Who Is Affected:

  • Anyone with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE running on iOS 10.2.1 or later
  • Anyone with an iPhone 7 running on iOS 11.2.0 or later
  • Anyone with an iPhone that has been charged 500+ times – this is only once daily for a year and a half

What to Do:

If you fit into one of the above categories, your iPhone processor performance has probably significantly declined. The fist step to fixing this is to go to an Apple store to have your battery replaced – now at a discounted price of $29.

What Happened:

If you are anything like the large majority of iPhone users, you have probably been suspicious at times that Apple is secretly plotting to get you to update your phone by slowing down older phones around the time the next model is released. This concept is called planned obsolescence. Basically, planned obsolescence is when a company designs a product with an artificially limited useful life, making it obsolete after a certain period of time. In theory, this strategy reduces the time between repeat purchases and drives up sales.

Apple has historically been accused of utilizing planned obsolescence due to users complaining that their phones began acting up whenever Apple released the next generation of its products, but until recently there was no evidence to prove whether or not this was true.

In early December, a discussion about iPhone performance and its relation to the phone’s battery age developed on a Reddit post. This discussion eventually led users to run benchmark tests on several iPhones to measure the processor speed. They discovered that when the battery on an old iPhone was replaced, there was a significant increase in the phone’s performance. Following this discovery, John Poole, the developer of one of the most commonly used iOS speed tests Geekbench, confirmed the Redditors findings.

Poole found that for iPhone 6 and 6S processor speeds dramatically decreased following the iOS 10.2.1 update, and for iPhone 7 following the iOS 11.2.0 update. These updates were released in response to users complaining that their phones were randomly shutting down before the battery was depleted. Poole speculated that Apple slowed down processor speeds in these iOS updates in an attempt to improve battery function. Unfortunately, by slowing down processor speeds when the real problem was battery life, Apple may have misled users into thinking that they needed a whole new phone, when in reality all they needed was a battery replacement – only costing $79 (now $29).

Shortly after this story broke, Apple confirmed the findings, but claimed their actions only had the best intentions:

“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.”

Among this discovery, Apple also revealed that iPhone batteries only retain their full capacity for 500 charges. This means that although they expect an iPhone to get three years of use, if you charge your iPhone every night, the battery will need to be replaced at least once for it to function throughout its three-year lifetime.

So, what can you do to fix this problem now that you know it exists? In response to many customers complaining that they felt Apple had been dishonest, Apple is offering a discounted battery replacement price of $29 on iPhone 6 or later. Replacing your battery should restore the processor performance of your phone to its original speed.