FAQ: What to Know About Apple Slowing Down iPhones to Prevent Unexpected Shutdowns

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    By now, you've probably seen headlines about Apple slowing down your iPhone, but it's not nearly as simple or corrupt as it sounds. In this Q&A, we've taken the time to explain exactly what's going on.


    Why is Apple slowing down some older iPhone models?

    iPhones, like many other consumer electronics, are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited lifespan. As the battery in your iPhone ages, its ability to hold a charge slowly diminishes.

    A chemically aging battery can also have increased impedance, reducing its ability to provide a sudden burst of power when demanded by other components in an iPhone, such as the CPU and GPU. A battery's impedance will also temporarily increase when it has a low charge and/or in cold temperatures.

    A battery with a high enough impedance may be unable to provide power quickly enough to the iPhone when needed, and Apple safeguards components against the drop in voltage by shutting down the device.

    Apple recognized that iPhones unexpectedly shutting down on users is not a good experience, and starting with iOS 10.2.1, it quietly implemented a power management feature to prevent these shutdowns. The update was released in January 2017, and a month later, Apple said it saw a major reduction in shutdowns.

    How does Apple's power management feature work?

    Apple says it looks at a combination of an iPhone's internal temperature, battery percentage, and battery impedance, and only if a certain criteria is met, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU, in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

    Does my iPhone have this feature if needed?

    Apple said the power management feature applies to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE models running iOS 10.2.1 or any newer software version. The feature was also expanded to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models running iOS 11.2 or any newer software version.

    Any older iPhone models are currently not affected, including the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 3G, and the original iPhone, even though some of those models have also experienced shutdowns. The latest iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are also currently not affected.

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    Article Link: FAQ: What to Know About Apple Slowing Down iPhones to Prevent Unexpected Shutdowns
  2. meaning-matters macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2013
    It's going slow with Apple & Intel these days.
  3. trifid, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    You forgot the following questions:

    1. Why is the throttling being applied just last year, after 10 years of iPhones? What happened to the 5s for example?

    2. Could there be a hardware design issue with regards to quality/capability of battery/system Apple is using and this throttling is just a workaround due to the bad/cheap design?

    3. Why isn't Apple aiming at higher battery quality like Samsung is now adopting for S8? A typical battery degrades to 80% after 2 years, Samsung's new design only goes down to 95%.
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
  5. asdavis10 macrumors 6502


    Feb 3, 2008
    It's going to be near impossible to prove in court that Apple slowed down devices so that customers would upgrade. Doesn't mean there won't be some damages awarded because they didn't inform customers or because performance was impacted. But proving they did it to cause upgrades is a much tougher task for prosecutors.

    At the end of the day Apple could have let phones shut down randomly (which could cause customers to upgrade) or they could have implemented measurers such as they did which affects performance, at times (and which could cause customers to upgrade).

    They only failing I can see so far is in the secrecy of what was done. Because it doesn't appear to me that this is even a battery (or other component) design flaw limited to one model of iPhone. But if there is a design flaw and the software "fix" is a coverup then it will be brought to light in the court hearings.
  6. ss2cire macrumors newbie


    Jun 18, 2008
    I have to say, this article was really well written, answered most questions people have and gives some good advice on where to go next. Thank you MR and Staff for such a great write-up.
  7. Avieshek, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
    “When there’s a smoke, there’s fire”.

    Vote with your wallets ;)

    Apple, continue using Chinese batteries. Seriously, as if, iPhone is the only tech to use batteries in this decade of civilisation. Death of a battery within a year & two? Suddenly, I’m concerned for electric cars. However, my 2012 MacBook Pro continues to edit 1080p videos and you don’t want to know how old is my iPad with InfinityBlade3.

    Even if I have to agree with Apple then get back to ‘replaceable battery design’, if you happen to claim it’s so natural how batteries degrade. Since, in the name of simplifying a non-existent solution with a concealed battery it’s only getting complex neither the batteries will ever get thicker anyway from Apple.
    Since, the iPhone 6. Maybe, the team at Apple got restless after the death of Steve Jobs?
  8. Act3, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    Act3 macrumors 68000

    Sep 26, 2014
    "Apple is not permanently or persistently slowing down older iPhones. Even if your iPhone is affected, the performance limitations only happen intermittently, when the device is completing demanding tasks. "

    CPUdasherx shows throttling all the time if battery is old enough even with battery fully charged, not just with demanding tasks.
  9. leventozler, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    leventozler macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2009
    Just like the wrong material choice in 6 series, Apple choose a battery size that can barely power its powerful CPU/GPU. They did update the aluminum, but kept the battery to keep its size the same.

    With little degradation, even geniuses admit that the batteries were still OK, the phones kept shutting down.

