Apple published a letter to customers apologizing for the “misunderstanding” around older iPhones being slowed down. Apple did this shortly after admitting that it was slowing down older phones to compensate for cheapening batteries. Apple says:
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down.” “We apologize.”
Apple said in the letter that batteries are “consumable components,” and that it is offering anyone with an iPhone 6 or later a battery replacement for $29 commencing from late January through December 2018 — a discount of $50 from the usual replacement cost. Apple also promised to add features to iOS that provide more information about the battery health in early 2018, so that users can be aware of when their batteries are no longer capable of supporting maximum phone performance. Though this is a significant change in attitude concerning iPhone batteries — a decade ago, when the first iPhone came out, Apple said most iPhone users would never have need for battery replacement.
iPhone owners have long believed Apple artificially slows down older phones to drive new sales. But the new information from Apple about performance management has erased that thought leading to lots of bad press and lawsuits. What made it seem worse is that the measure of the performance penalty only surfaced after being discovered by a developer instead of being clearly disclosed by Apple.
The iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7 have much slower peak performance as they get older and their batteries aren’t able to provide as much power to the processor. Apple had actually announced this change to performance along with iOS 10.2.1 in 2016, as the solution to a problem with the iPhone 6 that caused sudden shutdowns if older batteries couldn’t provide sufficient power to the processor. But it was not transparent about the performance penalty, and the new yardsticks suggest the penalty is much more significant than previously believed.
In its defense, Apple continues to insist that it has never artificially slowed down phones; it is rather managing phone performance to maximize the lifespan of iPhone batteries.