heard you could text message while in apps. Is that true?

Lewis Fields (OctosipodHelp) says:

What was essentialy missing was LockScreen Widgets For example Calenders,Mail Updates and More ! This Isn't coming but should be in iOS5 Next Year am i Right ?
-Lewis (OctosiPodHelp)

Kenji Onozawa says:

Very nice walkthrough. Seems like a lot of really good updates are coming to the iPhone - I'm really intrigued by the social gaming feature that's coming. Should be interesting!

Kyle says:

@Nick - Sorry, I didn't see your post until now. This is a screenshot of my setting screen with the group messaging optionhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/39906930@N08/4711502913/

Forrest says:

Excellent walkthrough, thanks! You spent some time with this, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was thrilled by this.
Can't wait for Monday, however my money says a lot of people won't get the update until later in the week (kind of like what happened with 3.0).

Hernan says:

Thanks for the great walkthrough

foobar says:

You forgot a feature: Software volume control when connected to a bluetooth-headset oder lineout.

Aaron Gyes says:

"have their apps remember exactly where you were when you left and put you right back at that position when you return, "
That's not actually how it works. That's the old way to do it, where the apps would constantly keep track of where you are so that next time they start they can put you back there.
Now, the apps don't remember where you are, or anything like that. It's not an automatic version of that either. Instead the app itself has its actual true state — in memory — copied someplace else, and then when you return to the app /execution continues/ from your pervious state. It's not the case that the app goes through a process of returning the user to where it thinks you were previously.
An analogy would be theis way is like the save-state feature from an emulator, compared to a save-game feature implemented inside of the game.

alex kent says:

re: daniel
"Seems that Apple hasn’t changed the annoying SMS or MMS capabilities"
i don't see your problem:
the Messages app sends SMS by default, then if you add a picture to your message it switches over to being an MMS.
if you're sending to people you know have phones without MMS, don't send 'em pictures and you're fine.
regards.

alexwlchan says:

Excellent summary. I'll be sending this to a lot of people on Monday.
On Photos, I'm not sure if the writer is aware (I can't tell from the article), but the extra options like Events, Faces and Places only appear if you've been using them, and as you use them. e.g. I don't use Faces, so I just get Events and Places at the bottom. Also, since the iPhone automatically geotags your photos, anything in your Camera Roll shows up in Places as if it had come from your Mac.
With Voice Control, this might be a bug, not a feature, but if asked, "What is the date?" or "What day is it?", it tells you the time, as if you'd asked, "What time is it?" Whether this means it can't distinguish between "day" and "time", or that these questions will soon be askable, I'm not sure.

Rene Ritchie says:

@Dan @Joe McG, yes, thanks. Added.
@Mike, haven't found that yet.
@Ben, there are several different things you're asking. 1) If an app uses the in-app SMS API, there's no fast task switching, it just happens inside the app. 2) Whenever you're in one app (i.e. not in the home screen) and you switch to another app for any reason, you get the fast app switcher animation. 3) if an app has been updated for iOS 4, they'll save state and resume in the same place if you return; if they use VoIP, location, or streaming music, then that would keep going via the background API.
@Aaron, thanks, updated.
@WatersWest, when TomTom updates to iOS 4, they can keep getting GPS location and giving voice directions in the background, even if you hit home or start another app -- or answer the phone.
@Nick, awesome, huge thanks. Could the auto 3G/Wi-Fi connection be to ping Me.com for Find my iPhone users?
@Bshecko, not a chance. If they wrote the same thing, they no doubt used much better grammar and spelling than I did.

craigtheguru says:

The article starts that nothing has changed with Stocks, Weather, Calculator, etc., but I'd expect all of these apps have been updated for the enhanced resolution of iPhone 4. We can't say for sure until the new hardware ships, but if so, saying these apps have been completely untouched is somewhat disingenuous.

antoftime says:

can you still enable multitasking by changing that plist?
and you already can view lyrics in ipod.app using 3.x

Faruk Ateş says:

Safari now doesn't just show the domain name when you start typing, but the site's title in large type and the domain name / web address in small type below it. Small but welcome auto-complete enhancement.

