Apple Doesn't Deliberately Slow Down Older Devices According to Benchmark Analysis

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011
    Eh, this thread is a bit disingenous and feels like a bit of a "damage control" because of some users experiencing performance issues post upgrade.

    Like, we know they're not wrong. Apple doesn't change the performance of the CPU by releasing an update. that's just silly.

    However, the new updates tend to require more resources than previous and the added load of the new functionalities may make older CPU's feel slower as they're tasked with doing more stuff. More CPU cycles at "Idle" and more RAM as a baseline.

    But telling users "your CPU isn't slower!" and expecting them to pass off the hiccups and glitches in iOS11 then is silly.
  2. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Yeah. This. Why are they able to actually make old macs feel faster, while iOS devices only feel slower with each update? It's a noticeable difference between the two OS update patterns.
  3. zman123, Oct 6, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017

    zman123 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2012
    I think, this article misses the point.

    Someone found out, that the usable CPU (and GPU) speed stayed (almost) the same.
    The conclusion is not, that "devices did not become slower". This is ludicrous, because the hardware is still the same. How should it become slower? The conclusion is: the slowness we users experience - which is real - , does not come from the CPUs suddenly running at lower clock rates, but is caused by something else.

    So where is the performance lost?

    I am a software developer for 10+ years. I started writing software for iOS in early 2010. Let me tell you what changed for me.

    I don't remember optimizing for the original iPhone. But I remember optimizing our software for iPhone 3G a lot, when there was iPhone 3GS already and even when there was iPhone 4 around.
    What did we need to optimize? A ton of things. ObjC is a slow language, so we went for C wherever necessary (which is easy, because C is (except minor things) a subset of ObjC). So for example clustering pins on a map was taking 30 seconds in ObjC on an iPhone 3G and about 1-2 seconds on the same device, when it was implemented in C. But honestly the bigger challenge was not optimizing the data part of the application, but optimizing the UI. For the table view for example - a very common UI element - we were pre-rendering cell images and putting them in some cache. We were using low quality jpegs, which don't have an alpha layer and thus don't need alpha blending and they have a small file size (with lossy compression) and can be decoded fast enough (faster than pngs) with the old CPUs. We spent a lot of time doing these optimizations.

    As the iPhone 4 came, we had the same problem. Yes, the device was faster, but actually the faster CPU did not help us so much. The new problem was, that the images had to be 4x the size now (both dimensions grew by a factor of 2x). So still we had to optimize a lot to get these higher quality images moving on the screen at good speed. The table view (again as example) behaves a little odd here, because it does not simply animate/move a rendered image on screen (which would be fast), but at each step it does need to update the scroll offset, calculate the cell layout and do the drawing [1], which costs a lot of time.

    So there we were, still optimizing. I would say, the first phone with "plenty" of power was the iPhone 4s. But if you tried using it today with the latest iOS it supports, it is again super slow. So why is that?

    I think, that the developers at Apple (and also the 3rd party developers like me) don't optimize their software at all anymore. The devices are so fast now, that you can get away with almost any crapy code. This means, there is a lot of CPU and GPU power wasted, because of inefficient code. This makes every app slower and oftentimes use more RAM than necessary. Once you update the OS, all the apps from Apple are a litte slower, because they have more features and are less optimized - at least for the new code. With the incoming updates from 3rd party apps it gets worse (but the latter is a more continuous process).

    Here are the details:

    - The apps use more RAM (more features, less care about wasting ram, more advanced features, that require more RAM, no optimizations that could alleviate the problem): this makes it slow for everyone, because apps stay open less (get terminated earlier as memory is needed), which makes switching between apps slower, especially on older devices, that have less ram. And with a new iOS release, usually all apps are updated. Also these apps have more features which might require more RAM.

