back to article Yes, your old iPhone is slowing down: iOS hits brakes on CPUs as batteries wear out

When Apple's iOS 11.2 update arrived on December 2, the release notes touted faster wireless charging support, among other enhancements, but made no mention of a necessary but less appealing augmentation: retarded apps for aging iPhone models. It turns out Apple's mobile operating system includes a throttling mechanism for …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

    Wait what now?!!?

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

      And so it is written...The sky turns to blood, the seas boil away, el reg builds a relationship with Apple, the rivers run dry, someone says something significant on Twatter or Facepalm, the beast with two backs is on the telly, shortly after low did the mighty FSM End this race of humanity

      Or something like that

      PS- Andrew O please explain to your colleague that it is not possible to use the word Apple and the word transparency in the same sentence

      1. Dinsdale247

        Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

        "PS- Andrew O please explain to your colleague that it is not possible to use the word Apple and the word transparency in the same sentence"

        Apple allows for window transparency in their OSX products.

        :P

        Ouch. Hey, stop throwing things at me!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

      Wait what now?!!?

      Yes, that's more shocking than that they applied a fix to prevent battery combustion which, by the way, makes the phone last longer, so to me it evens out the fact that impatient people would buy the upgrade. Not quite sure that Apple should have opened up - Microsoft never did, and it used this rigorously to help Intel to a new wad of cash from your money with every update (IMHO, of course).

      However, that Apple is so concerned about this going public that it has even emailed El Reg is saying something. Not quite sure what, but it's significant. We'll know for sure if El Reg next gets invited to the next Apple show thing :)

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

      It seems they will make an exception if they think a PR nightmare is approaching.

      E.g. here.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
        Trollface

        "... a PR nightmare is approaching"

        An Ap(ple)ocalypse?

    4. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

      *COUGH* Damage control *COUGH*

    5. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

      Fucking hell, Apple really are scum.

      1. Dinsdale247

        Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

        All the more galling that they claim they *have to* seal the battery in to boot.

        Apple: We are obsoleting your device for your own good. We swear! You don't want to really be using those three-year-old-perfectly-good-processors because we *know* you want all the latest features even though 90% of you just want a damn phone. That will be $900 please.

      2. Ian Joyner

        Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

        "Fucking hell, Apple really are scum."

        Why do you say that? If you hate Apple so much, you had better not use any personal computer or smartphone or tablet because they are all modelled on what Apple has done.

        In fact, you don't understand that Apple are extending your battery life. Slowing down operations keeps your phone going all day. Nothing would give people the incentive to update phone than battery that just lasts 2 hours a day.

        1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

          Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

          "they are all modelled on what Commodore has done."

          There, fixed that for you.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

          "Nothing would give people the incentive to update phone than battery that just lasts 2 hours a day."

          No, I think most people seeing their phone battery slowly reducing in capacity might just possibly realise that they need a new battery, not a new phone.

          1. Ian Joyner

            Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

            "No, I think most people seeing their phone battery slowly reducing in capacity"

            They might also think it's time for a new phone. What Apple has done is giving the phone and battery extra life. That is a good thing, but it leaves them open for the anti-Apple spinners to make it look otherwise.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

              A phone which is on its way out after a year and a half really does need a replaceable battery.

              That's pretty much all of them by the way.

            2. dbtx Bronze badge

              Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

              What Apple has done is giving the phone and battery extra life.

              What Apple has done here is to reduce the probability that the phone suffers from brownouts, pisses in your chili, and has to fsck itself. There is no extra life, there is only wringing out the very last bit of the first, maybe the only life.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register

      I have an ”old” iPhone 6s and had iOS 10 on it. Worked really good for a 2 year phone. Made a huge misstake of upgrading the iOS to 11.

      Now my phone is degrading fast. Charging the phone all night and after reading the news 5 min and spending 5 min on FB my battery is down ti 50%. F— Apple. :-( (really angry) Want to go back to iOS 10.

  2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Seems like sensible and clever solutions. Would you rather have shit battery time?

    1. Truckle The Uncivil

      @boring anonymous coward

      Bluntly, yes. When a ‘touch’ becomes a ‘3 second hold’ (original iPad Pro) it becomes more than annoying, it becomes impractical. Yet I still have more than ten hours video out of it. I whould rather have less hours and more usability.

