iOS 4: iPhone 3G Couldn’t Handle Backgrounds

By Jamie Pert - Jun 22, 2010

If you are one of the thousands upon thousands of Apple iPhone, or iPod Touch users who have downloaded and installed Apple’s new iOS 4, you may have run into certain problems. But one strange omission that Apple decided to leave out of the update is being able to change your home screen background.

As widely reported, iOS 4 is compatible with the Apple iPhone 3G, 3GS and Touch, but it seems that older devices do not support custom homescreen backgrounds, Bluetooth keyboard support and data protection.

The latter two can be explained due to hardware capabilities, but the reason why Apple decided to remove the custom background feature is questionable, since it does not require significant hardware for the feature to work.

One user even went as far as emailing Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple to ask why it was not supported, and received a response that stated “the icon animation with backgrounds didn’t perform well enough.”

The more informed Apple heads will know that custom wallpapers have been supported on many jailbroken iPhones for some time, so I suppose this does not exactly tie in with Steve Jobs and Apple’s interpretation of ‘performing well enough.’

Personally, I think iPhone and Touch users would have been perfectly happy if Steve and co. said that the feature was an option, but not fully up to scratch with Apple standards, this way the end user could have made the decision for themselves.

Either way, we don’t have that option, so let the ranting commence in our comment section below.

Source: Mac Rumors

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Also See: iOS4 Users Report Bluetooth Problems: Are You Having Issues?

  • Luke

    honestly, its bull#@%$, to be frank, i had a jailbroken phone until today for years, and i was forced to restore it and upgrade. now i think jobs, has gone a little too rigid, no pens for ipads, no backgrounds for 3gs, i mean why even force and upgrade on a product you want people to throw away to buy a new one, i had backgrounds, multitasking, everything for almost 2 years now due to cydia, why cant apple get the hint? their programmers probably have their iphones jailbroken too.

  • Cristina

    I have just upgraded my iphone 3g 16g to the new os4 software and it took quite some time, not only did it delete all my contacts- which is a pain in the you know what, it also deleted some apps that I had on my phone. HOWEVER I also upgraded my iTouch 32g – which took a lot less longer, and it even had the background wallpaper capability to it- not fair! Can get it on the iTouch but not on the iPhone? political gimmicks of selling new versions of different software… what can you do… The phone’s speed was very slow at first, but I rebooted it twice, and it seems to be working fine now- well see for how long…

  • Dave

    I must be lucky I'm running 4.0 on a 3G jailbroken only for the multitask, battery meter and im running backgrounds behind my icons. It seems faster than my 3.1.2 update with no overheating while runing apps on multitask. Oh and now I got the screen lock option also.

  • Chris

    This is beyond foolish in my opinion. I just spent over four hours of my time and energy to upgrade to the iOS 4 for my 3G to only find out that options as small as changing my background from the boooorrring black nothing to a photo like the 3GS and iPhone 4 can do. As said above when jailbreaking your phone this is a small and EXTREMELY easy thing to do. I think this reflects very poorly on Apple and CEO Steve. This is a very, very low meathod being used pushing people into upgrading a newer phone. Its obvious that Apple does well financially and should have no reason to treat thier customes with poor results like this. I am an original iPhone buyer, stood in line for the very first iPhone created. I am VERY disapointed with Apple's performance and currently feel its time someone step up and show Apple how to really bring service to the people!!!!!

  • Jess

    I agree that it is bull that they didn't put all of the same features on 3G as they did on the 3GS and 4 versions. My 3G works perfectly fine and I won't be upgrading soon anyway because they will have a new version in a couple months! I just wish they would've put all the same features for all the phones!

  • kmac

    Well someone said thay can understand why APPLE did not give all the ios 4 to the 3G and the 3GS but lets keep in mind when i got my iphone in feb 2010 of this year i was told it was the 3rd genaration and was the new iphone out .now i think as a new owen for a few month i should get full up grade. I paid just as much for my iphone as there paying for the iphone 4.

