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The iPhone 3GS (stylized iPhone 3G[S] by many blogs, originally iPhone 3G S with a space[2]) is the third generation of iPhone designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It was introduced on June 8, 2009 at the 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference, which took place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Its features primarily consist of faster performance, a camera with higher resolution and video capability, voice control, and support for 7.2 Mbit/s HSDPA downloading (but remains limited to 384 kbps uploading as Apple had not implemented the HSUPA protocol). It was released in the United States, Canada, and six European countries on June 19, 2009, in Australia and Japan on June 26, and internationally in July and August 2009.

The iPhone 3GS runs Apple's iOS operating system, as is used on the iPad and the iPod touch. It is primarily controlled by a user's fingertips on a multi-touch display.

The iPhone 3GS is preceded by the iPhone 3G and succeeded by the iPhone 4. The last iPhone 3GS model (8 GB) was officially discontinued on September 12, 2012.


The iPhone 3GS was made available for pre-order on June 8, 2009 and released on June 19 in Canada, the United States, and 7 European countries, and on June 26 in Australia and the United Kingdom. Within the first weekend of its release, over one million iPhone 3GS units were sold. July and August 2009 saw the release of the iPhone 3GS internationally.


IPhone 3GS Postcard

The iPhone was introduced in June 2009 with the slogan "the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet". It is twice as fast as the iPhone 3G. It featured an improved 3 megapixel camera with 480p video recording.

LCD display[]

The iPhone 3GS contained 163 pixels per inch (ppi) on a 3.5 in (8.9 cm) 480-by-320 display for its touch screen display. It's predecessor's screen includes 24-bit color emulation (18-bit color display plus dithering), which makes rich color on the display and a coating to help get rid of fingerprints. This LCD Display was designed by Apple and created by LG.


The iPhone 3GS contains an improved 3 megapixel camera made by OmniVision Technologies. The camera also contains auto-focus, auto white balance, and auto macro. This camera is also capable of recording VGA resolution video (480p).

Processor and memory[]

The iPhone 3GS contains an APL0298C05 system on a chip, based on the ARM Cortex-A8 and manufactured by Samsung as the S5L8920 "Application Processor". The iPhone 3GS also has 256 MB of eDRAM, which was twice the amount of the previous iPhone, the iPhone 3G.

Apple also claims that it is twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, requiring only about half the time to open applications as the iPhone 3G.


The iPhone 3GS was at first only sold in 16 and 32 GB models.[3] Following the announcement of the iPhone 4 in June 2010, Apple launched an 8 GB iPhone 3GS, while discontinuing the 16 and 32 GB models.[4][5] The 8 GB iPhone 3GS was superseded by the 8 GB iPhone 4 at the time of the release of the iPhone 4S in October 2011, though it continued to be offered as a low-end model until the introduction of the iPhone 5 on September 12, 2012.


Below are the battery number of hours the 3GS can do: Talk time: Up to 5 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on 2G Standby time: Up to 300 hours Internet use: Up to 5 hours on 3G, up to 9 hours on Wi-Fi Video playback: Up to 10 hours Audio playback: Up to 30 hours.

Continued support[]

BootROM update[]

On October 13, 2009, Apple began releasing iPhone 3GS models that patched a segment overflow in the SecureROM of the device that had allowed jailbreaking and loading of unsigned code.[6][7]


The iPhone 3GS has become the one of the few iPhones to support 4 generations of the iOS software. People were unsure as to why Apple made the decision to support the 3GS, but not the first generation iPad and earlier models of the iPod touch which share the same specifications. Although the 3GS is still supported, some major features of iOS 6 aren't supported. This however holds true for the iPhone 4 as well. Features such as Flyover and 3D Maps aren't featured on either phone. The 3GS seems to be well supported by Apple in regard to the iPhone 4. Whereas the 3GS got nearly all the features from 3 major iOS releases (3, 4, 5), the iPhone 4 only got full features from 2 major iOS releases (4, 5), and got only partial support on iOS 6. This can be attributed to the relatively larger performance improvement of the 3GS in relation to other iPhone generations. After the release of the iPhone 4S, the 3GS was still offered for free on contract until September 12,2012, When Apple announced that they will no longer selling or supporting the iPhone 3GS, therefore meaning iOS 6 will be the final iOS to support the 3GS.


