Apple iPhone Battery Controversy

Apple iPhone Battery Controversy

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Updated Jan 01, 2018 at 09:28AM EST by Y F.

Added Dec 21, 2017 at 12:26PM EST by Matt.

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Apple iPhone Battery Controversy refers to Apple's admission of slowing down various iPhone models to save battery life. The company statement seemed to confirm consumer belief that the smartphone manufacturer was purposely slowing phones down to force customers to buy new ones.


On Deceber 9th, 2017, Redditor TeckFire posted in the /r/iPhone subreddit,[1] "PSA: iPhone slow? Try replacing your battery!" They wrote that after testing their iPhone 6S, they came to realize that replacing the battery increased the speed of the software. The post seemed to confirm that Apple was slowing phones down as they age and the batteries depreciate, which Apple customers had theorized for the past several years. Within two weeks, the post[9] has received more than 4,100 points (95% upvoted) and 950 comments. TeckFire wrote:

"My iPhone 6S has been very slow these past few weeks, and even after updating multiple times, it was still slow. Couldn’t figure out why, but just thought that iOS 11 was still awful to me. Then I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus and his was… faster than mine? This is when I knew something was wrong. So, I did some research, and decided to replace my battery. Wear level was somewhere around 20% on my old battery. I did a Geekbench score, and found I was getting 1466 Single and 2512 Multi. This did not change wether I had low power mode on or off. After changing my battery, I did another test to check if it was just a placebo. Nope. 2526 Single and 4456 Multi. From what I can tell, Apple slows down phones when their battery gets too low, so you can still have a full days charge. This also means your phone might be very slow for no discernible reason. Check your Geekbench scores and see what you get if your phone is still slow!

TL;DR Apple slows down phones with low capacity batteries, replacing it makes them full speed again. Check Geekbench Scores."


Less than two weeks later, Geekbench,[2] a widely recognized consumer technology testing and scoring website, analyzed the claim. They found that the phones indeed were decreasing in processor speed to compensate for older batteries. They pointed to Redditor kadupse who explained the change in speed is due to an update in iOS. The change was put in place after customers reported issues of phones suddenly shutting down, Apple released a fix that would "scale down CPU performance" so that the batteries would need less voltage. This fixed the problem of shutdown, but ultimately slowed down phones.

Apple's Response

On December 21st, Apple responded to the claims. They told TechCrunch[3] in a statement that the company had, in fact, begun slowing down processors in iPhone 6, 6S, and 7s to solve the sudden shutdown problem. They wrote:

"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, 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.

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."
Battery Replacement

On December 28th, 2017, Apple[11] published a more in-depth response and apology on their website. In addition to explaining the lifecycle of a battery and the unexpected shutdowns, the company also offered a discounted battery replacements, from January 2018 to December 2018, which would cost $29. The company stated:

"We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

"First and foremost, we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that."


On December 21st, USA Today[12] reported that two consumers had filed a class-action breach-of-contract lawsuit against Apple. The suits argued that customers never consented to Apple slowing down older iPhones. The following day, four consumers in Chicago filed a second law suit filed for $5 million. The second suit claimed that they were tricked into buying newer models because Apple told customers that they needed the latest iPhones for better speed and performance.[13]

Media Coverage

Many news outlets covered the controversy regarding the batteries, including The Verge,[4] NPR,[5] The Guardian,[6] The Washington Post[7] and more.

Online Reaction

On December 22nd, Redditor[8] MuhammadAdel posted Apple's response in the /r/technology subreddit. Within six hours, the post received more than 22,000 points (90% upvoted) and 1,600 comments.

Twitter users reacted negative to the controversy. On December 20th, Twitter user @sam_siruomu tweeted, "So it's true Apple intentionally slow down old iPhones. Proof: My iPhone 6 was bought 3years ago and recently got really slow. APP 'CPU DasherX' shows iPhone CPU is under clocked running at 600MHz. After a iPhone battery replacement. CPU speed resumed to factory setting 1400MHz." The post (shown below, left) received more than 18,000 retweets and 30,000 likes in less than two days. Throughout the week, other Twitter users expressed their dismay at the news (examples, center and right).

So it's true Apple intentionally slow down old iPhones. Proof: My iPhone 6 was bought 3years ago and recently got really slow. APP CPU DasherX' shows iPhone CPU is under clocked running at 600MHz. After a iPhone battery replacement. CPU speed resumed to factory setting 1400MHz L1 Inst.じacne 64 Kb L1 Data Cache 64 KB L1 Data Cache 64 KB L2 Cache 1024 KB L2 Cache 1024 KB L3 Cache 0 KB L3 Cache 0 KB Page Size 16 KB Page Size 16 KB In Low Power Mode NO In Low Power Mode NO CPU Frequency 1400 MHz CPU Frequency 600 MHz hermal State Nomina hermal State Nominal GPU (METAL) This is happening to me and a) it's pissing me off and b) does anyone know how much a new iPhone 6 battery costs? Apple might be slowing down old iPhones to preserve battery life Reddit users have noticed that Apple appears to be slowing down old iPhones that have low capacity batteries. While many iPhone users have experienced perceiv... Apple just admitted to deliberately slowing down old iPhones in iOS updates to "preserve their battery life." Hey @Apple, are you sure it isn't a gimmick to get us to buy a new iPhone every year?

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