Apple Confirms They Do Slow Older iPhones – This Is Not Always a Bad Thing

Posted by at 11:20 am on December 21, 2017

Apple has confirmed what owners of older iPhones have long suspected: that new versions of iOS will slow down the performance of older iPhones.

Several days ago, Reddit user TeckFire posted a report to the iPhone subreddit stating that, after experiencing slowdown on their iPhone 6S, they replaced the battery with a new one and saw significant improvements in benchmarks—seen below, via their imgur post.

Geekbench developer Guilherme Rambo has discovered the software system, powerd (short for power daemon), that Apple put in place in iOS 10.2.1. powerd controls CPU/GPU speed and power. It also responds to thermal pressure and helps iPhones from catching fire.

Apple says this is a feature, not a bug. “Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” said Apple in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

“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.”

Device shutdowns are problematic for a number of reasons, including safety.

“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.”

Apple says older iPhones will in fact slow down from time to time in order to preserve battery performance and prevent the shutdowns. Apple has not previously disclosed this policy. Doing so might have helped it mitigate customer complaints.

It is worth pointing out that iPhone owners have the option of having Apple install a new battery in their older iPhone (~$79), which would resolve the battery-related slow down issue.

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