iPhone OS 4.0 Multitasking on iPhone 3G Can be Forced to Work

Yesterday when the new iPhone OS 4.0 was unveiled by Apple [AAPL], the announcement about multitasking was right at the top of the list and it sounded great until we then heard it only works on the Apple iPhone 3GS. This isn’t too bad as many people own the newer iPhone 3GS, but some people are still on the older iPhone 3G.

Some kind of good news has appeared today (unofficially) that says by a bit of hacking around you can actually get the iPhone 3G multitasking. This is achieved by making a setting change in a preference file called N82AP.plist where you set a value for multitasking to TRUE. Once done the service then becomes available.

To achieve this hack you’ll of course need to have access to the internals of the iPhone by jailbreaking it and the ability to know what to do although someone could probably create a simple program that can enable it for you in the near future.

Steve Jobs mentioned in the presentation that multitasking on the iPhone 3G and below wouldn’t happen due to limitations and this could well be the case as the 3GS has more RAM than the previous models. Multitasking takes extra RAM and if limitations are in place (such as the 128MB limit) then it could impact how good the services are on the phone. When Apple do launch features they aim to be the best at what they do and by offering multitasking on a phone that can barely handle it would cause problems for them, hence the reason they haven’t enabled it.

It’s unclear if the stance will change, or if a switch to enable/disable it will be made available, but it’s interesting to know that all that prevents it is a simple statement called TRUE.

Via: MacStories


  1. freemacbook says

    SO I’m not sure if I am mad about this or not. As an iphone 3G owner I’m upset that it wouldn’t officially be included like i spent how much on this iphone and now to get more features which it’s capable of they want me to go spend another ~500$ to upgrade to the 3GS. however, even though now I know I can force it. I probably won’t. I assume it’ll just drain my battery and make it run slow.

    • I am def a little pissed. I understand that multi tasking may slow things down on the 3G, but if it can do it they should let the phone do it and have an on and off switch. Why in the first place did they not put in the right amount of ram in the phone. The 3G runs slow as it is, anyone who has used one knows apple should have added more ram. The just wanted us to fork out more money, like they do with all of their products.

  2. It works! Read how it is done

  3. Still,

    Multitasking would have always been a feature planned by apple, they should have clearly planned more RAM into the 3G.

    – Tejas

  4. Don’t hate Apple, hate the game called capitalism. Every company out there follows a policy of planned obsolescence, like car companies, computer companies, television companies, and so on. We live in a capitalistic society where money fuels the companies, not their desire to make good products, and even though this isn’t right, we have to get used to it. I have a 3G and just like the rest of you, I’m pissed that I won’t be able to multitask, but in all honesty, it’s not that big of a deal. It won’t severely affect my life.

  5. keep crying 3g users. its called a business. apple wants u to buy the newest phone. they r not a non profit company

    • Salty_Mcginty says

      ….and I am not a bank that churns out money. Jailbreak your phones and there you have it multitasking.

      • Actually, banks don’t churn out money either. They simply hold, trade, lend and exchange it. Only a mint churns out money, and even there, it is SUPPOSED to be regulated by the actual gold and silver content of the associated reserves. Just saying.

        • Ummmmm….I think you should read up about the fractional reserve banking system and also how the gold standard was ended YEARS ago. Our money is printed out of thin air by central bankers/banksters putting a number in a ledger. THEY “churn” out the money and it is backed by NOTHING. Do yourself a favor and lookup “fractional reserve banking” and “fiat economy”. You’ll learn something.

          “Just saying.”

        • I don’t know where you have been living. The gold standard hasn’t been used since the 40s. Now it’s based on the slavery of our children through treasury bonds.

      • Then stop itching but not being able to do something. (Salty)

        An iPhone 3GS isnt that much anymore, its 50-99$ now. deal with it. if you had a technology company you would be doing the exact samething.

    • You’re right it’s capitalism and in October when I buy a new phone I’ll remember things like this when I’m playing with my new HTC Incredible.

