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 …

  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 !

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Battery Time ?

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

        You need:

        The new battery

        Torx screwdriver

        Philips screwdriver

        Sucker

        Common sense

        Four of those things generally come in the same packet when you order online, the other you must supply.

        These are not specialist tools.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's never YOUR phone

    The 'core' belongs to us.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It's never YOUR phone

      Apple - ‘All your core are belong to us’

  4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    I wonder...

    If only there was a way to remove and replace the battery. Apple could even sell replacement batteries.

    1. Jet Set Willy

      Re: I wonder...

      BURN THE HERETIC!

      The batteries of JOBS will Forever Be Charg'ed!

      REPLACEMENTS are the Workings Of The DEVIL and must be PURGED from the minds of the PEOPLE! Lest they consume us in the FIRE of Lithium-Ion RUNAWAY!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        @Jet Set Willy

        REPLACEMENTS are the Workings Of The DEVIL

        Just hookup the body of JOBS to a generator - enough to power a small town in perpetuity

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      Ummm... they do. It may be a revelation to you, but you can drop by a service point and request a battery replacement. Similar to the process with your watch. They even reseal it afterwards, no fuss searching for *that* miniature pentalobe screwdriver...

      Didn't have any problem with the process. Have you encountered any serious difficulties?

    3. katgod

      Re: I wonder...

      Seriously, as far as I know you can replace the iPhone battery. I know many people who have done it.

      It is not easy, look on youtube for instructions. As far as I am aware all iPhones can have their batteries replaced unless Apple changed this in the last year.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        So the question is, if the battery is replaced does the OS take away the deliberate slow down?

        Or is that an unanswered question, the answer to which might be a bit rubbish and Apple don’t really want to answer it?

        1. micheal

          Re: I wonder...

          So the question is, if the battery is replaced does the OS take away the deliberate slow down?

          NO

          MY iphone 6 suddenly went from 1.5-2 days battery life to half a day overnight (no new apps, I dont do social media) about the time the iPhone 7 came out

          Had battery changed but still half a day, Apple store looked at it sort of "buy a newer one"

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: I wonder...

            ”So the question is, if the battery is replaced does the OS take away the deliberate slow down?

            NO“

            Yes it does. Completely back to normal”*“

            ”*“ ’Normal’ may still mean that your battery life is shit, but it will be just as normally shit as everybody else.

            For the record though if you’re getting 0.5 days on a new battery, you’re either running it 100% all of the time, or something’s f*cked.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        The battery replacement for any iPhone up to 6S is a trivial easy task, and takes about 5 minutes.

        From 7 onwards though, I haven't done one and I suspect because of the waterproofing it won't be so easy.

      3. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        "It is not easy, look on youtube for instructions"

        It's five screws and a bit of tape... it's kinda easy

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: I wonder...

          It's "cooking program easy" - no problem if you happen to have the demerara sugar, ground cloves and organic strong wholemeal five-grain flour all carefully pre-weighed in convenient dishes, and the bundt pan and pentalobe screwdriver ready.

          1. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: I wonder...

            @George.

            No its easy as in... Easy.

            Buy a battery advertised as being supplied with the tools (Two screwdrivers and a sucker) and all you need is a quick guide (you tube), some common sense and your done.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: I wonder...

              No, easy should be without need of any tools, as in it's designed to be user-replaceable.

              1. d3vy Silver badge

                Re: I wonder...

                Charles, my car battery is easilly user replaceable... But I need tools.

                What's with the sudden need for everything to be dumbed down?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      @Allan George - I read this as sarcasm as I thought everyone knew that it's actually quite easy to replace an iPhone battery. (And apple do indeed make official replacement batteries available to the market) You can do it yourself at home with an inexpensive toolkit if you are so inclined or pay someone a modest fee to do it. I hand my old work phones down to my family who do this and they get an old but perfectly functional iPhone.

      But judging by the other replies maybe it wasn't sarcasm...?

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        @AC - Sarcastic? Me?

        TBH, I was aware it was possible to replace the batteries ("quite easy" for very small values of easy... it does involve a specialist toolkit and instructions), but I didn't know Apple would do it. Easy would be like the Nokia 6150, possible with one hand, no tools.

        @ Jet Set Willy - Sorry I can only upvote you once.

  5. LoCatus

    Every week, something different

    Seems every week I read something else that moves newer iPones lower on my lists of possible replacements when my iPone 6 gives up the ghost.

    1. Alex Coward 1

      Re: Every week, something different

      In other words, your 3 year old iPhone 6 is working just fine.

      1. quartzie

        Re: Every week, something different

        I had the same problem with an old Sony Z2 - it just wouldn't stop working well.

        I wanted to upgrade to get some new features, but with reasonable maintenance the thing just wouldn't die - or underperform. Until one day the battery gave up ghost, ballooned and took waterproofing away - a downpour on the very same day proved deadly to the compass & IMU.

