Apple confirms it slows down old iPhones to preserve battery life
The smartphone manufacturer told tech website The Verge that iOS updates do slow down processor speeds in older phones, but not because they want you to buy a newer model.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” said an Apple spokesperson.
“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.”
Apple has been under fire for the last fortnight after a Reddit user found his iPhone 6S was having its processor speed deliberately muted by its latest iOS update.
In one of the most popular threads ever posted to the forum, user TeckFire discovered that his phone could recognise a dying battery, and tempered the speed of apps and photos to keep the phone alive.
“From what I can tell, Apple slows down phones when their battery gets too low, so you can still have a full day’s charge,” said TeckFire.
“This also means your phone might be very slow for no discernible reason.”
Many speculated that a deliberate slowing of the iPhone’s internal clock was Apple’s ingenious way of forcing users to upgrade to the latest iPhone 8 or X. But the tech giant says it is simply trying to have its products work for as long as possible, in all kinds of weather conditions.
“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,” said Apple.
“We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
Most modern smartphones now contain lithium-ion batteries, which are excellent at providing high amounts of power from a relatively slim package.
But lithium-ion batteries do not last forever – depending on usage, most experts believe that a modern smartphone will be able to retain 80 percent of its battery charge for 300 to 500 full charge cycles.
While lithium-ion batteries are durable, best practice is to keep your phone off the charge until it hits 20 percent battery life, and then charge it up to 80 percent to avoid overly stressing the system.