Apple’s iPhone batteries have always been a bone of contention for long time users, but in the past these problems have usually been isolated to grumbles about how batteries don’t hold their charge for long enough, or take ages to charge.
But this week, Apple seemingly revealed another huge problem with their older iPhone models, as a direct result of the batteries used within the products.
The initial discovery was made by Geekbench developer John Poole who had been mapping the performance of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 over time.
Apple confirmed that a feature introduced last year was intentionally slowing down older iPhones, which Apple say was down to protect against problems caused by ageing batteries.
Further information provided revealed that this feature was implemented on the iPhone 6, 6S and SE last year during a software update.
It appears that this was done to reduce the random shutdown issues for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, which would see iPhones shutting off even when it said there was 30-40% charge remaining in the battery.
More recently with the introduction of iOS 11.2.0 similar throttling was discovered for iPhone 7 models with older batteries.
Remarkably, some Reddit users who had also noticed that their iPhone processors were running slowly in phones with older batteries were also reporting that the speed of the phone returned back to normal after replacing the battery.
Whilst that’s all well and good, for the average punter on the street probably won’t know to check or change the battery from their iPhone if it’s not performing as hoped.
“The reports are particularly troubling because any perceived slowdowns by iPhone users might tempt owners to upgrade their entire device instead of replace the battery,” claims leading tech website, The Verge.
This sentiment was also echoed by Geekbench’s John Poole who as we mentioned first mapped out the drop in performance. Poole said:
“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”.
“users expect either full performance, or reduced performance with a notification that their phone is in low-power mode. This fix creates a third, unexpected state.”
“While this state is created to mask a deficiency in battery power, users may believe that the slowdown is due to CPU performance, instead of battery performance, which is triggering an Apple-introduced CPU slowdown.”
Following the discovery an Apple spokesperson provided the following comment to, The Verge:
“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.”
In short, what Apple is saying is that they are slowing down older iPhones to prevent them from over-exerting themselves and shutting down (to protect the internal components).
Eqully, Apple wants to be clear they are not doing this to urge people to upgrade to newer devices.
Following the reveal this week two separate class-action lawsuits have been filed in America against Apple, brought by plaintiffs in California and Illinois.
In one instance, two people from Chicago, along with residents of Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina are claiming that Apple’s iOS updates were “fraudulently forcing iPhone owners to purchase the latest model offered by Apple.”
James Vlahakis attorney for the plaintiffs told the Chicago Sun Times:
“Corporations have to realise that people are sophisticated and that when people spend their hard-earned dollars on a product they expect it to perform as expected.
“Instead, Apple appears to have obscured and concealed why older phones were slowing down.”
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