        Took three years of fine performance and a freak coincidence to cripple the phone, otherwise another battery would have been good for another year, at least.

  6. Mephistro Silver badge
    Mushroom

    So, instead of warning the user of the issue...

    ...and advising him to change the battery, they just throttle the device without telling anyone. And this, of course, has nothing to do with programmed obsolescence, eh?

    Crooks.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: So, instead of warning the user of the issue...

      Yes, a notification that said that "due to your battery aging and no longer able to deliver the required voltage, we have slowed processing to avoid system shutdown. Please replace your battery to restore full system performance" would go a long way to avoiding such complaints.

      Except I'm guessing that would cause warranty and other consumer protection laws to force them to give you a new battery if it goes into this mode too early after you purchase it. But screw you customer, that would cost us money.

      1. Fading Silver badge

        Re: So, instead of warning the user of the issue...

        And of course there is no function for you to adjust when this kicks in - for all we know it just kicks in after 500 battery cycles irrespective of the actual physical state of the battery. Shades of the VW emissions scandal or nVidia's not quite 4GB 970 GPU here (reduce power to keep phone barely functional v reduce power to pass testing procedures v reduced memory speed at 3.5 - 4 GB levels)

        When is honesty from companies going to make a come back?

  7. Richard Boyce

    Battery shape?

    Could battery shape, specifically a very thin battery with small electrodes, limit the power output of the battery such that it is manufactured with insufficient excess capacity to cope with ageing?

    Could someone familiar with the battery technology comment on this?

    1. ilmari

      Re: Battery shape?

      It's more like, the more you focus on a battery's ability to deliver high peak power, then more you take away from its ability to to store energy. It's a tradeoff. Mobile phones very much favour capacity over power, Apple perhaps more so than the rest. Also keeping in mind that Apple has very powerful CPU while at the same time having "unremarkable" battery capacity, in remarkably small space, it pushes everything to the limit.

      In this case they pushed it perhaps too far, when some batteries have aged a bit too fast.

    2. katgod

      Re: Battery shape?

      Richard,

      Ever have a car, most people have had to replace their car battery, while it is not exactly the same it still has a limited life, about 3 to 4 years depending on usage and temperature. like a car battery when it is cold and old and you apply a heavy load the voltage drops and the phone no longer behaves as it should.

      1. Paul Hargreaves

        Re: Battery shape?

        In EVs you don't replace the main battery pack every 3-4 years and those batteries are under even worse loads. Obviously different battery tech, but also the whole battery management & heating pieces make me wonder if the same could also be applied to 'normal' cars for the 'normal' battery?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Battery shape?

          Unlike many phones, a daily full discharge and recharge is not a typical use pattern for an electric vehicle.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Battery shape?

          The chemistry of ordinary car batteries that start a fossil fuel car, and those that run EV's is very different.

          Starter batteries, which are single batteries, need to provide a very high current (40-100 amps depending on the type and size of engine) for a matter of a few 10's of seconds, and then get charged over the next 20 minutes or so using relatively unsophisticated, and generally rather poor power.

          EV batteries need to provide reasonably constant current draw for a few hours, and are then charged using sophisticated charging hardware from a clean supply normally over a number of hours. There are multiple batteries that each contribute to the overall current, and you can do some clever things with switching them from parallel to series for short bursts of power when accelerating.

          This means that the chemistry and physical design of starter and EV batteries is very different, even though they look similar from the outside, and also means that starter batteries tend to age faster.

          1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

            Re: Battery shape?

            Vote up, but a small correction:most phones have a single battery composed of cells, as do most cars, but there are a few exceptions that have two batteries.

            Also, there are quite a few modern cars that have clean electric systems.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Battery shape?

          In EVs you don't replace the main battery pack every 3-4 years

          Only because of the expense. The cells suffer from the same degradation in principle, although the battery management electronics do their best to keep the cells in good shape. Buy a three or four year old EV, and you won't get the same range as new. Some makers (eg Nissan) even have a dashboard indicator for the condition of the cells.

          I suspect that some makers are also "over-provisioning" the cells when new, in a manner similar to SSD over-provisioning. You'll recall Tesla selling 75kWh models at a discount, with a 60kWh limit in software. Logically, that could be done when new even on a 75 or 100 kWh pack, so perhaps 85 or 110 kWh of cells fitted, and the car ensures that all the driver ever sees is the "purchased capacity", but there's no degradation for much longer than would be expected without over-provision..

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Battery shape?

      The shape doesn't really matter, the problem is the chemistry of the cells can only accept so many charge/discharge cycles before losing capacity, because the cathode slowly becomes contaminated. Apple rates their batteries to retain 80% of their charge after 500 charge/discharge cycles which is about as good as it gets for the formulation used in phones - many batteries are worse than that. The problem is 500 cycles is only about a year and a half if you are a fairly heavy user and need to charge your phone nightly.

