Whenever a new iPhone is released, naturally it benefits Apple if existing iPhone customers were to upgrade their devices, but what if users felt that their phones were still fine and did not need upgrading? This has led to conspiracy theories that Apple could be intentionally slowing down older iPhones to force users to upgrade, which apparently has been debunked.
However a more convincing theory has since surfaced, which is that Apple could be slowing on iPhones on purpose, but not necessarily for nefarious purposes, but rather to try and maintain a consistent battery life. For those wondering how true that theory holds, Primate Labs founder John Poole has recently plotted the kernel density of Geekbench 4 scores (via MacRumors) to see if there is any truth to these claims, and as it turns out there is.
According to Poole, “The difference between iOS 10.2 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition. I believe … that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.” For those learning about this for the first time, in a bid to address random iPhone shutdowns, Apple released an update that seemingly fixed the problem.
The belief is that the shutdowns were due to older and degraded batteries that weren’t functioning at peak levels anymore, meaning that it could not handle the iPhone’s clock speeds and thus led to the shutdowns. However with the update, it seems that Apple has dynamically changed the clock speed on iPhones to match that of the battery, meaning the worse your battery got, the slower your iPhone got.
Apple has yet to disclose the improvements they made to address the issues, nor have they commented on the latest Geekbench scores, so take this with a grain of salt for now. However if you are experiencing a slowed down iPhone, you could try and swap out its battery for a new one which should be considerably cheaper than buying a new iPhone.