Stuttering animations in iOS 4.3.x? Here's the fix!

They say that updates are supposed to bring enhancements and fixes. At most, the updates should provide those on the newest hardware with the most improvements. Not so with iOS 4.3 and its minor point revisions. Compared to iOS 4.2.1 which was preloaded on a fourth-generation iPod touch, there was quite a bit of stuttering when opening and closing applications, and unlocking the device. We originally thought the lag in animations was attributed to the increased memory usage between iOS 4.2.1 and 4.3.x.

The device was reverted to 4.2.1 for a while, but a terrible battery drain bug cropped up after jailbreaking with greenpois0n. Despite the legalities surrounding jailbreaking, SBSettings (installable via Cydia) is an indispensable tool for adjusting settings on the fly without opening the Settings application. At the same time however, the iPod touch draining itself from 76% to 0% after just one night of sleep was unacceptable. So the device was reluctantly put back to 4.3.3 while we sought for a solution to the animation jerkiness that was present in 4.3.1 through 4.3.3. At least battery life returned to being decent on 4.3.3.

Thanks to a discovery by MacRumors users in this thread, those that are stuck on iOS 4.3.x for whatever reason can enjoy a similar level of animation smoothness as once had on iOS 4.2.1. This applies to jailbroken and unjailbroken devices, as some users have reported similar animation jerkiness without jailbreaking. The steps to achieve this fix are summarized below, and can be done by anyone regardless of jailbreaking experience. This guide applies to both iPod touch and iPhone users.

Step 1 (optional): Before you start, it's recommended to backup your device via iTunes and start with a clean iOS 4.3.3 installation. Click on "Restore" in iTunes to restore the original firmware to your device, then accept the backup prompt. Following the restoration process, select to restore from your most recent backup when prompted.

Step 2: Apply a jailbreak. You'll need this to access the system files on your device. We recommend using redsn0w. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Step 3: You'll need an application that allows you to access files on your device. For Windows, we suggest using iFunBox. Launch your file browser application, locate the entry for browsing the file system (in iFunBox, it's the Raw File System node), and navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/

Step 4: Locate a file that is labeled "NXXAP.plist". The iPhone 4 is N90AP.plist, and the iPhone 3GS N89AP.plist. The iPod touch 4G 8 GB has it as N81AP.plist. Drag this file to your desktop and open it with your favourite text editor.

Step 5: Locate the two lines shown above. Change both lines to read as shown below:

Step 6: Save this file, then drag the file from your desktop back onto the file listing in iFunBox.

Step 7: Restart SpringBoard or restart your device (hold down the Power button, swipe the slider, then power the device back on).


Please note: Performing the steps in this guide will void your device's warranty if you leave it in a jailbroken state. You can restore your device via iTunes to remove the jailbreak before turning in your device to Apple for warranty service.

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