Apple’s iOS 11.2.5 release: It’s a big one

“So far Apple,” Gordon Kelly writes for Forbes. “Why Apple has jumped four version numbers (from iOS 11.2.1) is a mystery. What it contains is a mystery. But following the last week of iPhone power throttling revelations (and a fully deserved backlash), the upcoming iOS 11.2.5 just became the biggest and most important iOS update in years.”

“What Apple has to address is a loss of trust,” Kelly writes. “In finally coming clean (admittedly one year late), Apple has admitted it slows iPhones – and coincidentally just after the release of each new generation – to protect their already degrading batteries from shutting off if the phone were to continue operating at full performance.”

“Having thrown out rushed update after rushed update (often to detrimental effect), iOS 11.2.5 needs to restore customer confidence and that means transparency. It means giving users a detailed and easily accessible breakdown of iPhone battery health and the option to prioritise performance or battery life. Right now there is no reason a wall charging iPhone 7 should have its gaming performance throttled (Apple states iPhone 7 throttling began in iOS 11.2),” Kelly writes. “Bigger changes will take time and, more than that, arguably a cultural change within Apple is necessary – away from the pride it takes in a secretive ‘we know best’ mentality.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

45 Comments

    1. It’s because the power to the phone always routes through the batteries. Even if it’s plugged in the max rate it can provide is still limited by it’s battery health.

    2. No, and that’s the big misunderstanding with this whole thing. The slowdown is just for energy savings, only kicks in when cold or battery gets low, and only when the battery is of a certain age. If that e case, replacing the battery would not make the slowdown go away.
      But Apple should have been clear on this, and it should be a setting users can turn off; Apple often puts user experience over user choice unfortunately.

    3. The throttling doesn’t slow your iPhone down all the time, only during moments of peak CPU demand if your battery is weak, the rest of the time it works as normal.

      Most cars have a computerised limiter for engine RPM and in some cars that limit can change according to other circumstances. All that Apple is doing is the equivalent of lowering the maximum engine RPM if damage ( applications crashing ) might otherwise be likely to happen. In both examples of a car and of an iPhone, it’s better to continue running smoothly, but a little slower rather than to stop and have to restart if a minor fault is detected.

      Obviously we would all prefer for our iPhones to operate at maximum speed at all times and forever, but in the real world, there will be constraints as the battery ages and what Apple is doing is a smart way to address that issue.

        1. Yes, if you’re talking solely about the times when it needs to run at peak power. The point being that most people’s iPhones rarely run at peak power for long and when people perceive that their iPhone is running more slowly than it used to, there is usually a different reason.

          My trusty iMac appears to run more slowly than it used to do, but I feel pretty confident that there is no similar throttling of the CPU as it doesn’t have a battery.

          I wouldn’t get unduly worried about slower peak performance. If you’ve ever upgraded a computer by putting in a faster CPU, the difference in normal use with the faster processor isn’t anywhere near as noticeable as the numbers might lead you to expect.

          1. My Iphone 6 plus is really slow now with the update,
            Apple should not throttle this at all, especially with a new battery if I dont want it to be throttled, because the phone now is so slow, that it takes about 15 seconds for the camera to come up, and same with messages, and just to more the curser into messages is at least 10 second lag. It’s terrible and coincidentally way to close to the new phone releases. with that, it worked fine before the upgrade to ios 11, so why not let me just go back. because the phone sucks now. I honestly do not have so much ‘Faith” that Apple had our best interest in mind, and not trying to make your old phone feel useless. Please, everyone suspected this for years, As a big AAPL investor, I just hope Apple gets away with the excuse. It sounds good, but even still, tell me what’s going on.

  1. I’ve had 11.2.5 beta for a while and none of these battery switches or modes are there. Only low power mode. I still think that Apple, while developing all these high speed processing chips, have not developed batteries or power processes to sustain them.

  2. Moving on from what is being corrected, as best as can be expected, there are larger issues at play. What we’ve been witnessing is a side effect.

    I’ve already said before that Apple was being over-aggressive with their design specifications. A thin phone requires a thin battery. Throw in the expectation of performance, and “somethings gotta give”.

    This boils down to poor design. It is Apple, not the ctitics, attempting to violate the laws of physics. It’s already proven that a larger battery device, on the same OS, with a much larger screen, has batteries that wear out much later. The iPad is not covered under this replacement program.

    Before some wise guy tries to tell me that “you can’t have a brick phone!” (again) is that any larger battery would last longer. Adding 1mm thickness may have allowed the phone to “Stay fresher longer ™…)

    Of course Apple knows this…

    This is the battery version of how much memory to buy. And like memory, it’s not user expandable or replaceable. Non expandable memory is premature obsolescence. At least the battery can be replaced, and a proper notification of repair, and consequences, should have been given in the first place. This does not change the fact that these batteries are overstrained due to design.

