Who's Using Their iPhone 3G over EDGE/2G?

Right after the iPhone 3G came out, we posted a tip on how to turn off 3G and run on the older, slower EDGE standard to save battery life. Some people, who live in areas still lacking 3G coverage have no choice but to run on EDGE. Still others suffer so many dropped calls and other network problems they've downgraded to EDGE out of sheer frustration.

Based on the comments we received on the rumors of Apple re-releasing a new, low-end, iPhone 2G, there may be more iPhone 3G owners running on EDGE than we imagined.

So we're asking you. Who here is running his or her iPhone 3G on EDGE and why?

Let us know in the comments below or head on over to our forum poll and make it all scientific-ish.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Who's Using Their iPhone 3G over EDGE/2G?


They both have their advantages for people who have coverage . EDGE saves battery and is actually not bad when it comes to speed. 3G is faster and you can be on a phone call while using data. It depends on what my day looks like, If I'm going to be out the whole day, and won't have access to a plug, I'll stay on EDGE.
Other than the mishaps with 3G, I find my self sticking to either 3G or EDGE because of where Apple " hides " the 3G/EDGE switch. They should put it right under the Airplane Mode switch or put the " network " button on the main settings page.
Edge does seem to be the better choice since it saves battery.

This sounds nuts to me. I am still using an iPhone 2g and edge is terrible. I'm usually around a wifi hotspot so it's not a HUGE concern but I often like to check product reviews while shopping or look up info at restaraunts where wifi is not available. Usually I'll pull out my sprint tp2 but the experience is awful. Evdo rev a runs circles around edge. It would be hard for me to imagine having a 3g phone and being forced to downgrade. Why pay the extra 10 a month for the 3g data plan?

To show you how smitten I was with the iPhone last fall, I left Sprint's EVDO RevA in my area to go to AT&T 2G!
I use wireless in most places nearby and get 3G as soon as I head about 10 miles north. But not here! However, my 2G is rock solid. I can use my phone in the basement without a hitch.
Kankakee, IL (sixty miles outside of Chicago).

I HATE EDGE. I have no choice but to use it. My area probably won't get it until there's a 10G out or until the world is a giant Wifi Hotspot.
But when I do go out of town to somewhere with 3G, I LOVE it. Of course, my battery dies faster than flies in a frog pond. And my iPhone gets REALLY hot. The radio starts working and never stops. Sometimes, I'm scared it's going to burn me.
But, yes, I am running on EDGE.

Australia's 3G network is double the size of our largest GSM/EDGE network. So coverage is supurb here on 3G. I personally stick to EDGE though, since my battery struggles to last the day with 3G on! Pretty much everyone I know does the same. Most sites I view, are formatted for the iPhone - so load very quickly over EDGE. We also don't have unlimited data plans here, so the idea of a high speed always on network isn't as appealing.

I'm in the same boat as Drake. No 3G in my area, but when I do get into a 3G area...I love it. Even if Apple released another Edge only phone, I'd still get the 3G version. It's worth it.

I would rather use 3G, but where I live I don't get it. Only EDGE. The cities above me and below me both have 3G. I'm stuck in the middle.

Here in Canada I've never travelled anywhere that doesn't get 3G except inside the movie theater, where my iPhone claims to have an Edge connection yet will not do anything on the internet.. Then again movie theaters probably have signal blocks to prevent cellphone use.
But hey, even when I turn 3G off all day, I notice NO difference in battery at all. :/

Here in Morgantown (mere miles from Pittsburgh) we still have no 3G so I'm forced to use edge. Anyone know if there's a list if cities up next? One can only hope....

I switch to edge via sbsettings swipe across the top, if I think my battery will run out before getting to a charger on 3G

im in eastern iowa and i have ZERO 3g. ive been pretty much all over the state and havent found any spots where i can get it. the only time ive been able to get it is when i go somewhere like chicago or something (my battery didnt make it back out of the city) but im not complaining. where i live edge does just fine and just like frog i am usually on sites that are formatted for the iphone and it works pretty well.

Everytime I go into NYC from NJ I can barely keep a 3G signal. Recently traveled to the Ft. Lauderdale area and it was the first time I ever experienced a decent 3G connection. AT&T blows in NYC/NJ.

3G always for me. My battery will be low at the end of the day but it will make it. I need that speed though, no EDGE for me!

