Apple has confirmed the suspicions of many iPhone owners by revealing it does deliberately slow down some models of the iPhone as they age.
Many customers have long suspected that Apple slows down older iPhones to encourage people to upgrade.
The company has now said it does slow down some models as they age, but only because the phones’ battery performance diminishes over time.
Apple said it wanted to "prolong the life" of customers' devices.
By now, most people will have seen the news that Apple are slowing down iPhones if the battery life is low. That's not the same as low-power mode, which comes on if your battery level reaches 20%. This is different. It permanently slows down the iPhone so that it is much slower than it should be.
We've written about iPhone batteries before and why they need to be replaced. But to summarise; iPhone batteries, and almost all other smart phones and laptops use a battery technology called Lithium Ion. When you charge a battery, lithium ions move through the battery. Each time they do this, they are not as efficient as the previous time. That means that you are not getting a 100% full battery each time. Each full charge is called a charging cycle.
In an iPhone the battery is designed for 500 – 1,000 cycles. In reality, anything over 500 is not good. You come across all kinds of issues, including iPhones turning off at 20% battery, or getting really hot, or just not lasting all day.
500 charging cycles probably feels like a really long time, but if you charge your iPhone each night, you will probably reach 500 cycles in around 18 months. So if you own an iPhone 6, 6s or even an iPhone 7, you are probably over that cycle count right now. You may have experienced some of the issues I talked about earlier. Has your iPhone ever turned off unexpectedly when the battery was low? (like 20-25%)
Why does Apple slow down iPhones?
The good news is that iPhones randomly turning off is less common now. It used to happen a lot with the iPhone 5s. Apple worked out that if a battery is over 500 cycles, they could slow down the iPhone to get more power from the battery. It prevents a lot of the issues. But you end up with a slower iPhone. And not just a little bit slower, benchmarks have shown that it can be less than half as fast as it was on day one.
I can understand why Apple has done this, but the fact that they didn't make a big deal about it – some would say hid it – makes it feel a little underhand.
Make your iPhone fast again
If you replace the battery in your iPhone it gets fast again. Plus you get more battery life. So it's a win-win situation for you.
How much does it cost?
At the time of writing (December 27, 2017) Apple charge £79 for an new iPhone battery. There is no discount for getting the battery replaced at the same time as a screen repair.
SimplyFixIt are able to do battery replacements for only £29 when it is done at the same time as a screen repair.
iPhone battery replacement – SimplyFixIt vs. Apple
|Genuine Apple Batteries||Yes||Yes|
|Apple Certified Technicians||Yes||Yes|
|Repair in under 2 hours||Yes||No|
|Cheaper than the Apple store||Yes||N/A|
Do I need a new iPhone?
If you thought that your iPhone 6s was getting slow, and you were nearly ready to get a new iPhone, you can save hundreds of pounds by following these 3 steps.
Replace the battery in your iPhone.
Change your contact to a sim-only deal – there's lots out there between £5 and £20 a month. For the best deal you should unlock your iPhone too, but if you're happy with your current network, just ask them what their SIM deals are.
Save money with a faster, cheaper iPhone. If you were planning to get a new iPhone on a £40 a month contract, but you can use a £10 a month SIM deal, you will save £720 over the 2 years of your contract!