  8. Boohoo4u

    Anyone that has owned car or watch knows batteries go bad.

    As long as Apple informs the user to replace it... no big deal.

    The $79 is that bad considering the cost of a new phone.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      But if the battery in my car goes bad, one morning it won't start up. Either I use jump leads with a helpful stranger's car or I call the RAC, but I'm up and running again and the performance of the vehicle is unaffected. Obviously it becomes a lottery for it to start, but a quick trip to the local motor factors, £40 for a battery, 5 minute job, the car will now start as soon as I look at it.

      What Apple are doing is essentially like Ford making their cars lose horsepower, slowing down the speed of the air conditioning, slowing down the speed of the electric windows, giving the driver a 3 second pause after they use the indicator to then start the indicators. And then Ford telling the customer the brand new Ford car doesn't have any of these problems because it's new.

  9. John Savard Silver badge

    Economy

    The real question is: why aren't the batteries replaceable? Oh, and for that matter, why don't these phones accept Micro SD cards to expand their memory?

    They should be trying to make a product which can be sold at the lowest possible price, to benefit the maximum number of consumers. Making something just for the rich in order to make the most profit from each unit sold... is a strategy that doesn't even yield bigger profits for the company.

    Still, I may be too hard on them. New technologies are developed and introduced first for early adopters before other manufacturers make them more widely available at lower prices. So companies like Apple have a legitimate place and are benefiting everyone, even if not everyone could be a customer of theirs.

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: Economy

      It ought to be criminal to sell expensive devices without a user-replaceable battery.

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: Economy

      "The real question is: why aren't the batteries replaceable? Oh, and for that matter, why don't these phones accept Micro SD cards to expand their memory?"

      "User-replaceable" is what you mean, I suppose. "Choice", is the answer. Apple's choice. A large number of phones, from other manufacturers, come with the two features mentioned. Choice, in other words. Yours.

    3. katgod

      Re: Economy

      After market SD cards and batteries are terrible and would cause far more problems then they solve.

      If you are careful and know your source you can get good replacements but most people would buy the cheapest stuff they could find on the internet.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Economy

        I think you need to look at bigclivedotcom's channel in YouTube for his battery tear-downs.

        There are differences between expensive and cheap rechargeable batteries, but they are probably much less than you might think, and it's the embedded electronics that are often the biggest difference. As long as there is some charging protection and over-current fuses, both of which are now *very* cheap to add to a battery (using Chinese produced single chip solutions), they might fail, but not catastrophically. Things have moved on hugely in the last few years.

        Of course, if you buy the cheapest, there are likely to more corners cut, but I've bought replacement batteries for phones and laptops from Chinese sellers for years, and not had any problems.

        The only faulty phone battery that I've had was a branded Nokia battery for a 7110 (although it could have been a counterfeit, it was bought from a high street phone accessories shop), which suffered an internal short and overheated, although it did not explode or catch fire.

        When it comes to SD cards, buying them from supermarkets is nearly as cheap as on-line, and will very rarely give any trouble at all.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Economy

      "Making something just for the rich in order to make the most profit from each unit sold... is a strategy that doesn't even yield bigger profits for the company." .......

      Charge more, sell less but make more profit per sale. Charge less, sell more but make less profit per sale. It's a curve with a sweet spot that needs adjusting to allow for economies of scale and corporate overheads. They already sell so many they aren't going to get much improvements of scale so selling more would only increase corporate overhead. Their astronomic profitability suggest they are sitting on the sweet spot.

    5. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Economy

      MicroSD cards make phones less reliable, use more power (as the process stalls) and are way way slower than UFS storage. So companies shun them.

      As for user replaceable batteries.. well, it makes it impossible to have a thin sealed phone, and also they might disconnect and give problems.

      So I understand their reasons, even if I myself prefer to have these options.

    6. quartzie
      Boffin

      Re: Economy

      @John Savard: As a business oriented person, I found a fly in your soup, corrected below.

      "They should be trying to make a product which can be sold at the HIGHEST ACCEPTABLE price, to benefit the maximum number of consumers."

      Businesses are striving for profit, not just volume. High manufacturing volume @ near-zero margin can cover your production expenses, but not generate profit - see almost all current Android manufacturers for reference.

      Almost all the profit in mobile phone market is generated by Apple, even though they do not have a dominant market share.

  10. sloshnmosh

    Confirmed

    My sister claimed her iPhone was much faster after replacing the battery just 2 weeks ago.

    I asked her how old the phone/battery was and she approximated one year.

    I couldn't rationalize how an older battery could slow down a mobile...until I read the Reddit analysis.

    She did say that the replacement was free of charge BTW.

