Apple admits to slowing down older iPhones as the battery gets weaker
|Photo by Marcelo Silva|
If you like to use your iPhone as a daily shooter, you may have noticed your older model (iPhone 6, 6s, and SE) slowing way down, making it far less usable. The good (or is it bad?) news is you're not imagining it; it turns out Apple has purposely slowed down your phone's CPU. But according to the Cupertino-based tech giant, the change is not meant to encourage an upgrade... it's in your best interest.
This controversy began on Reddit earlier this month, when user TeckFire pointed out that his iPhone 6s had become very slow, only to speed back up again after the battery was replaced. TeckFire published Geekbench scores as proof, and other users followed suit, showing that Apple was more or less cutting performance in half—that's not a small performance decrease:
So it's true Apple intentionally slow down old iPhones. Proof: My iPhone 6 was bought 3years ago and recently got really slow. APP 'CPU DasherX' shows iPhone CPU is under clocked running at 600MHz. After a iPhone battery replacement. CPU speed resumed to factory setting 1400MHz. pic.twitter.com/pML3y0Jkp2— Sam_Si (@sam_siruomu) December 20, 2017
You can imagine the initial response to these revelations. The headlines ran something like this: Apple is secretly slowing down old iPhones, are they trying to force users to upgrade to a new phone? We'll never really know if Apple's intent is nefarious, but according to the company itself, it most certainly is not.
In a statement to The Verge, Apple admitted to the slowdown, but claimed it was done in users' best interest:
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.
You can read the full statement on The Verge, but the gist is simple: yes we're slowing down older phones, but it's not because we want to force people to upgrade, it's a feature to ensure 'the best experience for customers.'
|Photo by Jun Seita|
The unfortunate part of all this is that the explanation came after the controversy broke. If Apple had been transparent about this fact—explaining the benefits of a new battery and how the old battery could actually cause damage to your phone if the CPU was left to run at full capacity once the battery reached a certain performance threshold—iPhone users could have seen it as a positive. As it stands, it's unlikely Apple's statement/explanation will satisfy every old iPhone user out there.
Speaking of whom, if you're using an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, or iPhone SE and notice a performance slowdown, it might be time for a battery replacement. Apple charges $80 for the service (unless you want to do it yourself and void the warranty), and your phone's CPU should start running at peak again after the upgrade.
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