      What I would like to know is if I would the speed back if I replaced the battery.

      1. katgod

        Truckle,

        It would be very odd if replacing the battery didn't fix the problem it is after all a solution to having an old and weak battery. Wouldn't it be nice if car companies could make your car work when the battery gets weak?

        1. Graybyrd
          Windows

          Enhanced automobile experience

          Wouldn't it be nice if car companies could make your car work when the battery gets weak?

          Wouldn't it be even more interesting if car companies put the vehicle battery in a sealed compartment along with the charging components, accessible only for service by an authorized dealership? For a more reliable user experience, ala Apple.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        @ Truckle

        A colleague of mine replaced his iPhone battery, and could not believe the improvement.

        YMMV

      3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Sounds more like some other issue to me.

      4. anothercynic Silver badge

        @Truckle...

        For £79 you can have your battery replaced and yes, then you will get your speed back. Several Appletards shared this when their 'phone slowed down' and then had their battery exchanged... Boom, they were back in the fast lane. Frankly, if I have a choice between a £79 battery replacement done at Apple and a new £699 phone, I'll take the battery replacement, thank you very much.

        My phone* suffers from these issues (primarily in cold weather), so a little heat pad under the phone (when used in a very cold environment) and carrying the phone in an inside pocket instead of the coat do wonders for the longevity.

        I agree with other commentards that Apple should have notified users that it will start doing this in newer editions and provided a similar slider as the 'Low Power Mode' that is available already. A 'battery health' indicator would be useful for those who don't believe that this is the primary reason why Apple do it.

        * an iPhone 6s

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Truckle...

          Yeah, no, for £79 you can have batteries replaced in *SOME* apple devices, it'd be worth your time to have a better look at the Apple webpages that cover battery replacement, there are some which are considerably more expensive.

    2. kenpile

      I'd rather have replaceable batteries, and a memory card slot while we are at it.

      1. trevorde
        Joke

        You are more likely to get a cure for cancer and an end to world hunger before those two

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        I'd rather have replaceable batteries, and a memory card slot while we are at it.

        On that subject, now that my current tablet is on its way out, does anyone sell a tablet these days which offers replaceable batteries and a memory card slot?

        Any reviews I find on the interwebs are of old discontinued models.

      3. lybad

        Yup - on another article about the same thing, a user showed that he had a phone running at 600MHz - when he put a new battery in, the CPU went back to 1400MHz.

      4. JimboSmith Silver badge

        I'd rather have replaceable batteries, and a memory card slot while we are at it.

        I will admit that I bought a "Shenzen phone" Star W007 phone that ran android but was styled to look very similar to an iPhone (see image here). I bought it specifically because a few of my friends were bemoaning the limited abilities of my feature phone. When I got my new shiny toy out at a party I slid the back off and replaced the battery. Cue the first reaction which was how did you do that? I then explained that I hadn't actually bought an iPhone but a replica and pointed out the memory card. The usual reaction at that point was why can't my iPhone do that.

        Yes the phone was very probably filled with spyware etc. by the time it reached me but it still turned heads.

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      >"Would you rather have battery time?"

      What I'd like is transparency.

      Yes it is clever, but have a notification telling you what is going on and a switch to turn it off.

      Are we out of memory? Is there a problem with the app? Should we replace the battery?

      Who knows?

    4. DougS Silver badge

      No, this was a stupid idea, or half of an idea at best

      Having the capability to reduce the power demand and avoid the phone shutting off by running the CPU slower makes perfect sense. Just like Apple goes into a power saving mode when you reach 20% battery left where the CPU runs at half speed. But it ASKS you, it doesn't just do it without telling you.

      The fail here wasn't that it slows down to avoid the phone shutting off when the battery is getting old - that part makes sense as it is better than simply shutting off without warning - the fail was that it doesn't TELL you what it is happening and why. If it did you'd know to get the battery replaced. I have a feeling after all that publicity the last few days that's exactly what it'll do before long.