Zimmie says:

Actually, the time zone data in Clock has been updated. For some reason, on 3.1.3, Minsk shows as being the same time as U.S. Central Daylight. I've verified this on several iPhones. iOS 4 has the right time zone.

wdn says:

The function of double-tapping the home button is to bring up a list of recently used apps. This has nothing to do with whether they are actually running in the background. For example, after fully shutting down and restarting the phone, double-tapping the home button still shows the most recently used apps even though they haven't been loaded into memory, as well as existing apps that haven't been updated to take advantage of backgrounding.

Nick Smale says:

I can't speak for other countries, but here in the UK there is masses of 'paid content' (which is to say hundreds of copyright contemporary books) in the iBook store.

Brendan says:

@Rene Ritchie
As far as I know a few countries have got paid content in their respective iBookstore's. Not just the US, now.

Not Nurse Ratched says:

Anyone know if the granular GPS settings actually turn off the GPS radio when you're not using those services? That would be a superb battery-saving service (eg, if my GPS radio could be automagically activated when I tap Foursquare and then deactivated when I go back to reading my e-mail).

Ben K says:

It's a real drag that the orientation lock is not available on the iPhone 3G, by virtue of there being no task switcher support. I'm disappointed by this.
b

Ady says:

I read that Steve Jobs had replied to one user email confirming that it would be possible to change SMS font size. Has this been integrated into iOS4?

Nick says:

Good article! Some typos, though. Also, with Folders, you can have 2160 apps, not 2016.

ian says:

I am sort of blown away by the oversite on orientation lock. Why would it only lock in Portrait mode? Seems completely logical that it would lock in whatever mode you were currently in. Seems like they could very easily make the task bar Horizontal Friendly™ by having the icons all turn 90° like they do in camera mode (so the bar still runs "vertical".

Nick says:

One other important thing you left out: iPod touches sold since September 2009 (including mine =[ ) with 8GB capacity are G2, not G3, so they won't get multitasking, etc.

Jon Wright says:

Thanks for this very comprehensive review. Do we know if Movie rentals will begin to play instantly as opposed to having to wait until downloaded? Most disappointing feature of the iPad in my opinion.

Jon says:

Just a quick correction: iBooks does have paid content in the UK (and has since launch).

Mister Snitch says:

You've got me wondering what Apps for Apple TV running iOS would look like. I'd love to see a post from you featuring speculative Apps of that sort.

MaFt says:

for info, the SMS text count does not come on after XX characters, just when you get to the 2nd line of a message. during the beta's it was the 3rd line, but the GM release reduced it to the 2nd line (i.e. as soon as there is space above the 'send' button).

Ethan Rose says:

Something of note is that when you have Gmail set up through IMAP on your iPhone, it will have the same push functionality as setting it up via Exchange.
This is due to their implementation of IMAP IDLE.

Graeme Tait says:

I think you're wrong when you say that deleting an app from the task switcher has nothing to do with killing the app.
Open an email in Mail, then remove Mail from the task switcher. When you reopen Mail you'll find that it opens afresh at the inbox listing instead of returning to the email that had been previously opened. Other apps act similarly, so it seems safe to assume that it does act as a process killer.

Alex says:

Excellent walkthrough. How does the iPhone 3G, which cannot access that fast app switcher, lock the screen orientation?

behrlover says:

@Rene - Thank you for the reply to my question a page back. Your answers were just what I was looking for.

Jim Thorstad says:

Thanks for an excellent and thorough review. I better get iTunes 9.2 ready for June 21!

Josh says:

Great write up of what's new in iOS4 Rene, lots of bits in there I wasn't aware off.

Nathab says:

For what it's worth, the FaceTime video shown at the keynote (& now up on apple.com) shows the "self" picture-in-picture in multiple locations. It doesn't show how to specify the location, and may have just been renders.

Rene Ritchie says:

@Graeme - it's unclear to me. In the Mail example, if I "delete" Mail from the fast task switcher and someone sends me an email, Mail still registers the receipt, sounds/vibrates, and updates the icon badge, so the threads are still running in the background. Sometimes it seems to refresh the local cache on relaunch but not always.
Anyone know precisely what's going on?
(I'll update in the meantime to better reflect my current understanding).

JustinHorn says:

Rene, with the Mail app, it's an original system multitasking app and when closed via the task switcher bar, it automatically reopens in a new process. Although it's running in the background just like iOS 3.x, it doesn't show up in the fast task switcher because it wasn't a recently opened app by the user. I confirmed this by using iStat. When closed Mail it just assigned the MobileMail process a new process id.

John says:

@Nathab - in one of the Apple videos, they show that you can drag the self-picture to any location while it's active.

