iOS Devices Research

I’ve already shipped 2 games on iOS: Holiday Bonus and Spring Bonus. The 3rd title (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) will be ready for testing soon.

So I’m building a list of what iOS devices exist to figure out what I’m planning to support because things have changed a lot in the last year.

Devices I plan to support

– iPhone 3 (not supporting this, its ARMv6 CPU is too slow)
– iPhone 3GS faster ARMv7 CPU
– iPhone 4 retina display
– iPhone 4S retina display and faster
– iPhone 5 retina display and longer screen (16:9)
– iPad 1 slow
– iPad 2 faster
– iPad 3 retina but slower than iPad 2 due to 4x pixels to draw
– iPad 4 retina and faster
– iPad Mini same as iPad2 hardware


– iPod Touch 3th gen comparable to iPhone 3GS (32Gb and 64Gb. Watch out for 8Gb which is a 2nd Gen in disguise.)

– iPod Touch 4th gen with retina and comparable CPU/GPU hardware to iPhone 4 but same 256Mb RAM as 3S

– iPod Touch 5th gen retina display and longer screen (16:9) but not iPhone 5 hardware, more like iPhone 4S inc. 512MB RAM

Hope this list is useful to other devs wanting to see the lay of the land.

Ideal test devices

[EDIT] OK I’ve added my ideal list of test devices (without having to own one of everything):

– iPhone 3GS (256Mb RAM, slow, non-retina)
– iPod Touch 4G (for retina with only 256Mb RAM)
– iPhone 4S just because it’s my current phone and is nice.
– iPhone 5 in simulator to avoid buying iPhone 5 or iPod 5th gen
– iPad 1 (slow)
– iPad mini (compares to iPad2 but has smaller screen)
– iPad 3 (retina but slowish)
– Don’t need an iPad 4 yet

Please let me know if I’ve got anything wrong or should add anything else. Thanks!

6 Responses to “iOS Devices Research”

  1. Leo Says:

    Hi Jake! Yeah that’s a lot of iStuff you got there. So you don’t own testing devices? So do you borrow them from someone to test your game on those devices or how do you ensure your game works on each of them?

    It would also be interesting to know the (worldwide) usage percentage for each iOS device. Do you know which device is used most often?

    The retina display of ipad 3 is a cool thing for games and I think the gpu is powerful enough to draw those 4x pixels I’d be more concerned about 4x memory usage though for your graphics since all the iPads are already pretty short on memory.

    Btw. what development framework do you use for your iOS games?

  2. Jake Birkett Says:

    I own some key devices that cover the capabilities of the whole range, although I think I need and iPad3 as I don’t have an iPad with retina yet. The iPhone/iPod stuff I’ve got covered although I don’t test on every device as there’s no real need.

    There are probably stats out there. The problem is when they are taken by a certain app type of game they are basically a bit bias depending on the type of user of that app. I’ve found I sell more iPad apps than iPhone apps though (casual games).

    Good point about the memory usage. iPad 3/4 (and iPhone 5) has 1GB RAM so should be fine for retina, although iPhone 4 only has 512Mb.

    I’m using the Monkey language for new games. My existing iOS games were ported to Unity by someone else.

  3. Leo Says:

    Ok, I see. Remember also that you are only allowed to use only about 50% of the memory available in an iOS device since the other half will be reserved for multi tasking and the system itself. I have read several times that iOS will shut your app down if it exceeds that limit(never tested that though).
    So if you can only use 50% of the 1GB RAM of iPad 3 and your retina-HD-graphics take up to 4x more space then that leaves you with 128mb available for your graphics(you get what I mean). Maybe that’s enough for your game though. In my game I have memory usage up to 400mb which I guess is ok for the PC but not for iPad…

  4. Jake Birkett Says:

    Yep I’ve seen iOS shut down apps that use over 90Mb on a 256Mb device.

  5. Adrian Says:

    Don’t forget about versions of iOS too. Ideally you should have at least 1 device with iOS 4.3, 5.X and the latest version.

  6. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Good point. Unfortunately that’s more difficult for me as everything is iOS 5+. I do have a 4.x but it’s on a 3G which I don’t plan on supporting as a device.