      1. Dinsdale247

        Re: No, this was a stupid idea, or half of an idea at best

        No, the fail is sealing in batteries and then claiming that disabling your device is for your own good. The duplicity is so complete you are actually justifying their position.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: No, this was a stupid idea, or half of an idea at best

          If Apple was the only company making phones without easily replaceable batteries you might have a point. But pretty much no "flagship" phones in the Android world have replaceable batteries these days (I think someone posted about an LG model that does)

          Recent model iPhones actually have easier to replace batteries than some others like recent Samsung models according to ifixit.com's repairability scores.

          But like I said above, not telling people "hey looks like your battery is going bad" and giving you a choice of whether you'd like it slowed down for stability or risk random shutdowns was stupid, and they are getting a well-deserved black eye in the press for it now.

          1. Known Hero
            Thumb Up

            Re: No, this was a stupid idea, or half of an idea at best

            @DougS

            Many thanks for this sage advice..... Although ..... Since 6-7 years now all my android devices have not had replaceable batteries either, but yeah they have also been waterproof :D so non-replaceable for reasons other than shafting the consumer.

            The issue is not the ability to change batteries it's the reason why that decision is made, and in Apple's case its to get more money from you, not to make the phone better, although this is now redundant as I believe the Iphone is also waterproof

            1. Ian Joyner

              Re: No, this was a stupid idea, or half of an idea at best

              "in Apple's case its to get more money from you"

              No, they are extending the life of the product. Physical things deteriorate over time. This is extending the life of the battery, so you won't have to change before really necessary.

              It is amazing people are getting this exactly backwards. And this is being whipped up by the usual anti-Apple brigade who aren't interested in truth.

              1. michael.moon

                ok there is a simple solution to all this

                Apple make a patch to remove the illegal practice they have put in place , then they compensate all iphone and ipad users they have affected. If people purchased a new phone or new ipad as the old one was SUDDENLY too slow , apple have to reimburse the customer for the price of the device that the customer just purchased, based on that without the APPLE illegal code slow down the users would of have not purchased a new device as it was working just fine at the speed that was required. So that this can NEVER be used as excuse in the future all new devices have to have sensible battery monitor ic's embedded (these ic's are around what 2$ max ) should be able to fit that into a device with a 1000$ Build order without adversely affecting the build cost . Apple knew what they where doing was wrong or they would not have tried to hide it for so long, they have only come forward now as a class action law suit has been filled against them or they would have continued to rip off the customers until someone noticed.

                They are thieves , they stole functionality from users in that there devices became almost unusable which was timed to coincide with new product releases , to force the old device to become obsolete . This is not APPLES choice to make they should not have tried to manipulate the market , now to be honest they deserve everything they get from the class action law suit (including bankruptcy ) this needs to really signal all players of hardware that rip off your customers and there will come a day where you will pay DEARLY.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Would you rather have shit battery time?"

      No I'd like to just open the case and replace the battery.

      Here's the thing about Apples.

      They are sold at a high premium compared to comparable stuff.

      So, really, you can't afford to make the battery replaceable?

      Are you f**king kidding me?

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?"

        "No I'd like to just open the case and replace the battery."

        Maybe you should buy a Samsung Phone.

        No wait, they had user replaceable batteries, but they don't have them anymore!

        There's what we would like. And then there's the consequences. I bet both Samsung and Apple found that user replaceable battery and being waterproof don't go together. And nowadays if you bought something labelled as "genuine Samsung" or "genuine Apple" the chances of it being genuine are slim.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?"

          "And nowadays if you bought something labelled as "genuine Samsung" or "genuine Apple" the chances of it being genuine are slim."

          It's definitely not going tonne genuine apple, afaik they don't sell spares.

          I always buy replacements with titles like 'iPhone 5s genuine battery' safe in the knowledge that what I am buying is genuinely a battery. :)

          1. Fihart

            Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?" @d3vy

            "And nowadays if you bought something labelled as "genuine Samsung" or "genuine Apple" the chances of it being genuine are slim."

            So true. Needed new batteries for a Lumix camera and a Samsung phone. Reading Amazon feedback, many/most "genuine" batteries were shown to be not only fake but faulty.

