iPhone 3G Hardware and Software Features

Apple iPhone 3G

Apple Inc. 

Introduced: July 2008​
Discontinued: June 2009

The iPhone 3G was Apple’s second iPhone model, the follow-up to the surprisingly big hit that was the first-generation iPhone. The 3G carried through the core features that made the original phone such a success and added a bunch of new ones. The 3G introduced three key features that became core parts of the iPhone experience still used today: 

  1. The App Store: The most important feature introduced with the iPhone 3G was the App Store. No one knew it at the time, but letting developers create native apps transformed the iPhone from a nice, expensive smartphone into a ubiquitous, must-have device that revolutionized the way people communicate and get work done.
  2. 3G: The second major improvement was right there in the name: support for 3G wireless networks. The original iPhone only supported AT&T's EDGE network. The iPhone 3G's cellular Internet connection was about twice as fast as its predecessor's.
  3. GPS: Lastly, the iPhone 3G introduced GPS to the iPhone, unlocking the location-aware apps and services that users take for granted now. This included mapping and driving apps, and tools to find nearby restaurants, movies, stores, and more.

Apple also significantly reduced the iPhone 3G's price compared to the original model. The 8 GB iPhone 3G debuted at $199, while the 16 GB model was $299. The 16 GB version of the original iPhone cost $399.

Key Features of the iPhone 3G

  • Support for third-party applications
  • App Store compatibility
  • 3G cellular network support
  • Built-in GPS

Other Important Features

  • iPod/MP3 player
  • Video playback/widescreen option
  • Wireless Internet access, using Wi-Fi and EDGE
  • Email, web browsing
  • Phone, text messaging, Visual Voicemail
  • 2-megapixel digital camera
  • 3.5-inch screen, 480 x 320 pixels, with multitouch support
  • Bluetooth

Built-In Apps

  • Communication: Messages, Phone, Mail
  • Photography: Photos, Camera
  • Productivity: Calendar, Notes
  • Internet: Safari
  • Entertainment: iPod, YouTube
  • Misc: Stocks, Maps, Weather, Clock, Calculator, Settings, iTunes Store, App Store

FaceTime doesn't work on the iPhone 3G. Find out why in Does FaceTime Work on the iPhone 3GS & iPhone 3G?

Phone Company



8 GB
16 GB


White — 16 GB model only

Battery Life

Voice Calls

  • 5 hours talk time on 3G
  • 10 hours talk time on EDGE


  • 5 hours 3G Internet use
  • 6 hours on Wi-Fi


  • 7 hours of video playback
  • 24 hours of audio playback


  • 300 hours

Size and Weight

Size: 4.5 inches tall x 2.4 inches wide x 0.48 inches deep
Weight: 4.7 ounces

Critical Reception of the iPhone 3G

Overall, the iPhone 3G was reviewed positively and enthusiastically by the tech press:

  • We gave the phone 4.5 stars, calling it "a solid jump past the first-generation iPhone." 
  • Engadget said, "you're going to have a hard time finding a better device for two hundred bucks — or maybe even for any price."
  • AnandTech said it was "the best consumer smartphone available."
  • CNET gave it 4 stars, saying "the iPhone 3G is a big improvement over the original model."

iPhone 3G Sales

Those positive reviews were borne out by the device's sales. In January 2008, Apple said that it had sold about 3.8 million iPhones. By January 2009, six months after the iPhone 3G was released, that figure had skyrocketed to 17.3 million iPhones.

In January 2010, the iPhone 3G had been replaced by the iPhone 3GS about 6 months earlier, but the iPhone had tallied all-time sales of 42.4 million units. While a good chunk of those 42.4 million phones were original and 3GS models, it was the 3G that helped accelerate iPhone sales to their historic pace.