Home > technology > gadgets > Apple slowing down older iPhones to save them

The notion that Apple is deliberately slowing down older iPhones has turned out to be true. Apple claims it is for a different reason, and not to compel users to switch to a new iPhone. The issue was first reported by an iPhone user on social media forum Reddit. The user found that his iPhone 6s had slowed down after the iOS 11 update but when he changed the battery its performance improved significantly.

A test carried out by from Primate Labs, known for its benchmarking software Geekbech, on iPhone 6s running iOS 10.2 and when it was upgraded to iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11 showed a significant decline in performance after every update.

Why is Apple slowing down old iPhones?

Following the outcry over the matter, Apple explained to tech website TechCrunch that Lithium-ion batteries, used in all smartphones including iPhones, are inherently incapable of delivering peak current demands in cold conditions and can only hold a lower battery charge as they age over time. Slowing the device was a result of a power management system Apple added in iOS last year to prevent frequent shutting down of iPhones and to protect its electronic components.

How older battery affects performance?

Li-ion battery has tendency to degrade as it ages, completes its charge cycle or is exposed to heat. iOS regularly checks the battery in an iPhone to measure its efficiency level. As the battery ages and reaches a stage where it cannot fulfil the power needs by the processor to run basic tasks, iOS would play down the instantaneous peaks by spreading power request over cycles. This is what was throttling the performance in older iPhones.

What is the solution?

So if you have an older iPhone and its running slow, especially after updating to iOS 11, it can be due to the battery, since the new iOS has been optimised well for older iPhones. A recent study by FutureMark, another popular Benchmarking software, on iPhone 5s, found hardly any difference in CPU and GPU performance when the device was running iOS 9 and when it was updated to iOS 11. You can measure the battery performance and age using benchmarks such as Geekbench. If the battery is the culprit, changing it can help. A new battery for iPhone 6, outside of warranty period, will cost $79 (Rs5,059), which is still less than spending on a new iPhone.

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