Reviews of the iPhone 3GS have been generally mixed to favorable. Walter Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal described the device packed with "new features that makes a great product even better, but for many users, the software may be enough of a boost to keep them from buying the new model."Engadget also criticized that "the additions of video recording, a compass, and a speed bump just don't seem that compelling to us". Still the device managed to receive numerous favorable reviews, CNET gave the iPhone 3GS a 4/5 stars citing the battery life improvements and speed bump alone are good enough although it might leave you wanting more, Engadget praised the performance improvements describing it "a bigger speed bump than you'll come to expect". TechRadar gave the device a 4.5/5 stars describing the device "feature filled but certainly not worth upgrading for" However the 8 GB version of the device has received more favorable reviews mainly because it comes pre-installed with iOS 4. Jason Snell of Macworld praised the iPhone 3GS citing that "The device's internal changes shines in the iOS 4 update, making the iPhone 3GS a worthwhile upgrade compared to its predecessor although a little too late compared to the iPhone 4". TIPB cited that "aside from hardware specific features like FaceTime, Retina Display, and gyroscope support, the bottom line is iPhone 3GS users are getting the same software that makes the iPhone 4 great"



Shortly after the release of the iPhone 3GS, some users reported overheating of the device while in heavy use, and others reported discoloration of the device due to heat (particularly on the white models). The discoloration issues were largely discounted as being as a result of iPhone covers rubbing against the back of the iPhone. Apple responded to the heat issue reports by warning users against leaving their iPhones in a car on a hot day, leaving it in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, and refraining from heavy usage while in a hot/sunny environment. It is also worth pointing out the temperature specifications in which the iPhone should be operated, which follows safety standards in the countries the 3GS was released


  • Samsung S5L8900 Application Processor → Samsung S5L8920 Application Processor[8]
    • ARM 1176 32-Bit Core ProcessorARM Cortex-A8 32-Bit Core Processor[9]
      • ARMv6 Instruction Set → ARMv7 and THUMB-2 Instruction Set
      • 667Mhz (underclocked to 412Mhz to prevent overheating) → 1Ghz (underclocked to 600Mhz to prevent overheating)[10]
    • 128MB SDRAM → 256MB SDRAM
    • Integrated PowerVR MBX Lite Graphics Card → Integrated PowerVR SGX535 Graphics Card
  • Toshiba TH58G6D1DT (NAND Flash Storage)
  • Marvell 88W8686 (Wi-Fi) (Excluding Chinese 16, 32 GB models)[11][12][13]
  • CSR BlueCore6 → Broadcom BCM4325 (Bluetooth)
  • Infineon X-Gold-608 (Phone, Messages, and Cellular Data)
  • Infineon Hammmerhead II PMB2525 (GPS)



  1. iPhone 3GS 8GB Black — Unlocked, Apple. Archived 2011-10-06
  2. What’s in a Name? Apple Removes a Space From “iPhone 3G S” by Harry McCracken, Technologizer. 2009-06-22.
  3. iPhone - Technical Specifications, Apple Inc. Archived 2010-06-07.
  4. Select your iPhone, Apple Store. Archived 2010-06-26.
  5. iPhone 3GS drops to $99, 8GB only -- iPhone 3G discontinued by Don Melanson, Engadget. 2010-06-07.
  6. Apple Blocks Jailbreak in New iPhone 3GS Units!, iClarified. 2009-10-13.
  7. Apple Modifies Boot ROM on Revised iPhone 3GS Models to Hinder Jailbreaking by Eric Slivka, MacRumors. 2009-10-14.
  8. N88AP, The iPhone Wiki. Accessed 2011-12-17.
  9. Apple iPhone 3GS - Full phone specifications, GSM Arena. Accessed 2011-12-17.
  10. The iPhone 3GS Hardware Exposed & Analyzed by Anand Lal Shimpi, AnandTech. 2009-06-10.
  11. iPhone gets slow start at China sales launch by Owen Fletcher, IDG News Service. 2009-10-31.
  12. Apple iPhone 3GS (China/No Wi-Fi) 16, 32 GB Specs, Everyi
  13. China: Understanding iPhone features, Apple Support. 2010-09-23. Archived 2010-09-28.

External links[]

iPhone (models)
iPhone 1 | 3G | 3GS | 4 | 4S | 5 | 5C · 5S | 6 · 6 Plus | 6S · 6S Plus | SE (1st)
7 · 7 Plus | 8 · 8 Plus | X | XR · XS · XS Max | 11 · 11 Pro · 11 Pro Max | SE (2nd)
12 · 12 mini · 12 Pro · 12 Pro Max | 13 · 13 mini · 13 Pro · 13 Pro Max | SE (3rd)
14 · 14 Plus · 14 Pro · 14 Pro Max | 15