Joe says:

Lots of great new features, but still missing a number of little touches. For example, you still can't snooze an alert from the calendar. Perhaps a 3rd party calendar will come out that has a few more of these niceties.

David Hayter says:

In iOS4, there's a subtle difference when you zoom in a photo by pinching out, which is similar to zooming in iPad where the zoomed area will follow the hand movement.
At 2:55 in the iPhone 4 video ( http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/#design-video ), when zooming the girl's photo, notice how the fingers are moving slightly to the right while pinching out, and the zoomed area follows accordingly.
This subtle improvement is iPad-like (when zooming maps in the iPad promo video) and is not visible when I tried doing it with iOS 3.1, where no matter where you move your fingers while pinching out, the photo will only zoom the area at which you first placed your fingers.

CJ Mellon says:

This is amazing. Very well done and easy to sit and read this. I learened everything I wanted to know. This is amazing and I will be telling my friends about it.

Fofer says:

With regards to system-wide spellcheck, as I understand it, users can customize the dictionary:http://www.allnewsmac.com/2010/05/19/iphone-to-get-custom-user-dictionary/

Gem says:

You mentioned that only paid content in ibooks for iPad is available in the USA and everywhere else it's only free, project guttenburg style however we have access to paid content in the UK too as my credit card can attest!

TroyRific says:

You guys must be loving all the link love you're getting. Gruber. Pogue. And I've no idea how many others. Great post. Hope you'll update for the little (unnoticed/hidden) things you find after you've lived with it (iOS4) for awhile.

Ridley says:

One feature I'm really curious about, but haven't heard…can you yet send group emails? What I mean is from the groups that you've created on your Mac Address Book and synced across?

Scott says:

Great overview! I wanted to let you know, though, that the lyric display over the artwork in the iPod app has existed for some time in earlier versions of iPhone OS. In the past, though, it would only display lyrics (for songs that have them saved in the metadata), and now, it apparently also shows show notes if there are any, for podcasts.

Jakem says:

Thanks for this great review. I missed one new item. In the mail you see in iOS4 a picture of your contact who send you the mail. (only when you hide "details").

Ryan says:

One thing you left out was that when you're watching a video in the YouTube app, and then quit, when you relaunch the app it takes you right back where you left off in the video.

comctrl6 says:

One big thing that is not there anymore (as of the GM seed) is the ability to return to the playing music when a phone call comes through. Steve Jobs demonstrated this when he introduced the iPhone at Macworld in 2007. He started playing a song in iPod, then a call came through from Phil Schiller, and the music ducks and paused. When Steve was done with the call, the iPod resumed playing the music where it was interrupted. This is not the case anymore.

Aptmunich says:

One minor correction:
The iPod app has supported "tap for lyrics" for quite a while now. What's new is that it now also displays Podcast info and can be turned off in the settings.

paul says:

Spotlight now also searches Messages

ZM says:

Well thought out and detailed review.
That said, the default iPhone ringtone (remix) music on the YouTube's is a bit overbearing.

Howard says:

Does the new software have the ability to change message tones to custom sounds I have been assaulted by my sons Iphone message tone for the last year the same one 30 times a day .Really annoying .howard

El Aura says:

Curious, any chance of restricting Coverflow in the iPod app to the current selection (eg, a playlist)?

John Walsh says:

Nice, clear writeup.
Screen illustrations worked well with the text.

David says:

I think the double-home-press gesture and the function of the resulting icon list will be among the biggest sources of confusion with this release and almost nobody is explaining this feature correctly. I disagree that this "enables" multitasking or fast-task switching. It is merely a list, from most- to least-recent, of all apps that you've launched, regardless of their state. Apps that still have executing components (e.g. task completion), those frozen in memory and those fully cleared from memory due to running out of space all appear in this list.
It is thus merely a convenience to allow going from task to task without having to visit the full Springboard first. But, if you wish, you can press Home once and launch your second app and it'll still come up in the same state as it would have if it had been launched from the Recents list.
Also, the more I use this feature, the more I think that the following is happening when deleting from the list. The deletion tells the OS to treat the app in the least-priority fashion, as though it were at the end of the Recents list. Thus, if it's an app that would normally clear from memory in a low-memory condition, that's what happens. If it's an app that remains backgrounded in some form even under low memory (one of Apple's own apps), the backgrounding remains. That is, the OS still decides, but deletion from the list tells the OS that you know longer care about the app. It's a subtle difference, but preserves the idea that the OS remains the sole arbiter of how to treat apps based on resources and priority of the app gauged by recent-ness or explict declaration of "don't care" by deleting from the list.

