back to article You. Apple. Get in here and explain these iOS slowdowns and batteries – US, French govt reps

The chairman of the US Senate Commerce Committee and the French government want answers from Apple about its software "update" that slows older iPhones. Senator John Thune (R-SD) and the French economy ministry's consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF have both asked the technology giant pointed questions about its decision to …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Who's next then?

    Love or hate Apple at least their phones were getting updates.

    My other half has an Android has not had anything for three years. I guess that it was obsolete the day I bought it for her then.

    I guess that the French have a different view of obsolescence than anyone else.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Who's next then?

      The issue is exactly the phones got an update to slow them down...

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Who's next then?

        The issue is exactly the phones got an update to slow them down without consent, notification, or any way to opt out.

        -TFTFY

      2. snozdop

        Re: Who's next then?

        > The issue is exactly the phones got an update to slow them down...

        ...TEMPORARILY, and ONLY IF the battery is degraded past a certain point, AND the phone needs peak power to do whatever power hungry task it happens to be doing at that time.

        This is not a blanket "slow all phones" update when it reaches a certain age, as you might think by reading much of the press.

        1. Blane Bramble

          Re: Who's next then?

          @snozdop

          That is what Apple claim, and they want you to think.

          The US and French response is to find if this is true.

          I am not sure why so many people seem to leap to Apple's defence based purely on a one-sided interpretation.

    2. agatum

      Re: Who's next then?

      My other half has an Android

      She/he has an android on a phone manufactured by who? My oneplus5 gets updates all the bloody time, three I can remember during last six months. Last update was from android 7 to 8 (oreo), so my phone gets even major os releases.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring back removable batteries

    See it's shit like this why all phones should have user removable batteries rather than a stupid and pointless razor thin chassis. Give the user the ability to extend the lifespan of their phone by having easily replaceable batteries. One of the reasons I reluctantly don't want to move from my Note4.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Please do!

      I need a nice phone to replace my Note 3. :D

    2. Ian Joyner

      Re: Bring back removable batteries

      But removable batteries mean heavier and larger phone, probably also smaller battery which won't last as long. What you are suggesting is the wrong compromise.

      1. Brenda McViking
        Flame

        Re: Bring back removable batteries

        Citation needed. I have an LG V20 which has a removable battery. It's imperceptibly larger than any other large phone due to that fact - it simply needs a way to remove the back and some slightly more rugged terminals on the cell. I'm sure the extra thickness of the phone to accomodate that is measured in microns. Meanwhile the obligatory phone case I shove it in is probably a whole millimetre.

        The galaxy S series with removable batteries (S5 or previous IIRC) were thinner than the competiting iphones of the day.

        The compromise chosen by a lot of people is to carry around a power bank (battery) to charge their phone (battery), but at least that doesn't go obsolete when the phone gets replaced. removable batteries though provide 100% charge in the time it takes to replace them, rather than lugging a phone + cable + brick around for an hour. I don't change my battery very often, but when I do it's less annoying than the powerbank method.

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Bring back removable batteries

        Why would a removable battery make it heavier? Larger, well maybe a mm thicker to allow for a clip, but that is really clutching at straws.

        1. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: Bring back removable batteries

          Who cares if its heavier and thicker? No one outside of marketing is my guess.

          In reality, the batteries I have seen in sealed units are the same as the removable ones, just soldered in place. Fixed batteries have more to do with making the phone dust and water "resistant". As does removing the headphone jack.

  3. Roq D. Kasba

    Pass the popcorn, this'll be fun

    Those questions cut to the heart of the issue, well done France.

    1. Keef

      Re: Pass the popcorn, this'll be fun

      I think you should be thanking USAian Senator John Thune, not the French, for those questions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pass the popcorn, this'll be fun

      Except those questions stupidly fail to mention other iOS devices, iPad,iPad Pro, iPod touch also running iOS.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Pass the popcorn, this'll be fun

      ...and with a bit of luck, might determine who is actually in charge of and owns the phone. Us or them.

  4. Mephistro Silver badge
    Flame

    Point 5· ...

    ... is the real smoking gun here:

    "Has Apple tracked consumer complaints about processing performance that are likely to be attributable to this software update throttling feature? If so, how many such complaints has Apple received and how has Apple addressed such complaints?"