  11. sloshnmosh
    Pint

    This

    "The real question is: why aren't the batteries replaceable? Oh, and for that matter, why don't these phones accept Micro SD cards to expand their memory?"

    This!

    Have an upvote and a beer!

    1. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: This

      The batteries are replaceable. Just not by you at home. The era of plastic-shelled phones that you can crack open on a whim and fiddle with the interior has largely gone, and it’s never been Apple’s bag. Lately, it’s not Samsung’s bag either. I imagine their thinking is

      - Safety. People setting fire to their houses or their body with their phones does happen occasionally, but is far more likely with knock-off batteries. Not good publicity when that happens.

      - Design. A phone that is easily dismantled involves design compromises. Phones that creak in your hand or burst open when you drop them aren’t good publicity.

      - Support. Apple isn’t a charity. When your phone or apps go bad due to a knock-off battery or dodgy flash card, why should you be able to walk into an Apple Store and waste their time on a problem not of their own making. Also, long queues of people waiting for repairs not good publicity.

      Don’t like it? Don’t buy an iPhone.

      What I would definitely support would be a requirement for manufacturers or authorised agents to replace batteries on demand for a reasonable cost well beyond the time when a company arbitrarily decides to declare a product ‘obsolete’. If I have a working iPhone in 10 years’ time that needs a new battery, I should be able to get one.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: This

        "The batteries are replaceable. Just not by you at home."

        Yes they are, up until and including iPhone 6S replacing a battery (or a screen) is a trivial task.

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: This

        "I imagine their thinking is

        - Safety. People setting fire to their houses or their body with their phones does happen occasionally, but is far more likely with knock-off batteries. Not good publicity when that happens."

        Well colour me suprised, I never knew those Samsung Note users had changed the battery on their phones before they exploded.

        "- Design. A phone that is easily dismantled involves design compromises. Phones that creak in your hand or burst open when you drop them aren’t good publicity."

        The Nokia 3310 had a fantastic reputation, even though sometimes the shell would pop off. The problem comes if the shell doesn't go back on. Besides, the iPhone only has to look at some concrete and the screen cracks.

        "- Support. Apple isn’t a charity. When your phone or apps go bad due to a knock-off battery or dodgy flash card, why should you be able to walk into an Apple Store and waste their time on a problem not of their own making. Also, long queues of people waiting for repairs not good publicity."

        But charging nearly £200 to fix a battery on a year old phone is amazing publicity?

        "Don’t like it? Don’t buy an iPhone."

        Ok Dad.

        "What I would definitely support would be a requirement for manufacturers or authorised agents to replace batteries on demand for a reasonable cost well beyond the time when a company arbitrarily decides to declare a product ‘obsolete’. If I have a working iPhone in 10 years’ time that needs a new battery, I should be able to get one."

        But Apple aren't a charity? So why would they want to support you for 10 years when you could've had 5 new shiny iPhones from them in that time?

      3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: This

        Your defence of non-replaceable batteries is a bit silly.

        You might as well defend sealed car hoods.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: This

          They should be easily replaceable by the user BY LAW on the grounds that it's a fire risk (cite the Note 7 and the constant threat of battery bulge). If not for the "thin is in" mentality, we could have the best of both worlds: a high-performance phone that can be user-maintained and keeps for a long time. People will pay for something that lasts, and I would think people would also pay for something that's user-maintainable if just a little bit fatter. There's a good reason I don't recommend anything Samsung beyond a Note 4 or an S5; I've had more than my share of battery bulges.

          1. marc 9

            Re: This

            What's new? Batteries are not user replaceable on £30 Casio watches. I really don't see the issue.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: This

              Since when? I'm wearing one and had just changed the battery on it a couple months ago (after it ran nonstop for several years). Sure, it can't be certified water-resistant anymore, but that's another matter.

        2. Truckle The Uncivil

          Re: This

          @anonymous boring coward

          I spent much of my life as a petrol head. The only reason I have been under the hood in the last thirty years has been battery replacement or oil change. No point twiddling the carbie, no point re-timing. The software does it better than any human ear or eye can manage.

          There is no real good reason not to seal an engine compartment nowadays and efficiencies could be made by doing so. Does a Tesla even have an engine compartment?

          In general, it was a poor anology and in detail a counterproductive one, IMNSHO

      4. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: This

        Don’t like it? Don’t buy an iPhone.

        Don't worry I won't buy one.

  12. Paper
    WTF?

    Was tempted to switch away from Android, however...

    Why would I now buy one knowing that in a couple of years time an update from Apple will quietly retard the phone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Was tempted to switch away from Android, however...

      Android isn't one thing, it's thousands of things.

    2. Fred Dibnah

      Re: Was tempted to switch away from Android, however...

      On the other hand, why would I buy an Android phone knowing that in a couple of years time there won't be any more updates?

      1. Paper

        Re: Was tempted to switch away from Android, however...

