Apple Admits to Slowing Down Older iPhone Models

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, introduces the iPhone 5s (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, introduces the iPhone 5s (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Well, it looks like the conspiracy theory is true… sort of. By now, you’ve likely heard the rumours that Apple forcefully slows down its older smartphones in order to coerce customers into buying the latest iPhone device. It’s a notion that has yet to be addressed by the tech giant itself, but many devoted fans have remained vocal about the issue—just turn to an Apple forum to see the countless reports of older devices slowing down with each and every update.

For the longest time now, the simplest explanation for this phenomena, and one that was widely agreed upon, is that the slowing down is a result of outdated devices struggling with more complex software. For instance, a customer with an iPhone 5 may find that running a recent iOS version is rather tedious when it comes to taptic reactions and loading screens. Despite this being a believable excuse, it was of course never confirmed by Apple. However, a thread on Reddit went viral this month after it revealed that performance is in fact hindered after every update. This prompted Apple to finally come forward and set the record straight.

According to a company spokesperson, Apple is indeed slowing down its older units but they’re doing so for a more legitimate reason than corporate greed. Instead of pushing iPhone owners into buying fresh models, Apple claims that it’s modifying iPhone performance to prolong the life of previous editions. In an official statement released earlier this week, Apple says that its intent is tied strictly to the protection of earlier iPhones.

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” the release begins. “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.”

The statement goes on and reassures brand loyalists that the move has already proven successful. “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.”

Apple is notorious for its lack of transparency, so the fact that they’ve kept this matter behind closed doors is far from shocking. In related news, check out their latest product secret: a foldable iPhone rumoured to release later next year.

Aidan D'Aoust

Aidan D'Aoust

Aidan is a writer from Toronto. His favourite things in the world are music, movies, and mini dachshunds. Give him a follow on Twitter at @aidandaoust, where he’ll also accept your mixtape submissions.

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