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Apple Admits Throttling Performance of Old iPhones

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This is bad. Apple admits they are purposely slowing down older iPhones, but not for the reason you might think.

iphone 6s

iPhones and its Batteries

The Internet is a buzz with the news — Apple confirms that they have been secretly throttling or slowing down older iPhones since last year. One might think that they are sabotaging the devices to make you buy new ones, but its not as sinister as you think.

According to Apple, this was done to preserve user experience. The older an iPhone gets, the less efficient their batteries become. And apparently older batteries have problems sustaining power during peak performance which can cause unexpected shutdowns and other issues.

Here’s a statement from Apple when TechCrunch inquired about the discovery:

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.

The “feature” was confirmed by the people behind Geekbench, and seems to affect only the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6s, and the iPhone SE when iOS 10.2.1 was introduced, and the iPhone 7 on iOS 11.2.0.

A Reddit user also reported that replacing the batteries restored the performance and clock speed back to stock. This isn’t a fix of any kind, but given the price and trouble of going through a battery replacement, it may make users just replace their iPhones with newer ones altogether.

In my opinion, what Apple did was sneaky but it makes sense. Old batteries do have an adverse effect on performance, and one way to address this is by throttling down the processors. I just wish they were transparent about it.

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[Source: TechCrunch, The Verge]

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