    - The system libraries grow with the OS updates: As the apps launch, the DYLD loads the libraries, which takes longer with larger libraries (including system libraries and the libraries the apps ship with), which increases all apps launch times. Also the libraries (except from stable base ones) might themselves become slower and use more RAM due to the more features they offer. And nowadays apps make use of have 20 libraries via CocoaPods, because it is always easier to use the code, than writing your own. Do we strip them, to remove the code, we don't use? I know, we strip the binray before releasing, but honestly, I don't know, if we strip the libraries, that we bundle with the apps.

    - Developers and Apple make use of more features, thus using more CPU/RAM. E.g. why does it need time for the words (words, not single characters) in the Notes app to appear on screen, when I have already typed them on my iPhone 6? Is it Because the text is now synced with the cloud for every few characters I type? I don't know for sure, but Notes app on my iPod 1st gen (iOS 4) runs much faster than Notes app on iOS 11 on my iPhone 6. Yes, it has more features, that is exactly my point. I am pretty sure, that Apple's really good developers could make the current Notes app really fast on "older" devices like my iPhone 6 also, if some high ranking manger complained about the speed. As a comparison: MS Word on my 16MHz computer in the end of 80ies was fast. But Notes (which has less text formatting features than the MS Word back then) on a dual-core 1.3GHz iPhone is laggy? I think, Apple's developers are more busy adding new cool features, than they have time for making them run fast. They probably have the latest phones and don't invest so much time on older phones. I could tell you some stories about performance at Apple from Ex-Apple employees, but remain silent. Short: they don't optimize everything a lot. And the truth is, a lot of 3rd party developers also don't, because they say: "it is fast on my phone" - which was usually bought within the last two years.

    - The OS very slightly gets slower, but only a little bit. [2]

    - We have switches to Swift: it was common for apps to increase form 5 MB to 30 MB executable size while remaining the same functionality. This means, that it takes more time to load the apps into RAM and that they take up more RAM, while running. This causes the same issues mentioned above (less apps in RAM at the same time results in more time to switch between them, as they need to be re-launched a lot - which again costs more CPU and drains your battery faster).

    There are some things, that I might be wrong about. Also this is not a complete list. I am not perfect. But this is, what my impression is on the topic and I hope, I could give you some helpful information as a developer.

  4. trifid macrumors 65816


    May 10, 2011
    3 words: Volkswagen Cheat Test.

    Of course raw CPU/GPU performance will check out fine, the real test is real world scenarios and usage in a multitasking environment.

    This benchmark is worthless.
  5. brianvictor7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2013
    United States
    I hear ya. I lost a 180+ Day move streak with my move to my iPhone 8+. Mostly my fault.
  6. crashfellow macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2009
    But nobody is saying they are software slowing down the cpu.

    I believe it’s a case of intentional poor optimisation for slow devices. Remember a few years ago apple released a version upgrade to ‘increase performance’ on older devices. Which in fairness it did. I believe apple merely optimises it’s software for the latest releases and makes sure it boots on older ones. IOS 11 is death by a thousand cuts and running a benchmark doesn’t excuse its poor optimisation, thousands of small glitches and terrible battery life.
  7. rworne macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Didn't help me any. I did that. I have an iPhone 6+.

    Wanted to ask Siri a question today and it takes 15-20 seconds before she'll listen to any spoken input. This is by pushing the home button. Going the "Hey Siri Route", it'll wake up Siri, but she ask you to say something long after you forgot what the question was in the first place.

    The feature is next to useless now.
  8. Regbial macrumors 6502


    Jul 10, 2010
    Same thing is happening to me with my iPod Touch. And thats the newest iPod Touch, the only one they sell, the only one that supports ios 11. It is so bad, but of course Apple doesn't care. Its all about selling the newest iPhone and the superfluous apple watch. Screw everything else.
  9. fatalogic macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2016
    This frustrates me the most as a long time mac user and recent Ios user. Every year on Macrumors we see benchmarks on how the new chip is the fastest ever and can even keep up or beat some macbooks. Yet within a year or 2 they start to struggle with Ios and they're just not powerful enough to run the new features well enough. One of my macbooks is almost 8 years old now and MacOS has never made it slower, its actually gotten more efficient over time.
  10. Tiger8 macrumors 68020

    May 23, 2011
    I'm surprised folks thought it's on purpose, or it's a conspiracy....