    • Dissapointed says

      well screw you kirk. some of us dont have the money, or even the need for these pathetic improvements that apple is making with the 3GS and iPhone 4, so we make the best of what we have with our 3G’s.

  6. Hey guys, I have an iPhone 3G + Jailbreaked + (Multitasking and Home backgrounds etc. All features that iOS4 firmware has. It’s not a big deal. Just jailbreak it, modify it, install SBSettings as well and free up some memory when you see things going slowly. I couldn’t accept iPhone 3G with iOS4 firmware with only 1 feature “Folders”. So, that’s it. I believe iOS4 firmware it’s the last update for 3G model. Take care and keep jailbreaking! 😀

    Jailbreak = Freedom = Paradise

    • Jimmy, right on! I just got a 3g and jailbroke it and unlocked it… no problems at all. Double tap that home button and I see all of my apps that are open. Sweet!

      What’s funny about this discussion is that Apple makes the most minuscule feature seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      Round 1: copy/paste – wow, that is such an amazing thing.
      Round 2: multi-task

  7. ChrisCal says

    “it’s interesting to know that all that prevents it is a simple statement called TRUE.”

    Apple doesn’t need more than a simple statement to prevent users from multitasking. Anyone who can jailbreak a phone understands that the 3G has limited memory and the more programs one opens the slower their phone will be. But the majority of people don’t understand or know this, therefore they would just blame the problems on the phone instead of being too trigger happy with multi-tasking. Not understanding this basic computer knowledge means these people won’t know how to jailbreak their phones and use the multitasking anyway. Simple prevention is all that is needed.

  8. Maybe AT&T should take a page out of Apple’s book and NOT BUILD A NETWORK THAT THEY CAN’T SUPPORT!!!

    • Bobby Joe says

      at least you are getting 4G out of them – our networks (UK) feel that dispite their billions in profit, they have not recouped enough of the 3G licensing costs yet to contemplate intorducing 4G “for the foreseable future”. Like many other countries, we are going through a period of ’emergency budgets’ etc, all promising to take more money out of our pockets – what a silly time for network providers to be cutting the unlimited usage deals and generally trying to squueze blood out of a stone. Fail.

  9. Bobby Joe says

    The whole hype thing, sheep to the slaughter, has p1ssed me off so much with Apple lately – including (this may be a noob comment to make, we’ll see) – how on earth can they justify an iphone being more expensive than an ipad, which is bigger?! By churning out so many newer versions of the iphone etc, Apple have actually managed to completely turn me off by revelaing their hand as one of the most aggressive marketters, and market stranglers, that I have ever seen.

    Good bye Apple from an old friend.

  10. I have a 3g and have jailbroken it and i must say multitasking works. initially i was upset because it seems to work quite well. however in a few short days i ended up being more frustrated than ever.

    multitasking works but the programs perform VERY poorly. some games straight up froze my phone for longer than a munute. some simpy crashed… the main reason for jailbreaking was to run i heartradio in the background but soon discovered that the APP has to be MULTITASKING READY to do so…meaning i would have to wait a few more months for the update.

    all in all the legit app for video recording i paid 99 cents wouldnt export videos to library
    the MMS disappeared…leaving me to regret wanting multitasking.


    • Apparantly rendering shadows and moving icons requires a lot of memory
      Therefor no wallpapers

      Also I have noticed on my jailbroken 3G that mltitasking is working fine, however everything is sloooow… Thinking of upgrading to 4.0.1 and only enable battery-percentage…

    • go to cydia and look up zToggle it is a toggle switch for both multitasking as well as wallpapers
      have it on my 3G and it works wonders

  11. It really depends on will you use multitasking. To the wallpaper thing, that is a load of bull. You can use winterboard if you really want a background, if apple’s backgroud is bad. Mutitasking on a 3G is like building a supercomputer out of a laptop, you will hit some bumps.

    iPhone 3G 4.1 jailbroken wall+multit
    iPhone 4 4.0 jailbroken
    iPod 1g 3.1.3 jailbroken

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