Robert says:

Any mention of multiple signatures? I cannot understand why Apple would not include multiple signatures!

qo says:

Does anyone know if you can now delete a calendar invite without notifying the sender? I receive may invites for things as a heads-up courtesy, and really don't want the poor administrative assistant getting deluged with Decline notifications from me (or the other 300 people with iPhones that received the invite).
Currently, I wait to get back to my desk and delete the invite from within iCal :-(

Jon says:

Calendars app finally let's you edit which calendar your entry is a part of. It was always annoying to enter an appt. that went into default calendar by mistake, then had to delete entire event and re-enter. Now it's easy.

Nicolai Henriksen says:

In iOS 4 Voice Control is available in my native language (Danish). Also available in my native language is Voice Over. Neither were available in Danish in iPhone OS 3. And Voice Control then actually works - in 3.x I had to speak the Danish names in an odd american way to make it succeed.
Oddly enough spell-checking is not available in Danish. Mac OS X do have Danish spell-checking, so Apple do have the Danish dictionary at hand.
Spell-checking might be available in July for the launch of iPhone 4 in Denmark?
Another comment: As I understand the developer documentation, an application can alway risk to have its state deleted and start as normal - even on iPhone 4. I mean even with 512 MB RAM it is still a limited resource (as opposed to un-limited).

123 says:

stocks works in landscape @3.1 already

Brad says:

The iPod touch already stays connected to wifi in sleep mode. Push updates and downloads still happen.

SSB says:

Thank you Rene for the excellent explanation
of new features and implementation of iOS 4.
I haven't found anything close to this detail on the web.
Great research, and work.
Thank you!
S.

Ben Brandy says:

u mentioned the bluetooth keyboard compatability(as everyone has on iOS4 update reviews) but what good is this new feature when specific keyboards rnt listed or even r they ready on launch day(tomorrow)? in addition due to the compatability of the iPhone will these keyboards come in a folding style? like the old "pocket computer" kind? thanks sooo much for ur input in advance!!!

Jason Gold says:

Any news on the ability to create custom tones for SMS, Mail, etc? This is killing me that Apple continually leaves this out.

Ron says:

Did not see in accounts gmail having the contacts. I personally have all my contacts saved and synced with gmail. Will this be available

Henry says:

Great write up.
In calendar is it possibly to set an alarm for entries longer than 2 days in advance and can u snooze the alarm to 5mins later or 10mins etc?
Thanks.

Ben says:

Seriously, why won't apple add the ability to have a custom tones for SMS, Mail, Calendar or at least different vibrate tones (dash dot, dot dot, etc.). If I have my phone on mute and I feel a quick buzz does that mean I'm going to miss a meeting, just got an email, and SMS, who knows?
There is no excuse for not having this feature and I'm surprised that essentially no tech reviewers/writers even mention it. Do a google search and all you find are people in the comments sections complaining about it being absent.

Sachin says:

this is an elephant review of iOS4..great thanks

djwindsor says:

Great write up!! I am running iOS4 on my jail broke 3G so I have the multi-tasking enabled. The functionality works but the APPS have to be updated to allow them to mulit-task. I finally learned how to lock orientation from this write-up. At least I am getting used to iOS4 because I have a pre-ordered iPhone to pick up on Thursday.

CylonJason#IM says:

Great walk through Rene. Very in depth, but there was one update I was looking forward to that you made no mention of, and I don't believe anyone commented on it either.
Nike+ is an app I use all of the time. Is there a new update with anything different or is Apple and Nike kind of abandoning this feature? Any info you know of?
Keep up the great podcast, and thank you.

Ivan says:

@Rene
thank you for your detailed reporting!
greets ivan

CLARISSA says:

THANKS FOR THE INFO, bit was curious if ipod touch 2g is 100% sure on no walpaper, it makes no sense, NO REASON TO NOT HAVE IT TOO!
Thanks for your time..

Jeeosch says:

He! Great walkthrough! In addition ... does anybody know by chance, if it is possible to assign a ringtone to a group of contacts? This feature was (is?) missing for years and actually every cheap mobile phone is able to do that!

