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Is Apple's iOS 9 snappier than iOS 8.4.1?

Is Apple's iOS 9 snappier than iOS 8.4.1?

September 18, 2015

If a speedy, responsive operating system is all you care about and iOS 8.4.1 is fitting the bill for you, you may wonder if upgrading to the latest update is worthwhile. The folks over at EverythingApplePro have put together a video putting iOS 9 to the test against the previous version. They ran a series of everyday tasks like starting up, browsing the Web, launching apps, and so forth, to see which version is faster.

Differences in hardware

The first thing you need to understand is that iOS 9, like previous updates, works really well on the more recent handsets and tablets, but doesn’t fare so well on older devices. This is perfectly normal and understandable, so let’s see what EverythingApplePro found out.

Startup times

As you’ll see in the video, iOS 9 is faster to boot up on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 6. However, it’s slower than iOS 8.4.1 when starting up on the iPhone 4s. If you don’t reboot your phone very often, this may not make much of a difference to you, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Loading apps

Here is where things get interesting, considering one of the main boasts of iOS 9 is supposed to be app thinning and performance updates. In fact, the tests show iOS 8.4.1 being snappier to load apps on almost all of the iPhones tested. Most of the GeekBench scores were also slightly better under iOS 8.4.1.

Wi-Fi and browsing the Web

Where iOS 9 really shines, though, is in browsing the Web and other tasks involving Wi-Fi. Apple has clearly done quite a bit of optimization in this regard, because iOS 9 shows a definite speed improvement here.

The final word

So, is the upgrade worth it? The answer is that it depends. If the new features of iOS 9 are important to you, then it’s definitely worth the drawbacks. After all, even when iOS 9 does show some performance hits compared with the previous version of the operating system, those hits aren’t significant. In my opinion, it’s a good tradeoff. Watch the video of the tests below, or click here if you can’t see it.

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