I want you to take a moment and remember a nice Friday evening, the month is May and the year is 2012. Maybe you were taking the bus home from work and scrolling Facebook to see what your friends were up to tonight? or maybe you were texting that cute girl that you finally worked up the courage to talk to today! or maybe you were playing a game of zombies online with complete strangers before getting a good night’s rest for your big day tomorrow. Whatever the case may be, there’s a very good chance that iOS 6 was the underlying software that helped deliver these memorable moments to you.
It’s now nearly 8 years later since these comforting memories and the million-dollar question is, Can you use iOS 6 in 2020 and How it holds up over 8 years later?
If you have iPhone 4s or certain models of the iPad 2, you can downgrade to iOS 6, which is pretty cool but unfortunately, you can’t with any other device.
You could always dual boot with cool booter on basically any device that ever ran iOS 6, assuming you are jailbroken, but that’s a subject for another day!
For now, we are going to take a look at iOS 6 as-is and see how it holds up in 2020 and it holds up surprisingly well, at least in some areas.
Obviously, the most noticeable aspect of iOS 6 is the old design. It looks much different than anything we see nowadays, everything now is very flat but iOS 6 has character and a more realistic tone than I really enjoy, regardless it certainly looks old and Apple had to move on with the times eventually as much as I love this design.
Slide To Unlock
First off, we have the old slide to unlock when you open the phone, which I love and do you remember that clicking sound when unlocking? ah man, It’s beautiful and I miss it so much. It’s just a lock sound but still, it triggers some old memories somewhere stored in my brain for some reason. Anyways, iOS 6 is significantly different from what we have now and that extends to most of its apps.
The music app, for example, is really different. iOS 6 actually gave the music app a rework over iOS 5 and I love it. It feels a lot cleaner and easier to use than iOS 13s music app and has a dark theme to it, which is great. Seriously, this is really nice especially when you’re like laying in bed at night, putting on some music, I hate that glaring white glow from my iPhone XS. This is much better.
The iTunes and App store also got a makeover from iOS 5 and look much better than they did in 2011. It doesn’t look modern but it doesn’t look nearly as old as iOS 5 either. It’s kind of an odd in-between and it’s too bad this was only around for a year. Actually, iOS 6 has quite a few design changes from iOS 5 and I never really thought about this or knew why it was but I do have a theory now. I think if Steve Jobs hadn’t passed, Apple would have doubled down on the skeuomorphic design and would have kept using it for at least a couple years.
I think it’s typically accepted that things would have been a lot different under Steve Jobs than Tim Cook but I hadn’t actually realized how much iOS 6 changed things in terms of design from iOS 5, it looks much better and I think little redesigns were setting it up for a similar-looking iOS 7 at least until Tim Cook took over.
I could be completely wrong and probably am but regardless of whatever the original plan was, I think the redesign of iOS 7 was a good thing. iOS was kind of feeling stale back in the day and needed a refresh, even today iOS 7 has the highest adoption rate of any iOS version ever. Apple needed a change and while there were many many problems with iOS 7, it’s still what they needed at the time to keep their consumer base interested and what they had.
Stability And Speed
While there were a few design changes in iOS 6, one of my favorite things about this software is how focused it still is. It puts functionality and performance over all else and tries to provide the best user experience possible, not the prettiest. It does a good job too as iOS 6 is probably the fastest iOS ever felt except for maybe iOS 12. Seriously though, any device that can run iOS 6, does it like a champ. Everything feels fast.
Looking at iPhones specifically, we had 4 devices all performing extremely well despite the age of the older models.
The iPhone 3GS did surprisingly fast and absolutely useable, the iPhone 4 was completely spiffy, the iPhone 4s was crazy fast and the iPhone 5 was about as seamless as it gets.
How Useful is iOS 6 in 2020?
Using iOS 6 in 2020 is about as difficult as you would expect. The basic things like texting and whatnot aren’t too bad as the phone is really fast. I can do email pretty well, in fact, I can do most things pretty well but the biggest issue is that app support is severely lacking here.
You can in the very least download old compatible versions of apps so you can use old Twitter and Instagram and so on. It’s surprisingly not awful but sometimes there are some weird issues like in Twitter you still only have 140 characters and in Instagram, since pictures all used to be the same size and square, they can be cut off when viewing them, also you can’t see stories which is annoying.
There are a few games here and there that are still supported like Temple Run, Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja so that was kind of neat. All these games are games that came out around the time of iOS 6 or that old era anyways. So that’s why they’re supported. Actually it’s kind of funny how fast these games fell into obscurity after being such a big deal back in the day. I really never think about any of them anymore but I used to love them and play them all the time when they first came out.
And before naysayers comment about it, No you can’t run Fortnight or PUBG in iOS 6. Sorry, this is all good and fun but the real question is could you live on iOS 6? Well, if you had to — YES!, as your phone will still function as a phone. I mean put a sim card in there and it works! my message seems to work ok for me, I’ve heard of some people having issues but my phones are working fine even on new activations. So I’m not sure what exactly that’s all about.
Again, even E-mails work ok. You could use Apple’s default app ID, I imagine that would work fine but personally, I’ve never liked it, so I downloaded an old version of Gmail it works fine, it’s usable but WHY, WHY would you want to live on iOS 6? other than nostalgia there’s really no reason to, as much as I wish that wasn’t the case.
I love the classic design but iOS 13 is just much much better. I’d be curious to see what a reworked 2020 version of iOS would be with this design but unfortunately, that’ll never happen because Apple likes to take away options not give more.
iOS 6 in 2020? Why?
I love iOS 6 but using it in 2020 is more of a chore than a luxury. There are too many runarounds and headaches. It isn’t the fault of the software itself as there weren’t any of these headaches in 2012 but the age of it. It’s obsolete as most 6-year-old software is at this time, especially a smartphone software.
It’s impressive how well it holds up when you consider how much things have changed since iOS 6, I mean look at the iPhone now compared to the iPhone then. It’s a completely different machine and there has been some exponential growth in the hardware and yet iOS 6 still flies, runs well and can even do most basic tasks even in 2020. That’s impressive to me and it speaks to the quality of Apple stuff at least from back in the day.
iOS 6 is always going to be considered iconic, simply because it’s last of the old design and Steve Jobs era. It was fast, fluid, smooth, functional and perhaps the best experience we’ll ever see on an iPhone. Well, it’s easy to look back and wish we could have what we once did. We should try to appreciate how solid iOS 13 is right now.
Apple might have its problems, especially, with pricing right now but the software, at the moment, I don’t think you can really beat them.
All this being said, I miss iOS 6. It’s fun to use in 2020 if nothing else and unfortunately, I do think there is nothing else. Again basics, maybe you could use it but why would you want to? You can do so much more on newer phones now as much as I love this iPhone 5 on iOS 6. I am pretty glad I have my iPhone XS. 🙂