There is a theory shared among certain individuals, let's say paranoid individuals, that posits that whenever a manufacturer releases a new model of a popular phone, they release updates that cripple older models, forcing the consumer into a upgrade they might not have made otherwise. Apple is not doing that with the iPhone, but they're also not doing themselves (or smartphone manufacturers) any favors by inadvertently giving the theory some weight.

In an effort to not overwhelm older, deteriorated batteries with new iOS features, new iPhone updates have also been installing safeguards that throttle performance on weakened systems. Most notable was an update for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S that used this throttling method to eliminate random shutdown issues that were plaguing the device. Consumers like John Poole at Geekbench noticed the slowdown that occurred after certain iOS updated and came to the correct conclusion that this slowdown was engineered.

When asked about it, this was Apple's response:

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.


Apple's reasoning is sound. More advanced features will take a bigger toll on the battery, and if your battery has already seen better days, it's going to be a problem. There have been reports that replacing the battery fixes these issues, so there's really no harm and no foul. The problem is that Apple should have made it clear what they were doing and why, but they didn't, so it's understandable that consumers thought it was a bit suspicious.

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