iPhone 4: Dated, Dusty, or Desired?

How the mighty have fallen. A little more than five years ago, the smartphone world was ruled by BBM and QWERTY keyboards. Today, the current people’s champion is the iPhone. Apple has sold over 1 billion iPhones to date and the iPhone 4 contributed a lot to those huge sales figures.

After all, the iPhone 4 was manufactured by Apple almost 4 years, the longest of any iPhone ever produced. But with about 11 iPhone models released since the 4, a lot has changed in the smartphone game.

So naturally you should wonder: is the iPhone 4 still good? If you’re looking to get a smartphone, can you still use this model?

More than just a where-are-they-now look at the device, here is everything you need to know about actually using this device today.


What Makes The iPhone 4 Still A Good Phone?

There are plenty of people out there who are still using an iPhone 4. So if you’re wondering if you can still use this smartphone in general, the answer is a definite yes.

That being said, there are some limits as to what you’ll be able to do with it. First, we’ll go over what you can actually do with the 4.

To Apple’s credit, the design is relevant and, because of the quality invested in the device, a large portion of these phones continue to be in good working order.

Staying Connected

The iPhone 4 can offer you the basics: email, web browsing, texting, calling, and FaceTime. This might not seem much better than what you can do with a flip phone. However, the experience with this model is hugely improved thanks to its beautiful, intuitive touch-screen.

This is a big part of why people go with Apple— their devices are made with premium materials. As a result, their smartphones feel great in your hands and come equipped with easy-to-use software.

If you’re currently texting on a keyboard with actual buttons, upgrading to the iPhone 4 will be pretty huge.

Taking and Sharing Photos

While the photo quality won’t blow you away, the iPhone 4 has a 5 megapixel back camera and a .3 megapixel front (selfie) camera. It can shoot HD video at 720p and has a 5x digital zoom with LED flash.

You’ll see this model struggle with low light shots, but it’s still a fine option for those who want the ability to take photos with their phones. Sometimes having a camera attached to the phone in your pocket is better than no camera at all. Having all your photos on your phone means that you’ll be able to easily share them over email, text, or upload them on social media.

Downloading and Using Simple Apps

Apple’s App Store has a huge number of apps and the iPhone 4 might be the perfect way to introduce yourself to the basics.

Using an online banking app or your city’s transit app will really open up your world. You don’t need a $1,000 iPhone to do this— the iPhone 4 should work just fine.

The Limits of Using an iPhone 4

No More iOS Updates

With the launch of iOS 8 in 2014, the iPhone 4 no longer supported the iOS latest updates. Most of the apps out there today are tailored to iOS 8 and above, which means that this model will start experiencing some hiccups and crashes while using more intensive applications.

But in all honesty, unless you’re an early-adopter who cringes every time your latest app download doesn’t render properly, this isn’t the end of the world.

Speed (Or Lack There Of)

Aside from the fact that the iPhone 4 is only capable of 3G network speeds, its software may be slower than newer models. This model is powered by Apple’s A4 chip, which will struggle to power apps that use anything but simple graphics.

Limited Features

The 4 misses out on certain features that are only available on newer models.

Just to name a few of the things that aren’t available on the iPhone 4: Siri, 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation, AirDrop, AirPlay mirroring, live camera filters, panorama mode, and so on.

Who Is The iPhone 4 Still Good For?

Anyone who re-sells an iPhone 4 should feel comfortable knowing that their phone is going to a good home; there are tons of people for whom this model is ideal.

iPhone 4 Still Good

For starters, take someone who wants their first dip into the smartphone game. These days, most seniors know that an app like FaceTime can help them stay connected to loved ones. Its bright and intuitive interface makes the iPhone 4 still good as a gift for your parents or grandparents. Load it up with music, podcasts, and apps that you think they might like for extra brownie points.

There is also the 10 year old that is begging for a phone because “all my friends have one”. Because there is no way you are going to buy a brand new iPhone for someone that isn’t even out of 5th grade, the iPhone 4 is still useful as a starter phone.

At the iPhone 4’s price point, its inevitable grisly demise at the hands of your child won’t feel like such a tragedy.

Other bargain hunters are out there: newcomers to Canada, students on a budget, habitual phone losers, frequent travelers, and those who need an in-between phone after a good night out.

The Verdict

Think about it this way: the iPhone is nothing like the old phones you used to have. Even today, it will blow your Motorola RAZR circa 2005 right out of the water.

Forget the days when old electronics ended up in a drawer to live the rest of their days. We feel like the iPhone 4 is still good as an introduction to the iPhone for people who want something to handle basic tasks. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but it can handle basic texting, calls, and social media updates without much problem.

If you’re looking for a budget phone, but aren’t quite sure that the iPhone 4 is the best fit for you, check out our articles on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6!

A thing to note: even though we think that the iPhone 4 is still good, Orchard stopped buying and selling it a short while ago. As new phones come out, we have to drop older models from our line up to avoid carrying too much inventory.

If you’re looking to buy an iPhone from us, we recommend checking out our selection of iPhone 4S.

Back to blog