Apple actually does slow down older iPhones — to prevent battery issues – CNET


Apple’s iPhone 6 from 2014 includes software that makes it run slower but also prevents unexpected shutdowns. 


If you think your older iPhone seems to run slower, you’re not crazy. 

Apple on Wednesday said a software feature it released last year actually does make your phone operate more slowly. But it’s only to help offset problems with the aging lithium ion batteries in your device. As batteries get older, they don’t hold their charges as well as newer batteries and have even worse problems when the charge is lower or the temperature is colder. 

That means your phone could have trouble operating or unexpectedly shut down, like what was happening to the iPhone 6 and 6S last year. The processor in those devices wanted to hit faster speeds, but the batteries couldn’t handle it. That caused some phones to turn themselves off. 

To address that, Apple’s iOS software, starting with iOS 10.2.1 from last year, has better power management capabilities. It will slow down your device to prevent it from shutting down, but only in cases of cold temperature, a low battery charge or for older batteries. 

The software from last year applied to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus and SE, and iOS 11.2 extended the feature to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It also will apply to other Apple devices in the future. 

Apple said in a statement:

“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 comment from Apple came in response to a report from earlier this week from Primate Labs, the company behind the Geekbench processor benchmarking software. John Poole, founder of the organization, said in a blog post that as iPhone batteries get older and lose capacity, their processors slow down, decreasing performance. Poole explained that users expect their phones to perform the same regardless of how old the battery is, but his tests indicated that wasn’t the case. 

iPhone users have long complained about their devices seeming to slow down when new models are released. Some even believe that it’s an effort by Apple (and other tech companies) to purposely slow down or otherwise hamper the performance of their products to get users to buy new models. Apple has long denied this claim. 

For some people, the solution to a slower, older iPhone may be updating its battery instead of purchasing a brand new device. Apple charges $79 to replace the battery of an iPhone that’s no longer covered by a warranty. 

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