Because of a Reddit post and the loose interpretation of subsequent benchmark tests posted by Primate Labs’ John Poole, the “Apple throttles old iPhones” meme has reared its ugly head again.
The gist, as it always is, is that Apple is being super petty and trying to force customers to upgrade their phones by making their old phones run slower.
As always, the answer is no. It would be beyond stupid and incredibly short-sighted for Apple to do this and, if it was actually true, would likely lead to tangles of a governmental and legal nature that no company like Apple would ever want to happen.
Instead, Apple is focusing attention on smoothing out the very high and quick peaks of power draw that can cause problems with older batteries.
Here is the statement Apple gave them:
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.
I understand the transparency was probably the biggest issue here, especially as knowing hardware manufacturer will eventually slow down your devices without you knowing isn’t a good thing.
However, what Apple actually did, with slowing down performance in certain peaks to ensure the battery lasted longer, and in some cases didn’t unexpectedly turn off, is a good thing.
One solution would be to alert the users that had a bad performing battery, and then offered them to switch on a power management feature, and maybe even have a link to the iPhone section of the Apple Store!