  • Jeremy

    My 3GS icons are laggy if i have a customer background that is not apple provided (meaning the default backgrounds that come with ios4). switching to one of the provided ones and the phone runs amazing!

  • brian biddondy

    apple had the technoligy to the iphone 4 when they done the first one but there a buissness.there out to make money.why would they give u everything at the start?

  • Josh

    Total crap I tell you! I bought a 3G in 2008 and now it’s basically obsolete. The 3GS isn’t that much different, so why the jip? Hey I know why. They want you to buy their damn iPhone 4 and then they will have the iphone50000000 the next day. WTF is the point.

  • Maverick

    I just tried using the backgrounds on my iPhone 3G using a jailbreak, and trust me, IT'S NOT WORTH IT. My phone was getting hot all the time and the performance became REALLY SLOW. I thought a simple wallpaper couldn't slow down my phone, but, apparently, Apple uses lots of rendering (shadows, various effects etc.) to make the apps more legible against the background and the 3G's hardware can't handle that.

    I am now back to a "backgroundless" experience and am happy with my snappy phone again.

  • Michael

    Well that f***ing sucks. My iPod touch now feels sullen and misused 🙁

  • Nerissa

    I agree with those who state that not adding the new wallpaper addition to the iPhone 3G software is a gimmick for Apple to make more money by forcing AT&T users to update their phones. I don’t understand how Apple can include all the amazing updates for the iPhone 3G that were added by updating to the iOS 4 software, but not include the wallpaper addition which is not as complicated as what I mentioned in the latter. Hopefull, people will refuse to update their iPhone 3Gs, and receive so many complaints that Apple is forced to accommodate for 3G owners.

    • DWGibson

      my son's girlfreind has a 3G iphone and hers has the wallpaper option. I bought mine back in June and she just got hers about a month ago. we both have the new update but mine does not have the new wallpaper option. really sucks.

  • swjinx

    It's pretty lame they pump all these updates and then leave out something as simple as the background issue for people with older phones. It's all a gimmick to get you to upgrade. But what got me though was that it took me about 4 hours to get the update to even install and have all my information restored back to my phone. Even after it deleted all my contacts – twice! Not worth all the trouble.

    • Alex

      Really? It did that? My contacts are fine, you didn't sync them up right or didn't select to sync them. and as for the 4 hour download, it was about 45 minutes earlier in the day. Later when I updated my brothers iphone 3gs it took 4 hours and would stop sometimes in the middle due to the server load. But i just kept hitting resume and in about 4 hours it downloaded fine.

  • Jason

    The 3G is already almost to slow it dies not need anything more to slow it down

  • Casper

    I also have the 3G version and I'm also annoyed that the function of locking the display to one position isn't supported. But I'm not angry about it, it just makes it easy for me to decide that it's now time to upgrade my phone – have had it for about 2 years anyway – longer than I've had any phone before it. And I totally get Apple for not giving 3G users all these main features as they too want to SELL products and I can totally respect that! My 3G is still the best phone I've ever had and even with the things "missing" from the new iOS I'd never go get a different brand.

  • Jason

    Lame excuse… Even though an understandable one seein how it is Apple, and they do try for top notch always. But same thing occurred with 3G and Video capability. I got bashed on forums asking why 3G didn’t get it, being told it didn’t have the hardware. Yet downloaded an App that allows me to take video Granted it is not the best, but still very good. Just a way to keep having to buy the new one is all

    • even a flip phone can have a wallpaper…

  • jbhi

    i have a 3g that has been upgraded to 4.0 and it seems no different????

    • Casper

      You can make folders, which is quite a difference, the dictionary/keyboard is much smarter and the email and notes are better with a few new features, and you have faces and places in photos + some other minor things that I can't quite remember of my head right now.

  • cory


  • That really stinks!