No, Apple’s throttling of iPhones with aging batteries is not planned obsolescence

“The Apple iPhone throttling controversy started with a blog post by John Poole, founder of Primate Labs, on December 18,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “Primate Labs makes the Geekbench performance testing suite that’s available for iOS, Android, and Windows.”

“Primate Labs collects literally thousands of test results, and with this rich source of data, Poole was able to derive some interesting conclusions about iPhone performance,” Hibben writes. “With the wealth of data at his disposal, Poole really should have taken a look at some other smartphone brands before criticizing Apple. He would have found that smartphone throttling is quite common.”

“To satisfy my own curiosity, I did a little data mining of my own of Geekbench 4 test results for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7,” Hibben writes. “Throttling is clearly visible in both the S7 and the S6. In the S6, it’s much more pronounced, with a distinct secondary peak at a single core score of 1040, indicating that this is due to the age of the device.”

“Smartphone performance constantly changes depending on operating conditions, software, and operating system, state of battery charge, and age of the device,” Hibben writes. “It simply isn’t reasonable to expect a smartphone to maintain optimal performance even over the course of a day, let alone over a period of years.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, Apple’s throttling iPhones with aging batteries is not planned obsolescence. Not that logic and reason will deter the parade of idiots, opportunists, and ambulance chasers from filing class action lawsuits and demanding that “something simply must be done” about this latest cause of their bunched panties.

SEE ALSO:
Apple execs face jail in France after lawsuit over slowing down iPhones – December 28, 2017
Korea seeks explanation from Apple for slowing down devices without warning – December 28, 2017
Apple now facing 8 lawsuits over throttling processors in iPhones with aging batteries – December 27, 2017
Apple tarnished their brand with clandestine iPhone battery management and processor throttling – December 27, 2017
Should Apple replace aging iPhone batteries for free instead of throttling processor speed? – December 21, 2017
Apple confirms iPhones with older batteries will take hits in performance – December 20, 201
iPhone performance and battery age – December 18, 2017
Apple met with Chinese regulators to discuss iPhone 6s unexpected shutdowns – February 10, 2017
Rumor: Apple may extend iPhone 6s battery replacement program to iPhone 6 – January 17, 2017
A message from Apple about 
iPhone and unexpected shutdowns – December 2, 2016
Apple offers free battery replacement for ‘very small number’ of iPhone 6s units with unexpected shutdown issue – November 21, 2016

24 Comments

    1. @macdoctors

      Despite your over the top language, you have hit on the true issue here. Apple made a poor decision by not communicating this “feature” to users. If Apple had told people about the throttling before the software upgrade was released, users could have decided whether they wanted to stay on an older iOS version and risk shutoffs (or buy a new battery), upgrade and live with the throttling, or buy a new phone.

      1. while you are reasoned in your argument there is still the catch 22 element that apple uniquely faces all the time on the most mundane and trivial issues. my son worked as apple retail genius for 10 years and they were constantly dealing with inane customers who want something for nothing. Apple throttles iphone x under certain circumstances, should they do pop ups written by lawyers for every conceivable customer complaint, MDN thinks so!

      2. Communicating this issue to users when the iOS upgrade was released was too late. They needed to communicate this issue before customers made the decision to purchase the iPhone.

        That said, having failed to do that, the decision to throttle in iOS was the right decision, and offering $29 battery upgrades seems like fair and reasonable compensation for the omission.

    2. Whatever Apple has been doing, whether or not the Apple PR stands up and admits that Apple’s underhanded software tinkering directly accomplishes planned obsolescence, it should have always been revealed to the owner. The fact that Apple didn’t even consider telling users or giving users control is a giveaway that Apple is no longer a user focused company. The mea culpa and battery replacement discount is a nice gesture but only after Apple had lawsuits and they knew themselves guilty. They spend pennies to distract people while raking in millions in premature iPhone replacements.