            Instead I bought a Hama camera battery on the basis that this is an established German camera accessory brand. For the phone I bought from a supplier that had countless positive reviews (battery brand I'd never heard of before but which has been working well for 6 months so far).

            It's a scandal that enormous firms like Matsushita (Lumix), Samsung and Apple refuse to police their brand names, to the detriment of their customers. Of course it would help if they charged a reasonable price for replacement batteries, sold from their own sites or official retailers.

            Better still batteries should be standardised across brands (they already seem to be pretty similar in format) so that one could buy them like torch batteries, picking a trusted brand like Energiser, Duracell, etc via regular retailers. This would go a long way to reducing the number of devices which are dumped when the battery fails.

            Let's not even mention phones with fixed batteries.

            1. Ian Joyner

              Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?" @d3vy

              "Apple refuse to police their brand names"

              What? Apple gets slammed fro this all the time. I'm surprised anyone can make this comment.

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?" @d3vy

              "It's a scandal that enormous firms like Matsushita (Lumix), Samsung and Apple refuse to police their brand names, to the detriment of their customers."

              It's not that. It's that it's impossible for them to police their brand names due to the knock-offs being made in hostile nations. Really, is Samsung really going to have the ability to tell a country like China to knock it off?

        2. steve 124

          Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?"

          "No wait, they had user replaceable batteries, but they don't have them anymore!"

          That was strictly a money grab by Samsung. They've seen Apple shafting it's customers with this trick (90% of which aren't technical enough to replace it themselves, and probably over 70% no technical enough to think of taking it somewhere to have it replaced) so after 300-500 cycles (the average life of lithium batteries) it's time to shell out another 1K for a new phone.

          I really was surprised when the S8 came with a hardwired battery. You would think the problems with the 7 would have taught them they had it right the first time with a replaceable battery. Fortunately, I'm capable of changing out my own if I need. The rest of their customers are just screwed.

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?"

        "No I'd like to just open the case and replace the battery."

        So do it then..

        iPhone batteries are easy to replace, it's at most a 5 minute job.. ok, your not going to want to do it on the back seat of the bus like an actual swappable battery... but it's honestly not much harder

      3. No-One@No-Where

        Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?"

        You aren't very bright are you

        You can - it costs 29USD to get it done

        It would cost you more to buy a fucking battery for a fucking phone with a smaller fucking battery that can be replaced

        But dont let hate get in the way of common sense or a full understanding of the facts

    6. tiggity Silver badge

      @ anonymous boring coward

      Maybe people would rather have an easily user replaceable (& cheap) battery rather than shafted performance or very expensive battery replacement by Apple* or enforced upgrade?

      (Yes I know there are lots of decent small phone shops who do good & cheap Apple battery replacements, some friends f mine do - but Apple try their hardest to put people off 3rd party repairs)

      1. DougS Silver badge

        @tiggity

        Bullshit that Apple tries to put people off 3rd party repairs. They will void the warranty, but Apple will replace your battery for free under warranty if it fails so that's not really relevant. Once you are out of warranty you can do it however you wish.

        Look at ifixit.com's repairability ratings for iPhones over the years. The first few models had very low repairability ratings, but they improved them over time to being pretty good on their 0-10 scale (7s) though the iPhone X takes a dip to 6 probably due to the glass back. Compare with Samsung Galaxy S and Notes which got worse over the years and have been below iPhones for the past half decade.

        Now true they do use weird screws, but most battery replacement kits you buy on eBay or whatever come with the required screwdrivers so in practice it doesn't really matter. I don't own a Phillips or Torx screwdriver small enough to take the screws out of an iPhone, and I suspect that's true for most people, so using a more 'common' screw wouldn't have made it any easier.

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

    8. TVU Silver badge

      "Seems like sensible and clever solutions. Would you rather have shit battery time?"

      But they should have been entirely open and transparent about what was going on and, preferably, issued a message about an ailing battery which needs replacing. As things stand, it looks like a cynical and underhand way to promote phone upgrades and it's good that this (mal)practice has been exposed.

    9. Fihart

      Battery Time ?

      "Seems like sensible and clever solutions. Would you rather have shit battery time?"

      I'd rather have a battery that can be replaced without special tools !

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