        Perhaps that's why Android never gets slow. No updates, no problems ;p

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Was tempted to switch away from Android, however...

          No updates, no problems....except risking getting pwned.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somebody needs to hang for this.

    (body)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know what people are complaining about you can still show people you have an iPhone, is that not why you have an iPhone?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      No. I have an iPhone because it was cheap to buy and it the lesser evil of the available options.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Then you sir are in a minority which to be fair pretty much all iPhone users that use this website will be. The rest are all worshippers at the church of shiny.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          That's what some people like to think, because it helps them to feel better.

          The rest really don't give a shit what other people buy.

  15. wolfetone Silver badge

    What I'd like to know is, does changing the battery on the phone remedy the situation? I have an iPhone 5S which is 3 years old and the battery is absolutely knackered to the point the "battery case" I have for it needs charging twice a day.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahahahahahahhahaha

    ahahahahahahhahahaahahahahahahhahahaahahahahahahhahahaahahahahahahhahaha

    Sent from my Galaxy S

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: ahahahahahahhahaha

      Can you bring that on a plane?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: ahahahahahahhahaha

        I don't think they'd have any issue with a Note 4 or and S5 given the batteries on these can be removed.

  17. Slx

    How about an off-switch for this feature ?

    I've no issue with the feature, but why do it sneakily without user control?

    If you want to have performance and no battery life, surely that's a choice issue?

  18. Draco

    As others have commented

    For the average user this is the best possible solution.

    A typical user is far more likely to consider they can count on their phone for, let's say, 8 hours, than consider "I can get full performance for 6 hours, but after that I am without a phone".

    I agree that Apple should have been more transparent about what it is doing and allow users the option to change change how the phone behaves - after all, some people are going to insist on maximum frame rates for Candy Crush, rather than insisting their phone lasts the whole day.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: As others have commented

      No, the REAL solution should be a requirement that batteries be user-replaceable without tools. I don't care if it makes the phone fat. Anything less is not just Planned Obsolescence (which should be illegal as Not Fit For Purpose--Fit For Purpose should be designed to last as long as technologically practical in the field, if for anything else to control landfill) but also a fire risk since it discourages changing out batteries when they get into risk zones (battery bulges and so on). This is one reason I now take a shy to most rechargeable tat; they don't allow you to change out the battery when they inevitably wear out.

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Honda

    This is similar to what Honda has done with Civic Hybrid cars. Rather than constantly replacing poorly designed "IMA" systems under warranty, they changed the software to stop using it and stop reporting failures. (I had the 2005 Hybrid Accord that was such an epic disaster that I got a lemon law refund.)

  20. W4YBO

    A Christmas miracle!

    "On Wednesday, Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register:"

    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: A Christmas miracle!

      Correction: "A Festivus miracle!"

      Do try to be inclusive.

      /sarc

  21. Hairy Spod

    Nexus 7 tablet

    The last update turned my nexus from something still worthwhile to have lying around to utterly unusable a year or so ago. I wouldnt be at all surprised if google did it too.

    1. sloshnmosh

      Re: Nexus 7 tablet

      "The last update turned my nexus from something still worthwhile to have lying around to utterly unusable a year or so ago. I wouldnt be at all surprised if google did it too."

      Luckily, Nexus devices have a plethora of custom ROMS that can be flashed to them to remedy this:

      https://forum.xda-developers.com/nexus-7

      1. Bob Camp

        Re: Nexus 7 tablet

        For my Nexus 7 2012, I put stock KitKat back on then rooted it just to turn off the system update. It runs like a dream.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Nexus 7 tablet

        UNlickily, all of them cause root- and custom-aware apps to trip.

  22. 2l8

    Supercap Solution

    Super cap would help with the peaks here. Cap xx manufacture a Capacitor the size of a postage stamp (0.6 mm thick) in excess of 1 Fared designed for just such an issue. Too costly for Apple to include I guess at 25 c each.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Supercap Solution

      The problems is leakage and volume

      Look here for leacage:

      https://www.tecategroup.com/ultracapacitors-supercapacitors/ultracapacitor-FAQ.php

      0.03mA might not seem much, but if you have them at 100% capacity you have 1.6mA, and you probably want them fully charged.. and that is a problem.

      So you would need electronics to have them at the best compromise charge level, and also to prevent the supercaps from damaging the battery by leaving it 100% flat.. also you need electronics to balance the supercaps and adjust voltages.

      Conclusion: you need to have your own specific IC to control these supercaps plus the real state for them to be inside the phone.

      I would say that a company like apple should have the resources to pull this trick, but it is not as simple as just using supercaps. It only is if you are connected to a power supply.

      Note: I know about this becuase I designed a system with supercaps, and they are trickier than you might think. I ended up dumping them as the cost was too high (5$ I think, considering board plus components, not supercaps) and they consumed way to much space in my board. They do work brilliantly.

