Apple Confirms It Deliberately Slows Down Old iPhones, Calls It A Feature, Here’s Why

You may remember very recently that we told you about another report that claimed Apple’s iPhone batteries not only impacted a device’s CPU performance as they aged, but also that Apple was artificially reducing the CPU speed of iPhones with older batteries in order to preserve them. That came following a Reddit post that caught a lot of attention, followed by a post by Geekbench founder John Poole.

The outcome was that, as we predicted, those who claim Apple cripples older devices to make users upgrade earlier were immediately out in force.

Now, Apple has released a statement explaining what happens and no, it is not trying to trick anyone. While Apple does not refute what was found, it says that the reason for the power management and CPU throttling results identified by Poole and other Geekbench users is simply a case of it trying to smooth out high peaks of power draw in an attempt to prevent iPhones from shutting down unexpectedly.

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.

As Apple identified that iPhones were reaching peaks of CPU power that their batteries were simply unable to provide enough power for, they were shutting down. Apple’s power management systems try to smooth those peaks out in attempt to ensure iPhones don’t give up and shut down instead of carrying on as normal.

So the short version? Yes, Apple’s power management software is trying to ensure iPhones don’t shut down by smoothing out the power draw caused by CPU peaks. No, it isn’t doing it to make people think their iPhones are slower than they are in an attempt to force them to upgrade.

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