    It's always been the case Even in laptops,,,, hardware stays consistent, software becomes more resource demanding, hence slowness.

    What's been up for debate is why Apple makes resource intensive updates available for older hardware that clearly doesn't support it.

    I don't think the OS should be available for any hardware that Apple doesn't sell, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPad Air and Air 2
  11. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    Lexicons are also lacking.

    In the same way that a clever magician forces someone to select a particular card while maintaining the appearance of free will, Apple, too, exploits human impulses when they offer a voluntary upgrade to owners of older devices, knowing full well that it isn’t optimized for those devices and something will suffer.

    It wouldn’t be a big deal if it were easier to revert to the previous OS, like MacOS customers could when the OS was archived on physical discs. Instead, Apple yanks the older OSes from the ether as soon as they can.
  12. spikemcc macrumors newbie


    Oct 6, 2017
    CPU/GPU performance is hardware not software, thanks for the snake oil MacRumors ...

    I would have compared with 2 old devices to be out of any biais, a 3gs on iOS, one with whitedoor and one with blackdoor with a iPhone 3G and a iPod touch 2G ...

    For now, I look will SailfishOS since it could be something, I expect to be close to custom Android roms projects like LineageOS (Cyanogenmod successor).

    Remember that Cyanogenmod was base for Ubuntu touch and used by a few corporations selling Android phones, Xiaomi still sell his MIUI smartphones with good success even being told as the new Apple.

    But still, I laughed when Apple told about iPhone X, we don't need a smartphone with a laptop performance, the use case of the device is far different, it doesn't have the bigger screen, games/apps don't even need to be bloated as they are now on mobile devices, even older devices were quite decents.

    So the next move is the Ux design, there's load of flaws in them that could be fixed, also lowering the requirements would drive sales down but would give us a decent battery time for emergencies maybe, 72h is the standard for safety, so 4 days of battery even if worn up a lot should be the target and Apple is the leader for efficiency usually but watchout Google did pretty well with Chromebooks too.

    On the apps side, there's a few lacks remaining since we could there's a few old paradigms we could reuse but developpers seem mostly driven in games to up the hardware needs of users while Apple slow down their devices to make users move with planned obscelescence, same happen on Android since makers won't support their phones for long but Aosp and custom roms remove that flaw.

    As a sysadmin, for now Android lead by miles, on computers Linux didn't seemed much but still kicked Apple out of gaming competition by a fair margin, being behind the scene I know that Apple seat may get bumped over time if they don't move their ass, they seem to fail more and more for a while, would be fun to see a fair competition with Apple being close to the Jobs era but it seem that Xiaomi is more close to that and they are on the Linux side.

    If we talk of Microsoft, it did great at losing customers more and more, Linux don't even need to compete with it now, they litterally shoot their own foot, the UI is so bad that Classic shell is known by non techies and a task like making a windows 7 usb key is impossible with Microsoft made tools on Windows 10 so sysadmins use third-party tools for uses that should be there by default.

    Rant over !!! ;)
  13. Iconoclysm macrumors 68020


    May 13, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Yet, this is exactly what they do... On older devices iOS is usually trimmed down with new iterations.
  14. Hastings101 macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2010
    I always find it funny that the around ten years old desktop my parents have runs Windows 10 fine, but iOS explodes into lag because of "new features" on phones that are probably now as powerful as any old Intel core2duo from the 00s. It's not a conspiracy that Apple just sucks at optimizing for older hardware on iOS and pushes out major releases before they're ready
  15. trifid macrumors 65816


