Apple iOS 9 Will Make Even Your Decrepit iPhone 4S Feel Young Again

Do you remember that 80s flick Cocoon, where senior citizens received new leases on life (along with youthful exuberance) by taking a dip in a pool that was occupied by alien lifeforms? Well, Apple looks to have its own fountain of youth for older iOS devices in the form of iOS 9.

As we reported earlier this year, Apple is looking to hold the line when it comes to adding a wealth of new features to the next version of iOS. Instead, Apple is working overtime to squash existing bugs and make iOS 9 its most stable release ever at launch. To use a past example from Cupertino, the move from iOS 8 to iOS 9 should be similar to the upgrade from OS X Leopard to Snow Leopard.

Today, serial Apple leaker 9to5Mac is reporting that the incredibly old (in tech circles at least) iPhone 4S will receive an update to iOS 9. If you recall, the iPhone 4S was released way back in 2011 and includes a 1GHz Apple A5 processor, just 512MB of RAM, and a tiny (at least compared to today’s smartphones) 3.5-inch display. Another older, Apple A5-equipped device that will receive the iOS 9 treatment is the first generation (non-Retina) iPad mini.


As 9to5Mac explains it, “Instead of developing a feature-complete version of iOS 9 for older hardware and then removing a handful of features that do not perform well during testing, Apple is now building a core version of iOS 9 that runs efficiently on older A5 devices, then enabling each properly performing feature one-by-one.”

That’s definitely good news to hear for users that don’t want to upgrade to the latest and greatest from Apple if their existing hardware still gets the job done. It’s also surprising news from a company that isn’t afraid of throwing older hardware under the bus whenever it sees fit.

While improved performance for older devices is a welcome development on the iOS 9 front, jailbreakers may be a bit perturbed to hear about upcoming feature dubbed “Rootless.” Rootless is designed to prevent users (even those with administrative-level access) from meddling with protected system files on OS X and iOS devices. While the feature can supposedly be disabled on OS X, it will be enabled by default for iOS. It is expected to deal a heavy blow to those that root or “jailbreak” their iPhones and iPads to install unauthorized software.