An Apple conspiracy theory blooms

“For years, some iPhone owners have contended that Apple software updates purposely slowed their phones after two years in order to entice them to upgrade,” Aaron Pressman writes for Fortune. “You may have missed it over the holidays, but Apple actually admitted to purposely slowing older iPhones. So the conspiracy theorists are vindicated, right? Not exactly.”

“What Apple was up to over its past few iOS updates was not trying to entice new phone buying, but rather to solve a different [issue],” Pressman writes. “That was the glitch where an iPhone suddenly shut down even though the battery reported it had a remaining charge of 30%, 40%, sometimes even more than 50%.”

“It turns out that as phone batteries age, not only do they hold less charge, they also lose the ability to output maximum voltage at one time. So when an iPhone with an older battery needed a lot of power all at once, the battery couldn’t keep up and the phone shut down,” Pressman writes. “To avoid these seemingly random shutdowns, Apple tweaked iOS to cap the power draw, in effect forcing the phone to slow down. A better solution, or co-solution, might have been to alert iPhone owners that their batteries needed to be replaced.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Hanlon’s razor states: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

As has almost always been the case with Apple, unfortunately, transparency comes later, not sooner, and usually as a reaction to negative publicity. A simple Knowledge Base article would have preempted all of this Reddit sleuthing and the attendant handwringing and erroneous presumptions.MacDailyNews, December 20, 2017

Apple should provide a toggle switch in Settings where users specify if they’d like to keep running at high processor speeds even if it means rapid shutdowns or if they’d like to run at lower processors speeds to accommodate an aging battery that requires replacement.MacDailyNews, December 27, 2017

SEE ALSO:
Apple clarifies policy on $29 battery replacements: All iPhone 6 and later devices are eligible – January 2, 2018
Why Apple’s response to iPhone ‘batterygate’ is brilliant – December 30, 2017
Australian lawyers to launch largest-ever class action against Apple over iPhone ‘batterygate’ – December 29, 2017
The most annoying things about Apple’s iPhone ‘batterygate’ apology – December 29, 2017
iFixit discounts iPhone battery replacement kits as Apple cuts prices, apologizes for the confusion – December 29, 2017
15 class action lawsuits filed against Apple for throttling iPhones with aging batteries – December 29, 2017
Apple apologizes for poor communication about iPhone batteries and performance; slashes battery replacement cost from $79 to $29 – December 28, 2017
No, Apple’s throttling of iPhones with aging batteries is not planned obsolescence – December 28, 2017
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, 2017
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

63 Comments

  1. The reason this “A better solution, or co-solution, might have been to alert iPhone owners that their batteries needed to be replaced.” didn’t happen is if they give you this alert and you have Apple Care then you would expect a free battery.

    1. I thought Apple has been providing a battery service warning in ‘Battery Usage’ settings since iOS since 10.2.1. Is this not the case? It isn’t a pop-up alert, but if customers were so annoyed as they claim to be about the slow downs, all they had to do would have to do is take it to a Genius Bar or other service centre and ask why their phones were sooooooooo slow.

    1. OMG your aging car battery cannot start your car as quickly and won’t work in very cold weather, let’s open a class action suit and complain on MND all day…

    2. Does the battery start slowing the speed of your car as it gets older? (With the exception of a dead battery)

      Start using better analogies if you want to sound like someone who knows what they are talking about. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. No, a car and a computer are not the same thing.

  2. Once again MND calls apple stupid. I find this attitude arrogant, bulling and strongly biased to their highly personal point of view, representing a very small audience. With a user base in the hundreds of millions all over the world, most with low level computer literacy, many expecting perfection always, I find MND complete intolerance unmerited and unprofessional (take a look at your own C+ website construction, is it perfect?).

    1. Last I checked MDN is allowed their own opinion regardless of whether it coincides with yours.

      The angle they’re coming from is that a LOT of Apple’s core user base came to Apple because of their exhaustive attention to detail, because their products have always been so well thought out and because their stuff JUST WORKS! When that happens less and less they’re not only ‘allowed’ to express their frustration, as a tech site (aggregator or otherwise) – I expect them to make their opinion known. Whether it hurts your wittle feelbads isn’t relevant. In other words, MDN isn’t an entity of elected officials, it is t their job to ‘represent’ a majority.