I'd say I'm running EDGE 80% of the time by choice because of dropped calls and battery life. UGH

I wish I could lock the iPhone to 3G like I can my other phones so it would stop falling back to GSM all of the time when it doesn't need to. When it detects even the slightest amount of congestion it kicks back to GSM and never goes back to 3G.
Calls sound so much better on 3G I wish I could stop using GSM completely.

I personally have a 2G so obviously this doesn't apply to me but a cousin who has a 3G can't sent text messages when he has 3G on I wonder why that is?

I run 3G all the time, with the exception to one of my jobs that's in my town's mall. It stays connected to 3G, but nothing loads or just takes forever. The EDGE isn't that bad... But I prefer 3G. :)

I'm generally on 3g when im out and about or during work hours with push activated. At home I have acces to wifi so turnoff 3g.
3g is definstely a must as far as I'm concerned.

I have a decent 3G signal where I live but my calls still seem to drop too often. I use EDGE full-time unless I want to download something quicker. Calls are 100% more stable on EDGE!

Here in the UK 3G is exellent for me, but I find that I turn it off more often to save battery life. Only turning it on when I am downloading newsfeeds in byline before going in the underground. Other than that EDGE speeds are fine and plus on EDGE I get signal even deep inside buildings on full bars, on 3G it tends to remain on the lowest bar and don't switch over to the stronger EDGE signal.

i use my iPhone 3G on EDGE/2G for a very simple reason, we do not have 3G yet in Amman - Jordan!! and if we do, am not quite sure i might use it that often for battery issues!!

@Damien now that I think about it , I've had a lot of dropped calls on 3G. I don't remeber having any being dropped on EDGE

I turn off my 3G because where i live theirs poor coverage and when haveing 3G on it keeps staling because its contently changing to EDGE and back so for example viewing youtube vids is FUSTRATING!!!

If you're in the U.S. in a region with consistent 3G coverage, I can't imagine turning off the 3G most of the time to save battery life. You got the phone and are paying an additional $10/mo. (over the original iPhone 2G) specifically on unlimited 3G service. Plus, the 3G is pretty good (albeit really only in major cities and metropolitan areas) and its speed seems to approach the maximum for webpage rendering permitted by the iPhone's processor. So I guess the issue is coverage more than anything else (for me), though I could understand wanting to conserve battery, especially for heavy users that are unable to charge for extended periods of time.

I usually leave my iPhone on EDGE until I need to do some Internet browsing and there's not WiFi around. I'm on a college campus most of the day, and there's campus-wide WiFi, so I hardly ever have to use 3G. I can't stand using EDGE for browsing, though. I don't know how you first generation iPhone users do it.

I have edge in central GA, and it works fine. As soon as I get up to Atlanta in May, I'll be on 3G. No problems either way, but when I'm in the GA Dome watching the Falcons play, my data service is garbage.

I do use edge on my iPhone 3g ,since in India right now my carrier does not support 3g but I more than satisfied with my edge right now which saves my battery life

Im from england. 3G is always available so that is fine. however i always have 3g off, only switching when i intend to go on a website with a few images etc, other than that if im using a quick google, i'll tend to leave it off.

I live in EDGE country. 3G is supposedly coming in June - but I've been hearing that for a bit now.

In the UK I must live less than half a mile from the nearest 3G tower. At home I get EDGE, but in college I get the full 3G signal. Speedtests report between 3 and 4 meg. Battery life is murdered when I use 3G though. Gets me through a full day though, even under heavy usage, so I keep it turned on at all times and make sure it gets a charge every night.

Yeah...same here as alot above. No 3G yet in Roanoke, VA. We're being told it's coming this summer, but I'll believe it when my iPhone says it. No problems with EDGE so far.
We'll see.

I'm still on edge 90% of the time. We've got lousy coverage for 3G in my area (Jackson, WY). When you are in a marginal area for 3G coverage, the iPhone spends an inordinate amount of time and battery switching between the edge and 3G networks. This results in significant increase in missed calls. I would guess if I have 3G turned on, I miss at least 50% of my incoming calls. With Edge only I miss maybe 10% of my incoming calls.
I'll turn 3G on if I need to do some web browsing or download a large file. And when I'm in a big city I'll turn 3G on, but it does significantly reduce battery life. I hope Apple can address the missed calls/network search and battery life problems with iPhone 3.0 software or hardware.

I live in a 3G deprived area in Missouri. Suppose to get it by end of June. But isn't it funny how I have to pay for 3g in my 30 dollar plan. Kind of like my 30 family messaging plan and I cant send MMS. I have a 2G and 3G phone. Wife has my old 2G and I use the 3G because the speaker was louder and I needed that.

