The other day, Apple confirmed something that anyone that’s used an iPhone for any length of time already suspected. They’re slowing them down on purpose. The older ones, anyhow.
The reason, so they say, is to protect degrading batteries in older phones. That’s perfectly sensible and I have no reason to doubt them, but it would have been nice to have been told up front when the feature was implemented instead of an admission being made a year later when people online figured it out. It makes the whole thing seem unnecessarily nefarious and even though I should know better, I kind of expected a little more from Apple.
“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, [when they] 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,” the company said.
“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.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers.”
Even though I absolutely believe that there’s a battery preserving feature, it’s going to take more than a little work to convince me that devices have only been slowing down for a year. I have nothing to back up my opinion aside from personal experience, but having gone through two iPhones and an iPod Touch I feel pretty confident saying that the next time I download an update and things speed up as significantly as they tend to slow down will be the first. Some of that I understand. New features are naturally going to put greater demand on your hardware. But sometimes the degradation is mysteriously sudden and dramatic, and things never get better in spite of performance updates. Whether that’s intentional or not, let’s not kid ourselves. Your phone starting to act like a piece of garbage every couple of years is good for Apple, and don’t think they don’t know that.
I still trust them (at least as much as one can trust a giant corporation), but intentionally turning a phone into trash and staying quiet about it isn’t a great look regardless of why you did it. Apple owes us all a pretty big apology here even though they were probably trying to help, I think.