Apple released not one, not two, but three new iPhone models this year with some spectacular features including an all-glass screen for its newest button-less iPhone X, a face recognition feature, faster processor and longer battery life.
But the new iPhone releases have put the older, less shiny versions of the phone in trouble as users of iPhone 6 and 7 are complaining that Apple is deliberately slowing down the old phones in order to nudge the users towards upgrading to the latest versions of the iPhone.
Apple Trying to Make its Older iPhone Models Obsolete?
Apple was recently accused of carrying out planned obsolescence against its old iPhone users who didn’t spend a thousand dollars to buy the shiny new iPhone X. Users first started experiencing a glitch in their old iPhones earlier this year when they reported that the devices would shut down abruptly despite having sufficient battery in them. This glitch would most often occur when the processor was at its peak current demand such as downloading an app or in the middle of a game.
The phones would not turn back on unless they were plugged into a charger which posed a serious problem for users who didn’t have access to a charger when the glitch occurred. Apple admitted the problem and pushed a new software update to all the old phones to fix the bug. The new update fixed the issue of spontaneous shut downs, but it started a new problem: the phones no longer worked as fast as they used to before the update.
A Grand Conspiracy Theory
The issue was first brought to light through a Reddit post which suggested that Apple was deliberately slowing down old phones as a part of its grand strategy to phase out the older models and force people to spend more money on the newer ones.
The rumors had been circulating for many months but no official statement had been made by the company. One web developer named John Poole decided to put the hypothesis to test and pull together historical data from all the performance tests conducted on 100,000 iPhone 6 and 7 devices. The results were shocking. Apple had indeed slowed down older iPhone devices with the new software update that was meant to solve the spontaneous shutdown problem.
His analysis was backed by solid proof that even Apple could not deny. A little while after Poole’s Reddit post blew up, Apple made a public acknowledgement admitting that it had indeed added a new iOS feature to the old iPhones that helped elongate their battery life so that the phones could last longer.
Apple Fights Back
Apple explained that as Lithium-ion batteries used in their phones get weaker with time, they are no longer able to meet the peak current demands, causing the phone to shut down instantaneously when the processer is put under strain.
To combat this problem, the company had to deliberately slow down the phones in order to enhance the user experience. Many people were miffed by Apple’s lack of transparency regarding the issue and some even believed that had Poole not made the shocking discovery in the first place, Apple would probably have never made the admission that old iPhones were getting slower.
Poole agrees with Apple’s explanation regarding the life of Lithium-ion batteries and how they become less capable of meeting the demands of iPhone’s fast processor with time. In fact, fast processor can put even more stress on the already-weak battery, causing it to die quickly.
The problem of slow processor is likely to be solved with a brand-new battery – which costs a whopping $80 to replace. Since Apple strives to make the thinnest and the fastest phone on the market – which is one of the biggest reasons why people buy it – it must make a tradeoff and use non-replaceable batteries instead of bulkier replaceable ones.