      1. I checked other iphone models, they’re not getting thinner, they’ve gotten thicker. The headphone jack went away for other reasons, not for a thinner device.

          1. Being too thin isn’t why the headphone jack went away in iphones, SE being the exception I guess but it wouldn’t surprise me if the SE eventually lost the jack. I would like a thicker iphone but maybe consumers don’t want thicker phones. It isn’t just Apple making thin phones. None of that will bring the headphone jack back, it was time for it to go and how thin the iphone is had nothing to do with it.

            1. Apple is using that room for other things, but you said the headphone jack was removed so the device could be thinner, and that is not true. I was making a simple correction that’s all.

              I agree the headphone jack is handy, but it isn’t necessary anymore and the space can be put to better use inside the iphone.

            2. When we say thinner, we really mean keeping other dimensions constant, because it’s volume that really matters. Making thicker is likely the least design intrusive increase of volume.

              Yes, they wanted to include other things, including the biggest possible battery (I think), the space for them comes in handy, but it’s for their convenience. And to do so they get some people chirping in agreement. I’m more cynical… 🙂

            3. “I said in the first place they needed the space. That of course permitted them to stick to their desire for thinness.”

              Uh, no. You were talking about Apple’s desire for thin phones. I noted that iphones have gotten slightly thicker recently, not thinner, and that was the same time the headphone jack was removed. If Apple removed the headphone jack in order to make iphones thinner, then iphones without the headphone jack would be thinner, and they’re not. The iphone 6 with the headphone jack is 6.9 mm thick. The iphone 7 without the jack is 7.1 mm thick.

              The headphone jack was removed for space but not to make iphones thinner. Space inside the device and how thin the device is are not the same thing. You seem to be saying they’re the same thing just so you’re not wrong?

            4. This is interesting. The iphone X is thicker than the iPhone 5 (and the SE). The X is almost a full mm thicker than the iPhone 6, and the 6 had the headphone jack while the X does not.

            5. “If the battery gets stressed to the point of requiring throttling before 500 days, it’s too thin”

              Now you are on a different topic. Can I assume you realize you were wrong that the headphone jack removal had anything to do with making a thinner iphone? I hope so.

              You can argue iphones are too thin, but you cannot argue Apple removed the headphone jack in order to make iphones thinner. The opposite is true. Apple removed the headphone jack and then made iphones thicker.

              It is 500 cycles, not 500 days, small correction but an important one. I haven’t seen evidence that iphone batteries degrade any sooner than other batteries. Batteries are batteries. However it is true that iphones on average experience much heavier usage so it could appear that iphone batteries are wearing out sooner than others when in fact it is just that iphone batteries are going through more charge cycles in a shorter timespan.

              If I put 800 charge cycles on my iphone batter in less than two years because I’m using the snot out of it that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the battery or the iphone design. It means I use my iphone a lot and need a new battery sooner than someone who only puts 400 charge cycles on their smartphone in the same time period.

              Apple could take that into account though. I think they do which is why I would theorize iphones have gotten a bit thicker recently. I would not expect Apple to design a significantly thicker iphone just because I would like one and find it useful when 99 other people would not want the thicker iphone and the current design is more than enough for their needs. I can buy a battery pack for my heavier use.

            6. Get off making iPhones thinner, you are stuck on that. It’s to keep them thin, and I think they are too thin for comfort. And yes, as the more powerful chips place more demand on the battery, the pressure to “grow” the battery is greater, thus the need for more space.

              Yes, I am counting one cycle per day as an “average” guess.

              I hope you also realize that a larger battery would undergo fewer discharge/recharge cycles for any given usage pattern.

              Regardless of what people “want”, I think you would agree that what’s “right” is to design for durability and longevity. A larger battery supports this notion while thinness puts an arbitrary space restriction requiring removal of the headphone jack. More so if other components, requiring still more power are added to the device.

            7. “thinness puts an arbitrary space restriction requiring removal of the headphone jack.”

              No, thinness did not require the removal of the headphone jack. iphones after the removal of the headphone jack got thicker. They didn’t remain the same as you claim, they got thicker. The iphone X is almost a full mm thicker than the iphone 6 which had the headphone jack.

              The headphone jack assembly is very large, it is much larger than just the plug itself. How thick it is wasn’t the problem, it was the area it takes up. Apple used that space to put in a larger taptic engine, larger speakers, watertight seals around the phone, and a few other components.

              Making the iphone much thicker wouldn’t have allowed any of this. That seems to be the argument you are trying to make about volume. Sorry, your theory doesn’t work. The components Apple added had to be in that space around where the headphone jack was, and even doubling the thickness of the iphone would not have worked. Wireless audio was good enough and the headphone jack wasted a lot of area. How thick or thin the iphone was had nothing to do with it.

