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iacas

Apple Slowing Older iPhones to Help Users

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Man, the news of this has been blown way out of proportion, or in the wrong direction at least.

Apple, for a little while now, has been slowing down iPhones when they demand peak performance from the battery when the battery is old. What used to happen is that your phone would unexpectedly quit/shut down, even though it still had 40% battery left or something. What happens now? Your phone stays running and performance is slowed a bit so that the battery can supply enough power to keep the device running.

This is the opposite of planned obsolescence - it's making your phone last LONGER and be useful LONGER than a phone that quits and powers off ten times a day.

My kid's iPhone is always two to three years old. She had this shutdown issue all the time. She hasn't had a shutdown in many many months, because of this feature.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/technology/iphone-battery-problem-slow.html

Quote

Apple is not admitting to planned obsolescence. If Apple explicitly said that they injected code into older iPhones to slow them down because new ones came out, that would be admission. All it is admitting to now is trying to keep the old iPhones running for longer.

https://daringfireball.net/2017/12/iphone_battery_throttling

Quote

Panzarino’s piece is (unsurprisingly) a good, sober look at the story. Basically, Apple is being painted in a damned if they do, damned if they don’t corner. Prior to adding this feature to iOS last year, iPhones with older declining batteries were shutting down unexpectedly when taxed at peak performance. That’s obviously not good. So now, iPhones with older declining batteries are throttled, when necessary, to keep them running. But now Apple faces accusations that they’re deliberately slowing these devices down to convince people to buy new iPhones. The thing to keep in mind is that there is nothing Apple can do about the fact that lithium-ion batteries decline over time. One way or another, older much-used iPhones are going to suffer in some way. I think what Apple is doing here is a reasonable balance between trade-offs.

I saw even on the local news last night the way it was mentioned in a 15-second thing that it sounded "bad." It's quite the opposite.

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Wow - I had no idea. I just thought they were doing this to make people buy new phones. That makes a lot of sense though. Hats off to Apple then.

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I think the better move would have been to have the feature be able to turned on and off within the settings of the phone with a "battery saver mode" or something that explained what would happen when on and when it should be used. It probably would have been accepted better that way.

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26 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Wow - I had no idea. I just thought they were doing this to make people buy new phones. That makes a lot of sense though. Hats off to Apple then.

Apple products typically hold their value and last much longer than their Android/Windows counterparts.

14 minutes ago, JxQx said:

I think the better move would have been to have the feature be able to turned on and off within the settings of the phone with a "battery saver mode" or something that explained what would happen when on and when it should be used. It probably would have been accepted better that way.

They have a "low power mode" option, but the phone can still spike its battery requirements and thus shut off.

Eliminating the weird shut-offs has been a great thing for @NatalieB.

Apple could have communicated better about this, definitely.

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I'm still using my 5s, and now that you mention it, it's been well over a month since I've had an involuntary shutdown that used to occur several times a week.

Interesting.  Thanks for the info.

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I've been using the 5S with a Mevo, no problems. Sure it's not as fast as the current model, but for 3 generations ago, works pretty good. 

I still use an iPad ONE. 

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14 minutes ago, David in FL said:

I'm still using my 5s, and now that you mention it, it's been well over a month since I've had an involuntary shutdown that used to occur several times a week.

Everything I've read, I think, says that this is for iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and later.

But maybe they covered the 5S in the "SE" section?

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I don't mind the feature, but it should have been an optional selection in my opinion. Depending on how you use it, this feature can make or break a product for you. I hate having to wait longer than necessary and would rather have a shorter battery time. I got a couple of iPods since it's the only viable option for a smart device without a SIM card, where the oldest one is really slow now, but only one generation older than the other. It drives me nuts and I'd almost rather buy a new one than haven't to deal with it. If it was an option, I could choose between battery and performance, but Apple is not top keen on giving users options. I don't use the iPod all that much and don't need lots of battery, but when I use it, I want it to be fast. 

Lack of options and customization is one of the reasons why I don't use Apple products much. I don't care what the intention behind the forced performance drop is, I would just have it as an option. Even if it turns on automatically and informs you, that would make sure most users probably leave the feature on.

