New Performance Report Suggests Apple Intentionally Reduces iPhone Speed As Batteries Get Old

The debate over whether intentional slowdown of its iPhones is done by Apple has been reignited by a new analysis of performance data.

iPhones are deliberately made slower by Apple by reducing the speed of the processers the use of old and worn batteries, the data suggests.

Data was collected by John Poole, the founder of benchmarking firm Primate Labs, from the Geekbench program of the company which is based on running of thousands of iPhones. This was done after there were user reports that older iPhones that made use of older batteries were slower compared to when the same smartphones were replaced by new batteries.

The capability of the iPhone 6S was shown after it performed to the expected performance peak, showed results from benchmark tests. Those iPhones were run on iOS 10.2.

But when iOS 10.2.1 was introduced in January of 2017, benchmark data showed that there were five performance peaks. Maximum performance was shown in the first peak with iOS 10.2. However, there was a succession in performance peaks at the next four stages with a constant downslide.

And the tests were redone after the launch of iOS 11.2 in December 2017, delivering the same results as those with iOS 10.2.1.

Poole wrote: “The distribution of iPhone 6S scores for iOS 10.2.0 appears unimodal with a peak around the average score. However, the distribution of iPhone 6S scores for iOS 10.2.1 appears multimodal, with one large peak around the average and several smaller peaks around lower scores. Under iOS 11.2.0 the effect is even more pronounced.”

Similar patters were seen with tests on iPhone 7.

“The distribution of iPhone 7 scores under iOS 10.2.0, iOS 10.2.1, and iOS 11.1.2 appears identical. However, the distribution changes with iOS 11.2.0 and starts to look like the iPhone 6S distribution from 10.2.1,” wrote Poole.

Degrading batter was the reason for the performance differences according to Reddit users. the battery inside a smartphone also ages with the smartphone.

500 full charge and discharge cycles is the typical lasting time period for most modern lithium-ion batteries that are placed inside smartphones. That means they are slated to last for about two years of typical smartphone usage.

Batteries tend to age faster compared to smartphones when there is need for top up charge during the day or over nigh t charging is done. And the shorter the battery life gest, the more charging is required.

When a battery becomes old, degradation of certain chemical components in the battery results in the slowing performance of the batteries. Tis is caused by each charge-discharge cycle. This rapid oxidation also means that the maximum level of current that a battery is able to provide the smartphone with also gets reduced.

This essentially means that more charging is required by the battery even though the battery would not be performing to its peak capacity as it grows old.

Poole wrote: “The difference between 10.2.0 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition. I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.”

To create an effect of low battery power, there has been reduction of the processor performance in iPhone which makes it slow. Poole says: “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 obsolescence’ narrative.”

There has been no comment from Apple too these reports.

(Adapted from The Guardian)


Categories: Sustainability, Uncategorized

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