    May 10, 2011
    100000% this.
  16. Evamika macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Oct 6, 2017 ---
  17. d5aqoëp macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2016
    Extremely severe bulls*** story from Futuremark. They need to keep their trap shut and concentrate on making beautiful graphics for rigged benchmarks. They can’t even utilize the full power of A10X forget A11.
  18. Evamika macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2017
    I can agree there is no deliberate attempt from Apple to slow down the old devices. But it looks like there’s a deliberate ignorance from Apple that some old devices simply became unusable.
    Couple of weeks ago I “updated” my 2011 iMac to H.Siera. It just became unusable. Simple tasks like turning a webpage or dropping a window down, or opening a notification centre slowed down by 4-5sec.
    And when you think that the only obvious thing you got with your new OS is a new desctop picture (oh yes and you can edit live photos. Does anyone uses them at all?), that makes you very angry. I mean very angry. Even more when you think the same thing has happened with the last two “updates”.

    So when you say Moaners.. men I’ve got two theories about you and none of it is going to cheer you up.
  19. mi7chy, Oct 6, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017

    mi7chy macrumors 601


    Oct 24, 2014
    Synthetic benchmarks don't reflect real world performance and, vice versa, they don't show real world slowdown that users are actually facing on older devices. It's very unusual for Futuremark to get involved with this issue unless they were paid to do so.
  20. yensteel macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009

    I have found my iPhones to be gradually less responsive over time though. iOS bloat is real
  21. Robert.Walter macrumors 65816

    Jul 10, 2012
    Yeah, and the web isn’t becoming more content rich either!

    And those new functions ported out to older models, damn Apple for slowing my phone down by giving me new features!
  22. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
    This doesn't reflect real world use. This is just the devices running a benchmark at full power, which they usually are not using.
    Probably because computers have the battery capacity or wall power to run macOS at faster speeds than iOS without bad battery life. Or maybe the OS is just more mature.
  23. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    No, it's not the same with desktop OS'es, which makes me feel like they're doing something badly (I don't believe it's intentional) with optimizing iOS updates.

    My MacBook Pro is 4 years old: started with 10.9 Mavericks, now running 10.13 High Sierra. It feels as fast or faster than on any previous OS.

    My iPad Air 2 is 3 years old: started with iOS 8, now running iOS 11. It feels massively slower than when I got it.

    I kept an iPad 2 on iOS 6, and it ran like new until the day I sold it in 2014. My wife's mini 2 is from 2013, still running iOS 8, and it feels as fluid or better than my Air 2, despite having an A7 and 1 GB RAM vs A8X and 2 GB RAM.

    My iPhone 7 is still on iOS 10 and will stay there. I think I'm to the point where maybe I'm just done with iOS updates. iOS is so mature now that the updates hardly add any new features, and the performance hit just isn't worth it to me.

    On the other hand, I will happily continue to upgrade my Macs to the latest OS because their performance stays the same or sometimes even improves.
  24. Reno Raines macrumors 65816

    Jul 19, 2015

    I agree. To me it would be corporate suicide if Apple intentionally made new iOS updates slow down devices just to force an upgrade. I have a 5s on iOS 11 I use as an iPod Touch. Android would never support such an old phone with new updates. The fact that Apple supports it’s products so long to me should be a mark in the plus column.
  25. Fredrikl, Oct 6, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017

    Fredrikl macrumors newbie


    Feb 19, 2016
    I felt the same way as you do, of course they don't slow down the hardware, but they make sure the software is killing you, on my 6splus, after ios 11 update batter lasts about an hour instead of a day.

    EDIT: They actually slowed down the hardware, go figure.
    It is a deliberate attempt to avoid people demanding replacements when their battery wears out or delivers a minor fault. It seems even apple can't beat the laws of chemistry and are unwilling to make the batteries replaceable but rather forcing people to buy a new phone.
    It's like Ûber paying ransom money to hush up their privacy leak.

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