These past two or three days have been full of false information and a lot of pointless outrage at the news that “Apple is intentionally slowing down iPhones to get people to buy new ones”.
I’ll try to set the record straight…
- This topic applies to only the iPhone SE, 6 & 6 Plus, 6S & 6S Plus, and 7 & 7 Plus (iOS 11.2 or newer).
- Older batteries are unable to provide enough power to the SoC1, because they underperform. This would cause shutdowns and other issues. To avoid this problem and extend a worn battery’s charge, Apple slows down the SoC so it doesn’t require more power than the battery is able to provide.
- Apple implemented this to extend, not shorten, the life of iPhones with old batteries.
- According to Apple’s warranty terms (in USA and Europe at least, but this should apply everywhere), if a battery falls below 80% of its original capacity, they will exchange it for a new one for free2.
- Fitting a new battery into an iPhone will allow the SoC to be used at full power once more, hence the issue will go away. You can either try to do this under warranty or pay less than 100 EUR / 100 USD to get it done in authorised service centres. You can find multiple examples of a new battery fixing the problem, here and here for example.
- Please remember about the iPhone 6S Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues.
While I can’t fault Apple for doing what they have done — most users will benefit from this — their communication on the matter has been appalling. Most people don’t realise that they can just swap the battery out for a new one and regain all lost performance. I also saw a few reports about Apple refusing to replace faulty batteries or even refusing a paid swap on a customers request — this too is unacceptable. I was also quite surprised to learn that people believe that even new iPhones, bought from e.g. an Apple Store (apart from the latest models), are “intentionally slower” — this is not true.
I hope Apple is trying to figure out how to better communicate all of this in the future, because that’s their job, not mine.
- System on a Chip. ↩
- Your battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles. The one-year warranty includes service coverage for a defective battery. If it is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery service for $79, plus $6.95 shipping, subject to local tax. ↩