      I ended up using a Ni-Mh OTS solution. Lithium is not something I want to be responsible for (as in fires, etc)

      1. 2l8

        Re: Supercap Solution

        Hi Cap xx quote leakage current (<1uA)

        http://www.acte-uk.com/news/thinline-supercaps/

        Not sure about your other comments as above my capability, I entered the work force in 1964.

  23. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It would be good if Apple used some of their huge cash pile to spend money on R&D into better battery technology than just pushing their phone CPU to be faster in each new iPhone model. It is about time we had a battery that can power a phone for longer than a day without needing to be recharged.

    I remember reading on here an article where a guy from ARM said how their was more energy stored in a chocolate bar than a standard phone battery. I know its not practical to slot a Dairy Milk into your phone but I would be willing to accept a battery than was 'consumed' by the phone as it was used and needed to be replace say once a month if that could give me a month of use out of my phone.

    1. terrythetech
      Happy

      chocolate battery?

      I would love to see a chocolate to DC converter but sadly they don't exist - if they did we would abandon batteries and use chocolate - much cheaper and a handy snack if you feel, um, run-down.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "their was more energy stored in a chocolate bar than a standard phone battery."

      Unsurprising as a chocolate bar doesn't contain the oxidiser (you supply that by breathing) so starts out with an immediate advantage. If you take the root of a carbon chain molecule (fat or oil) it's basically -CH2. To oxidise one of these requires 3 oxygen atoms (to produce CO2 + H2O. That means that 14 grammes of reducer requires 48 grammes of oxygen. The lithium battery has to contain its own oxidiser, so despite the high energy output from oxidising lithium, it has to carry around a lot of oxygen.

      That's why an air breathing battery could be such a game changer.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Isn't there a concern these batteries could go crazy if ever subjected to a hypoxic environment, such as an airtight container?

  24. Simon Booth

    A flawed concept

    If your iPhone is plugged in to USB then there's no drain on the battery but the throttling still occurs

    I've got an iPad Pro and that updates probably twice as fast as my iPhone 6

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: A flawed concept

      wow, that is crap.. they throttle even connected to power? really?

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: A flawed concept

      "If your iPhone is plugged in to USB then there's no drain on the battery but the throttling still occurs"

      Of course.

      The peak current that has to be delivered by the battery with all cores going is a lot more than a typical PSU can provide. The reboot is caused by a worn battery not being able to provide enough current for peak output (GPU + CPU) and the resulting volt drop triggering reboot. If you plug into a USB port that can only supply 500mA or so, that is not enough to give enough safe overhead.

      In other news I believe the new super Microsoft Surface can still run down its battery while on mains and running intensive jobs, because the external power supply is not big enough.

  25. Jules 1

    To all those saying this should be a configurable option, you've misunderstood the problem. Switching this feature of wouldn't simply result in less battery life, it would render the phone unusable.

    It's the PEAK current capacity that's degraded. This means that if Apple don't slow down the processor the phone will randomly shut down/reboot during periods of heavy CPU load as the battery can't keep up.

    I've experienced this on my android phone and it's not pretty, I couldn't trust the phone to do anything even though nominally the battery appeared to have lots of charge left.

    Of course on my replaceable battery android phone I just bought a new official battery for a tenner, problem solved

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "I've experienced this on my android phone and it's not pretty, I couldn't trust the phone to do anything even though nominally the battery appeared to have lots of charge left."

      I HAVE actually experienced this. The battery would still be at like 40% when it would spontaneously reboot (even do so a couple times even after I plugged it back in). But that's one reason I insist on user-replaceable batteries. A quick switch-out and I'm back in business.

  26. whatsyourShtoile

    Children in Africa are cracking open piles of Phone 6

    just to eat the gold plating inside. eWaste bins all over America are filling up with Mac Airs and Pros that died because someone coughed and a drop of moisture landed on the keyboard.

  27. Ryan Kendall

    Not much else you can do

    Not much else Apple can do, the phones have a life of 3-4 years before the batteries cycle out.

    Irrepalcable parts = obsolescence by design.

    Most people replace after 2 years. (or an iSheep at every new iPhone release)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Not much else you can do

      "Most people replace after 2 years. (or an iSheep at every new iPhone release)"

      You would think governments would want to discourage this since Planned Obsolescence is not only unfair to the buyer but also raises landfill issues.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Charles 9

        I would have assumed you would know to follow the money, it's what the governments are doing ;)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Charles 9

          Except landfills are usually the domain of municipal governments, which are usually too small for big companies to consider worth bribing. Besides, what about standing EU laws and so on to reduce waste, meaning it's too late to bribe the EU?

      2. Erdnac

        Re: Not much else you can do

        You'd think the Greens would be all over this, yet the handful I know in the office all have iPhones!

