Yes, Apple Is Slowing Down Old iPhones… To Avoid Unexpected Shutdowns
Apple has confirmed a user belief that has long been brushed aside as a wacky conspiracy theory: that it is deliberately slowing down older iPhones. But no, it’s not to drive upgrades — Apple’s explanation is that as an iPhone’s battery capacity degrades, iOS smooths out peak power demands from the processor that can cause unexpected shutdowns. The company said that it introduced this feature in 2016 for the iPhone 6, 6s, and SE, and added it to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.
I have no idea if the following scenario is accurate, but it seems to me that Apple, upon hearing that some iPhone 6 models were shutting down prematurely, and theorizing that it was peak CPU power demands from a weakening battery to be the cause, made the engineering change in hopes (guided by some experimental data) that it would eliminate the sudden shutdown problem for affected users. But, with millions of iPhones out in the field, Apple couldn't be sure; it only knew from in-house experiments that the tweak wouldn't render phones with that engineering change inoperable.
Then, having seen that the change did seem to alleviate the problem for most affected users, Apple continued to work on fine-tuning the "solution"…I imagine that Apple might well have intended eventually to provide a UI for the solution once it had enough experience with the software in the field to provide accurate notifications and appropriate user options.
From Apple's point of view, providing alerts and options for a battery-saving technique that was being refined via data from a very large-scale experiment on devices in the field would have been premature, especially before its engineers had enough field data to be sure of how well it worked and in which circumstances. Imagine the flack Apple would get if such alerts and notifications, which some users would find very alarming, were based upon a partially flawed analysis of the problem.
However, now that the CPU-throttling cat is out of the bag, Apple really has no choice but to provide a battery-warning UI that lets users know what is going on.
How many of the thousands of iPhone users have actually noticed the slowdown? I sure haven’t noticed it, and would say very few if any have. Much ado about nothing.
I'm disappointed in TidBITS and Josh for this conspiracy-mongering and reinforcing "article". You continue and spread a handful of assumptions, which I have yet to see tested or verified. Most fundamental is the question of what impact the decreased peak CPU speed has on real-world phone performance.
My guess is that the impact is minimal for most phone users and their activities. But I'm not writing articles that claim my assumptions are facts. We've known for more than thirty years that raw CPU speeds are a poor measure of useful task performance for end users. But this article pretends that valid conclusions can be drawn from a few digits of clock speed under limited, and largely unknown conditions. We need valid tests of the impact of the CPU speed differences, before we can say anything meaningful about Apple's choices on this topic.
I think we always knew this was the case, now it's formally in the open. From one POV i can see this has some basis and merit for Apple and I think they decided its better to come forward now as the 'cat was out of the bag' to mitigate the issue. From another POV I'd like to decide if throttling is enabled or not, thanks Apple. So my iPhone 6+ is actually perfectly fine and there is no real reason to upgrade is there, i dont need a notch really!
Apple said it throttled processor speed to prevent unexpected shutdowns, not to extend battery life. So it's not a choice between performance and battery life but between the phone occasionally crashing or not.
Also, I'm pretty sure this was in no way Secret. Early in 2016 they talked about changing battery management to extend the life of the battery and prevent the phones from shutting of when they still had battery left. (like my old iPhone 6 would often shutdown when it still had 30-40% before 10.2.1.
This doesn't seem like news, this seems like clickbait gone mad.
On further research, I think we were off base in our description of the issue as described by TechCrunch, so I'm just unpublishing this link.