TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

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TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

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Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

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Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

By Josh Centers
http://tidbits.com/article/17697

Apple has confirmed a user belief that has long been brushed aside as a wacky conspiracy theory: it is deliberately slowing down older iPhones. But no, it’s not to drive upgrades — Apple’s explanation is that as an iPhone’s battery capacity degrades, iOS throttles the processor speed to extend battery life. The company said that it introduced this feature in 2016 for the iPhone 6, 6s, and SE, and added it to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2. Reasonable enough, but why was Apple so secretive about a feature that would help older iPhones retain their utility longer, even if it was at the cost of some performance? And shouldn’t the user get to decide whether to prioritize performance or battery life?

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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

adamengst
Administrator
FYI, I unpublished this ExtraBIT because I felt we didn’t do a good job of summarizing the situation, and I didn’t have more time to devote to it while traveling. We’ll see what happens over the break and if it merits more discussion later.

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

@lbutlr
On 22 Dec 2017, at 09:39, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
> FYI, I unpublished this ExtraBIT because I felt we didn’t do a good job of summarizing the situation, and I didn’t have more time to devote to it while traveling. We’ll see what happens over the break and if it merits more discussion later.

Good call. I was just looking for it because I found the release notes for iOS 10.2.1:

<https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1893>
iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.
It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.


--
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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Jerome King-2
Having just purchased an NEW iPhone 7 in October I suspect that my iPhone 7 is subject to the same "throttling" of an older one even though my battery is quite new
        Broad brush Apple control that shouldn't be

Jerry.

> On Dec 22, 2017, at 2:46 PM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 22 Dec 2017, at 09:39, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> FYI, I unpublished this ExtraBIT because I felt we didn’t do a good job of summarizing the situation, and I didn’t have more time to devote to it while traveling. We’ll see what happens over the break and if it merits more discussion later.
>
> Good call. I was just looking for it because I found the release notes for iOS 10.2.1:
>
> <https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1893>
> iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.
> It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.
>
>
> --
> Apple broke AppleScripting signatures in Mail.app, so no random signatures.
>
>
>
>
> ____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Zeedar Marc-2

> On Dec 22, 2017, at 11:52 AM, Jerome King <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Broad brush Apple control that shouldn't be

You'd rather your phone just shut off randomly?

(I do agree that Apple should have explained this at the time, but when you look at the flack they're getting, it's not too surprising they didn't want to mention it.)


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary
www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com







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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Rodney

On Dec 22, 2017, at 20:58, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:

You'd rather your phone just shut off randomly?

I think that they were being a bit too “parental”; “This is for your own good…”

At a minimum, they should show an alert when the feature is enabled. Better still, there should be a setting, performance vs battery life, like on laptops. This sort of thing is red meat to the conspiracy theorists, and was avoidable.




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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Doug Miller
In reply to this post by Jerome King-2


On Dec 22, 2017, at 2:52 PM, Jerome King <[hidden email]> wrote:

Having just purchased an NEW iPhone 7 in October I suspect that my iPhone 7 is subject to the same "throttling" of an older one even though my battery is quite new

It could be, but I kind of doubt it. I have an iPhone 6s; I bought it on launch day in September 2015, but the battery was replaced last December as part of the battery recall. So, I have had a brand new battery in it for just over 12 months. I just ran Coconut Battery on my Mac, which can measure battery health on attached iOS devices, and my battery has had 246 charge cycles and has 97% of its original capacity. Running Geekbench shows results which match what the iPhone 6s performed from the start, so my phone doesn’t seem to be throttled at all. 

You can try running Geekbench and see what the results are. The iPhone 7 should have single core in the 3300-3500 range and multi-core of 5700-6000.

Doug Miller



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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Alan Forkosh
In reply to this post by Zeedar Marc-2
 In early 2016 (I.e. winter), my iPhone 6 (running IOS 9 ) would suddenly become unresponsive and reboot when the battery % approached 50% while I was taking photos. When I plugged the phone into a charger or USB power bank, it would rapidly charge and all was well. When I took the phone to the Genius Bar, they could not find any problem.

I believe that between then and the release of IOS 10, Apple realized what the problem was and implemented the ’slow-down’ fix. A bit too late for me as I did get an iPhone 7 under my standard 2-year replacement cycle in the fall.

It would have been great if Apple had figured out and provided the fix as an opt-in option when I had the problem.

Alan Forkosh                    Oakland, CA
[hidden email]
http://al4kosh.com



> On Dec 22, 2017, at 11:58 AM, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
>> On Dec 22, 2017, at 11:52 AM, Jerome King <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Broad brush Apple control that shouldn't be
>
> You'd rather your phone just shut off randomly?
>
> (I do agree that Apple should have explained this at the time, but when you look at the flack they're getting, it's not too surprising they didn't want to mention it.)
>




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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Josh Centers
In reply to this post by @lbutlr
This has been driving me crazy all day, because we didn’t mention that note in our iOS 10.2.1 coverage: http://tidbits.com/article/17010

I was wondering how we could have missed such an obvious line in such a short set of release notes. And I’ve had phones die prematurely, so I would have spotted that!

