LOS ANGELES — Apple has been intentionally slowing down older iPhones, and some of its users aren’t happy about it. The company faced a backlash over revelations that it has throttled the performance of older phones this week, with some not buying the company’s explanation and others complaining about the lack of transparency.
The whole controversy began when a Reddit user recently noticed that his old iPhone seemed to have become really sluggish, only to become fast again after a battery replacement. Other users chimed in with similar reports, and the developer of the iPhone speed test tool Geekbench sifted through his data to show that the phenomenon was pretty widespread, and apparently connected to certain versions of iOS.
Eventually, Apple responded and admitted that yes, the company had indeed been throttling the performance of some phones with aging batteries. This was done to prevent the phone from suddenly shutting down when the battery wasn’t able to deliver the power needed for peak performance. Apple said that it introduced those breaks with an iOS update last year to slow down aging iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone SE models. “We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future,” the company said in a statement.
Not everyone was happy with Apple’s explanation, or the fact that the company called slowing down its products a feature. Some agreed that the company was doing the right thing, but a number of critics argued that Apple could have taken other measures, from modifying its operating system to better manage peak demands to building iPhones with bigger batteries to slow down battery depletion.
But most-repeated point of criticism was that Apple could have done a better job explaining this to its users. While the slow-down technically may have helped to prevent shut-downs, it also left iPhone owners with devices that just seemed a lot more sluggish, and no way of knowing how to remedy the situation, safe for buying a new iPhone.
That’s despite the fact that for most users affected, there would have been much cheaper solution available: They could have restored their Phone to full power simply by getting their battery replaced — which, when done by Apple, just costs $79.