Apple Confirms That It Cripples CPU Performance On iPhones With Aging Batteries

Apple Confirms That It Cripples CPU Performance On iPhones With Aging Batteries

Apple Confirms That It Cripples CPU Performance On iPhones With Aging Batteries

Apple said Wednesday that iPhones with older batteries may operate more slowly thanks to a software feature from updates beginning a year ago, but said it was meant to prevent sudden shutdowns of the phones, not to encourage users with older phones to upgrade.

What's the story? Last week, a reddit post from iPhone owners (particularly those on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s) sparked a conversation about performance decrease as their phones aged and the batteries inside followed along. 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.

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Apple indicated that it started doing this last year for the iPhone 6, 6S, and SE, and this year for the iPhone 7.

Poole mapped the performance on an iPhone 6s and 7 over time and found that the iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 updates in particular seemed to throttle those two devices and possibly other models. The report led to some analysis by John Poole, founder of Geekbench, which appeared to confirm that Apple was slowing down iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 devices based on the condition of their battery. Apple's statement Wednesday is likely trying to rid of the "planned obsolescence" narrative that Apple purposely slows down older devices so customers buy a new one. By admitting this, it also confirmed that older iPhones with older batteries can suffer from poor performance. Apple acknowledged the shutdown problem and offered a battery replacement program. Apple really is slowing down phones as they age with use (specifically, as their battery gets worn down), apparently as a way to preserve battery life. "This fix will also cause users to think, "my phone is slow so I should replace it" not, 'my phone is slow so I should replace its battery'". Some researchers say your phone doesn't slow down at all and it's just you thinking things are getting worse, but as discovered by a developer at Geekbench, you may actually be right. Alternatively, they could provide a choice on phones that pass a certain level of battery wear, such as a toggle between "battery life mode" and "performance mode" which would override this underclocking, or to stop throttling devices so that the real problem is evident to consumers. It's $79 if you have Apple do it, or around $70 to $50 if you have a third-party fix shop or service take care of it. Replacing an iPhone battery is not easy to do, but professionals can do it quickly and at a much lower cost than purchasing a new phone.

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