    How many millions of man-hours did Apple's customers lose wile following the "standard advice" -i.e backup, format & install everything from scratch- from Apple's customer support? What costs did said customers incur (e.g. by hiring professional help to help them to carry out the instructions) in order to follow Apple's advice?

    This was no error. It was A SCAM. I hope they get the book thrown at them.

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    WTF?

    As an owner of several iPhones (since 3S), I don't understand how a very, very expensive phone (6S Plus) can have "degraded" batteries after <2 years of use. My wife's 6S Plus, who hardly uses any CPU-intensive apps and mostly FB, could only last a day of full charge lately vs three days (during the first year.)

    I am going to have to say that the "choice" of the battery being put into these phones are the defect. I for one do not believe that I should pay Apple to fix a faulty battery that they themselves decided on. If the batteries get degraded <2 years of use then they should pony up the cost for the design blunder.

    1. Fazal Majid

      Yep. Question 9 should be: what is the design lifespan of those batteries?

      1. Alumoi

        Yep. Question 9 should be: what is the design lifespan of those batteries?

        That's common knowledge: until the next model comes along.

    2. snozdop

      > I don't understand how a very, very expensive phone (6S Plus) can have "degraded" batteries after <2 years of use.

      All Lithium Ion batteries start and continue degrading from the minute they're first used (possibly before), regardless of the cost of the device they're used in.

      Every charge cycle degrades the battery a bit - but generally isn't noticeable to begin with, and until the degradation reaches a certain point, doesn't impact the operation of the device.

      1. BoldMan

        All the more reason to have the option to replace the battery rather than replace the whole damn phone!

        1. Adam 1 Silver badge

          why do I get the feeling

          that if cars were invented in the past 5 years, the engine would be completely encased with no way to change the oil.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    9. I know Apple contribute to a lot via campaign funds and lobbying so if you could answer these questions it would be great as we need to look to be doing something to those annoying peons that cast votes.

    Please don't ask for sources for this cheeky comment because if I could find it then so could everyone else. Corporations have worked this way for a long time.

  7. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Mr. Apple

    It's not looking good, is it.

  8. PhilipN Silver badge

    Confession

    As soon as I see "French" in the heading I stop taking the issue seriously.

    Do I need to see a psychiatrist?

    Disclaimer : Nothing personal. Some of my best friends etc etc

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: Confession

      Being British I too normally have the usual neighbourly contempt for the French and their involvement in anything.

      However at least their government appear to have the guts to actually do something rather than sitting back and just taking it, which is more than can be said for those who apparently serve "us" in Westminster.

    2. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: Confession

      "As soon as I see "French" in the heading I stop taking the issue seriously."

      Whatever you need to make yourself feel better, mate. If that relieves your feelings of inadequacy and makes you feel superior, well the French are a good target because they really couldn't give a fuck what you think so there is no real harm.

      Well, apart from your insecurity and sense of failure that is, but that's your problem.

      Disclaimer: Nothing personal. Some of my best friends etc etc.

  9. Ian Joyner

    Storm in a tea cup

    Apple have quite rightly decided to slow a phone when the battery quality deteriorates. This is not obsolescence - it is extending battery life. That means batteries don't have to be replaced so quickly and thus extends battery life.

    Even on a new phone with healthy battery, processor will be slowed when battery loses charge. This is a good feature. Just think if you get into some emergency and your battery is depleted.

    Argue what you will - it is really a non-issue.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Storm in a tea cup

      Just think if you get into some emergency and your battery is depleted.

      Indeed so, which is exactly why I recently bought a replacement battery for my Samsung phone, so I know it will always be available, something you can't do for Apple products. Yes, that phone is a few mm thicker and perhaps a few grams heavier, than an iPhone. So what?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Storm in a tea cup

      "Apple have quite rightly decided to slow a phone when the battery quality deteriorates. This is not obsolescence - it is extending battery life. That means batteries don't have to be replaced so quickly and thus extends battery life"

      You mean extended, so it fails just outside their warranty window, due to having a known design fault.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: Storm in a tea cup

        "You mean extended, so it fails just outside their warranty window, due to having a known design fault."

        No, it is not a design fault. Batteries and physical things deteriorate with age. Apple have put it in the software to compensate for that.

