Should you install iOS 9 on an iPhone 5S?

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It’s been impossible to find anywhere on the web with a consclusive answer as to whether an upgrade to iOS 9 on a 5S is actually a good idea from the point of view of how well the phone can actually handle it. Most answers about an upgrade to iOS 9 concerned the iPhone 4S, 5, 6 and 6+. There were several places that said “it should be fine” for the 5S and advocated an upgrade based on the new features available, but no one provided any hard data about performance. So I’ve written this and the next post for anyone else wondering about whether or not to install iOS 9 on their 5S.

I’ve decided on the basis of the new features available in iOS 9 that I think it is worth it. Notably the promise of better performance (faster and better battery life) and Wi-Fi assist.  But to help others who aren’t so sure I will collect the following data prior to the upgrade and then collect the same data after the upgrade to see how performance varies – if at all.

I’m using an iPhone 5S with 32 GB memory.  All tests were run with no apps open initially (unless of course I was running a test from within an app). I disabled login protocols / passcode requests by logging into relevant apps then closing them before running the test (except test 12, logging in to Slack).  All tests were repeated at least once.

  1. Reboot time, from when the screen goes black until the lock screen shows.
  2. Memory available.
  3. Webpage load times (from home screen web apps with Safari closed).
    1. Facebook.
    2. BBC.
    3. Apple.
  4. Photo viewer load time (from Camera activated in lock screen).
  5. App Store load time (to Featured view).
  6. Load time for Evernote camera (from Notification Centre widget).
  7. iMessage load time (from notification on lock screen).
  8. Inbox load time (from notification on lock screen).
  9. Time to Tweet from Launch Center Pro.
  10. Time to start audio recording in Evernote from LCP.
  11. Time to load directions to work on Waze from Notification Centre widget (time from tapping Go until hearing first command).
  12. Time to log into Slack using the 1Password extension (with TouchID, measured from the point after entering the team name).
  13. Time taken to establish personal hotspot from my MacBook.
  14. Time to download and install an app, Scanbot (48.6 MB).

Here are the benchmark results for iOS 8.4.1

  1. Reboot time: 36.30 s, 35.76 s.
  2. Memory
    Before testing.  Used: 13.7 GB; Free: 13:0 GB.
    After testing.  Used: 13.6 GB; Free: 13.1 GB.
  3. Webpage load times.
    1. Facebook: 4.50 s, 3.60 s.
    2. BBC: 2.42 s, 1.86 s.
    3. Apple: 2.63 s, 2.46 s.
  4. Photo viewer load: 1.65 s, 1.63 s.
  5. App Store load: 3.71 s, 3.83 s.
  6. Evernote camera: 2.76 s, 2.71 s.
  7. iMessage: 2.02 s, 1.83 s.
  8. Inbox: 3.76 s, 3.83 s.
  9. Tweet from LCP: 2.76 s, 2.43 s.
  10. Evernote audio from LCP: 2.85 s, 2.90 s.
  11. Waze: 6.10 s, 3.22 s.
  12. Slack login: 10.17 s, 10.92 s.
  13. Hotspot: 13.87 s, 6.38 s, 2.83 s.
  14. Scanbot download: 30.90 s, 27.48 s.

I’ll post results in the next post very soon.


And the most useful features of Yosemite and iOS 8 are ?

A great thing about iOS 8 and Yosemite was the creation of new communication links between iOS devices and Macs.  When they were released to the public those links were there to an extent but there were significant issues with reliability.  Subsequent updates to both platforms have improved reliability.  The experience when those links work is excellent, but one or two issues remain.  This is actually the kind of thing that I expected once I got my first iPhone (I was already a Mac user), when it didn’t materialise it was what I always hoped for.  Here are some aspects of this new integration that I find most useful.

Airdrop.  Useful method for quickly pinging something between Mac and iPhone.  I take a lot of video on my iPhone and then edit it in iMovie on my Mac.  I used to have to plug in the phone to transfer video files, but now I can Airdrop them wirelessly and it isn’t slow.  Aside from the ease of transfer I like this method because it avoids charging my phone.  That’s good for two reasons: (1) I dislike partially charging my phone between full charges, (2) if my MacBook is on battery power it’s discharge cycle will take a big hit by charging my phone.

AirDrop 01

It needs to be said that a mysterious problem affects Airdrop.  Sometimes Airdrop won’t work if sending from an iOS device to a Mac – the Mac doesn’t show up as an option even though the iOS devices do show up on the Mac.  This has happened only a few times but it is incredibly frustrating when it does occur.  As of yet I haven’t tracked down a cause of the bug and there is no obvious cure.  I have tried numerous reboots, turning Handoff/Airdrop off and on, unpairing and repairing devices in bluetooth.  Nothing seems to solve the issue, it mysteriously resolves itself after a couple of days of not trying anything in particular.


SMS – Continuity. This was really troublesome when it was initially released.  If you were put off by a bad experience you should try it again now.  Being able to text from my laptop makes life quite a bit easier when I’m working at my laptop.


Pocket – Handoff.  Read an article on iPhone, sit down at my desk and pick up where I left off on my Mac.


iWork – Handoff.  Tweak a document on iPad, arrive at my desk and finish it off with precision on my Mac.



Personal Hotspot.  Entering the Settings app and activating a personal hotspot is now largely a thing of the past.  The new method of an instant hotspot from the Wi-Fi menu is incredibly convenient – it just makes sense.  Generally speaking it works well, though I have run into a couple of instances of a failed attempt.


A Word of Caution : older Macs (pre 2012) do not support the useful features of Yosemite! I discovered this to my huge disappointment when I performed a clean install of Yosemite on my 2011 iMac. I cannot use Handoff, but more galling is the fact that I cannot Airdrop between my iPhone and iMac!  Even between my newer MacBook and iMac an Airdrop requires me to choose the “Older Mac” option in the Finder window, which makes the process very clunky indeed.  I’m strongly considering going back to Mavericks or upgrading the Bluetooth chipset. AirDrop 02

SwiftKey iOS keyboard

This keyboard is amazing. It allows me to type incredibly fast compared to even the iOS 8 keyboard – with one hand! And yet it still manages to be more accurate than my regular typing on the built in iOS keyboard.


There are some issues but I think they are mostly on Apple’s behalf not Swiftkey’s. The two issues I have noticed so far are : 1. The text field for App Store reviews is obscured with SwiftKey active (not sure if that is the same for other third party keyboards), 2. The keyboard is slow to load in some cases.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the keyboard has access to anything you type so Apple prevents the keyboard from being used when you input a password into the App store etc. That is fine by me and I think a sensible move in general. You will therefore need to have a regular iOS keyboard available as an option for entering passwords.

Some users are confused about the security considerations when using the keyboard

Based on a number of the reviews in the App Store I think that some users are confused about the security considerations when using the keyboard. Concerns were voiced in the reviews about the developers being able to access various data from users. Of course the app needs access to what a user types, how else will it receive input? The developers probably also need to process the input data so that their predictive algorithm can be improved. That kind of process is a common and acceptable use of data.

Also most people entrust their confidential data to tech companies on a daily basis. Swiftkey is another such reputable tech company. It is strange to single it out in the way that some reviewers have in the absence of factual evidence.

Apple’s privacy notice/warning is broad enough so that everyone is informed about the type of data the app has access to. The notice does not mean that Swiftkey employees will be trawling through confidential data so they can sell it to advertisers.

I have been enjoying my time using SwiftKey – including writing this post – I’m sure you will too!

Do you have any thoughts about Swiftkey’s access to user data? Or other keyboard developers for that matter?