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Apple Apologizes for Slowing Down iPhones, Offers Reduced Battery Replacement Fee

Apple Apologizes for Slowing Down iPhones, Offers Reduced Battery Replacement Fee

By Simon Hung

After admitting to intentionally slowing down some older iPhones and garnering widespread criticism, Apple has issued an official apology for their handling of the situation and has reduced the fee of out-of-warranty battery replacements for all affected models.

In their statement, Apple also provided additional details about why the measures were implemented, explaining that as lithium-ion batteries age, they become less reliable to supply sufficient power for peak performance, which increases the chance of an unexpected shut down.

Last week, the company confirmed to The Verge that iOS 10.2.1 -- released in March 2017 -- included a feature that throttled the performance of iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus devices with older batteries to prolong their life and mitigate the chance of random shut downs. The feature was extended to iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with the release of iOS 11.2 earlier this month.

Owners of iPhone 6 or later can get a new battery for a reduced fee of $35.00 (image via iFixit).

From a technical perspective, the decision to limit performance does make sense -- given the choice between slower performance or unpredictable shut downs, most users would likely accept the trade-off, but the company has received harsh backlash for their lack of clarity regarding the matter, as release notes for iOS 10.2.1 do not explicitly mention the possibility of performance throttling.

Some critics saw it as a deliberate strategy to push customers towards purchasing a new iPhone and speculation grew after the measures were extended to iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were released in 2016 and would be the least likely to see significant battery degradation. However, the company addresses this notion directly, stating “we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

To address customer concerns, Apple has reduced the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements, which will solve the problem for any affected iPhones. Owners of iPhone 6 or later can get an out-of-warranty battery replacement for $35.00 (previously $99.00) starting late-January 2018 through December 2018. Service information will be provided soon and in addition, an early-2018 iOS update will provide users with more thorough details about battery health.

Some iPhone 6s models manufactured between September and October 2015 may also be eligible for a free battery upgrade -- click here to check your serial number to see if your iPhone is eligible for the program.

39 Comments

    • The you update old iPhone intend to really to slow down to the notceable, once you become irritated you gonna buy the new one.
    • Report Post
  • sf1
    • not a lot of ppl will buy new phones if the old one is still fast.
    • Report Post
    • If you get the battery replaced (for a battery old enough that needs it), it speeds up again apparently.
    • Report Post
    • EugW wrote:
      Dec 20th, 2017 9:09 pm
      If you get the battery replaced, it speeds up again.
      Same thing.
    • Report Post
    • d1ulove3 wrote:
      Dec 20th, 2017 9:10 pm
      Same thing.
      ? Battery replacement is US$79.
    • Report Post
    • EugW wrote:
      Dec 20th, 2017 9:16 pm
      ? Battery replacement is US$79.
      New battery + performance increase only $79... oh apple what have you done?
    • Report Post
    • EugW wrote:
      Dec 20th, 2017 9:09 pm
      If you get the battery replaced (for a battery old enough that needs it), it speeds up again apparently.
      ... and after 1 year it slows down again. I would rather knowing that the battery dying soon for me to replace and the phone still usable. I'm using 6s now and the browser is significantly slower than my Android phone.

      Likely won't buy Apple product again!
    • Report Post
    • hXcellent wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 12:57 am
      ... and after 1 year it slows down again. I would rather knowing that the battery dying soon for me to replace and the phone still usable. I'm using 6s now and the browser is significantly slower than my Android phone.

      Likely won't buy Apple product again!
      No. The battery related slowdowns would take a lot longer than a year.

      BTW, the 6s we have is perfectly fine with 11.x. I wouldn’t want to use a 6 or older, but that’s not because of the battery. That’s because the 6 and older only have 1 GB RAM.
    • Report Post
    • EugW wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 3:58 am
      No. The battery related slowdowns would take a lot longer than a year.
      Not true. The latest update is already slowing down some iPhone 7 phones, and there are quite a few reports of iPhone 6 & 6S batteries less than a year old that are causing throttling. Even apps that show battery wear levels seem to be reporting faster than usual wear since these updates.

      Perhaps Apple isn't using good batteries and is hiding it with these updates that slow performance drastically (greater than 50% drop in performance)
    • Report Post
    • "Apple on Wednesday acknowledged that the company does take some measures to reduce power demands — which can have the effect of slowing the processor — when a phone's battery is having trouble supplying the peak current that the processor demands."
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/apple ... -1.4172288
    • Report Post
    • Old batteries die hard.

      They are acknowledging that with older batteries in older iPhones, the normal feature of restricting performance based on peak power level is there.
      It's not intentionally slowing down your phone to upgrade.

      It's like a raspberry pi. It requires 2 amps to run at full speed, but if someone uses a weak power supply that gives it 1 amps, it can run until it hits that peak and shuts down, iPhones can prevent the unwanted shut down by limiting performance use.
      You can notice this in older Androids too when they shutdown when in heavy use, they do not have a performance limiting feature.
    • Report Post
    • MadCanadian wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 10:54 am
      Old batteries die hard.
      What if Apple did this with their other products (ie., Macbooks, Ipads, etc.,).

