IOS 11 ON THE IPHONE 5S: SLOWER, BUT NOT QUITE SLOW

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The 5S is slower for sure, but it"s still faster than the iPhone 5 on game ios 10.

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Andrew Cunningham - Sep 19, 2017 1:21 pm UTC


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One of my longtime pet projects has been tracking the performance of new quả táo versions on the slowest hardware that can run it. I was pleasantly surprised by the iPhone 3GS & iOS 6, but after that I was in for several years of disappointments. The iPhone 4 struggled to run quả táo 7 well, và the iPhone 4S only fared a little better with quả táo 8 & iOS 9. Then, last year, a reprieve: ios 10 ran pretty well on the iPhone 5 & 5C, slowing the phone down just a little but remaining totally livable in spite of it.


And now we come to game ios 11 và the iPhone 5S. Apple"s transition lớn all-64-bit hardware & software, begun just four short years ago, has now completed, and the newest iPhones are easily four or five times faster. Does the game ios 11 update leave the original gold iPhone feeling shiny and new, or does it come away feeling tarnished?

What you’re missing

Every time a new iPhone is released, it does some stuff that previous iPhones couldn’t do. Sometimes that just means going faster, và sometimes that means the addition of special hardware lượt thích a fingerprint sensor or NFC chip. Here’s a combination of all the hardware and software features the iPhone 5S is missing relative to the iPhone 7, not including processor benchmarks or camera improvements.

Apple Pay3D TouchARKitRaise-to-wakeTracking elevation/floors climbed without external hardwareAlways-on Hey SiriSiri"s new proactive search featuresSiri"s new natural voiceVoicemail transcriptionThe ability lớn shoot HEIF & HEVC photos & video; you can still view these files in quả táo 11, however

That"s not a small list, but unlike past years, it"s relatively light on vi xử lý core features, & most of what"s missing is enabled by extra hardware the 5S just doesn"t have rather than speed. You"ll still benefit from a bunch of new tiện ích ios 11 features large & small: the tệp tin manager, document scanner, new Control Center, ability to chia sẻ Wi-Fi passwords quickly và automatically, Metal 2, machine learning APIs, Safari privacy improvements, and lots more.

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Performance: Slower, but not slow

Comparing phầm mềm launch times has historically been a reliable way lớn measure relative performance—it’s not the best, most all-encompassing real-world test, but the odds are good that if phầm mềm launch times slow way down, the rest of the phone will feel slower as well. As always, these tests were run on freshly-reset phones signed into a kiểm tra iCloud account. Each ứng dụng was launched, force quit, and then launched again. The times below are the average of three launches.

 ApplicationiOS 10.3.3iOS 11.0 GMChange
Safari1.2 seconds1.5 seconds+0.3 seconds
Camera0.9 seconds0.9 seconds+0.0 seconds
Settings0.9 seconds1.3 seconds+0.4 seconds
Mail1.4 seconds1.8 seconds+0.4 seconds
Messages0.8 seconds1.1 seconds+0.3 seconds
Calendar0.8 seconds1.2 seconds+0.4 seconds
Maps2.2 seconds3.2 seconds+1.0 seconds
Notes1.5 seconds2.0 seconds+0.5 seconds
Cold boot26.6 seconds38.6 seconds+12.0 seconds

Some of the quả táo 11 apps don"t fare too badly, in absolute terms. But there are some fairly significant regressions, particularly in Mail, Notes, và Maps; & boot time goes way up (though totally rebooting your phone is not something you"re actually going to bởi all that often). These are, in the scheme of things, small differences, but seconds & fractions of seconds spent waiting on a phone over its lifetime do showroom up. The phone"s single gigabyte of RAM is also starting khổng lồ feel seriously restrictive, particularly in Safari, where tab reloading is a common phenomenon once you have more than two or three tabs in memory at a time.