We apparently didn’t save a screenshot of iOS 10.2.1’s release notes, but thankfully Forbes published a screenshot: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2017/01/25/apple-ios-10-2-1-release-should-you-upgrade/

Sure enough, there was NO mention of that feature in the original release notes! I have no idea when it was added, but it was before March 2017, which is when that Apple page first entered the Wayback Machine.

Apple told iMore about it, resulting to this article from 23 February 2017, almost a month after iOS 10.2.1 was released. https://www.imore.com/apple-and-ios-1021-address-unexpected-shutdowns-iphone-6-iphone-6s

So, Apple technically disclosed this feature, but they did it in the least helpful manner possible, because no one even knew about it until a month after the fact.

---
Josh Centers
Managing Editor - TidBITS
http://TidBITS.com
http://joshcenters.com
@jcenters

> On Dec 22, 2017, at 1:46 PM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Good call. I was just looking for it because I found the release notes for iOS 10.2.1:
>
> <https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1893>
> iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.
> It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.




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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Bill Rausch
In reply to this post by Rodney

> On Friday, Dec 22, at 12:05 PM, Rodney <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> ...
>
> At a minimum, they should show an alert when the feature is enabled. Better still, there should be a setting, performance vs battery life, like on laptops. This sort of thing is red meat to the conspiracy theorists, and was avoidable.

I absolutely agree with this. If they had just made it a setting, perhaps applicable to all of their phones, there would be no fuss and instead people would probably be saying what a good idea.

Bill


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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Jeff Porten
In reply to this post by Zeedar Marc-2
> On Dec 22, 2017, at 2:58 PM, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> (I do agree that Apple should have explained this at the time, but when you look at the flack they're getting, it's not too surprising they didn't want to mention it.)

Had they publicized that they had a technical fix for shutdowns from a failing battery, the same crowd that’s up in arms now would have complained about how Apple’s batteries shouldn’t fail that badly, and they should have a replacement program for all of the “flawed” batteries Apple shipped.


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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Jeff Porten
In reply to this post by Bill Rausch
> On Dec 23, 2017, at 1:31 AM, Bill Rausch <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I absolutely agree with this. If they had just made it a setting, perhaps applicable to all of their phones, there would be no fuss and instead people would probably be saying what a good idea.

If Apple “had just made it a setting” every time someone says that a feature should be user-controllable, iPhones would be as complex and as hard to manage as Android Jellybean was.

Yes—Apple is frequently in loco parentis and takes over for the user in deciding how things should be. This is why iPhones are generally considered to be easy to use. Android has gotten much better in the last few revisions, and a lot of that is that many of the things we used to be able to fiddle with have gone away.

Best,
Jeff




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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Rodney

On Dec 23, 2017, at 07:58, Jeff Porten <[hidden email]> wrote:

If Apple “had just made it a setting” every time someone says that a feature should be user-controllable, iPhones would be as complex and as hard to manage as Android Jellybean was. 

Ah yes, the “slippery slope” argument, and it does have merit. However, we’re not talking about “every time”. We’re talking about THIS time. The PR impact is big among the Apple haters and undecided voters. When Apple slows down a device without the user’s knowledge or consent, somebody will eventually notice. That is red meat to the conspiracy theorists. It could have, and should have, been avoided.

There are “performance vs battery life” settings throughout iOS; screen brightness, auto-lock timer, Raise to Wake, Bluetooth on/off, airplane mode, etc. There is already a “low power mode” option in the battery settings. Adding a more explicit “performance vs battery life” setting here would probably not end life as we know it.



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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Zeedar Marc-2

> On Dec 23, 2017, at 12:50 AM, Rodney <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Adding a more explicit “performance vs battery life” setting here would probably not end life as we know it.

But this isn't a "preference." It's a serious crashing bug that shuts a phone off without warning. Who would possibly want to leave that on?

I agree Apple should have *explained* this, but a switch to turn this on/off would be like having an option to disable the brakes in your car.


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary
www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com







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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Rodney

On Dec 23, 2017, at 10:10, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:

But this isn't a "preference." It's a serious crashing bug that shuts a phone off without warning.

If it is a bug that shuts a phone off without warning, then why not fix the bug; give a warning?

Who would possibly want to leave that on?

Those for whom all day battery life is less important than performance when they want it.

I agree Apple should have *explained* this, but a switch to turn this on/off would be like having an option to disable the brakes in your car.

There is that option in your car to do this already. It is called “your foot”. You choose whether or not to use it, and you’re probably aware of the consequences of failing to do so appropriately.




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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Bill Rausch
On 22 Dec 2017, at 23:31, Bill Rausch <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I absolutely agree with this. If they had just made it a setting, perhaps applicable to all of their phones, there would be no fuss and instead people would probably be saying what a good idea.

Do you want your phone to randomly restart? [x] Yes [ ] No

?

--
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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Doug Miller
In reply to this post by Rodney


On Dec 23, 2017, at 4:20 AM, Rodney <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Dec 23, 2017, at 10:10, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:

But this isn't a "preference." It's a serious crashing bug that shuts a phone off without warning.

If it is a bug that shuts a phone off without warning, then why not fix the bug; give a warning?