    2. Go back and review the last 2 years of all the mistakes and disappointments that Apple has done…it’s rather embarrassing.

      MDN has every right to criticize one of the most valuable company’s in the world who operates with apparent inept leadership.

      Steve Jobs would have already fired people for as many mistakes as Apple has been making lately.

  3. What I don’t understand is why aren’t we seeing any mentions at all of Android throttling. While iOS does a rather smart thing and throttles when peak power is needed from an old battery, Android kernel throttles whenever it can, sometimes to below half the CPU (and GPU) rated clock speed, in order to avoid overheating (and running down battery).

    It seems that nobody knows about this, and nobody wants to know, not to mention how adamantly all the Android hardware makers are now claiming that they do NOT throttle their phones (they respect their customers, you know…). Well, technically, it is not them doing the throttling, it is the OS (Android), and technically, this throttling is beyond their control, but man, talk about disingenuous…

    1. You are exactly right. Android OEMS not only don’t tell users that Android devices are throttled, from day one brand new out of the box no less, those OEMs are telling users they don’t throttle devices, WHEN THEY DO.

      Apple throttles and all we hear is “Apple is terrible! Fraud! Sue them!” Android OEMs throttle and we hear nothing from those same people. applecynic tried to hide behind the deception defense, oh Android didn’t try to hide the throttling so it’s okay. Um, yes Android OEMs are telling users they don’t throttle when they most certainly do and they never informed users in the first place that devices would operate well below advertised clock speeds right out of the box. Anyone feel free to point me to the Android ad campaign that says “you’ll get half the rated clock speed sometimes”.

      Anyone who is mad about Apple throttling has to also be mad about every Android OEM throttling.

    2. Ummm not sure what websites you have been reading but a lot of android manufactures have already said they do not throttle their phones. Lg and Samsung have said this.

      1. The Android OEMs are being careful with the wording to say they don’t throttle because of the battery or over time or via firmware updates, but all Android devices are throttled out of the box on day one to avoid overheating. It’s done at the kernel level, there’s nothing that can be done about it. I’m surprised more people don’t know about this. When you are using your Android device under heavy load the CPU is being throttled, it’s that simple. This isn’t anything new, Android devices have always had to throttle the CPU to deal with thermal issues. It’s either throttle the CPU or damage the device, they have no choice.

      1. The GPU is also throttled along with the CPU. I was just reading a post from a gamer doing some testing and after 30 minutes of gameplay the GPU dropped to less than half the rated speed and stayed there. He only got the advertised performance of the device for half an hour.

        I have to say again how odd I find it that people don’t seem to know that all Android devices are throttled, it has been this way for years. However, Android OEMs aren’t *technically* lying when they say they don’t throttle devices *like Apple*. That is true, they don’t do it exactly like Apple, but they do throttle devices, both the CPU and GPU, and have always done so.

        But I would say they are lying because people like you took their statements to mean Android devices aren’t throttled in any way, when they in fact are throttled even brand new out of the box.

          1. There absolutely IS a change in behaviour from the advertised speeds and performance of the device. You can be getting HALF the advertised performance right out of the box and the manufacturer NEVER told you that. You didn’t even know about this throttling until I told you about it.

            1. Here’s another link. You can find lots of information on your own. Some devices are worse than others which is why there are lots of discussions among gamers and other power users about throttling and which devices to buy.

              In this example the CPU drops to below half the rated speed.

              https://www.androidheadlines.com/2015/04/snapdragon-810s-thermal-throttling-examined-compared-socs.html

              Yes, it’s from 2015 but I promise you there are lots of examples from 2016 and 2017. Do you still want to deny this is happening?

          2. Speaking of benchmarks most Android OEMS have been cheating on benchmarks for years and only recently stopped after they got caught. Don’t try to sell me your hogwash that Apple is some kind of big bad dishonest company and Android is transparent and honest with consumers.

            1. All corporations are made up of people and people are dishonest and/or make mistakes that can easily be construed as dishonest actions. Apple should have been more transparent about the throttling they are doing, I have no problem saying that.

