Last week some iPhone users reported a performance decrease on older iPhones (Particularly iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s) on Reddit. I myself had witnessed such a performance issue on my cousin’s iPhone 6 a year ago but thought may the new iOS version was too heavy for the iPhone 6. And yes, new iOS versions do make the older iPhones slower as usually, a new OS version is too heavy for an older iPhone. But it turned out, Apple does that on purpose.
After following the Reddit reports, Geekbench developer John Poole investigated the issue using Geekbech benchmark data from over the years. He did that using the benchmarks of the iPhone 6, 6s, and iPhone 7 depending on their iOS versions. Turned out, the claims of Reddit users were right, Apple had implemented a performance limit on phones with weaker batteries. The throttling in performance depends on how weaker a battery is.
After the John Poole report, Apple responded accepting the throttling down of the older versions of the iPhone but called it a feature. Below is the official Apple response on the issue.
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.
Now clearly Apple is doing this to keep the device from suddenly shutting down and they should but the issue is they should let their customers know what they are doing. The better solution is, ship your phones with better batteries. If last years iPhone 7 needs throttling down because of decreased battery capacity, it is quite alarming. We can understand the decrease in battery capacity of the three years old iPhone 6 for iPhone 7 to have the same issue is not good at all.
Some users reported that their phones performance got back to normal when they replaced the batteries. A Twitter user posts a screenshot of his phones CPU frequency before and after the replacement of the battery. As you can see in the tweet embedded below, the performance difference is quite staggering.
So it’s true Apple intentionally slow down old iPhones. Proof: My iPhone 6 was bought 3years ago and recently got really slow. APP ‘CPU DasherX’ shows iPhone CPU is under clocked running at 600MHz. After a iPhone battery replacement. CPU speed resumed to factory setting 1400MHz. pic.twitter.com/pML3y0Jkp2
— Sam_Si (@sam_siruomu) December 20, 2017
All in all, Apple should be more transparent with its customers in future and apologize for this issue instead of making excuses.