It started as a Reddit discussion about how a user’s iPhone 6S has been very slow of recent, then someone from Geekbench took it upon themselves to plot iPhone models performances, and found that iPhone performance indeed degraded over time. Was Apple slowing down older iPhones?
The Geekbench research concluded as follows:
I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.
Soon after that, Apple gave a statement to BusinessInsider, as follows:
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
So, Apple has confirmed that they began to throttle the performance of older models from last year (2016), but as a means to keep the phones from shutting down.
But not everyone is buying that. Some of the questions being asked by iPhone users include:
- Why did Apple not announce this feature when it was introduced? Why keep it a secret?
- Why is there not an option for users to enable or disable this feature?
There are arguments that leaving users unaware of this feature means that when an iPhone begins to slow down, the user naturally thinks they need to upgrade and buy a new iPhone, thus fuelling iPhone sales. In other words, Apple is using this to nudge its users to upgrade their phones.
Well, who does new iPhone purchases benefit? Apple. In reality, what the iPhone user needs is a new battery. But they do not know. So, they buy a new phone.
Apple may be telling the truth about why they throttle performance of older models, but it looks bad that they are admitting it after being caught at it. Not everyone will believe the official explanation. Sneaking stuff like this on users is in bad taste.