Apple has admitted that it does throttle the performance of older phones. While this seems like a move on the part of the technology titan to encourage people to upgrade to newer models of the iPhone, the company defends itself saying its move is just to make sure smartphones with ageing batteries run smoother and avoid shutdowns.
The Guardian reports that data released by Primate Labs (a company that makes an app for measuring the speed of an iPhone’s processor) shows slower performance in the Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models as they age.
Interestingly, the disclosure by Apple comes few days after its customers remarked on Reddit how replacing the battery of an old iPhone appears to make its run faster.
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, Apple said in a statement. Apple website mentions that iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles.
In its statement, Apple 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.
"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."
"Throttling the [central processing unit] so to avoid a reboot due to a battery that can't supply enough current is, in my opinion, a reasonable compromise," says Dr Robert Merkel, software engineering lecturer at Monash University. "I think most people would prefer their phone to slow down rather than reboot."
Overall, it seems like the whole controversy could have been avoided if Apple shared this strategy with its customers before a third party brought the whole scenario to attention.