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It’s Not Just You: Apple Could Be Slowing Down Older iPhones to Preserve Battery Life [Update: Confirmed]

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If you’ve ever owned an iPhone for around two years at a time, you know that with new software updates, your phone becomes noticeably slower. 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.

According to John Poole, with new versions of iOS such as iOS 11, Apple tends to throttle the performance of older iPhones to preserve battery life. He specifically notes the iPhone 6s and 7 who received upgrades to iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2 respectively that introduced the slower speeds. Others across the web including Sam Si on Twitter have experienced the same issues.

Si notes his three-year-old iPhone 6 used to run at 1.4Ghz, but after updating to the latest software, it only runs at 0.6Ghz. Not cool, Apple.

Luckily, there’s a pretty easy fix for this. Si says after he got his battery replaced inside the iPhone 6, performance increased back up to 1.4Ghz. Therefore, for those of you who have older iPhones and experience slower performance from newer software, simply taking your iPhone to an Apple store and having them replace your battery may bring back the same speed and fluidity you experienced the same day you opened its box.

This is an important note to make. While many will simply think they need to buy a whole new phone because theirs is getting slower, just by replacing your battery should fix everything. You’ll likely also experience better battery life since it’ll be a fresh cell. I checked Apple’s website for pricing on replacement batteries, and if you have AppleCare, you could get yours for free. Others will need to pay a $79 fee, but it might be worth it over paying upwards of $700 for a whole new iPhone.

Apple hasn’t confirmed whether any of this is true, but chances are they won’t. That being said, if we hear anything more surrounding this subject, we’ll let you know. For now, if you’re tempted to buy a new iPhone because of slower performance, you’re likely better off just replacing your battery.


Update: Apple has confirmed in a statement to the press (via TechCrunch) that they do indeed slow down your iPhone as more and more software updates roll out. According to the company, it’s to prevent unexpected shutdowns caused by old lithium-ion batteries from happening. The update was first rolled out to those with an iPhone 6 or 6s and has since extended to the 7. It’ll reach this year’s iPhones likely next year with iOS 12.

“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 other words, no, Apple doesn’t slow down your phone just to get you to buy another.

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4 thoughts on “It’s Not Just You: Apple Could Be Slowing Down Older iPhones to Preserve Battery Life [Update: Confirmed]”

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  6. Trackback: Apple is Giving $50 Refunds to Those Who Paid Full Price for a New iPhone Battery – Matridox
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