The Dark Sides of iOS 4

Yesterday, I wrote an extensive run through of iOS 4 that was very positive about the new operating system. I found that my phone ran faster and could do more with the new software, and said so. My phone is still running smoothly, but now that the OS has been out there for a day and a half people are reporting issues, and some of the dark sides of iOS 4 are starting to emerge:

Battery Life:

Multitasking definitely causes battery life to take a hit. This shouldn’t be too surprising — it’s the reason Apple was reluctant to implement multitasking in the first place. After just an hour or two of running apps in the background (mostly Pandora) while using other programs in the foreground, my battery was down to nearly 50%. That said, the battery life doesn’t seem to have changed for instances when I’m not running things in the background. So, my battery life isn’t actually worse with the new software — iOS 4 is just allowing me to take actions that I couldn’t before and these are more battery intensive.


Upgrading to iOS 4 requires accepting a new privacy agreement from Apple, which carries a few alarming clauses in the fine print. One is that Apple can now monitor your phone’s GPS and track your “real-time geographic location”. It also reserves the right to sell that information to partners and licensees. The company says that it will only sell the location data anonymously and for location-based services only, but it is still frightening to know that you have agreed to let Apple keep tabs on your movements.

You have also agreed to allow Apple to monitor your browsing habits, so that they can serve you targeted advertisements using their iAd platform. iAd hasn’t been launched yet, but starting in July should be featured in a lot of apps. Targeted ads are nothing new, and it can be less annoying to see an ad for a product you are interested in than one that is irrelevant to you. Nevertheless, it can be disconcerting to know that information about the web sites you’re visiting is going to Apple. Fortunately, there is a way to opt out of this — using Safari on your iPhone (or iPod Touch), go to Unfortunately, most people won’t know about this, but at least you can keep your privacy intact if you prefer.

Lots of People are Having Issues:

My phone is running fine, but many people are having serious issues with the new OS. This Engadget poll shows that thousands of their readers are suffering from problems which range from random crashes to contacts getting deleted to an inability to connect to data networks. I know from the search terms people are using to find my blog that my readers are suffering from the same issues, which include “os 4.0 issue with 3g network” and “ios 4 freeze crash on phone call”. Unfortunately, not having suffered any of these issues myself, I am unable to offer any advice on how to troubleshoot or solve these problems. However, this serves as another reminder of why it is so important to back up your phone before making an upgrade. You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s critical to have your contacts backed up somewhere should your phone annoyingly decide to delete them all.

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