iOS 4 + iPhone 3G (multitasking and jailbreaking) [UPDATED]

iOS 4
Apple recently released its latest build of iOS (formerly iPhoneOS) version 4. This is perhaps the most significantly improved iOS version to date. It adds multi-tasking, Folders, Spell check, enhanced Spotlight search, enhanced Mail app (multiple Exchange accounts and unified inbox), enhanced Contacts app and the ability to edit Playlists in iPod.
Here is a full list of new features by Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5513121/the-hidden-secrets-of-iphone-os-4/
My personal favourite on iOS 4 is the Orientation Lock. You double press the Home button, swipe to the right (go to the very left), and tap on the round arrow to lock or unlock your screen orientation. It is a bit pathetic to think that Apple gave us this after 3 major releases of the OS… but it is there now.

Version 4 at first glance gives you a very refreshed feel to it. I think it’s mainly because the icons were made to be brighter, and the default screen brightness was a bit higher than my original… but none the less I liked it. The responsiveness of the OS also improved quite a bit over OS 3.x. This is especially evidential on older hardware like my iPhone 3G. The homescreen transitions are smoother, and icon animations are silkier. All of my apps from iOS 3.x worked flawlessly and games ran as they should.

To the more negative end of the spectrum. I wasn’t a big fan of the “you can never quit your app, unless you really try” scheme Apple used to manage background apps. It reminded me of the Windows Mobile 2003 days… you had to download a Task Manager app just to kill processes… On iOS 4, when you press the Home button once the app falls back to the background but still remains in RAM in an inactive state. If you want to kill the program, you have to double tap Home then tap and hold its icon… then tap on the little red “X” on the top. It’s just too many hoops the user has to jump through to quit an app. I’d much rather have something like the Backgrounder (jailbroken app) and let it default to “quit” and double press to background.

One other thing I want to mention, and this is to all iPhone 3G users like myself.  Our somewhat ancient toy can in fact multitask! Enabling it will require a jailbreak but the end result is worth while. My best experience with jailbreaking was achieved with the help of redsn0w. This little app runs on Windows and MacOS, it jailbreaks your iPhone 3G and 2G iPod touch directly. This means you can simply go to iTunes and update your iOS and then use redsn0w to jailbreak without wiping any data.

One tip to remember, older hardware like the iPhone 3G cannot run very well with the wallpaper enabled, the responsiveness of the screen greatly deteriorated when a wallpaper is set. Therefore, I highly recommend you to NOT enable wallpaper and just hack multitasking if you need it. Also remember to periodically quit your apps in the background because the iPhone 3G does not have a lot of RAM to work with.

iOS 4.0.1
This little update to the iOS is perhaps the most embarrassing update Apple ever had to release. It “fixes” the reception issue seen on the iPhone 4 and subsequent iPhones. Primarily, Apple realized they have been too generous when calculating the iPhones’ signal quality bars… so they made this fix to give you a better idea of your signal strength. Therefore, installing the update will give you less bars… but that is as it should be… at least that’s what Apple is telling users.

You can jailbreak iOS 4.0.1 with the same redsn0w release. Simple update your iPhone 3G or 2G iPod Touch to 4.0.1 and then fire up redsn0w. Instead of pointing it to the 4.0.1 firmware, point it to the original iOS 4.0 firmware. This is possible because the 4.0.1 did not change the baseband code, so you are good to use the old firmware so it’ll pass redsn0w’s verification.

To sum up, I think iOS 4 is a winner for the most part. Apple has done a good job to make it friendly to older hardware like the iPhone 3G. Furthermore, it is also a free update to all iPod Touch users as well! We can see that Apple is really trying to push this release to everyone. I’m not going to get into iPhone 4′s antenna issue since it won’t be available in Canada until July 30th. Until then… I’m glad iOS 4 gave my good old iPhone some new blood. =p

Update: For those who are having issues with iPhone 3G overheating after updating to iOS 4, I sometimes have the same problem and pretty sure it has something to do with the 3G/EDGE radio. I find that if Data is turned off or if I use WiFi, the problem is less evidential. It might also have something to do with Exchange and multiple Exchange accounts. I heard some of these problems will be fixed in iOS 4.1. So let’s wait and see how Apple does it.
For all jailbreakers, remember to not turn on Wallpaper, and don’t get multitasking if you don’t really need it. The biggest reason why I have iOS 4 on my 3G is the ability to do multiple Exchange accounts. If you can do without all these features, then staying on iOS 3.x is probably a wiser choice.

Solution: Go to Settings and clear your iPhone 3G’s network settings. This has solved most of the heating issues and network problems for me. It appears that the network was dead even tho the phone still shows 3G signal. Then my 4 Exchange account probably overloaded by constantly trying to establish a connection back to the servers. Let me know if this works for you.

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