        I see there are many ignorant remarks and 'thumbs down' to my pointing out the truth here. There is no case against Apple. Most remarks come from 'Anonymous Cowards' because they know they are wrong and don't want their words coming back to bite them later.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Storm in a tea cup

      "This is a good feature."

      The problem here is that Apple itself does not think so. If they did, they'd have bragged about it, wouldn't they? They're not in the habit of hiding stuff they're proud of.

      It has already been explained many times that the lack of information is the crux of the issue, not the technical choice.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: Storm in a tea cup

        "If they did, they'd have bragged about it, wouldn't they? They're not in the habit of hiding stuff they're proud of."

        This is a silly assessment.

    4. BoldMan

      Re: Storm in a tea cup

      You are an Apple Shill and I claim my £5

      The solution is to allow battery replacement which is relatively inexpensive rather that replace the whole phone. Oh but that isn't going to generate ridiculous profits for Apple is it so your bosses won't be happy.

      Get back into your Apple burrow!

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: Storm in a tea cup

        "You are an Apple Shill and I claim my £5"

        Not a shill, just correcting the incorrect thinking that is put around. Mostly the battery lasts as long as the phone itself - which is a long time for Apple products. After five years, my iPhone 5 did not require a new battery.

        Yes, in a perfect world you might want to replace battery, but then batteries would not run down either. When dealing with the physical world compromises must be made. Apple have chosen this way, which is not unreasonable.

        One thing in these discussions is that when someone comes up with a valid reason for what Apple have done, the detractors just retreat to 'fanboy' or 'shill' language.

        'BoldMan' just turns out to be another 'Anonymous Coward'.

    5. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Storm in a tea cup

      There is no problem with the way the software responds to a failing battery. Slowing things down is certainly preferable to having a phone that reboots continuously. Noone is complaining about that. The complaints all stem from the fact that this throttling is done silently, making your 'old' phone feel slow, and without telling people of the relatively cheap resolution to the speed issues this causes them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buying the latest and greatest. Everything is a sealed device, with a 4 year working life at most.

    I needed a small 11'' ultrabook laptop, did I buy the latest Surface Pro? Ipad Pro? No. I don't want a sealed device, that starts its 4 year decent into landfill, the moment I switch it on for the first time.

    I bought 2014 Lenovo 11s i5 ultrabook because the 4GB DDR3 sodimm ram is upgradeable, the 128GB Samsung mSATA is easily removeable/replaceable, and every part is pretty much available on ebay if it breaks from second hand spares for next to nothing. And yes, it's held together by screws and pretty modular inside, even the battery easily unplugs inside, it's not cemented in place.

    Today, there is something to be said for NOT buying the latest and 'greatest' piece of sealed up tat with a designed 4 year maximum life span.

  11. CHMultimedia

    Let me answer for them

    Tim is out spending billions in unpaid tax money right now so he can't answer your exam. So let me answer for him. These questions are easy-

    Q1":Did Apple notify its customers before it released this software update feature to throttle back processing performance for its iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2? If so, when and how did Apple notify its customers?

    Nope. Dang, this is gonna be easier than I thought.

    Q2:Did Apple offer its customers the option of declining the software update feature to throttle back processing performance? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Nope. Because illusion is the way we make big money here at Apple, like you guys get elected with vague promises and stuff. NEXT.

    Q3:Did Apple release a similar software update feature to throttle back processing performance for earlier models, such as the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 5S? If so, when? Did Apple notify its customers before doing so? If so, when and how did Apple notify its customers?

    Of course we did. We would not leave a generation of our beloved buying zombies, er, customers following dumb trends like removal of analog audio to force them to buy newer, expensive headsets that last less because of a battery. And we did that when a newer model is about to be released along with a new iOS number. And nope, we did not.

    Q4:Does Apple plan to release a similar software update feature to throttle back processing performance for newer phone models? What notice does it plan to provide to customers before doing so?

    Yes. Like, obviously. And we plan to let our beloved customers of this by adding a random notification that the behavior is activated by making the device slower.

    Q5:Has Apple tracked consumer complaints about processing performance that are likely to be attributable to this software update throttling feature? If so, how many such complaints has Apple received and how has Apple addressed such complaints?

    At first we did. But after one year or So, we stopped because we did not have enough storage to keep them. So yeah, we don't care anymore how many people complain that their pricey toys do not behave like pricey toys but like China toys.