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: Not much else you can do

          "You'd think the Greens would be all over this, yet the handful I know in the office all have iPhones"

          I think Greens and anyone intelligent can see this is extending the life of batteries and the iPhone.

    2. AdamWill

      Re: Not much else you can do

      "Most people replace after 2 years. (or an iSheep at every new iPhone release)"

      Well, *so far* that's been the pattern. But recent numbers indicate it's not any more. As does anecdotal data, around here at least; I still see lots of people using iPhones from around the 6 era, and I see a surprising amount of people using the same old Android phone I use (an LG G3).

      The last 2-3 years of phone 'innovation' just hasn't provided much that most people care about: cellphones are getting to be like PCs, where most people just don't get much benefit from getting a brand new one any more. And phones and phone plans have been around long enough that people are starting to get savvier about the costs, and realize that the carrier 'subsidy' is really a loan, not a subsidy, and they really *are* paying full whack for that shiny new phone even if they don't pay much up-front.

      Upshot, an awful lot more people getting BYOD plans and keeping their old phones, and a lot of cellphone stores closing...

      I personally am very interested to see how this developing dynamic affects the story with regard to battery replacements. It's been received wisdom for the last four or five years that consumers 'don't care' about user-replaceable batteries as they'll just replace the device when (or before) the battery dies. But I suspect that received wisdom isn't going to stand up a lot longer...

  28. mrfill

    Helpful screen

    I'm surprised Apple haven't taken the opportunity to flash up a message as well...

    "We have had to reduce the speed of your ancient iPhoneN and believe you should really buy a new one. Your friends will also stop laughing at you behind your back when you pull out a brand new iPhone. Avoid the shame. Buy now."

  29. ForthIsNotDead

    Well...

    ...if the fucking things were built in such a way that you could change the bloody battery... But no.

    Which is one of the reasons that I don't own one.

  30. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Is everyone here missing the point?

    There are two reasons for Apple's actions:

    1) The are trying to help 'their lovely consumers' who have poor battery life devices ... or

    2) They are throttling older devices deliberately to drive 'their lovely consumers' back to the Apple store to buy a "look how much faster it is" device.

    There was no mention in the article that throttling was only on devices identified as having poor battery health therefore (1) is assumed incorrect and (2) is the likely answer.

    Sky degraded their analogue transmission quality when the first digital sets came out so they could extol the quality of the new digital hardware (I was into satellite tv transmission and installed (proper) dishes at the time so actually watched it happen!), and Apple appear to be doing a similar thing - slow older devices deliberately to sell newer ones.

    I may be cynical but I don't think I'm far wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is everyone here missing the point?

      The trouble with cynicism these days is that reality consistently outperforms our most cynical imaginings, and we just can't keep pace.

      Anon because I live in Trumpistan

  31. Jim 59

    Latest smart phone features: slowing CPU, full storage, cracked glass screen

    My ancient S3: replaceable battery, upgradeable storage, indestructible plastic screen.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smartphones should be inexpensive, disposable commodities

    Similar to condoms.

    Look what happens to any new smartphone: the lithium battery degrades, the exterior gets scratched, if the glass gets cracked you'll need to replace it. Essentially you're just trying to scoop water out of a leaky boat.

    1. Bob Camp

      Re: Smartphones should be inexpensive, disposable commodities

      I can tell you that smartphones are designed to have a churn rate of just over 2 years. Anything you get beyond that is a bonus. I know this because I worked for a cell phone manufacturer.

      Customers don't want to believe it, because they have to justify to themselves that the high prices they are paying (especially if you're an iCustomer) are an investment. They have to tell themselves it will last a long time and that it won't quickly depreciate. But they are just kidding themselves.

      The iPhone 6S, released just over two years ago, is now considered to be "old."

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Smartphones should be inexpensive, disposable commodities

        Oh? I have an S4 and S5 that still work; they're just in mothballs while I use Note 4's primarily (I keep them so I can use international SIMs for data, use them at Hotspots, and get WiFi Calling on my original). And they're all still quite usable. No cracked screens because I have shields and cases on them. No battery issues because I can change them out as needed, and yes they still sell them.

        1. AdamWill

          Re: Smartphones should be inexpensive, disposable commodities

          Got an S2 that still works fine on the shelf behind me. There are even still ROM builds for it(!) I lend it out to people who need an emergency phone...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does it work?

    Kind of wondering if the new software first checks if the battery is already dying before applying the brakes? What if someone bought a brand new iPhone 7 for the holidays and they experience slow speed?

  34. djvrs

    Conspiracy

    All a conspiracy to slow your device so you have to buy a new one? In all seriousness does replacing the battery restore any lost performance?

  35. PacketPusher
    Black Helicopters

    Replace the battery.

    Of course, if they let users replace the frikkin' battery, this would not be necessary.

