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Apple Admits to Slowing Down Older iPhones and Explains Why Apple Admits to Slowing Down Older iPhones and Explains Why

Apple Admits to Slowing Down Older iPhones and Explains Why

by Tyler Berrigan Dec 22, 2017

Apple has long been accused of intentionally slowing down iPhones for the sole purpose of coercing consumers into purchasing their latest products.

Just when we thought we could safely enter this one into the annals of absurd and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, Apple has come out and admitted to the practice. However, the multi-billion-dollar company claims that it has nothing to do with driving sales, but rather, enhancing the customer experience and helping them get the most out of their device.

Turns Out it is More Than Just a Conspiracy Theory

The idea that Apple intentionally slows down their iPhones to drive sales has gained some traction over the years. As with many lingering and tiresome conspiracy theories, however, it was generally taken with a grain of salt.

That was until numerous consumer experiences began to surface on Reddit that suggested it could well be true. Many iPhone users told stories of dramatic increases in performance after replacing the battery, prompting many to investigate the anomaly further. One of those people was Geekbench developer, John Poole.

In a recent post, Poole acknowledged that we can reasonably expect battery capacity to decrease with age. However, he also pointed out that the phone’s processing speed should remain the same. Poole ran some tests. He found that, as many had been asserting, processing speeds in older iPhone models that had been updated with newer versions of iOS decreased. This suggested that some sort of limitation imposed by the phone’s newer software was indeed restricting the performance of older iPhones.

Apple Admits to Doing It, But Say It’s for Good Reason

Before it could transcend into a complete PR disaster for Apple, and suggestions that the company intentionally does this to drive sales could again rise from the ashes, they came right out and admitted it— they do intentionally slow down superseded models of the iPhone.

However, Apple iterated that the slowing down of their phones has nothing to do with driving sales in any way, shape or form. Rather, it is more about mitigating the problems associated with aging batteries, such as unexpected shutdowns.

An Apple spokesperson explained, “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.”

Some Feel That It’s Beside the Point

Jacob Kastrenakes, in an article for The Verge, concedes, “There is some good reason for Apple to do this. By their nature, lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, storing less and less of a charge… So, it’s not a bad idea for Apple to limit speeds on older phones, such that they don’t push things too far on a depleted battery.”

However, it may be beside the point. He continues, “But it also speaks to a really enormous problem with the iPhone: this $700 to $1,000-plus product, as designed, isn’t able to function near its peak after just a year of use. That should be unacceptable.” With such a premium price tag, and a professed reputation for quality, one paltry year does seem a little below par. Others, on the other hand, are simply annoyed by Apple’s lack of transparency and inherent undercurrents of secrecy.

A Case of Planned Obsolescence?

According to an article by Investopedia, planned obsolescence refers to a “purposefully implemented strategy that ensures the current version of a given product will become out-of-date or useless within a known time period. This guarantees that consumers will demand replacements in the future, thus naturally supporting demand.”

While planned obsolescence can be hard to prove, Apple’s admission certainly gives one food for thought.

  • Gregory Lane

    Steve Jobs would not have approved.

  • johncocktoaston

    If this is the case why have I owned Samsung Android devices and kept them for up to four years without problems?