    It was a bad design/engineering decision that pushed people to update their devices.
  10. thornslack macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2013
    Apples response and this article are too apologist. They used crap batteries then tried to hide it by surreptitiously throttling hardware. Now I have a crap battery and a crap processor. If they think selling reduced batteries for a year is an adequate response they should think again.
  11. Narcaz macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2013
    I don't think Apple is being honest about the throttling mechanism. My anecdotal evidence: this is rather permanent and way more severe than Apple and the news sites suggest. Why don't you buy one from a forum member and make a comparison video?
  12. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    I can personally attest that with medium to high battery wear, my 5S randomly shut down as high as 80% or even as soon as it was taken off charge. Frequently it would do it when I least needed it to, such as ordering an Uber or getting into an argument on MacRumors. :D

    It was incredibly frustrating to use.
  13. willdude macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2010
  14. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    Yea, as an iPhone user we are now all guaranteed to have throttling within 1-2 years of use, I really dislike the fact there isn't more pushback from sites like Macrumors on demanding better battery quality battery like Samsung is doing, and not asking on questions on why Apple is just doing now after a decade of iPhones.
  15. psac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2009
    >>Given it didn't fully communicate the changes, some iPhone users with a suddenly slower device may not have realized that they could have simply replaced the battery to regain maximum performance consistently. As a result, some customers may have even unnecessarily purchased a brand new iPhone.

    You forgot the part where some customers were not allowed to replace the battery, because they were told the diagnostics were fine, despite having the shutdowns before, and the slowdowns after, the infamous ios update. And as a result, some customers purchased a brand new iPhone as the only recourse besides sticking with a gimped phone.
  16. willdude macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2010
    Yeah, I don't buy that Apple is just "smoothing out the peaks". That would imply that the CPU is still allowed to peak intermittently, but there's zero indication that when the CPU is throttled that it's ever allowed to reach its max frequency.
  17. MistrSynistr macrumors 65816

    May 15, 2014
    Is this seriously a macrumors propaganda push? lol.
  18. Geert76 macrumors 68000

    Feb 28, 2014
    the Netherlands
    if the people on Reddit didn't found out this battery/throttling 'problem' (weeks ago), Apple would simply continue business like nothing happened.

    it's quite simple.

    And Apple is now full steam ahead with damage control 2.0

    Well written article by the way!
  19. macTW Suspended

    Oct 17, 2016
    Last I checked, Samsung blew some up too... not sure I wanna copy their battery technology.
  20. rye9 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2005
    New York (not NYC)
    The iPhone SE isn't qualified though for the $29 replacement, even though it's one of the affected models?
  21. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    They learned from their mistake (S7) and improved quality (S8). My point is I don't hear Apple pushing for better quality, and just focusing on patching and doing workaround on cheap traditional batteries.

    Which by the way, is amazingly convenient so that more users experience throttling and may be persuaded to buy a new iPhone if no one tells them there is invisible throttling going on.
  22. gnipgnop, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    gnipgnop macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2009
    Part of it probably depends on the volume of batteries that could be supplied using that newer technology. It may need special manufacturing processes that aren't widespread yet at factories that produce lithium ion batteries.

    You also need to remember that capacity isn't the only thing that can effect voltage supply to the CPU. Does the new Samsung technology change the point that voltage goes below nominal during a standard charge cycle, i.e., 20% or lower with standard lithium ion? Is the new Samsung technology impervious to cold conditions? Will it still degrade more quickly when exposed to high temperatures? Or the wrong voltage charger?
  23. macTW Suspended

    Oct 17, 2016
    iPhone: quality parts that work in sync for safety, security and performance (yes that’s battery too).

    Users: “hey I hate my phone shutting off.”

    Apple: “ok we’ll make it so that at peak load usage, if it would shut off before, now will just slow slightly.”

    User: “how dare you slow my phone during rare usage events! Just invest billions into new battery tech like Samsung!”

  24. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Denver, CO
    I think this was a potential fix to randomly shutting down. I have had the shutdowns happen on both iPhones and Android phones I've owned. It's frustrating because it was typically when I really needed the phone to work (standing outside in the cold following directions of some such). Slowing down is definitely preferred to basically crashing the phone.

    The problem here is Apple never communicated what was happening. I'll be interested to see if other phones follow suit or continue to just shutdown/crash.
  25. RealAppleFan, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2018

    RealAppleFan macrumors newbie


    Oct 30, 2017
    I have lost all trust in Apple.

    I can't believe Apple would purposefully slow down phones, then try to make it seem as if they were trying to prevent slowdowns and protect battery longevity, when they purposefully put crappy/small batteries in iPhones. They are doing this just to make sure recurring revenues are in full control.

    To think people on this forum think that Apple providing a discount is good enough...when Apple has literally stole billions of dollars by deceiving its customers. I have friends who were told by genius idiots that it was time to purchase a new iPhone, with a side of Apple Care.

    Steve Jobs - We really miss you man. You weren't necessarily a saint, but you never would have done this.

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