Speaking strictly in qualitative terms, using quả táo 11 on an iPhone 5S doesn"t feel bad. You notice the impact of background tasks more than you used to—updating apps or downloading a bunch of music in the background makes the whole phone feel sluggish. But taking pictures, sending e-mails, & scrolling through apps is still more than responsive enough khổng lồ be usable, và I rarely find myself wanting to throw the 5S through the nearest wall like I did with the 4S a couple of years ago. Compare the load times for some of the apps above lớn the load times for the same apps on the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S under quả táo 10 or ios 9. The 5S is still significantly faster, even with ios 11.

Xem thêm: Apple Iphone 6S 16Gb - Apple Iphone 6S 128Gb

Safari performance improves marginally in common benchmarks, though in the heavier JetStream benchmark it regresses just a bit. Don"t expect rendering speeds khổng lồ improve much overall.


If you want to speed general performance up a little, you may actually have some luck enabling the Reduce Motion option in the Accessibility settings. It often shaves around a quarter-second or so from the longer app launch times—apps that take around a second lớn launch don"t benefit, but apps that take two or three seconds to load normally do. The tweaked animations in game ios 11 aren"t bad enough that they make every single device in the lineup feel slower, as was the case with quả táo 7, but it might be a way to make your phone feel just a bit snappier post-update if you"re frustrated with it.

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 ApplicationiOS 10.3.3iOS 11.0 GM, reduce motionChange
Safari1.2 seconds1.4 seconds+0.2 seconds
Camera0.9 seconds1.0 seconds+0.1 seconds
Settings0.9 seconds1.2 seconds+0.3 seconds
Mail1.4 seconds1.7 seconds+0.3 seconds
Messages0.8 seconds1.0 seconds+0.2 seconds
Calendar0.8 seconds1.2 seconds+0.4 seconds
Maps2.2 seconds3.1 seconds+0.9 seconds
Notes1.5 seconds1.8 seconds+0.3 seconds

The one thing you may want to vị if you intend lớn keep using the iPhone 5S with quả táo 11, or if you want lớn hand it down lớn another friend or family member who can give it a good home, is replace the battery. IFixit has handy instructions and low-priced, good-quality replacement parts if you"re comfortable doing it yourself, or you can have táo bị cắn dở replace the battery for you for $79 (still a small fraction of the price of a new iPhone, even an iPhone SE).

Should you update?


I could understand wanting lớn hang around on ios 10 if you have an iPhone 5S. Apple"s oldest supported iPhone indisputably loses some of its pep in the move to quả táo 11, and while it gets a lot of the same things as other newer devices, it does miss out on things lượt thích ARKit, the improved Siri voice, and some contextual Intelligence features.

But as I bởi vì every year, for most people I would come down in favor of updating. The iPhone 5S is slower with tiện ích ios 11, sure, but it"s not as slow as the iPhone 4S was with quả táo 8 or 9, or even as slow as the iPhone 5 is with tiện ích ios 10 most of the time. Và as we mentioned, you still get a bunch of new tiện ích ios 11 features, và you"re bound to find something worth upgrading for in that list.

Even more importantly, though, you need to be on game ios 11 lớn get new security updates at this point. Táo only very, very rarely issues any kind of patch for older ios versions after the newest one is out, so the first disclosed vulnerabilities that come to lớn light after today are only going to lớn get patched in game ios 11. Really, practically, you can probably afford to lớn wait around until game ios 11.1 barring any major catastrophes—those updates usually come out toward the end of October—but in the long run it"s not safe or responsible to use old unpatched operating systems indefinitely.

So, update. If not today, then soon. The iPhone 5S gets a little slower, but that"s how it goes when the oldest hardware that runs an operating system is only đôi mươi or 25 percent as fast as the most recent hardware. It"ll never be as fast as it was, but it"s fast enough for a budget or hand-me-down phone, and it keeps doing new things; that"s an acceptable trade-off.


Andrew Cunningham Andrew is a Senior công nghệ Reporter at Ars Technica with over a decade of experience in consumer tech, covering everything from PCs lớn Macs to smartphones to trò chơi consoles. His work has appeared in the thành phố new york Times" Wirecutter and AnandTech. He also records a weekly book podcast called Overdue. Email andrew.cunningham
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