            8. “You are refusing to understand. We should stop now.”

              I understand your argument. You are incorrect and it is you who refuses to acknowledge that. Looking at a few other threads involving you this seems to be a pattern with you. I’ll note to not involve myself in a discussion with you in the future.

            9. Keep arguing with physics. Other things being equal, the larger battery affords the higher capacity and higher durability. Yes, it’s volume that ultimately matters.

              “The headphone jack assembly is very large, it is much larger than just the plug itself. How thick it is wasn’t the problem, it was the area it takes up. ”

              So you do get it, and that’s what I was saying, it takes up space. One minor clarification to your comment Volume = Area x Thickness. They both matter, for a given footprint, volume is increased with increased thickness. It volume (space) that matters. Unless they want to expand it in area, they need to get thicker… or make room!

              To keep things as thin as possible (as is their desire) the headphone jack had to go in order to make room for more parts and a larger battery, to accommodate all the new parts and more powerful processing. Sheesh!

            10. “Unless they want to expand it in area, they need to get thicker… or make room!”

              Removing the headphone jack made room. Making the iphone thicker wouldn’t have helped. Look at the internals and how they were changed, going thicker or thinner wasn’t the issue. More volume by going thicker only helps if you can stack components or reconfigure them to take advantage of the added thickness and in this case that could not have happened.

              Your argument about volume is based on an incorrect assumption. I will bow out now and not talk to you again.

            11. “Your argument about volume is based on an incorrect assumption.”-Yep

              “resulted in less volume for batteries. But because the one dimension that reduces a battery’s capacity most is its thickness, battery life of iPhones and MacBooks have suffered,” Phil Baker writes for Tech.pinions.

              Got it? Herr hypocrite…

    1. The iPhone X is .4 mm thicker than the iPhone 7. Maybe Apple is done going thinner and is swinging back to thicker devices. The iPhone X is heavier also.

    2. I had another thought pop into my head, the real problem might be that Apple’s chipsets are getting too powerful too fast and outpacing battery technology. I bet they’re trying to mitigate that by making newer iphones slightly thicker. Personally I would have no problem with an even thicker iphone.

        1. A thicker battery might help, or it might not help that much. Apple’s chipset tech has been on point for a long time. I bet they’re trying to strike a balance with the growing capabilities of the iphone and the available battery tech. Apple won’t get it perfect all the time. Recent iphones are thicker though. Maybe that is in part to help with the issue and we could see slightly thicker iphones in the future. It does look like Apple is done making devices thinner, they haven’t done that for years.

          I’ll bet on the chip work being what is over-aggressive in iphones, they are stupidly powerful and years ahead of other smartphones. That could be why other smartphone makers don’t have the same problem.

            1. As I said it’s a balancing act between the chipsets and the battery. Despite the recent hand wringing iphones perform extremely well in the real world. I wouldn’t say Apple is over aggressive with the chipset, it is that they are years ahead. I wonder if Apple has some battery tech up its sleeve in the next two or three years. Apple has been working on solid-state battery tech for a few years. It is possible Apple knows this is a temporary issue.

  3. LOL some of the loud cry babies probably didn’t even know it was throttled. Apple wasn’t transparent, yes thats a mistake, but what Apple did to help you KEEP your iphone longer when the battery is dying was valid. I don’t want my iphone suddenly shutting off. I’m glad they implemented a system to keep that from happening and extending the use of the battery. I’ve had my iPhone 6splus for two years now and never noticed a slow down at all. This ceiling is falling whiners probably have no idea and now demand compensation. Next thing you know, they will demand a free battery replacement because their entitled lifestyle has been disrupted. LOL

      1. “It also covered up indications grandma would get to have it looked at or fixed.”

        Care to be more specific and give explicit details of those “indications” that “grandma” would understand and know how to deal with them?

        Unless “grandma” is an active iPhone gamer, I doubt “grandma” even noticed any slow down of her iPhone at any time at all.

  4. People should stop writing about any of this if they don’t have even a basic understanding of the issue.

    There won’t be a new toggle to prioritize battery life over performance. That’s not the issue.

    The problem is that during peak performance, degraded batteries, even when fully charged, even when plugged in, won’t provide enough voltage and the iPhone will shut down unless throttled to a point where the voltage requirement is within what the battery can deliver.

    There’s nothing to toggle, and no choice to give the user, because that choice would be “Do you want your iPhone to run as fast as it can, or do you want it to…” and then it shuts down on the user.

    As for the mystery of subpoint numbers…

    Apple does this when there are multiple branches that are being developed and tested and then brought together, usually when one team delivers ahead of schedule or another behind schedule.

    “the upcoming iOS 11.2.5 just became the biggest and most important iOS update in years.”

    No.

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