It should come as no surprise to learn that Apple wants to sell as many iPhones as possible. But how far are they willing to go to persuade people to buy the latest model? As reported by MacRumors, Apple “now faces over two dozen lawsuits around the world” from iPhone users who accuse the tech giant of failing to disclose power management changes starting with iOS 10.2.1. Here we will briefly review the controversy and let you know what to do if your device is affected.
It began on Reddit
The controversy was started on Reddit by a user called TeckFire who brought attention to the fact that their iPhone 6S was faster after its battery was replaced. At the time of writing, this thread has generated 1,126 comments and TeckFire has revised the post “to make it more clear and provide a better explanation.” This post prompted Primate Labs founder John Poole to test the benchmark scores of iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 devices. His work confirmed that older iPhones had lower scores when running iOS 10.2.1 despite working perfectly on older versions on Apple’s iOS.
Apple’s Official Response
Poole’s work prompted Apple to confirm his test results in an official statement. Apple noted that “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions” and “have a low battery charge or as they age over time”. They confirmed that last year they “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.” This statement was the first official confirmation of something that many users had long suspected; Apple intentionally slowed down older devices.
Why is Apple being sued?
iPhone owners accuse Apple of either failing to disclose power management changes or of intentionally slowing down older iPhone models. While users expected battery performance to degrade over time, they were not expecting significantly slower performance when Apple released a newer version of iOS. According to electronic court records reported by MacRumors, Apple is being sued in France, Israel and the US. While Apple has previously announced making vague “improvements” to prevent unexpected shutdowns, it never mentioned power management changes.
Which devices does this affect?
At the time of writing, only iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7 devices are affected, but Apple’s statement implies that it will likely continue for future iPhone models. However, as the iPhone 7 features the A10 chip with both low and high power cores, it should stay at full speed as the low power cores are used almost all the time.
Is my device affected?
Whether your device is affected depends on the age of your device and how much use it has received. The CPUdasher X app ($0.99 from the App Store) will confirm whether your device has been affected. By downloading the app and scrolling down to “CPU Frequency” you can compare your device’s score with the official score. The iPhone 6 CPU Frequency should be 1,400, while the 6S should be 1,848 and the iPhone 7’s CPU Frequency should be 2,350.
Can I use Geekbench testing?
If you're curious how your iPhone compares with the official CPU Frequencies above, you can download Geekbench 4 from the App Store and run it on your iOS device to find out its score. While this will tell you how your CPU compares with the official figures, it will not record you clock speed.
How can I fix my iPhone?
The good news is that you can get your device’s old performance back by replacing the battery. There are three ways to do this.
- Replace the battery yourself. By following the guide on iFixit.com, you can buy a new battery for under $20 and install it yourself. However, this will void your Apple warranty and Apple will refuse to work on your device again, therefore it isn’t recommended. If you go down this route, you should buy a branded battery such as iFixit, Mobile Defenders or Cooligg.
- Pay a third-party service to replace your device’s battery. Most third-party services offer a warranty, however this will also void your Apple warranty and Apple will refuse to work on your device in the future, should an issue arise.
- Pay Apple to replace the battery. In the U.S., Apple is charging $29 to replace an iPhone battery throughout 2018. This is by far the preferred option as you will receive another one-year warranty from Apple after the replacement.
While Apple may face further repercussions for failing to tell its customers about its actions, the discounted battery replacement service is the best course of action for any iPhone owners whose devices may have been affected. What are your views on Apple’s slowdown controversy? Leave a question or comment below!