    Q6: How did Apple notify its customers regarding the option of replacing the iPhone battery?

    It is easy. We have a patented 2-step procedure:

    1- Try hard to sell them a new iPhone

    2- Tell them that their old device is lame and the battery too like the camera and display so they buy a new iPhone because the whole thing is one year old and it's like ultra old like your grandparents' grandparents.

    Q7:Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement to $29 for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later. In addition, Apple has issued an apology to consumers for the way it handled performance for iPhones with older batteries and how Apple communicated that process. How did Apple arrive at the $29 battery replacement figure? Did the company consider alternative plans to address the issue, such as providing a replacement battery free of charge to affected consumers?

    Tim likes the 29 number. Don't you? It's like superior than 28 AND 27 at the same time! And we plan to offer a new battery in each new iPhone purchase free of charge. As an apology, we also include the installation free of charge too.

    Q8:Has Apple explored whether consumers who previously paid the full, non-discounted price for a replacement battery in an effort to restore performance should be allowed to seek a rebate for some of the purchase price?

    Eh, why not? We'll raise the next iPhone price from 79$ to make it 1578.99$, and we'll offer 50$ rebate off the new iPhone for those that bought a battery earlier. That way we are still making big money on y'all And we look like the good guys! Woooooooooaaaah!

    Eh, already done? These questions answers themselves...

  12. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Linux

    Apple and battery issues ..

    'The chairman of the US Senate Commerce Committee and the French government want answers from Apple about its software "update" that slows older iPhones.'

    They should also ask Apple the reasons for gluing the battery to the inside of the case buried under a number of fragile components, such that it requires dismantling the device with a special tool or having to return the device to Apple who charge $100 for a replacement service. You would think the geniuses at Apple could have come up with a combined battery-case that could be attached with a magnetic strip.

  13. Nimby Bronze badge
    FAIL

    want answers from Apple about its software "update" that slows older iPhones.

    Sorry, Kieren, better luck next time. I think you meant to say "upgrade". In context, an "update" is an software change to a newer version. Which this correctly was, without question. What it may or may not have been however was an "upgrade", which is an improvement to the software. So your attempted humor fell markedly flat as you leveraged the wrong key word. Details details. Words words words.

    As for Apple themselves, as well as their collective users, they can all rot. All par for the course. Why would anyone pay double the price for behind-the-curve technology just for the privilege of it being so easy to operate that an infant can use it, only to then turn around and complain when Apple made a simple choice for them so that they did not have to? It's exactly what you're paying Apple for. Did you not agree with their choice? Then maybe you should have bought a less locked-down product where you actually get to make your own choices. "Those who can, do. Those who can't? Apple™."

    1. Ian Joyner

      Re: want answers from Apple about its software "update" that slows older iPhones.

      "As for Apple themselves, as well as their collective users, they can all rot. All par for the course"

      Silly thing to say.

      "Why would anyone pay double the price for behind-the-curve technology"

      Now that really is fake news - not based on any fact at all.

      "It's exactly what you're paying Apple for. Did you not agree with their choice? "

      Most people making the beat up are non-Apple users.

      ""Those who can, do. Those who can't? Apple™.""

      Now that is rot. Your stupidity and ignorance are in abundance.

  14. Anonymous Coward
  15. wayward4now
    Linux

    I happen to loathe Apple. I've hated them since the 1980's when they obsoleted my Apple ][. Burn in Hell, Apple. Burn in Hell.

  16. Rob007

    Arrogant Apple

    My iphone 6 had started mysteriously shutting down when it got to around 35% battery, by November 2017 I had enough. Apple still wanted £89 for a battery replacement, third party shops only wanted £40 and would do it in 30-45 minutes. So I went for the third party battery. According to app Battery Life the original battery should have a capacity of 1751 mAh. The third party battery seems only to have a capacity of 1500 mAh.

    When the price of the Apple replacement went down to £25 in January, I thought I would try an Apple replacement. I went to an Apple shop had the tests explained about the third party battery which they put into their notes and booked it in. Many weeks later after some prompting Apple came up with a repair date.

    On returning to collect the phone, Apple had refused to replace the battery as a third party had replaced the battery and it would be a ‘health and safety issue’ and promptly tried to sell me a reconditioned iphone 6. Even if I had the third party battery removed they still wouldn’t replace the battery as they only did battery swaps.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019