Apple has confirmed what many people have suspected for a while… that it slows down old iPhones on purpose. However, Apple insists this isn’t an attempt to force you to buy a new iPhone. Instead, it’s to help old iPhone batteries carry on working properly despite their advancing years.
Lately, people have been complaining that their old iPhones were slowing down. Which led to this Reddit post. Which led to this benchmark comparison by John Poole. This shows that Apple has indeed introduced something designed to artificially limit the performance of old iPhones.
The Smoking Gun for Planned Obsolescence?
There has been a common belief for years that Apple employs planned obsolescence, which means limiting the life of a product in order to sell newer versions. However, Apple has never admitted as much, and it’s difficult to find hard evidence. Is this the smoking gun we needed?
It’s come out that Apple intentionally slows down its iPhones as they get older. It’s also come out: EVERYONE already knew that.
— Jake Charmatz (@jrcharm) December 21, 2017
In a word, no. Yes, older iPhones will slow down over time, but no, this isn’t a ploy to make you go out and buy a new one. Instead, this was a fix to stop old iPhones unexpectedly shutting down when the demands being placed on the battery were too great. At least that’s Apple’s explanation.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple said:
“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.”
This does actually make sense. What would you prefer? An iPhone that plods along at a slower pace or an iPhone that crashes every time you try to play a game? Apple obviously does want you to upgrade every two years, but it’s unlikely that this feature was a way of encouraging that.
Additional Questions Apple Needs to Answer
I can’t be alone in thinking Apple needs to answer some additional questions here. 1. Shouldn’t you have informed users of this feature? 2. Shouldn’t this be optional for each individual user with an old iPhone? 3. Shouldn’t it be easier to change iPhone batteries? We doubt we’ll get answers, which means this will annoy owners of old iPhones. Even if it is for their own good.
How do you feel about Apple’s admission that it’s slowing down old iPhones? Do you think it’s a sensible move designed to help users? Or are you cynical about Apple’s motives? Do you own an old iPhone that has grown noticeably sluggish? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Gauthier Delecroix via Flickr