iOS 4 GM on iPhone 3GS

Last night I went ahead and installed the Gold Master (GM) release of iOS 4 (formerly known as iPhone OS 4.0) and just wanted to give a little rundown of my experience with both installing it and how it runs. My iPhone’s have all been jailbroken since the day they could be and not because I want to pirate apps from the appstore like most people that do it, but because I don’t want to pay AT&T a ridiculous amount of money for text messaging and would rather use Google Voice. Sure there’s a web app for Google Voice that does essentially the same thing, but GV mobile just seems more stable to me and I like it better, but the problem is, is that it’s only available from Cydia and not the AppStore since it wasn’t approved. That’s the main reason for jailbreaking, the other reason is the calendar on the lock screen… I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t allowed us to customize our lock screens yet, but I hate having to unlock the phone and click into the calendar to see what I have going on for the day so Lock Calendar is a much better option, again only available in Cydia. So those are my main reasons for Jailbreaking, along with better resale value if it can be unlocked, so when I heard that the GM release of iOS 4 did not require a Developer key, I decided to give it a go.

First there were some things I needed to find, 1. The firmware file for iOS 4 GM and a copy of iTunes 9.2 beta. They weren’t very hard to find, but I’m not going to post links here. Next I needed to find a decent set of instructions that walked me through exactly what to do so I didn’t mess anything up, ihackintosh provided those. The instructions are very straight forward and simple if you have some tech knowledge, but it’s MAC only at this point, so if you have a PC don’t even bother trying right now. Also, make sure you BACKUP YOUR PHONE before you do this. I got a message from a friend last night that said he didn’t back up his phone and now had to go back and re-download all his apps, not to mention it will lose all your settings as well. I hadn’t done a backup to my computer in a long time anyways so this was as good a time as any. I have MobileME so I don’t worry about backups too often because my contacts are the main thing and they back up Over The Air with MobileME, as does the calendar. As for the apps, once you’ve purchased them they are linked to your iTunes account so if you lose everything you’ll still be able to get everything from the AppStore without paying again, so no issues there.

So after you backup your phone, follow the instructions on iHackintosh and you should have no problems updating. Just remember that this is Mac only, I’m not sure if there is “hacktivation” built in, meaning that if you don’t have a legitimately activated phone on AT&T it may not work, also make sure you download the correct firmware based on your phone. I have a 3GS so I downloaded the firmware for the 3GS and the instructions I linked to are for the 3GS, they won’t work with the 3G, but I’m sure you can find instructions out there.

As for iOS 4 itself, I won’t go too in depth since there are a million articles out there regarding it’s performance and what not. It’s a nice update, things feel a lot snappier as far as opening apps and closing them. The browser feels a bit quicker as well. I’m a huge fan of being able to combine apps into “folders” or whatever you want to call them, more so than running apps in the background. Most apps don’t even have background processes enabled yet since iOS 4 isn’t officially out, so in Pandora for example, you can’t yet listen to music in the background. So while I think the background process stuff is cool, I didn’t really need it, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for it. What I’m not a fan of is the fact that pressing the home button twice now brings up the apps that are running in the background instead of being a shortcut to the phone app. I can’t remember the last time I actually pressed the phone app to launch it so that will take some getting used to. The combined email inboxes is a huge improvement as well, so much easier to manager rather than having to back out of one mailbox to get to the other.

So overall it’s a nice improvement, but I’m anxious to see what developers are going to do with the new features. I think the background stuff could be cool, but obviously nothing utilizes it yet so I have no way of seeing said “cool” stuff. So if you have any questions regarding the process for installing iOS 4 GM leave a comment and I’ll try to help out.