CrimmyCrumbs says:

OK....so I waisted my time staying up until midnight to get the firmware update. Now it's 7PM in Philly. WHERE THE HECK IS THE UPDATE?? It still tells me that the 3.1 firmware is the version.

CrimmyCrumbs says:

My guess is that because it's 4:30 in California Steve Jobs didn't go to work and update it yet. WELL UPDATE IT NOW!!I was so patient up until last night, and I still am. And TipB says the firmware is releasing today, so I don't know why iOS 4 won't go to my computer yet.

CrimmyCrumbs says:

OK....so I waisted my time staying up until midnight to get the firmware update. Now it's AM in Philly (sorry if I mind-boggled you,) WHERE THE HECK IS THE UPDATE?? It still tells me that the 3.1 firmware is the version.

dwilk21 says:

@CrimmyCrumbs iOS 4 probably won't go live til about 1:30pm...so get some sleep

Lolo says:

I think we have to w8 till is 21 june in all the world

Hrissan says:

These improvements are welcome.
Unfortunately there is a GREAT downside of upgrading my iPhone 3G to iOS 4 - the device is almost unresponsive now. Voice recorder launches for 12 seconds, SMS application about 10 seconds, Maps also around 10 seconds. After upgrade if I quit Safari, write a message and return to Safari I always see it reload my Page after 10 second delay (It means Safari was purged due to low-memory condition).
I cannot run several games now (they crash) until I switch Push Messaging off freeing some memory.
It is clear the 128MB memory of iPhone 3G is not enough for these new features. It's a pity, because I cannot boast my iPhone 3G to friends now. It's not cool at all that, if you use any application and you need to reply to a SMS you spend 30 seconds for that??? (3 seconds to type the message, 20 seconds waiting application launch and 7 seconds waiting to switch keyboard layout).
It seems to me the situation is the same as in Apple ads Mac OSX gets "faster and faster" with each update, until you compare your friend's with iBook G4 running Tiger and your Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard and you find that amazingly that ancient 5 year old machine does everything way faster! The secret is he did not update it. :)

Justin says:

Great article. Something I'm not clear on: Is it possible to have a different image for the lock screen than for the home screen? Thanks.

seb_or_sam says:

No iOS 4 for me... I'm on a first gen iPod Touch. I can totally see why Apple kicked it to the curb though... iOS 3 is slow as it is. But honestly, I think they should wait just one more release. If they're keeping support for the iPhone 3G, which spec-wise is just an iPhone 2G plus a 3G radio and an aGPS chip, then they should keep the iPhone 2G updated as well. And if you do that, keep the first gen touch updated as well- it's the same as a 2nd gen iPod Touch but with the iPhone 2G processor (the same processor used in the 3G.) But don't enable multitasking on the 1st or 2nd gen touch, or the 2G or 3G iPhones as they only have 128 MB of RAM. I've tried multitasking on my 1st gen iPod Touch via jailbreaking and backgrounder, and I could run about... 3 apps at once? The amount of RAM that's not used for the OS itself is pitiful- you need 256 or, preferably, 512 MB or RAM. I was looking to buy the 4th gen iPod Touch when it comes out in September anyways though. I mean, iOS 4 on my first gen iPod Touch would be painful anyway. I'm content.

Niklas Rother says:

Stupid question, perhaps:
Will it come for all Languages/ in all Countrys on 21th? Or does the Germans (and other Countrys) have to wait longer?

KZL2006 says:

Hi All...
I already have version 3.1.3 3GS jailbreak iphone.If IOS4 appear,when i do the upgrade that i can do easily?can I see any error.Is the jailbreak still available or not?

ayvee says:

You're an idiot if you stayed up waiting for it to be released at midnight or other late hours in the night / morning!

Noah says:

It has arrived! Downloading it now. Finally no more need to click and check.

Nate Chatellier says:

Under Settings -> Messages, I have an additional on/off option titled: "Group Messaging". When turned in, if someone sends out a group text and I am one of the recipients, I will see the list of everyone that the message was sent to. This allows me to "Reply to All" via a txt message if I should desire. Handy.

mdelvecchio says:

er, how do i get my phone Favorites back? thats like speed dial for me... i never use Spotlight but i cant seem to find if/where to swap the home-hold-release setting.

Robert G Boulay says:

Sorry. Disregard above post. Maps is still there.

