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Apple admits it’s making older iPhones slow down

A customer inspects a new iPhone 7 plus smartphone inside the Apple Covent Garden store in London on Sept. 16, 2016. Bloomberg photo by Chris Ratcliffe.

If you have an older iPhone, you may have noticed that it slows down after you run a software update. It turns out it’s not really working harder. In fact, Apple is slowing your older devices in order to save on battery life, the company claims.

But the admission also feeds into what many users think is Apple’s real goal: making your older iPhone seem slower so that you’ll buy a new one.

The admission comes days after a popular Reddit post that said performance for older iPhones can be improved by changing the battery. The website Geekbench then tested different versions of iOS on different models of iPhones and came to the conclusion that Apple was underclocking the processors of older phones when they update their operating system.

A couple things happen because of this, John Poole of Geekbench wrote. On the bright side, the slowdown helps older models handle spikes in power consumption that could lead to your device shutting down unexpectedly. That’s what Apple claims, at least.

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” Apple said in a statement, as reported by The Verge. “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.”

At the same time, users might be thinking it’s time to chuck their old phone and upgrade.

“This fix will also cause users to think, ‘my phone is slow so I should replace it’ not, ‘my phone is slow so I should replace its battery,’” Poole wrote. “This will likely feed into the ‘planned obsolescence’ narrative.”

Kris Kerzman

Kris Kerzman is a digital content producer for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He's also a dad, a board game enthusiast, and a sucker for an Oxford comma. He can be reached at (701) 241-5466 or kkerzman@forumcomm.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kriskerzman.

(701) 241-5466
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