When I first got my iPhone 3G last July there was only EDGE coverage at my house. There was 3G just 10 miles away heading toward DC or Baltimore (South or East). Then in Dec. one morning I woke up and was amazed to see my iPhone reporting full 3G signal in my basement. Over the next few weeks and into Jan. 3G expanded around my home city/county. Coverage on 3G is now very good every where I go, full service in all areas of my house; yes in the basement. EDGE was nearly cut out though, it's speeds now are ~150kbps/~50kbps; it's really bad. In and around DC and Baltimore I have always gotten great 3G signal and speeds. There are only 3 places I lose signal; at work (secure gov. building), in the DC subway (Verizon has exclusive deal with Metro), and in various (older) gov. buildings in DC. Other than that 3G is great for me, I've never dropped a call or had bad data speeds. And TBH I don't really see any difference in battery life between leaving 3G on all the time, I don't even see a change leaving WiFi turned on; the battery doesn't start to drain until I start doing stuff.

Last night, I was streaming audio in my hotel room, and noticed that 3G was slowly draining my battery, even though I was plugged in to the wall! So I put it on EDGE, found a low-fi version of my program, and the battery charged only slightly slower than being off.

WiFi at home and in the office, EDGE around town, there is no 3G coverage where I live and many times I get less 3 bars on EDGE.
3G is ok, even WiFi is only ok, it still does not "snap" like the browser on my desktop, but its OK. The problem is that many of the times I'd like to use it, say at a sporting event, the cell is so saturated you can't get on. So, team makes a great play, you'd like to email a picture of the play or the scoreboard to a friend who cheers for the other team to rub it in -- nothing doing.
I know these are edge cases (no pun intended), but ATT needs to figure out how coverage outside major metro areas and how to deal with predictable saturation spots, sports venues as an example.

I live in the suburbs of Chicago and have owned an iPhone 3G since August 2008. Every month I attempt to use 3G service for a couple days, however the service is simply too unreliable, resulting in poor data performance and dropped calls. I have always ended up back on EDGE. I would swap to Sprint or Verizon in a heartbeat if I could and gladly eat the AT&T early termination fee.

This is the very reason I have not upgraded to the 3g phone yet. I don't have coverage in my area where I live or work. I will upgrade in July with the new phone whether or not ATT has their act together or not.

I run in EDGE mode almost 100% of the time. I live in Atlanta and despite the "vast" 3G network I experience constant dropped calls; and no 3G signal in buildings except on the outer edge within 30 feet from the windows. AT&T's 3G network is worthless.

i'm in cincinnati. i use 3g. i have never had a dropped call on my iphone or the moto razr v3xx that i had, but my windows mobile samsung blackjack 2 sure did.

I have edge running all day instead of 3g, it preventd thr battery from dying in the middle of the day. I also have the brightness down all thr way to 0. I only turn on 3g when I need to download something or stream a video

I don't have 3g where I live. Closest is about 3 hours away although I just read that it's coming to a city just over an hour away. Still not gonna help me though. I've been to a couple places that have 3g and it was awesome basicly same as wifi at home. So for now just livin on EDGE

You know when I run my iPhone on Edge it's not so slow as people are saying it is. Edge saves a lot of battery life and is not that bad. 3G is not faster but in some way a bit speedier then Edge. I hope iPhone 2009 when running on 3.5G runs with a longer lasting battery.

I keep my phone on 3G on only where I have 3G. But edge is not that bad. Oh and AT&T Hurry and get 4G ASAP please???;)

I'm running on a 2G/EDGE network because there is STILL no coverage for 3G in northern Minnesota. But oh well. That's why I've got wifi in my house.

3G baby. I have no problems with battery life or dropped calls. Our area just got 3G coverage a few months ago, and it was a godsend.

I spend most of my time on EDGE. I don't need the speed, and I can check Facebook or Tweetie or get my email on EDGE just fine. Saves battery!

I'm in Chicago and the 3G network here is just horrible. I'd like to use it because of the web/data speed, but phone calls are horrendous on it. I switched to the Edge and use wifi whenever I can. Sad that such a big company like AT&T has such an inferior network to their competitors in a major city.

After reading some of these comments I think I'm going to keep my original 2g and not upgrade to the 3Gs. The data plan & text messaging does not justify the price considering I'm always in front of a computer with internet or near a wifi. I wish the processor in the old phones were faster though.