Apple iOS 5 review

There's a lot to like about the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, but some rough edges remain as we discover in our review.

One of the biggest bugbears with iOS 4 was performance on older hardware specifically the iPhone 3G. Although supported with a reduced feature set, many users found the iPhone 3G unusably slow with iOS 4 installed. This did improve with further updates, but the experience didn't endear Apple to owners of older devices.

We were braced for severe performance issues, similar to those experience by iPhone 3G-iOS 4 users, when we upgraded our 3rd generation iPod Touch

The iPhone 3G no longer receives software updates, but its successor the iPhone 3GS is still on sale and can be upgraded to iOS 5. We were braced for severe performance issues, similar to those experience by iPhone 3G-iOS 4 users, when we upgraded our 3rd generation iPod Touch to iOS 5. This model has the same processor and 256MB of RAM as the iPhone 3GS. We were therefore pleasantly surprised by the smooth performance of iOS 5 on the iPod Touch, with barely any performance penalty if at all.

Besides all the major changes, there are numerous other smaller refinements in iOS 5. One of our favourites include the ability to look up the definition of a word by tapping and holding a word and then tapping the resulting Define button.

Typing shortcuts can make typing on a touchscreen keyboard much easier.

A useful feature for email and text addicts are the user-definable text shortcuts. A pane in the Settings app lets you set short text snippets which when typed, automatically expand into a longer word, phrase or sentence. For example, you can set the abbreviation ADDY which automatically expands into your name, address, postcode and telephone number every time you type it.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

Even if iOS 5 wasn't filled to the rafters with new and improved features, it's hard to argue against installing it since it's free of charge. For existing iOS owners it's not a question of whether to upgrade, but when to upgrade. This will depend on whether the apps you depend on are compatible with iOS 5 and, if not, when they will be updated and have made their way through Apple's approval process.

However, it's a different story for dedicated users of rival mobile operating systems. Although we think iOS 5 is on balance the best mobile OS currently available, Apple is not budging on its design decisions such as no access to the file system. If you've been dissatisfied with iOS before, there's nothing here to change your mind.

Requires iPhone 3GS or later, iPod Touch 3rd generation or later, any iPad, broadband connection

Featured Resources

The ultimate guide to business connectivity in field services

A roadmap to increased workplace efficiency

Free download

The definitive guide to migrating to the cloud

Migrate apps to the public cloud with multi-cloud infrastructure solutions

Free download

Transform your network with advanced load balancing from VMware

How to modernise load balancing to enable digital transformation

Free download

How to secure workloads in hybrid clouds

Cloud workload protection

Free download

Recommended

Apple unveils iPhone 13, new iPad, and iPad mini
Mobile

Apple unveils iPhone 13, new iPad, and iPad mini

14 Sep 2021
Apple delays controversial CSAM detection feature
Security

Apple delays controversial CSAM detection feature

3 Sep 2021
Apple is experimenting with attention sensors to save battery life
battery life

Apple is experimenting with attention sensors to save battery life

1 Sep 2021
Apple launches repair program for iPhone 12 audio issues
Mobile Phones

Apple launches repair program for iPhone 12 audio issues

30 Aug 2021

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

17 Sep 2021
What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
Best MDM solutions 2020
mobile device management (MDM)

Best MDM solutions 2020

17 Sep 2021