Slow iPhone? This might be the real reason why

The tech conspiracy theorists have long, erm, theorised that Apple deliberately slows down older iPhones via iOS updates, in order to push customers into buying newer models.

Now, evidence has emerged Apple is indeed throttling the performance of aging iPhones, but not necessarily to guide us towards upgrading.

Geekbench reckons Apple may be slowing the performance on handsets with aging batteries, in order to prolong the remaining capacity and avoid unplanned shutdowns.

Related: iPhone X review

Using the Geekbench 4 tool, the performance watchdog found that iPhones with older batteries experienced drops in CPU performance when running certain versions of iOS.

A Reddit poster hypothesised the issue may have arisen from the iPhone 6s battery replacement program of 2016. Kadupse believes Apple lowered the CPU performance in iOS 10.2.1, in order to counteract unexpected shutdowns, which continued after some batteries were replaced.

If this is the case, it raises the question of why Apple is not notifying consumers that their performance is being managed via an enforced low power mode?

Planned obsolecense?

Geekbench says (via 9to5Mac) the fix, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, creates an “unexpected state”, where users are forced to draw their own conclusions from the performance shortfall. This includes allowing them to believe their phone needs to be replaced, rather than their battery.

In a blog post, John Poole writes: “I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.”

“Users expect either full performance, or reduced performance with a notification that their phone is in low-power mode. This fix creates a third, unexpected state. While this state is created to mask a deficiency in battery power, users may believe that the slow down is due to CPU performance, instead of battery performance, which is triggering an Apple introduced CPU slow-down.

“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”. This will likely feed into the “planned obsolecense” narritive.”

Do you think Apple should come clean over CPU performance in aging iPhones? Or is the company doing us a solid by protecting the remaining battery life? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.