  36. DrXym Silver badge

    Class action, here we come

    If the phone could operate more slowly to preserve battery then there is no reason it couldn't ask the user whether to do this or not.

    Apple might make the excuse it's to "save battery life" but the more likely reason is to hasten the phone's obsolescence. If the phone gets slower then people are more likely to buy a new one. Same reason they seal the batteries in.

    It's funny how Apple, alleged masters of design, can't design a phone where the battery can be replaced by the user simply and cheaply.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's obvious why Apple doesn't want to tell.

    Clocking down the CPU to prevent sudden shutdowns will have to use an additional safety margin.

    Within the EU, if an iPhone throttles down assuming a weak/old battery within the first 2 years after purchase, then APPLE will have to replace the battery for free. And soon there are going to be instructions on how to ensure that your battery is reported weak/old 2 months before these 2 years are over -- so that you can force Apple to replace the battery for free, rather than having it get weak two months _after_ the 2 years passed.

  38. Revelationman

    Tell me something I do not know, but the sheep will continue to flock, no matter what

  39. Charles Teton

    Free battery exchange

    Just found out my 6s is eligable for a free battery upgrade!

    https://www.apple.com/uk/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/

  40. Sureo

    It's up to you

    When I was shopping for a mobile, replaceable battery was one of my checkboxes. I chose a LG-G4. When (if) it needs a new battery, it will take all of 30 seconds to replace.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: It's up to you

      FWIW, I can recommend these guys - https://gopowerbear.com/ . I got an allegedly-original replacement battery (for my G3) from eBay and it was a lemon; tried one from that company and it's working great (yep, I've cycled it all the way to death a couple of times to check it's not misreporting itself to the OS or anything). They sell through Amazon, maybe some other places.

  41. Ian Joyner

    A good feature

    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.

    Batteries are an environmental problem so keeping batteries going longer is a good thing. If Apple did not do this, people would be exchanging their batteries and phones even more frequently. Apple is thus extending your products life and protecting your investment.

    As for disclosing. Yes it would be nice, but they have done so now. They get criticised (mostly unfairly) either way. Don't listen to the critics – they are usually wrong, and pushing a barrow for the competition.

    1. whisper111

      Re: A good feature

      No its not a good feature.

      Changing batteries is better for the environment than buying a new phone.

      Would be great if there was some kind of software that could feel when the battery is worn out or if it is a new battery.

      So the Apple (trademark) "slowdown" would not impact if you decied to change battery.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: A good feature

        "Changing batteries is better for the environment than buying a new phone."

        So your choice would be to change the battery. Good for you, nothing is stopping you doing that.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: A good feature

          Yes there is. The battery is not user-replaceable, as in you can't just pop off the cover (without tools, that's important) and change it out. This really should be required by law due to the safety risks.

  42. Networking Dude

    Big Bro Apple knows whats best for us

    It is amazing... When the Mac was introduced, Steve Jobs made fun of IBM as being the Uber force that made everyone conform to their view of computing without complaint or defiance. Now Apple is the Uber force and doing exactly the same thing.

    1. Ian Joyner

      Re: Big Bro Apple knows whats best for us

      Apple is the new IBM? Hardly. Do you understand how IBM did business to dominate the industry in really bad monopolistic fashion. Apple still has nowhere near the power to do that, but they wouldn't anyway.

      Read Richard DeLamater's "Big Blue: IBM's Use and Abuse of Power" to see just how different Apple and IBM are.

  43. whisper111

    New battery

    As some people here described. When battery worns out just change the battery.

    Problem is that the Apple configuration will still be there if you buy a new battery.

    That's the biggest annoying thing that makes me wonder is if Samsung or other phone brands do the same.

    Would be great to analyse other brands to.

    If it turns out that its only Apple that does this then Goodbye Apple for me.. :-(

    1. Ian Joyner

      Re: New battery

      "Problem is that the Apple configuration will still be there if you buy a new battery."

      No, this software is monitoring battery performance. A new battery will restore performance. It's all part of the power management software to give you the best use out of the battery.

      While software never deteriorates, physical hardware does. This software is to compensate for this fact.

  44. Down not across Silver badge

    Pool not aware of other manufacturers limiting speed

    Poole, in a phone interview with The Register, said iPhone users have been complaining for a while about performance problems related to batteries. "But I'm not aware of any other manufacturer limiting processor speed due to performance concerns," he said.

    Yes they have. For example HP issued a firrmware that clocked the GPU down back when they (and many others) had issues with nVidia laptop GPUs.

    Mine had already died/de-soldered itself so no idea how well that "fix" would've worked. Kind of shitty thing to do (in HP's case) when there is actually hardware/manufacturing issue that they denied existed on some chassis (when exact same issue was acknowleged on other chassis after a flood of complaints) not to mention that they're really downgrading what you've bought after you've bought it.

    (This post does not contain an opinion on the Apple situation)

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