It is not a bug. It is a physical limitation of all lithium ion batteries that the batteries can no longer provide the voltage required for high power requirements as the batteries age and they are not at a high level of charge. The choice is to shut down the phone without even warning the user when there is not enough power to keep the phone on for a much longer period or slow the phone down very briefly when such power demands are made and allow the phone to continue running until the battery is completely drained, allowing warnings along the way. (I suppose that another option is to crash the running app and throw up a warning to see if the user wants to go into low power mode.) 


Who would possibly want to leave that on?

Those for whom all day battery life is less important than performance when they want it.

Again, this has nothing to do with performance vs. battery life. This is performance vs. the phone unable to continue running when there is adequate battery life left *if the phone dials down the performance for this spike*. It is clear, though, that people do not understand that our phones are constantly clocking up and down to provide adequate battery life, All that Apple has done is change this clocking up and down when the battery is physically unable to handle clocking up when the battery is in a specific state.


Doug



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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Rodney

> On Dec 23, 2017, at 13:16, Doug Miller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It is not a bug. It is a physical limitation of all lithium ion batteries that the batteries can no longer provide the voltage required for high power requirements as the batteries age and they are not at a high level of charge.

I understand this, but I’m not the one who originally referred to it as a bug…

> The choice is to shut down the phone without even warning the user when there is not enough power to keep the phone on for a much longer period or slow the phone down very briefly when such power demands are made and allow the phone to continue running until the battery is completely drained, allowing warnings along the way. (I suppose that another option is to crash the running app and throw up a warning to see if the user wants to go into low power mode.)

Yes, or to just notify the user that this feature has been enabled after the battery has aged to the point where it can no longer support the demand.

> Again, this has nothing to do with performance vs. battery life. This is performance vs. the phone unable to continue running when there is adequate battery life left *if the phone dials down the performance for this spike*.

Well, maybe. However, "performance vs. the phone unable to continue running when there is adequate battery life left *if the phone dials down the performance for this spike*” is a bit much to fit into an iOS notification…😟

> It is clear, though, that people do not understand that our phones are constantly clocking up and down to provide adequate battery life, All that Apple has done is change this clocking up and down when the battery is physically unable to handle clocking up when the battery is in a specific state.

If they’d just said that’s what they were doing, and why, then this whole controversy could’ve been avoided. Sure, there are those who’d probably complain about their failing battery and expect Apple to replace it, but at least there wouldn’t be the conspiracy theorists yelling that Apple is deliberately slowing down devices to force people to upgrade.

“Apple is trying to force me to upgrade!” Or, “Apple has made my product obsolete!" That’s a refrain we get on TidBITS every time Apple releases an OS version with a new feature that is not supported by someone's piece of antiquity, and we’re supposedly among the more sophisticated Apple product users.

Iff “Continue [y/n]” was added to the warning, then if the phone did start crashing the users would know why, and if, “We tried to warn you but you wouldn’t listen…” after a reboot would help reinforce this, but adding the feature as opt-in isn’t important to me as long as the user is made aware of the feature when the battery has degraded to the point where the feature is necessary. When I said “even better…” in my original reply to this thread, I didn’t mean to imply that there’d be a whole lot of “better”.

"I'll probably never go back to that nice glossy perfectly round Apple. What I traded in though are the limitations to make sure I was always perfectly happy in that garden - and never saw any weeds. Life though, as it evolves, has weeds. I'd rather have that.” That is a comment from a friend of mine who switched from the iPhone to an Android phone a month or so ago. He is in his late 50s, is very technical, has worked for tech companies in product development and/or tech support all his career, and has owned iPhones and iPads since the early ones. His attitude isn’t uncommon, and Apple’s choice of how to deal with the battery problem isn’t helping.


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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Tori Hernandez
In reply to this post by Zeedar Marc-2
It's so typical for people to jump to complain rather than "thinking with reason". This happens in every subject or news

Tori

On Dec 22, 2017, at 11:58 AM, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>> On Dec 22, 2017, at 11:52 AM, Jerome King <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Broad brush Apple control that shouldn't be
>
> You'd rather your phone just shut off randomly?
>
> (I do agree that Apple should have explained this at the time, but when you look at the flack they're getting, it's not too surprising they didn't want to mention it.)
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>
> Marc Zeedar
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> www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com
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Re: TidBITS: Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Extend Battery Life

Tori Hernandez
In reply to this post by Zeedar Marc-2
Prior to updating to ver 11.2 my iPhone would auto shutdown whenever I would launch any app or try to make a call. I updated and all was well. Believe me, you wouldn't want stuff like this happen. Like someone else rated, the Apple haters would have something else to complain about.

Tori

On Dec 23, 2017, at 1:10 AM, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>> On Dec 23, 2017, at 12:50 AM, Rodney <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Adding a more explicit “performance vs battery life” setting here would probably not end life as we know it.
>
> But this isn't a "preference." It's a serious crashing bug that shuts a phone off without warning. Who would possibly want to leave that on?
>
> I agree Apple should have *explained* this, but a switch to turn this on/off would be like having an option to disable the brakes in your car.
>
>
> Marc Zeedar
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