Adam says:

Two weird bugs I can't seem to find info on:
1. I now have a Photo Library folder in addition to all my other folders--and it seems to have all my photos in it. Is this duplication?
2. Any existing photo I want to use as wallpaper shows up blurry--as if I were viewing it in low-res on an iPhone4. Except mine's a 3GS.

bdiddy says:

"First, and strangely least, the Spotlight Home Screen introduced in iPhone 3.0 now gets to look beyond on-device data and reach for the clouds. Literally."
I'd like to see a phone that can literally reach for the clouds.

John says:

One thing that is not listed here is the addition of the + sign next to apps in the app store. I was told it means that the app is also compatible with iPad.
Also i'm a little upset that after all this time they still haven't added a feature in to the app store that will indicate if you've already purchased an app before you download it. Sometimes i'll delete an app because it sucks and then later i'll try to download it again to see if it's better. If I make a mistake and pick an app that I didn't buy before then I won't know until it's too late.

John says:

@bdiddy In networking terms the internet is considered the "cloud" and is even represented as such is topologies. I think that's what they were going for there.

calvin ng says:

Do not blame apple non not updating 1G ipod and iphone 2G as with 3.1.3 it is quite lagging and the hardware is not up to spec to handle OS4

KatyaR says:

BIG PROBLEM--I had 21 screens of apps and had gone through and made folders. I thought to consolidate them and get rid of the blank screens, so I did a reset, which WIPED OUT MY FOLDERS and scattered apps everywhere. Worse, I now have only 9 screens and can't seem to get the other apps back without having to do a restore. So BEWARE....

DoubleDown ! says:

Voice control nows includes 'shuffle on' for ipod

DoubleDown ! says:

Why do I still have to touch the phone 4 times to turn bluetooth on and off ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

JasonB says:

An update you didn't mention:
In Safari, screen orientation is no longer locked while typing. In previous OS releases, if you tapped a text box (for instance, the address box), whatever screen orientation you were in when you tapped it (be it portrait or landscape), you couldn't change it by turning the iPhone.
This was EXTREMELY irritating for me because I like looking at websites in portrait but I'm much more comfortable typing in landscape. I was very excited to see that Apple had fixed this frustrating function (or lack thereof).
I'm sure many people have discovered the same frustration so I'm sure people would be happy to hear about it!

Daley says:

Downloaded and installed iOS4 (in Oz here) - bit of drama coz there was a pending (paid) iPhone Unlock on my 3GS and everything ended up hanging. Managed to get the iPhone in recovery mode on the 6th attempt - the unlock code went through followed by the iOS4 "restore". It's a beautiful piece of software, though something is draining my battery at an alarming rate (an approximate 10%/hour!) - any thoughts?

Ivan says:

I don't seem to have that nice feature in safari where it plays videos on the page but rather it opens the fullscreen (using sublime link) also in notes i don't have accounts, is it possible that some features are localized or maybe some were in beta but not in release? other than that no problems. Though too bad pc users don't have faces, but guess thats how it is..

tim says:

thx for the summary. good job.

Jenny says:

"However, there is now an Accounts button at the top left of the list page and tapping it takes you to a new screen where you can choose to view All Notes,..."
This doesn't happen for me... Is it my 3GS or am I just doing something wrong. All notes syncs, with mail notes as well, but I don't see the Accounts button...

Mark says:

Great walkthrough. Regarding persistent wifi you aren't sure that iOS4 on the iphone includes this but I can confirm that it does. Let your iphone go to sleep and you will see that you can keep pinging it, all day. This is unlike iOS3 which would not ping soon after it went to sleep.

Stan says:

Another cool new feature...
When connected to a Bluetooth device, you now have the ability to control the volume in iOS4. The volume slider is there and works. Previously, and still on my iPad, the name of the Bluetooth device would show up in the volume place without the ability to control the volume.
Sorry, no screenshot, forgot to take one when I was connected to my device at home.

Bill says:

Hey, thanks for your hard work in getting this video and article out so quickly. It really helped me!

alicat says:

I have an itouch and I was wondering if the part about the new wallpaper thing on the first part oh the home section is for just the iphone and ipad not the itouch. If it's not only for those two it's not showing up on mine. PLEASE HELP!! ☻

Seth Hall - Middle8Media says:

Dude, Thanks for the 10 min video Renee. You guys rock. Keep up the good work and until iPhone 4.