              But, if you’re mad about what Apple did then you better also be mad about what Android OEMs are doing, or you’re a hypocrite, or an Android fanboy.

              You should be angrier with the Android OEMs because they are now saying they don’t throttle devices WHILE THEY CONTINUE TO DO IT.

              By the way, Apple and Motorola were the only companies not cheating on benchmarks.

        1. Do you actually know that Android is responsible for Battery/heat management? I would think that Android devices would have a similar model to PCs with the OEM doing the management via the BIOS due to the OS (Windows/Linux/Android) running on a virtualization layer allowing the OS to run on the variety of HW they support.

          Apple on the other hand controls the entire stack of HW and SW and it is clear which company is responsible for battery/heat management, though it is not clear whether it is the SW or the HW development team that has responsibility.

    3. Because Android is open source and you can see the source code for yourself. Fully transparent.

      Any “throttling” happens in day one as well as day 365. No changes to behavior were implemented.

      But if you want to go after Android manufacturers for their claims, be my guest. Give them what they deserve.

      Apple deceived! So they get priority in condemnation! 😉

      1. Android OEMs advertise speed and performance and don’t tell you that you could be getting half of that or worse right out of the box. The user is NOT INFORMED. You bought a device because it advertised X and Y speed and performance and the device does not deliver as advertised. That is deception.

        Worse yet, Android OEMs are now telling users they do not throttle devices, but THEY ALWAYS HAVE.

        Why are you excusing this and trying to explain it away? Android OEMS are also throttling and are deceiving about it.

        1. I answered you…
          “No changes to behavior were implemented.”

          Not my problem if you don’t like the answer.

          And thanks to Xennex1170, who very interestingly pointed out that there are two kinds of throttling being discussed… Those due to heat and those due to Apple’s stealth.

          1. Yeah, I already explained that what Android is doing isn’t the exact same kind of throttling. It’s still throttling though. The Android OEMs know it is happening and are still saying they don’t throttle. Consumers will misunderstand this to mean Android devices are not throttled in any way. In fact that already happened to DoesAppleKnowWhereTheyAreGoing who clearly took the Android OEM statements to mean no throttling at all was happening.

            To clarify then, Android throttling the CPU and GPU to less than half the advertised performance is fine, but what Apple did is terrible and bad and evil. Got it. Your hypocrisy is now on display for all to see. Thank you.

            1. So it’s all good on the Android side because they advertise false performance from day one and tell users “We don’t throttle our devices” while they are throttling devices. Ooookayyyy then. Thanks for making your hypocrisy even more apparent.

            2. Listen, I’ve tried to be nice about this…
              You have not discovered thermal throttling okay? It’s known, not hidden, and expected. Do Android OEMs embellish? Sure. Does this absolve Apple in any way shape or form? No! I have preferential condemnation for IT departments instituting changes on my property without fully informing me or asking. Yes, I’m FAR less tolerant of that.

            3. I know I didn’t discover thermal throttling. But you didn’t know about it until I told you about it, and you even asked for proof of it. Others here also had no idea it was happening and have misunderstood Android OEMs claims of no throttling.

              I’m not excusing Apple of anything, I’m saying if you’re mad about one you better be mad about the other, otherwise you’re a hypocrite Android fanboy. Arguing that some throttling is okay and other throttling is not okay only makes you a bigger hypocrite Android fanboy.

            4. Now you’re claiming you knew about thermal throttling, but when I first told you it was happening this was your response.

              “My only experience with heat and battery is that when the phone gets too hot, it does not wirelessly charge. This has only ever happened to me in the car in the heat of summer on the dash. Yes, I have a wireless car charger. But this is not slowing down, and it is full disclosure.”

              You said “this is not slowing down”. You CLEARLY DID NOT KNOW your device was being slowed down due to thermal throttling. If you knew about thermal throttling your reply to me should have been very different. End of discussion.

            5. “How does that help Apple’s deception, because thermal throttling is known….it’s as old as PCs.”

              I never said it helped Apple. I said if you’re mad about Apple throttling without telling users then you have to also be mad about Android throttling. In both cases users are not informed. In both cases devices are not delivering the advertised performance. Now I could argue it’s worse on the Android side because the OEMs have all come out and said they don’t throttle devices when they’re STILL DOING IT.

