After a year of silence, Apple admits an intentional slow down of iPhones lithium-ion batteries
Tough time for Apple. For the last year, the company cannot defend against accusations about older iPhones that being slowed down with the iOS 10.2.1 update released in January 2017. It took more than a year for Apple to confirm that the update did cause a severe slowdown of many iPhone models with degraded batteries. This incident pushed many users to spend hundreds of dollars for newer devices.
Followed by official Apple's response to the scandal, many companies and individual users filed a lawsuit against the company for misleading customers. Class-action lawsuits have already been filled in the US, Italy, France, and South Korean.
Apple has published an official apology and provided the whole background and resolution of the battery scandal. The question whether the company knew the effects that the software update for iOS 10.2.1 can have on older iPhone devices or not is still debatable. However, Apple rejects the accusations that such move was planned with an intention to increase the sales of new iPhones and claims that the software update was an attempt to fight against unexpected shutdowns and claims that Apple users were informed about possible consequences.
“With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance,” said one of the Apple's spokesperson Cynthia Hogan.
Most of the iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7 have been affected
iPhone battery improvement was released as a response to the report's of iPhone 6S users about abrupt turn offs even when the battery remains about 30-40% in charge. The company explains how Apple device may act when the condition of its battery is poor:
A chemically aging battery can also have increased impedance, reducing its ability to provide a sudden burst of power when demanded by other components in an iPhone, such as the CPU and GPU. A battery's impedance will also temporarily increase when it has a low charge and/or in cold temperatures.
Besides, to protect some of the components from a drop in voltage, Apple safeguards can shut the device down abruptly.
As pointed out by Apple's spokesperson, “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.” Soon after that, iPhone 7 with the iOS 11.2 has also been updated. Soon after that, users started reported a reduced device performance, which even led thousand of users to buy newer devices.
You can check if your device has been slowed down
It's not possible to inform individual iPhone users whose devices were slowed down by the update. Therefore, those who noticed prolonged launching of apps and decreased overall performance can determine whether the problem is at the end of the device or iPhone's battery degradation scandal. For that, people can download Geekbench 4 app coconutBattery for Mac. For more info, please refer to the official Apple's website.
The company is offering a battery replacements discounts to reduce people's anger
In its apology letter, Apple explained the aging of the batteries comprehensively and offered a battery replacement for $29 starting in late January 2018 and lasting until the end of the year. $50 off the price is much, isn't it? However, the discount has triggered many discussions on tech-forums where people ask in what state the battery has to be in to claim a discounted battery replacement.
Apple introduces a battery health feature in iOS 11.3 beta 2
In its official report, Apple promised to release an iOS update with the Battery Health feature added. The feature is supposed to give users more explicit information about the health of iPhone's battery.
The company has fulfilled its promise and released the second beta for iOS 11.3 Tuesday, Feb. 6. The update showed up only two weeks of the first iOS 11.3 beta and has been complemented with the promised battery health tool. It's supposed to allow owners of older iPhones to disable the power management, which will prevent severe slowdowns. Nevertheless, there's no option to do so right now.
The new feature consists of three sections – Battery Health, Maximum Capacity, and Peak Performance Capability. Newer devices are expected to exhibit 100% capacity, which should decrease not more than 80%.
Older devices with the older batteries should display the reduced Maximum Capacity and provide explicit information about the decreased battery capacity. Besides, the Peak Performance Capability section should display a notification saying: “This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again.” To disable the iPhone's performance management, people can click the “Disable” button next to the Peak Performance Capability alert.