Update: Apple has confirmed it's slowing down older iPhones for a very specific reason. Aged batteries, low charges and cold weather can shut down your phone, so it's worked out an algorithm to reduce performance to protect the electronic components inside, according to a new statement on TechCrunch (opens in new tab).
So, yes, Apple is be slowing down your old iPhone, but the reason isn't as nefarious as it looks on paper. The end result is unchanged. You're more likely to upgrade to an iPhone X or replace the battery, which we're sure Apple loves and your wallet hates.
Original story below...
Do you feel like your old iPhone 6 or 6S has been getting unusually slow? Well, it might not be just a feeling. They are slower than when you bought them, at least according to findings from Reddit users and a developer of Geekbench, a popular benchmarking tool.
One user in particular noted that after his up-to-date iPhone 6 underwent a battery swap, the phone’s CPU clock speed flung forward from 600MHz to 1,400MHz, the latter of which is its original run rate.
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/pML3y0Jkp2December 20, 2017
What exactly is causing the slowdown? John Poole, Geekbench developer, has concluded that, specifically, the iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2.0 updates have throttled older iPhone models, such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S.
Method to the madness
Apple has received high praise throughout the years for keeping its increasingly large family of smartphones up to date with the latest iOS software, but there could be a downside to it, as these findings point out.
In the case of the mentioned updates, iOS 10.2.1 was developed to curb random shutdowns that plagued the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S in the software that came before it. And the solution, according to these findings, was to underclock the CPU to less than half of its original speed. No wonder you probably noticed a difference.
It goes without saying that a drop in performance this steep would cause users to question the longevity of their devices and thus, upgrade sooner than later. I know that I would.
Each new major software release is specially tuned to the latest hardware and it’s understandable that bringing it to older phones present some humongous hurdles for developers.
Even so, these findings are troubling for consumers who like to hang onto last year’s tech, or even phones from two or three years ago. We’ve contacted Apple for comment on the matter and will update this piece with any new information
- You might want to check out our list of the best cases for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro (opens in new tab)
- Via The Verge (opens in new tab)