              Show me the Android OEM that put up a statement like Apple explaining all about the throttling, why it happens, how it works, etc. Not some buried documentation, a recent public statement like Apple to make sure users are aware of throttling.

              Most users do not know anything about thermal throttling, on their PCs or smartphones. On this very comment thread DoesAppleKnowWhereTheyAreGoing took the Android OEM statements to mean no throttling of any kind was happening on Android devices, and this thread skews towards geeks who would know much more than normal users.

              You’re either mad about both kinds of throttling or you are a hypocrite.

            6. The only mistake I made was to see things under the frame of deceit, because that was the context we were discussing. Android did not deceive.in the same context we were discussing. They did not implement a performance impacting change without informing. Every computer thermally throttles, every cpu has an upper acceptable temperature specification.

              Also, I am not “most users” and I can’t speak for DoesAppleKnow…., what I can speak for is that you’re an apologist and are deflecting.

              You ASSUMED I didn’t know and therefor was just as wrong as me at looking at things out of context.

              Don’t concern yourself at the direction of my outrage. Regarding Apple, it’s fact based, and when caught, they admitted it. I am mad at deceit, not throttling per se.

              Back to whatever orbit you came from…

            7. That is your (wrong) opinion, and you’re entitled to it mister apologist. Keep defending deceit, and see who’s the hypocrite.

              Come to think of it…
              There’s one other person that performs the mental gymnastics you do…

            8. “Come to think of it…
              There’s one other person that performs the mental gymnastics you do”

              I have used two other names on this site. MDN is full of mental gymnastics though, chances are it wasn’t me.

    4. The question is do Android devices remove throttling when the device is no longer overheating.

      Heat management in the PC world is handled by the HW OEMs via BIOS. Since Android is a similar model of a single OS to support a variety of HW it is more likely the Android HW OEMs have responsibility for throttling in response to device overheating.

  4. On NYE, while recording the fireworks display, my 6 Plus shutdown at 60%. It’s been working well otherwise. I checked the battery with an app, and it said it was 42% capacity used!

    It has been working all day long otherwise. So the inability to supply consistent voltage makes sense.

    1. My iPhone 6 shut down many times while the battery gauge read above 60% – and this wasn’t doing any supposedly demanding task – just browsing Facebook would do it. So you’re not alone.

  5. I don’t think the courts will ever be able to prove Apple deliberately slowed down iPhones to get iPhone users to upgrade to new iPhones unless there is some internal document at Apple saying that is true. Someone inside of Apple would likely have to present that document to the courts. Anything else would be pure speculation. Apple will be fined for something else like failure to warn consumers about slowdowns or not specifically telling iPhone owners to replace the battery for the best performance. I wouldn’t even think it would hurt Apple’s reputation for the most part but I’m not a good judge of human character. I think this whole battery thing will be forgotten in another month or so just as the Galaxy S7 battery problem was mostly forgotten.

  6. I’ve been seeing two ‘implementations’ of Apple throttling being discussed on this subject. The first is that it occurs periodically and only when peak voltage use may be needed, then is restored to ‘full’. The second is that once it sets a new throttle ‘level’ it remains there till the battery is replaced.

    The first would be similar to what happens when Android devices heat up (as well as PCs and other devices with heat management systems). It is not clear whether Android or the OEM controls heat management, though I would lean towards the latter due to similarities with PC HW (OS is designed to work on an assortment of HW). The second is also ‘reasonable’ since it only needs to be reset higher each time the onboard diagnostics determines the battery to be at a greater degraded state.

    If Apple is found to be implementing the second more ‘permanent’ type of ‘throttling’ there may be a case for the class-action plaintiffs.

    1. When the battery can not properly supply a sudden surge in demand what used to happen is that the phone would shut down. This was of course undesirable, so Apple changed the OS to instead throttle the CPU at that moment, so that the particular task takes a bit longer, but the phone does not shut down. Under normal, non-surge circumstances the phone behaves like it always did, unthrottled. This seems like a quite reasonable response to the problem. Apple’s mistake, as it so often is, was not communicating. Otherwise it’s a pretty good solution.

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