You’re Not Imagining Things: Your Old iPhone Has Gotten Slower–And Apple is Behind It

One of the reasons I spent a stupid amount of money on an iPhone X (and believe me, I still feel shame) was because my trusty 6S was getting slower and slower. I attributed that just to an aging device with an older processor that wasn’t able to keep up with newer versions of iOS. Can’t do much about that, right?

Eventually, I just gave up on the 6S and splashed out for an X.

Now we know the truth. There was nothing wrong with my phone. Apple has admitted to deliberately slowing down older iPhones.

Apple says it does slow down older models but only as a way of protecting battery performance. Lithium ion batteries get tired after a while and don’t hold their charges as long. This had become a problem with my 6S; I was getting many six hours from a 100% charge-up. That played a big part in my decision to by an X.

From the BBC:

The practice was confirmed after a customer shared performance tests on Reddit, suggesting their iPhone 6S had slowed down considerably as it had aged but had suddenly sped up again after the battery had been replaced.

“I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus, and his was faster than mine? This is when I knew something was wrong,” wrote TeckFire.

Technology website Geekbench then analysed several iPhones running different versions of the iOS operating system and found some of them did indeed appear to have been deliberately slowed down.

Apple’s response? “We’re just prolonging the life of older devices by making them less power-hungry. We’re not doing this as a way to encourage people to upgrade.”

Uh-huh. Like they didn’t take into account the possible side effects of slowing down older phones…

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “You’re Not Imagining Things: Your Old iPhone Has Gotten Slower–And Apple is Behind It

  • December 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Let’s just be clear here. What Apple is doing is managing spikes in power draw that would otherwise cause your phone to shut down. There may be a slightly slower response in processor intensive tasks that would cause a spike in battery draw and a crash of the OS. What do you consider worse…an extra second or two to buffer the YouTube clip you are trying to play or having your phone shut down because it has determined that the battery is dead (what happens when it requests power and doesn’t get it) and needing to find a power source to convince your phone it really isn’t dead? Let’s face it, Apple isn’t doing anything nefarious here, they are legitimately trying to prolong the life of your phone. If Apple REALLY wanted to make you upgrade, they would make your phone incompatible with future releases of iOS as soon as they needed to implement the smoothing feature (which by the way is way sooner than it actually would be but Apple would need to allow for future degradation of the battery in your phone). Then, while your phone might continue to operate at a similar speed to what it originally did, you might get 2 iOS upgrades before your phone was obsolete and couldn’t run the current titles in the app store as opposed to the 4 or 5 we get today. So we can all buy new Apple phones every 18-24 months or we can deal with some really creative thinking on how to deal with the fact that lithium batteries become LESS efficient over time and allow us all to use our phones just a little bit longer.

    And speaking from experience, having had an iPhone before this solution was implemented, having your phone crash 2-3 times a day and needing power to get it running because my battery was nearring end of life…a real pain in the ass.

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