Apple apologizes for ‘misunderstanding’ over slowing down older iPhones
The tech giant is currently facing nine lawsuits in relation to how the company handles the power management of its batteries in older iPhones.
In response, the company sent a letter to customers Thursday, attempting to clear up what it said were some “misunderstandings” about the issue.
“We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process,” Apple said. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue.”
The company added they have never, and would never, do “anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
“Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that,” the letter continued.
Apple went on to explain that the rechargeable batteries in older iPhones are “consumable components,” which become less effective through a “chemical aging process.” The company said the aging process, as well as the way the device is used, are the only reasons that the batteries ability to hold a charge diminishes.
“These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry,” the company said.
The multinational tech behemoth advised customers to replace their old batteries with new ones, promising to reduce the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement for an iPhone 6 or later from $79 to $29 starting late January. The deal would be ongoing through December 2018, it added.
In addition, Apple said it would issue an iOS (operating system) update with a feature that will afford users the ability to see if the condition of their batteries are affecting the performance of their iPhones.
The backlash against the California-headquartered concern began when a Reddit user posted a report earlier this month, detailing how the performance of their old iPhone increased dramatically after the battery was replaced. The post quickly went viral and many followed suit, complaining about the same issue. Many others have speculated that Apple was engaging in planned obsolescence to boost sales of newer iPhone models.
However, when Geekbench developer John Poole conducted several benchmark tests last week, he discovered that Apple was throttling the performance of older iPhones in order to preserve the life of the battery and avoid unexpected shutdowns as the power source degrades.
Poole found that the iOS 11.2 update, which was released in January, was retarding older iPhones.
Last week, Apple issued a statement to TechCrunch, admitting that the year-old update was the cause of the problem. However, the company said they only released the update in order to fix a bug that caused older phones to unexpectedly shut down when they were in cold conditions, had low battery charge, or as they aged over time.
Under these conditions, the old iPhones were hitting “peaks” of processing power, which made the devices shut down in order to protect their electronic components. Owners who experienced these shutdowns were unable to turn on their phones until they plugged them into a power source.
Geekbench data on iOS slowing down devices with worn batteries https://t.co/RVwVoYKUqZ The process may be repeating for iPhone 7 with 11.2.0. No one’s ever going to install an iOS update again. pic.twitter.com/AjTazRbRLh— Cédric Bozzi 💾 (@cedricbozzi) December 18, 2017
In their statement, Apple said that the iOS was released to “smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down.”
After the update was released, Apple told TechCrunch the update reduced the unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6s by 80 percent and 70 percent on other iPhone 6 devices.
No, Apple isn't getting a $47 billion handout from the tax plan https://t.co/e8gU7C5crf— RT America (@RT_America) December 8, 2017
In an article linked in the apology letter, Apple explained the update’s “only intent is to prevent unexpected shutdowns so that the iPhone can still be used.”
The “power management” feature included in the update checks the device’s temperature, battery state of charge, and the battery’s impedance, and “dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.”
“As a result, the device workloads will self-balance, allowing a smoother distribution of system tasks, rather than larger, quick spikes of performance all at once,” Apple said. “In some cases, a user may not notice any differences in daily device performance. The level of perceived change depends on how much power management is required for a particular device.”