Apple Admits it Deliberately Slows Down Older iPhones

Apple has admitted that it is deliberately slowing down some models of the iPhone as they age in order to keep them running longer.

Many customers have suspected long back that the company deliberately slows down older iPhones in order to encourage customers to upgrade.

The U.S technology giant said that it does slow down some iPhones as they become old, but only because the iPhones’ battery performance diminishes over time.

The company said that it wanted to “prolong the life” of customers’ devices.

This was confirmed when a customer shared performance tests on Reddit, saying their iPhone 6S had slowed down considerably as it became old but suddenly sped up again after the iPhone’s battery had been replaced.

What was the company’s response?

Apple admitted that it made changes to iOS in order to manage ageing lithium-ion batteries in some devices, as the batteries’ performance diminishes over time.

“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, [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,” the company 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.

“We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers.”

Why do lithium-ion batteries degrade over time?

Lithium-ion batteries degrade with use because of what happens during the charging as well as discharging cycle.

Lithium ions move through the material forming the battery during those events.

According to studies, each time the ions move they make small changes to the structure of that electrolyte.

According to one scientist, the effect is like “rust creeping unevenly across steel”.

And the changes erode the material so it can hold less of a charge as well as hamper its capability to provide a steady power supply.

Should the company have told customers?

According to Chris Green from the tech consultancy Bright Bee, Apple should have been more transparent about it.

“You’re taking away performance that somebody has paid for. If you’re going to slow down the phone over time, you should explain why it is happening, so people understand it is ultimately for their benefit.

“But I do see where they’re coming from. By slowing the phone, it does help mitigate the problem of the diminishing battery”, said Chris Green.