IT giant Apple has admitted what many iPhone users had long suspected – that it slows down the performance of older devices.
Apple issued a rare statement of explanation on Thursday, revealing it does take some measures to reduce power demands when an iPhone’s battery is having trouble supplying the peak current that the processor demands.
It said software updates for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 are designed to “smooth out” peak power demands, prevent surprise shutdowns and ultimately prolong the lifespan of batteries.
But the measures frustrate users by slowing down performance.
The practice was confirmed after users shared performance tests online, showing their ageing iPhones had considerably slowed down as they got older.
“I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus, and his was faster than mine? This is when I knew something was wrong,” Apple user TeckFire wrote on Reddit, sparking Apple’s response.
After the post, Tech website Geekbench analysed several iPhones on different iOS platforms, confirming that some devices did appear to be deliberately slowed down.
Apple said the problem stemmed from the fact that all lithium-ion batteries, not just those found in Apple products, degrade and have problems supplying the needed power as they age and accumulate charging cycles.
The problems with peak current draws can also occur when batteries are cold or low on charge, Apple said.
“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,” Apple said in a statement.
“We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
When an iPhone’s processor makes a big current draw from a flagging battery, the battery can deliver the current in spikes that can potentially damage the phone’s electronics.
As a result, iPhones would suddenly shut down to protect the pricey processor from being damaged by the power spikes.
The sudden shutdown problem became widespread among iPhones in late 2016, forcing Apple to issue a software fix that had the net result of slowing the phone somewhat with an old, cold or low-charged battery, the company said.
The problem can be remedied by replacing the phone’s battery.
– with wires