It never fails: a new iPhone comes out, and older iPhones slows to a damn crawl. Apps crash, your battery won’t hold a charge, and it generally turns into a very expensive brick. People have always suspected that there was a correlation between a new iPhone being released and your older iPhone becoming useless. And as it turns out, they were pretty much spot-on. Apple finally admitted that yes, they do make your iPhone slower as it gets older. Sneaky little bastards.
Older iPhones seem to work just fine, right up until a new model comes out. So is it a coincidence? Or part of some diabolical plan to take more of your money? Turns out, it’s a little of both.
iPhone batteries aren’t designed to last forever. They use lithium-ion batteries, which decay over time. In turn, iPhones are designed to retain 80% of it’s original battery life after 500 charge cycles. If you’re a moderate user, you can theoretically see your iPhone start to slow down after about a year (which, incidentally, is usually around the time a new phone comes out).
As the battery gets older, it can no longer handle some of the more demanding tasks. On recent models like the 6, 6S, and 7, Apple included a feature that “throttles” your processor when the battery decays. Meaning, it slows it down.
In a statement to Buzzfeed, Apple said: “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”. The feature in newer models is designed to smooth out those peaks, and prevent shut-downs.
So when your older iPhone bricks, do you NEED to get a new one? Nope. You just need to replace the battery.
So it's true Apple intentionally slow down old iPhones. Proof: My iPhone 6 was bought 3years ago and recently got really slow. APP 'CPU DasherX' shows iPhone CPU is under clocked running at 600MHz. After a iPhone battery replacement. CPU speed resumed to factory setting 1400MHz. pic.twitter.com/pML3y0Jkp2
— Sam_Si (@sam_siruomu) December 20, 2017
A new battery will set you back about $80 through Apple, and less through third party providers. Not exactly pocket change, but way less than forking over the cash for a brand new phone.