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The components of a smartphone sold as an Apple Inc. iPhone 4S are arranged around the company's logo for a photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

On paper, Apple’s new iOS 8 upgrade works with iPhones as old as the iPhone 4S. In real life… not so much.

The iPhone 4S is an older phone, released way back in late 2011. Still, lots of wireless carriers are giving them to customers as a free option when signing up for a two-year contract, so they remain a popular model. And while the iOS 8 upgrade will install just fine on an iPhone 4S, the newer software is designed for the top-of-the-line iPhone 6 and its blazing-fast processor.

Sadly for iPhone 4S owners, it seems the old phone just can’t keep up with the upgrade:

On top of performance problems, though, Ars Technica points out other issues: Apps in iOS 8 are optimized for the newer iPhones’ bigger screens, meaning apps will look pretty funky on the iPhone 4S’s comparatively paltry 3.5-inch display. The iPhone 4S is also missing out on hardware that’s key to some features in iOS 8, so iPhone 4S owners can never truly get the most out of the upgrade anyway.

Your best bet, iPhone 4S owners? Keep enjoying the OS you’ve got and don’t worry about the upgrade. If you really insist on having iOS 8’s new features, you should upgrade to the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus—or at least one of the iPhone 5 models, which run iOS 8 swimmingly.



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