FloydW says:

Finally -- the volume goes all the way down to zero not like before where it would stop with a single bar showing. Great for those meetings where I want no sounds at all

Veronica says:

I loved the walked through. Thank you so much!
I do want to point out: at least for me, if your gmail account is your "exchange/push" account, it will not have "archive" on it but still delete.
Also, there is a thing called "group messaging" on the messages settings now! :) What exactly is that function? I turned it on.

Greg says:

Re: @Hrissan. I too have a 3G and am worried about what @Hrissan said about slowed down processing time.
Anyone else with a 3G updated to iOS 4? And if so, did your response times slow down? If so, in which aps?
TIA.

Lucas says:

This is really helpful. they should add a setting where the home screen background can change every couple of minutes, or once a day. like on the mac. Also, is anyone else noticing that scrolling between screens of apps on the home screen that is iOS 4 its not quite as smooth. Mine seems to always go to far and bounce back much more than i remember in iphone os 3

Paul Jennings says:

THERES NO CLICKING ON THE IPHONE!!! GOOD LORD!! YOU ARE TAPPING. YOU AREN'T CLICKING!

Patrick says:

Great overall update, though I can't navigate to the home screen or other Apps while on a call with my 3GS!

dan says:

hey Nate. how did you get that option for group messeages? you have a 3GS or 3G?

daniel says:

the "what time is it?" on voice control does not work

Dave Heimlich says:

Unimpressed with the new iOS 4 wallpapers and want the black background back for your icons simply take a pic of black object (my wife used a pillow that came with my Wiggy's sleeping bag), save it to your camera roll and choose it for homepage. Everything pops against the black background!

Ivan says:

@Jenny it seems to me accounts in notes only appears if u have an email account set up to sync notes also i have work mail and gmail set up as exchange and it didnt show up. I set up a yahoo account through the wizard (not exchange) and told it to sync notes also and now the button is there but still cant sync old notes to yahoo and still dont have gmail sync option...hope it helps.
also i have no group messaging option or in page video still opens fs video. if anyone can comment on this it would be great

fergy says:

TWO MISSED FEATURES:

  1. scrolling in safari - on a long page, if you keep scrolling, the rate of movement down the page gradually gets faster!
  2. Tapping and holding on maps now puts down a pin (really useful to check names of road or check if streetview is available. before u had to drop the pin from peelback menu and then move it around by dragging
RicD says:

You show a File Sharing screen. On my 3GS I cannot find it. How does one get to that screen how does one use it.

keith06t says:

Hmm, HTML5 videos definitely don't seem to play in line in Safari. I used the sample video provided in the link and it opened the separate window...disappointing.

sfmitch says:

Hey, is there a way to make the phone not drop every call while in San Francisco?

David says:

Does anyone know where you can get the previous firmware wallpapers since some of them are gone in 4.0

NewsGallery says:

Via NewsGallery: THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE iOS4 TUNNEL FOR iPhone 3: http://bit.ly/iOAS43G

Egil Thorsrud says:

Hello.
Is there any change to have meetings and templates to be shown on the lock screen.
Thanks in advance.
mvh Egil

Alan says:

@Daley
you need to do a reset network settings
settings >> general >> reset >> reset network settings
I had the same thing, massive battery drain and the phone running hot. This fixes it.

TK Quek says:

I notice there is a overcating problem on maps, the gps shown position on satellite is accurate, but the gps position on map will be at least 500m off from sattellite.
I've tried the map on google phone, theirs is perfect, pointing accurately on both map and satellite
Can you look into that, thanks.

Samuel Layding says:

I am in an interesting situation... I have an iPod Touch 3G, and had it jailbroken on 3.1.3. I used Make it Mine to change my carrier from iPod to iPhone, just as a joke. But now that I have upgraded to iOS 4, I still have it set as iPhone, not iPod. Oddly, this seems to have tricked it into giving me the Airplane Mode setting for it. How weird is that?

Aaron Baker says:

Samuel, that has nothing to do with the carrier saying iPhone. iOS4 just introduced airplane mode for iPod Touches too.

Travis Napier says:

I don't know if you missed it but go to the camera there is a new zoom feature you just gotta find when the blue focusing box comes up tap it once and a zoom slider will appear. Don't k ow if I'm the first to notice but I hope I am.

Frank says:

Now when editing an event in calendar you can change the calendar for the event!

