Benchmark data suggests Apple is slowing down iPhones with old batteries

Image credit Carl Court  Getty

Poole has shown on graphs the Geekbench 4 single-core scores for the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7 running different versions of iOS.

The data, according to Geekbench, indicates that there may actually be a link between software updates and old batteries when it comes to poor performance.

John Poole, founder of Geekbench maker Primate Labs finished by saying this behavior is problematic because it results in decreased performance without actually explaining the causes to the user. See, for example, the difference between the distribution of iPhone 6s scores between 10.2.1 and 11.2.0.

As expected, he did observe that in case of the iPhone 6s, the issue became more pronounced with each iOS update - 10.2.0, 10.2.1 and 11.2.0.

As part of fixing the issue, users don't get a notification about reduced performance as they get when their device is in the "low-power mode". Aging batteries may also not be able to support more complex processors because they produce less of a current. 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". It was surmised that Apple was throttling iPhones whose batteries capacities had fallen below a certain threshold in order to preserve battery life. It's all down to priorities - would you rather have top-notch performance at all times, or do you prefer your phone's battery life to remain consistent over the 2-3 years of projected use?

This was came into light when a Reddit user claimed that his iPhone 6s had been running slow and that the problem went away after a battery replacement. With iOS 10.2.1 released in January 2017, however, while the initial performance was on a par, later peaks were significantly lower in comparison.

The effect was more pronounced with iOS 11.2 and was seen with the iPhone 7 as well, which was launched only past year.

The report cites research from Cowen and Co. which suggests that potential buyers do not consider there are enough new features and technology in the iPhone X to justify its $999 price tag. This suggests Apple maybe knowingly reducing the performance of some devices, although, Geekbench is also quick to note that this could be intended so "your device doesn't shutdown at 40 per cent battery when you need it the most".

Some consider this a deliberate move by Apple to slow down older phones via iOS updates.

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