Apple reportedly slowing down old iPhones to improve battery life


Several users on Reddit have noticed that Apple might be slowing down the performance of older iPhones in order to prevent the battery from degradation. There is a theory floating around that Apple deliberately slows down the performance to maintain battery life and to avoid unexpected shutdowns. Over the years, people assumed that older iPhones slow down because the iOS is optimized for latest phones.

Geekbench developer John Poole conducted a series of tests for iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 across different versions of iOS. iPhone 6 and 6s using iOS 10.2.1 is particularly relevant as this updated was designed to reduce random shutdown issues. A similar issue is faced in low-capacity iPhone 7 models using iOS 11.2.0. Several graphs and data by Geekbench:

iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6s Distribution Score for iOS 10.2.0
  • iPhone 6s Distribution Score for iOS 10.2.1
  • iPhone 6s Distribution Score for iOS 11.2.0


Apple addressed the issue in February with the iOS 10.2.1 Update:

With iOS 10.2.1, Apple made improvements to reduce occurrences of unexpected shutdowns that a small number of users were experiencing with their iPhone. iOS 10.2.1 already has over 50% of active iOS devices upgraded, and the diagnostic data we’ve received from upgraders shows that, for this small percentage of users experiencing the issue, we’re seeing a more than 80% reduction in iPhone 6s and over 70% reduction on iPhone 6 of devices unexpectedly shutting down.

iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Distribution Score for iOS 10.2.0
  • iPhone 7 Distribution Score for iOS 10.2.1
  • iPhone 7 Distribution Score for iOS 11.1.2
  • iPhone 7 Distribution Score for iOS 11.2.0


Initially, the distribution scores for iPhone 7 under iOS 10.2.0, iOS 10.2.1, and iOS 11.1.2 seems identical. However, a similar issue to iPhone 6s arises in iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.0.

Several Reddit users reported that replacing the battery does bring the performance and CPU clock speeds back to normal. However, in wake of these reports, some users will feel the need to either replace the battery or upgrade to a newer model. Geekbench developer John Poole reported that the issue is widespread. Apple scaled down the performance without giving proper notification. As a result, several users may believe that the slow down is due to CPU performance, instead of battery performance. So, in this case, Apple should get ahead of the situation and provide a convincing solution to its customers.

Apple may have implemented this with a good intention to increase the longevity of the battery and to avoid temporal shutdowns but it projects a negative impression. Several news outlets have contacted Apple, but there is no response from them. If there is more information, we will update it in near future.

Source: Geekbench  ;  Featured Image: ExtremeTech

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