AAA says:

EDIT FEATURE ON THE DIAL STILL LACKING IN IOS 4:WHILE ONE CAN COPY AND PASTE NUMBERS ON THE DIAL,EDITING CONTACT NUMBERS ESPECIALLY WITH INTERNATIONAL CARD PREFIXES IS STILL LACKING.i HOPE TIPB CAN LET APPLE BE AWARE OF THE FLAW.

Curt Ingram says:

I am now tethering my 3g to my Macbook Pro and loggin on to the internet. You have to change your ATT plan, but the net increase is 5 dollars/month. It's pretty fast and easy.

stuart says:

how do i use the faces on iphone 3gs i have tried it but i cant get it to work and how to get the location as well could someone tell me please. thanks

Butch Hauke says:

One thing that almost all tech sites have missed about iOS 4 is the way the equalizers now work. Previously, turning on any EQ would result in a good volume increase. Not so anymore. In fact, the volume is decreased when EQ is applied. Some folks over at head-fi.org are stating that the EQs, rather than boosting specific frequencies are actually just reducing the opposing frequencies. For instance, on Treble Booster, instead of boosting treble, they reduce the midrange and bass. The resulting effect is less distortion but the sound isn't as satifying to me. Nor do I like the decrease of volume as I used to use this to boost older material that isn't recorded as loud. I'm hoping that TiPb folks can investigate this more and provide some additional insight.

nissan says:

nice review, thanks. Another good Blueberry Phone is also available

Basem says:

Guys u amazing
I would to thank everyone involved in this great effort and keep it up :)

Cicada says:

SMS has also adopted the same "time tap" feature as found in Safari. When in an SMS message, if you tap the time at the top of the screen it will bring you to the top of the message where you can access contact info or call the contact

Cicada says:

Also, how exactly does group messaging in SMS work?

Blubri says:

Great review, I've Ben trying to figure out why the features aren't available for all devices. What reason do they have to disable them for some?  It really sucks lol.

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rabbit blue says:

OK, thanks for this so helpful and through post very much!
I think guys you'd better read this article "iOS4: Everything You Need to Know" located in ifunia iPhone column to get the details info about iOS before Multitasking.

Dan says:

I have a 3g and don't seem to have the new notes syncing functionality. The accounts button that the piece refers to simply isn't there. Is that another thing that has been left of the 3g? What justification is there for that?

Pete says:

BYE BYE VISUAL VOICEMAIL
After upgrading to iOS 4.0.0 and now iOS 4.0.2, my wife (3GS) and I (3G) have lost visual voicemail. AT&T informed me through mutliple conversations to try to fix it, that they are aware of the problem but have no idea why its happening. They stated that it is from the iOS4.0.x upgrade and is an Apple issue more than an AT&T issue. Has anyone else had this problem? Why isn't Tipb reporting anything about iOS4 on the 3G? It's horribly slow.

Symnbems says:

strike out sorry
wipe out sorry 43

diobCoatCaxia says:

Hello guys, I urgently need information on MLA format... I can't death my essay. Does anyone know? Please help...

Adam says:

"Previous betas included a Rotate function under the action button that would turn a photo 90 degrees, but this doesn’t seem to have made it into the final. Hopefully it will return."
Try using two fingers and spinning them.

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and that he wanted to tell the author?

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Yes, there are still pain points that we want to see Apple fix, and yes, there are some amazing alternatives to the iPhone 4 out there. But when it comes to the total package -- fit and finish in both software and hardware, performance, app selection, and all of the little details that make a device like this what it is -- we think it's the cream of the current crop.

Queentorrent says:

The only thing I'll say is you haven't used iOS 5 yet. I'm not saying Android isn't good or better. It's just you are comparing an Android device to iOS 4, not iOS 5. Ice Cream Sandwich is also coming out in a few weeks. So this iOS 5 vs. Android conversation probably should even be taking place right now.

Queentorrent says:

The only thing I'll say is you haven't used iOS 5 yet. I'm not saying Android isn't good or better. It's just you are comparing an Android device to iOS 4, not iOS 5. Ice Cream Sandwich is also coming out in a few weeks. So this iOS 5 vs. Android conversation probably should even be taking place right now.

Queentorrent says:

The only thing I'll say is you haven't used iOS 5 yet. I'm not saying Android isn't good or better. It's just you are comparing an Android device to iOS 4, not iOS 5. Ice Cream Sandwich is also coming out in a few weeks. So this iOS 5 vs. Android conversation probably should even be taking place right now.

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