Apple admits to deliberately making old iPhones sluggish

Posted:  December 22, 2017   By:    34 comments   

My iPhone is getting slow, it’s time for a new one. That’s a common thought if your phone starts to feel sluggish. If you think your old iPhone isn’t good enough to handle newer apps and features, turns out that Apple has indeed slowed down older iPhone models intentionally. This even includes last year’s iPhone 7.

The slowdown issue was brought into the spotlight after GeekBench had discovered performance degradation with older batteries and newer OS. While it is understandable that battery life gets shorter over time, it is surprising that the CPU performance could take a significant hit especially when it’s running on iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2.

As more people started digging, it became clear that older iPhones are forced to run at a lower rate until their battery is replaced. As seen above, an iPhone 6 with a dual-core A8 chip was only running at 600MHz which is less than half of its full potential. After a battery swap, it regained back its maximum clock speed of 1.4GHz.

As you can tell, a throttled processor would greatly affect performance. Usually, throttling occurs if a processor overheats or if it intentionally wants to save power, for example, if you enable battery/power saving mode. Since this happens even on a fully charged device, many believed that this is Apple’s attempt on planned obsolescence.

It seems that such assumption isn’t entirely false as Apple has issued the following statement:

Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

If your old device like the iPhone 6, 6s, iPhone SE or iPhone 7 starts to slow down, all you probably need is a battery swap. While the intention of retaining battery life on older iPhone is good, it could have been communicated better.

Apple isn’t always transparent about what it does in the background in order to keep things simple for the ordinary user. For example, when iOS 11 was first released, not many people are aware that the Bluetooth/WiFi toggles on the control centre don’t entirely switch off when you disable them. On a recent iOS 11 update, it now pops up a message to let you know that WiFi/Bluetooth is merely disconnected and it’s still running for AirDrop, Hotspot and location services.

The problem with this intentional throttling issue is that affected users may be misled into thinking that their hardware is obsolete and they would need to go out and buy a brand new iPhone. Apple could have made a more prominent warning about the battery degradation and it’s intentionally slowing your iPhone down to squeeze as much battery life as possible. Another better alternative is to give an option to the user whether they want to run on an extreme “low battery” mode or continue running at full speeds.

What do you guys think?

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34 Comments for Apple admits to deliberately making old iPhones sluggish


They should have disclosed this. Maybe do like what certain Android devices do, provide updates for a period of time and then cease support. That way consumers can make their own choices. The real is issue with Apple’s pricing, they better be giving long term support for their devices. Hard one for them but need to balance between the two.


    Add an on off switch for this feature. I generally babysit the battery(40-80% charge discharge cycle) to prolong its life. I don't want "Apple knows best" to limit my phone performance after one year even though my battery still good.


I agree that iPhone should be more transparent with this approach…

if this process kicks in, the phone should just flash at least a message saying “your phone battery is old, we are throttling down your phone so you don’t have to find your charger every 20mins. please go and replace your battery”


    they did mention the battery life cycle is 1000

    wat the heck!

    c'mon, finding charger every 20 minutes?
    ur using Samsung J1?


    Agreed that they should have been more transparent.
    OR may be give a CHOICE for the owner to choose..
    A. keep the performance, but accept the risk of turning off and on due to the battery potentially couldnt cope with the high demand required.
    B. tune down, degrade in performance, but phone wont be turning off all of a freaking suddenly.

    but i guess, users/owner and human itself is greedy.
    u do so and people will question this and that.


such act is just to prevent unexpected shutting down due to low battery charge, and also only for the unit which the battery has already reached its lifespan. i like how most of the people take it as a conspiracy and claim apple forcing people to change their old phone, just replace your freaking worn out battery then it will back to what it was.

80/20 rule is real, 80=bodokambing






      kesian bodokambing never got that iq to understand something, god bless u and the other 5, ha le lu ja


        Lu yg bodo swan.

        Lu cakap macam la apple disclose up front the reason that the stupid iphone went slow is bcos of battery.

        They didn’t disclose this up front. Lepas tu suka suka throttle other ppl phone. A typical stupid isheep will just buy a new iphone bcos they wont know that their iphone went slow bcos of battery.

        Nowhere in their apple website apple notifying isheep to change battery if phone is slow. The most maybe is to tell ppl to reset iphone

        In usa, apple also want us gov to pass a bill that users shouldn’t be able to repair their own phone. Yes go and google that up.

        Then they made it so fishing difficult to open up iphone and change the battery.

        So how many indicators you need for you Swan to realise apple is sodomising isheeps, bcos of typical isheep religious loyalty to apple. Then u wanna call ppl bodo for getting angry at apple for all these.

