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There has always been crazy conspiracies about electronic manufacturers deliberately slowing down their old products in order to get consumers to upgrade to their newer products, but as a turns out, this may actually be true - or at least it seems to be for Apple.

The company has essentially confirmed it temporarily slows down processes on older iPhones with degraded batteries, thanks to a recent update that is able to "smooth out the instantaneous peaks" when needed to prevent a device from shutting down. In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, but nevertheless, it aims to "deliver the best experience for customers".

Because Apple can't stop batteries from getting older and degrading, it uses a power management feature in order to extend the life of an aging iPhone and its battery. By admitting this, it also confirmed that older iPhones with older batteries can suffer from poor performance. But, of course, it didn't directly admit its power management feature forcefully slows devices and thus pushers those users to upgrade:

"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."

Mind you, iPhones will alert you when their batteries have degraded to the point where it impacts performance. And, earlier this year, Apple had to introduce iOS 10.2.1 in order to fix a bug that caused some iPhone 6S models to shut down - likely due to uneven power delivery from older batteries. Apple now revealed this feature has been implemented on iPhone 7 and will extend to future iPhones going forward.

According to one Redditor, who recently shared Geekbench results, his Phone 6S seemed to dramatically speed up after replacing the phone's degraded battery. If you want to replace your battery, Apple charges $79 plus $6.95 in shipping. Apple also has these battery replacement guidelines, in which it says a battery is meant to retain 80 per cent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles.


Apple released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE, and now, iPhone 7, and as a result, Reddit users have noticed that Apple appears to be throttling these devices. Apple has responded to the complaints, explaining it’s not slowing down older iPhones to get people to upgrade to newer devices. Instead, it's just addressing an iPhone issue in which older devices - that run on degraded lithium-ion batteries - may suffer from unexpected shutdowns. Apple's new feature will help prevent that, but, subsequently, it impacts the performance of those phones.

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Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 20 December 2017.