“My iPhone is so slow – I think I need to upgrade to the new model.”
How many times have you heard that from your friends?
How many times have you said it yourself?
No, your phone isn’t dying.
There’s a good chance there’s nothing wrong with it, either.
The problem is simply the battery.
Apple has admitted it “dynamically manages”, or deliberately slows down your iPhone when the battery is too old (“a chemically aged battery”), so that your phone can continue to function.
This “feature”, as Apple describes it, is not done to “intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
In a message released to its customers on 28 December, Apple revealed that about a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, it imposed a “software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns”.
“We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it,” read the statement.
Affected iPhone models are the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE.
Apple has said this power management feature will be rolled out to all future iPhone models based on the “positive” customer response to the software update.
How this issue came to light
The issue was originally highlighted by a user, ‘TeckFire’, on Reddit who noticed his iPhone was considerably slower than his brother’s and set out to discover why.
He ran a Geekbench test to measure the battery power, then changed the battery, and ran the test again.
“I did a Geekbench score, and found I was getting 1466 Single and 2512 Multi. This did not change whether 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,” he wrote.
The post set off almost 5,000 responses from other affected Apple users.
“This sounds like the basis of a massive class action lawsuit against Apple,” wrote one user.
“At a minimum it looks like false advertising when comparing to their tech specs page,” wrote another.
What is Apple doing about it?
In Australia, Apple is dropping the cost of a battery replacement on any iPhone 6 or later, from $119 to $39 until December 2018.
But don’t just walk into a store and demand a new battery. An Apple spokesperson told Information Age that customers will need to “start a battery service request” online before their battery can be replaced under this offer. You can find details here.
Battery replacements for any older model of iPhone remains $119.
Apple has also undertaken to give users “more visibility into the health of the battery in their iPhone” in the next iOS software update.