Apple adds controversial ‘CPU throttling’ to iPhone X and iPhone 8

iOS 12.1 arrived this week and brings with it a little controversy. The update, which brings new emoji and Group FaceTime, also introduces the “performance management” features to the iPhone X and iPhone 8/8 Plus handsets.

The CPU throttling feature, which has caused such a kerfuffle all year, will deliberately slow the performance of the 2017 handsets, in order to protect those with ageing batteries against unexpected shutdowns.

Previously, this feature had only been active in devices released in 2016 or earlier, but now Apple is adding it to last year’s devices. That runs contrary to Apple’s previous assertions that hardware improvements meant CPU throttling was not necessary on the X/8 range.

Here’s what the company is saying on its updated support page now (via The Verge): “Additionally, users can see if the performance management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns is on and can choose to turn it off … This feature applies to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design.”

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Apple is currently offering cheap battery replacements until the end of 2018 in response to the outcry over the clandestine practice. The act of deliberately slowing down the older iPhones led to accusations Apple was forcing obsolescence on users in the hope they’d upgrade to newer models.

The company staunchly denied this, saying the throttling was for the benefit of users. However, it felt bad enough about the incident to knock two thirds off the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement for an entire year.

It also introduced a battery health feature in iOS 11.3, which gives users control over the CPU throttling feature and will inform them when the battery may need replacing.

Apple also doubled down on ensuring users with older devices can get more life out of their handsets. iOS 12 offers faster performance for compatible legacy devices, a boast which has played out in independent testing.

Do you think Apple is on the level here? Or are there more sinister intentions behind its CPU throttling practices? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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