      I have noticed that Apple fan sites have been hyperventilating for months attempting to convince everyone that the late 2017 model iPhones are rocket ships. Now we all know that the much-touted quantum leap forward in speed of the 2017 phones is at least partially because the newest iOSes are fatter and they intentionally slowed older phones. Of course especially on MDN, perception is reality for some people. I think Apple’s battery performance has always been marginally acceptable. Apple only made it worse through shitty software choices.

      Is it just me or does Apple act more like Microsoft in its software “features” every day?

      1. “Now we all know that the much-touted quantum leap forward in speed of the 2017 phones is at least partially because the newest iOSes are fatter and they intentionally slowed older phones.”

        No, we don’t know that, because it isn’t true. The only “intentional slowdown” was a side effect of smoothing peak usage on devices with old batteries to avoid unexpected crashes.

        If you think Apple is no better than Microsoft, why don’t you join the millions of users switching from iPhone to Windows Phones? Oh, wait…

    1. I agree. If anything, it is extending the useful life of your phone. I know from personal experience when an iPhone I had a couple of upgrades ago would just abruptly shut down when the battery indicator was at 20-30%.

    2. Having a rapidly draining battery in an old phone, as long as accurate battery power is shown to the user, does not make the phone unusable.

      In addition to making the old phone slow, which the typical user would assume could be due to network or apps, Apple effectively hid the real state of the battery from users. This is Microsoft behavior.

      1. Andy, you obviously never had an iPhone that had the problem. I did. It did not just drain faster than a new phone from 100% to 0%. It would be working normally for a few hours and then drop in minutes from around 80% to maybe 25% (well before it gave the 20% or 10% low-battery warnings). It then suddenly shut down completely and wouldn’t restart without recharging.

        That did make the phone pretty much unusable. It also made it unsafe, because it could not be relied on to work during an emergency. Even if Apple had explained that the fix slowed peak usage, any reasonable person affected by the problem would gladly have accepted that tradeoff for personal safety.

  1. Planned obsolescence or not (it probably is though), the whole and very simple contention is why Apple did not offer a choice between deterioration of C{U clock speed vs. easy battery replacement. What’s the reason for not telling us, the consumers, until got caught? Why is it at this particular timing when Apple is hyping up the X so hard, and why only 6/6s/7 and SE? Apple’s defensive machine must be in full swing now, but all these legitimate questions will eventually be asked in court and truth will come out. Common sense should prevail.

  2. My old iPhone 4s can take 20 seconds just to start playing a podcast. My 6s makes it impossible to figure out if a new podcast is available – it will just not see episodes that the old one finds easily, (eventually).

    Apple products used to be a joy to use. Now I dread upgrades that break things I need, and keep pushing me to paid services for nonsense. Apple doesn’t empower the customers any more.

    1. I’m sure the people who are complaining that old batteries aren’t as reliable as new batteries can hire a tutor to help them with their stupidity and arrogance.

  3. At the end of the day It won’t matter what Apples true intentions were it will be perceived negatively as that’s the only news that’s sells.

    Cook is a real fool he should have known how this would be perceived regardless of the true intentions.

    I hope he and all the other overpaid gas bags are paying out of their owns pockets for all the law suits, I don’t see why me as an investor should be punished with a lower stock price as a result.

    1. Don’t worry, the executive compensation committee will dole out insane riches no matter how incompetent Apple’s hardware and software choices become. You know, because stock buybacks are what multinational corps do now to please their Wall Street friends.

      Worst of all, this is the big money product that is receiving all of Apple’s attention. Other products aren’t degraded actively, Apple just ignores them for years at a time. So Sad Apple can’t come up with anyone who can design a decent modern Mac Mini or small Mac tower.

      If i was on the Apple board, I would have had serious inquiries into executive competence a long time ago. Now we know that nobody is left at Apple with Steve’s focus on product excellence.

  4. Apple has failed on this. I believe that this could be Apple’s beginning of their fall. I’ve been an Apple user since ’84, I’m rethinking my stance for future purchases.

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