In terms of conspiracy theories that refuse to die, we thought the ‘Apple is slowing down my iPhone so I have to buy a new one’ had finally been put to rest. Alas, we were wrong.
Despite numerous tests which showed that they weren’t, those rumours just continued to spread.
On both Twitter and Reddit customers have been claiming for weeks that they have proof of the problem and that Apple just needed to come out and admit what they’re up to.
Then on Monday, Primate Labs, who make an app for measuring the speed of iPhone’s processors, published data that appeared to show slower performance in the Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models as they aged over time.
Finally, and in a slightly unexpected turn of events, Apple released a statement to The Verge, confirming that they were indeed slowing some older models but that the reason was to fix another issue.
The problem here is fundamentally that all lithium-ion batteries, not just those found in Apple products, degrade and have problems supplying the big bursts as they age and accumulate charging cycles.
There is nothing Apple can do to halt this. So instead it uses power management techniques to attempt to prolong the life of the handset.
The spokesperson said: “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.”
What Apple are affectively saying here is that yes you weren’t imagining it, your iPhone was shutting itself down when the battery reached a lower level.
To combat that the update they released reduced those shutdowns but at the overall cost of reducing the performance of the device. Essentially, it’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The statement continued: “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.”
While this all starts to make sense it was clear that the real issue here was one of transparency, something that Apple has now addressed.
Well at least now we all know where we stand.