I probably switch devices because of slow operation more than poor battery performance. I'm only on my second smartphone though, so I can't say I'm a big spender. I like products that last and I don't have to switch out after a few years. I don't care for the buy and throw mentality many got today. "Don't worry, we'll just buy a new one". Batteries do of course get older, but I haven't had too much issues with devices randomly shutting down because of too much strain.

PCs and other devices with a PC in it has made a shift in recent years where you don't get much faster performance with each upgrade, at least for everyday use for most people. My PCs are 5-6 years old and phone is 2, but I don't feel a need to upgrade. A newer version wouldn't be drastically different from what I got today. I probably won't upgrade my PC for any other reason than dealing with never video games, which always gets more demanding. For most everything else I use my PC, theres simply no need to replace it. 

That's a reason I don't like that phones has almost gone completely away from replaceable batteries. You can replace batteries in newer phones too, but either at the cost of warranty, functionality or a steep price. If a phone is fully functional and I don't need more performance, the only reason I'd switch phone would be a poor battery. A function which automatically slows down the device because of a poor battery will be just as likely to make me switch it out earlier than later. I can't speak for everyone else. Apple might be doing a good thing with this function, but I know there are others out there like me.

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6 minutes ago, Zeph said:

I don't mind the feature, but it should have been an optional selection in my opinion. Depending on how you use it, this feature can make or break a product for you. I hate having to wait longer than necessary and would rather have a shorter battery time.

I think you misunderstand.

Some tasks on the iPhone, at full speed, might require a certain amount of "juice." If the phone was incapable of supplying that amount of juice, despite having 40% battery left, it would die. Shut off. Instantly.

Turning your phone back on and trying to do that task again might work, or might shut the phone off again… but either way, it's gonna take a HELL of a lot longer than slowing the process down 20% so that the battery needs are only 80% of what it would be, for example.

The "choice" you'd make is "my phone occasionally runs a bit slower vs. I want my phone to run at full speed all the time but also shut down randomly 5-10 times per day."

That's not a choice anyone would really make. So they made it for you.

6 minutes ago, Zeph said:

I probably switch devices because of slow operation more than poor battery performance. I'm only on my second smartphone though, so I can't say I'm a big spender. I like products that last and I don't have to switch out after a few years.

Then you should stick with Apple products. Their products last longer than Android or Windows products. This is one of the things that they do to help their products last longer.

6 minutes ago, Zeph said:

Batteries do of course get older, but I haven't had too much issues with devices randomly shutting down because of too much strain.

Then your devices aren't being slowed much at all (or not at all). iOS only slows devices when their power requests outstrip what the battery can supply, as the battery ages/wears down.

6 minutes ago, Zeph said:

A newer version wouldn't be drastically different from what I got today.

The iPhone X is significantly faster than the iPhone 6S, even.

6 minutes ago, Zeph said:

That's a reason I don't like that phones has almost gone completely away from replaceable batteries. You can replace batteries in newer phones too, but either at the cost of warranty, functionality or a steep price. If a phone is fully functional and I don't need more performance, the only reason I'd switch phone would be a poor battery.

You can get a new iPhone battery from Apple for $79. Bam. Full speed returned, instantly, and an Apple warranty.

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https://www.apple.com/iphone-battery-and-performance/

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208387

On the bright side… $29 battery replacements!

On the negative side… idiots filing lawsuits!

Yes, Apple absolutely could have better and more clearly communicated about this earlier. But those who understood the issue beyond the five-second sound clip level realized all along that Apple was doing right by people with this stuff, not actually doing anything "bad."

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On 12/22/2017 at 6:20 PM, iacas said:

Then your devices aren't being slowed much at all (or not at all). iOS only slows devices when their power requests outstrip what the battery can supply, as the battery ages/wears down.

Then it's getting slower because of iOS updates or something. I wouldn't mind running the original version, but if I did that, the apps would stop working.

You can get a new iPhone battery from Apple for $79. Bam. Full speed returned, instantly, and an Apple warranty.

I only got an iPod, and a new battery for one outside of the Apple warranty would cost me almost as much as a new one. If the issue isn't with the battery, it won't help anyways.

