Apple Confirms It Slows Down Older iPhones, But for a Reason (UPDATED)

UPDATED: Faced with multiple class action lawsuits, Apple has apologized for slowing down older iPhones and will offer battery replacement for $29 for the next year. Details from Apple can be found here.

 

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Right as the new iPhone X was starting to ship, users of older iOS devices began to complain that their phones were slowing down. This created a kind of conspiracy theory that Apple was slowing down older phones to boost sales for the iPhone X. Well, turns Apple has admitted the processor slowdown is actually happening, but there may be a good reason.

Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when they 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.

Image credit – Sam Sioumu, Twitter

Apple’s says older phone batteries begin to lose charge, and this impedes the processor’s ability to handle the load. This could lead to a phone shut down, so throttling the processor performance your older iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S is meant to keep it in balance with your phone’s battery output.

But just how severely does Apple hobble your iPhone’s processor speed? Well, according to benchmarks published by users, the CPU frequency of older iPhones are being throttled down from 1400 MHz, down to a mere 600 MHz. That’s a more than 40% decrease in processor speed.  If your apps are crawling, at least you now know why. But the worse part is, you may experience the slow down after only a year of consistent use.

This may not be a an issue if all you do with your phone is check your email or post images on Instagram. It may not even be noticed. But mobile filmmakers rely on faster processor speeds to record, perform edits, and do basic color correction. A slowdown that severe could make those older iPhone’s down right unusable to shoot a short film in 4K.

Faced with a clear roadblock in performance, it would only be natural for the siren song of the iPhone X (with it’s $1,000+ price tag) to be too much to resist. If mobile filmmakers only knew that they could bring those iPhone 6, 6S or even iPhone 7’s into the Apple Store to have the battery replaced for a mere $79. With a fresh battery, the phone would reset its processor’s clock speed.

I think it would have probably been better if Apple had explained this when the problem first emerged. But now that the cat is out of the bag, users have the option to hold off buying a new phone sooner than planned.

Hat Tip – FStoppers

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About James DeRuvo 172 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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