        Pareto rules apply to stupid isheep like you who stays loyal to the your masters despite kena tipu hidup hidup like biawak


    I agree with you on the Apple’s intention of doing it. Kudos to you for knowing the real reason behind.

    but they should inform the user of that remedy. and the best solution for this problem is actually to have a battery replacement.


      aiya most people know just people like me pity how some inborn bodokambing get so hyped to something that they are too stupid to understand , they're ok with pariah phone which slow down in a year or even less and being forced to replace rather than some phone u can actually last for years but what you need to do is to replace the cheap battery, really kesian these kataks forever stay at bottom

      ya replacing the battery is definitely the best solution since the root cause is worn out battery, apple shouldnt go that far actually, just roll out a cheap battery replacement program for cheapskate user will do


    I like how sheep defend so much it is so ridiculous. Every bug or fiasco is celebrated like a godsent feature. No sane human being will accept throttling down without permission. Apple can alert user to change battery and they choose not to for obvious reasons.

      Aswan Ali

      Sane person of course refuse throttle usage, but those makan dedak sure will defend fruit brand till die, there is no free lunch in the whole world, only those whom entitled beneficial interest will do so….ie fruit macai


Could be part of their marketing strategy in a way that only they knew how to cover it up and at the same time keeping their market growh or ramaining the same to compete in the market share. Anyhow what i can suggest apple to do is that.. just put a message saying like “iphone 5s user can only update up to iOS 10.2 for example or you may experience lower performance on your device etc”

not a sheep

apple = smooth criminal. smooth af.

apparently throttling CPU clock rate is a "feature", just like the untold feature of iPhone 10, whereby u can tell ppl you're rich and can afford an iPx, without having to open their mouth.


    ass hurt!

      not a sheep

      right, ass hurt. brainless users like you will defend like a sheep in a herd regardless. other users elsewhere in the world began filing class action lawsuits against rotten apple. the second one has already been filed as of now.


      butthurt isheep


    android = silent criminal, silent af

    a 'feature' that is with all the android phone silently slowing down within few months, without the help of OS.

      Normal Guy

      Not sure what android phones you’re talking about.. My redmi note 3g only start to slow down after 2 years. For that price point i think it was fair. My iPhone 5 lasted about 3 years until it’s true colours showed. And i paid premium for an Apple device.


Faster? Really? Many my friend iPhone 6s are feeling the slowness and lagging a year after use… How it is fast from droid? My friend Note 5 still ok and fast even though both of them buy the phone on the same period of time… still can use the Note5 unlike iPhone 6s that so laggy…..

SMH seriously….

uh huh

It's funny when you said Apple is still faster than "most" Android when Apple is just one phone and all it really takes is just 1 flagship model phone running Android to be better than iPhone to put iPhone in its place. Which, there already is..

and no, Android does not throttle down as your battery life degrades. They simply stop pushing updates on older devices and they are very transparent on how long a particular model will be supported with updates until it becomes obsolete. Thier performance remained untouched and not underclocked.

I'm sure nobody expects an iPhone 4 to perform like the X but the point is for it to perform at it's fullest capacity like it should.


why apple dont want to disclose this? simple, they want more money, they want their customers to buy new iphone

uh huh

You must have never owned an Android flagship or rather don't know how to use it to it's fullest… For your info, I owned an iPhone 8 plus, Note 8 and the OP5T. Even tho it's personal preference, the Android platform gives me more freedom of control over the software than of the IOS counterpart. Any developers out there would appreciate Android easily.


    I am one developer who does not like to develop for Android, testing the app on hundreds of phones is a nightmare let alone patching the apps later.

    In those early days, I never fancy developing applications for PC. Consoles are much better.

      uh huh

      True Android devs have to work with different screen sizes, different aspect ratios, different DPIs and etc but for that open source freedom itself allows devs to work on many devices (smartphones or non) that runs on Android. The possibility is endless compared to IOS, really.


    If you are into development for the mass users and an experimenter, android is the choice since its an open sourced linux based and you can meddle with it. The effort for development will be worthwhile, since many people can enjoy your apps. Apple is suited for endusers and graphics artist to sync to their apple laptop.


people starting sue apple for intentional slow down iPhone without consumer consent according to consumer law. if apple lost the lawsuit, those ifan especially iswan will said the consumer law is bullshit.


    They will get compensation and still worship apple


swan is so eager to defend because he realised he jus spent double the price to get a phone to type comment on soyacincau compare to other ppl and their beloved apple throttled his beloved phone without consent!! and he need to pay hiimself to send the phone to change battery.. after 4k he paid.. LMFAO!!!!! HAHAHA!!!


No one said anything about the 4. 4 does not even get ios 10 to begin with
Please get your facts straight before ranting like a 3 year old kid here