The lawsuit is pretty stupid. People do a lot of stuff to gain some easy money, but I don't imagine it being easy or cheap to win such a thing. The biggest thing Apple did wrong was to not inform the users about this feature. For all we know, it could be a thing in devices from other manufacturers too.

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5 hours ago, Zeph said:

The lawsuit is pretty stupid. People do a lot of stuff to gain some easy money, but I don't imagine it being easy or cheap to win such a thing. The biggest thing Apple did wrong was to not inform the users about this feature. For all we know, it could be a thing in devices from other manufacturers too.

The lawyers race to the courthouse to try to become the lead on a class action lawsuit.  These cases are not initiated by consumers.  Rather, these are law firms looking for a big payoff.

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5 hours ago, Zeph said:

Then it's getting slower because of iOS updates or something. I wouldn't mind running the original version, but if I did that, the apps would stop working.

Thing is you don't know. You don't know what state your battery is in, what state your storage or OS is in, and so on. It may not actually be any slower, but it may feel slower because apps have gotten more graphically intensive or the WiFi you're on is weaker (or your phone is getting a weaker signal), or who knows what? It may be something completely outside of the OS.

3 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

The lawyers race to the courthouse to try to become the lead on a class action lawsuit.  These cases are not initiated by consumers.  Rather, these are law firms looking for a big payoff.

Yeah. It's just the lawyers. They get something like 35% or so of most class action lawsuits, while the rest is split up amongst the millions of people.

I've gotten payouts in some class action lawsuits (you fill out a two-minute survey sometimes), and I've gotten checks for as little as $0.11 (and up to $57, whoo, big whoop).

The lawyers in each case made millions.

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On 12/22/2017 at 10:15 AM, David in FL said:

I'm still using my 5s, and now that you mention it, it's been well over a month since I've had an involuntary shutdown that used to occur several times a week.

 

On 12/22/2017 at 10:31 AM, iacas said:

Everything I've read, I think, says that this is for iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and later.

But maybe they covered the 5S in the "SE" section?

From the second link in the OP (daringfireball):

Quote

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

And also from the Apple message:

Quote

About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.

So those of us with iPhones prior to iPhone 7 already had this, if I read this correctly. 

What I'd like to find is how many charging cycles I've gone through on my iPhone and iPad without getting an app specifically for that.  (I can find it easily on my MacBook Pro, but evidently they don't want us to see it on iOS devices.)

I downloaded an app from the App Store that's supposed to do something similar, and it shows my iPhone 6s battery capacity is about 87% of what it should be (not % charge, but what the max is compared to what it should be).  Tried another time, and it said 67%.  Another time 82%.  So I'm not so sure how accurate the app is.

If I'm really down significantly, I'd spring for $29 to replace the battery, but I'd prefer not to make an appointment (out of town) at an Apple Store, only for them to say that it tests just fine.

Edit:  I see that they'll make this easier to assess with one of the upcoming iOS updates.  That won't help my iPhone--I'm staying with iOS 10.3.

Edited by Missouri Swede

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5 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

I see that they'll make this easier to assess with one of the upcoming iOS updates.  That won't help my iPhone--I'm staying with iOS 10.3.

Why?

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57 minutes ago, iacas said:

Why?

1. Control Center doesn't turn off WiFi and BT.  Just disconnects them from some things temporarily.  Can turn them off in Settings, but that's a couple extra steps I don't want to take.

2. App Store: a. Doesn't show size of apps being updated like it did in iOS 10 (nice to know, but not essential).
b. Icon sometimes shows a number badge indicating that 1 or more have updates.  Open the App Store, and it doesn't show them.  Refresh 2, 3 or 4 times, and it finally shows them.  This didn't happen in iOS 10.

3. My iPad has several times frozen during rotation.  A couple times it rotated the wrong way (screen image upside down!).  Sometimes it "clears up" with a couple of rotations; a couple times I had to reboot the iPad.  My son had this happen on his iPhone X this week, too.  I don't recall this ever happening in iOS 10.

Those are the things that come to mind right away.

4. The mail app gives a "cannot connect to server" sometimes (did it today) on my iPad (iOS 11).  Go to my iPhone, and no problem.  Don't recall this ever on iOS 10.

Edited by Missouri Swede

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