      Forcing you to upgrade (as many might not suspect the problem was just an old battery). Sleazy ethics. I expected more from Apple than to resort to this.
    • Report Post
    • ForlornHope wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 12:42 pm
      What if Apple did this with their other products (ie., Macbooks, Ipads, etc.,).

      Forcing you to upgrade (as many might not suspect the problem was just an old battery). Sleazy ethics. I expected more from Apple than to resort to this.
      Apple is not forcing you to upgrade, Apple is not a bad guy here.
      Just people reacting to things getting old and expecting them to run like new.
    • Report Post
    • ForlornHope wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 12:42 pm
      What if Apple did this with their other products (ie., Macbooks, Ipads, etc.,).

      Forcing you to upgrade (as many might not suspect the problem was just an old battery). Sleazy ethics. I expected more from Apple than to resort to this.
      Actually, if your laptop battery is getting too old, Apple's computers have a constant flag present in the menu bar reminding you to replace the battery. The difference though is you can run a Mac laptop even without a battery if you plug it in.

      Also it should be noted that prior to this, iPhones with old batteries would simply shut down in the cold. You'd run it for like 2 minutes and then it would turn off, even if it had say 20% power left, which you can imagine would be extremely irritating. This actually solves that problem. Not sure why it happens but I'm guessing is that the battery can't handle the extra power draw when it's old and cold.

      Note that this issue is not limited to iPhones. It also happens with Android phones.
    • Report Post
    • MadCanadian wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 12:58 pm
      Apple is not forcing you to upgrade, Apple is not a bad guy here.
      Throttling your unit WITHOUT telling you why a good thing (ie., all you have to do is the replace the battery)?

      Ok.
    • Report Post
    • The problem is they don't give you a choice,warning. You don't notice it because it's so gradual or it's only under certain conditions.
      This will haunt them in the second hand market too because this is a hidden factor for people looking for second hand phones. "Is it a gimpped phone with a bad battery? but you can't tell unless you launch a game or benchmark? or is it ok?"

      If they gave you a notification that the device performance will be degradated until you replace the battery that would be more helpful than this stealth BS.
    • Report Post
    • tebore wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:08 pm
      The problem is they don't give you a choice,warning. You don't notice it because it's so gradual or it's only under certain conditions.
      This will haunt them in the second hand market too because this is a hidden factor for people looking for second hand phones. "Is it a gimpped phone with a bad battery? but you can't tell unless you launch a game or benchmark? or is it ok?"

      If they gave you a notification that the device performance will be degradated until you replace the battery that would be more helpful than this stealth BS.
      People will take that reminder as "Please upgrade". It can do more good but just as bad.
      Ideally they should offer a system health check that can be manually "run" to show current life quality of the phone. Although that would have its downside in the quality outlook anyways.
    • Report Post
    • MadCanadian wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:15 pm
      People will take that reminder as "Please upgrade". It can do more good but just as bad.
      Ideally they should offer a system health check that can be manually "run" to show current life quality of the phone. Although that would have its downside in the quality outlook anyways.
      Something, anything... just don't hide it.
      Hell make it part of iTunes when you plug it in, a diagnostic option should be in iTunes.
    • Report Post
    • What happened to the OP?
    • Report Post
    • tebore wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:31 pm
      What happened to the OP?
      It hasn't even been 24 hours, although given that it looks like they're an Android user (based on comments in the OnePlus 5T thread) , the thread may have been created more to troll Apple than anything else.

      Still, a worthwhile discussion to have, and I nearly posted it before seeing this one was here.
    • Report Post
    • tebore wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:31 pm
      What happened to the OP?
      Its Xfiles, we will never know
    • Report Post
    • Devhux wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:35 pm
      It hasn't even been 24 hours, although given that it looks like they're an Android user (based on comments in the OnePlus 5T thread) , the thread may have been created more to troll Apple than anything else.

      Still, a worthwhile discussion to have, and I nearly posted it before seeing this one was here.
      MadCanadian wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:36 pm
      Its Xfiles, we will never know
      I went thru to see what could have gotten him banned, nothing really panned out. I was really interested in his points about York Region Traffic.

      He got too close to the truth it appears.
    • Report Post
    • shabby wrote:
      Dec 20th, 2017 9:38 pm
      New battery + performance increase only $79... oh apple what have you done?
      If only Apple (and other phone companies) made replacing batteries easier and cheaper. I just bought a new OEM battery for my V20 for $17 and I can just pop-it in my phone in 10 sec. But Apple (and Samsung, Google etc) would rather sell new phones than new batteries. And us consumers have been conditioned to play along.
    • Report Post
    • tebore wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:48 pm
      I went thru to see what could have gotten him banned, nothing really panned out. I was really interested in his points about York Region Traffic.

      He got too close to the truth it appears.
      I missed that he was banned.... Now this is a conspiracy! Maybe he was caught impersonating Mulder.
    • Report Post
    • Devhux wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 2:37 pm
      I missed that he was banned.... Now this is a conspiracy! Maybe he was caught impersonating Mulder.
      Jobs was really the CSM - you figure it out.😝
    • Report Post
    • EugW wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 1:04 pm
      Actually, if your laptop battery is getting too old, Apple's computers have a constant flag present in the menu bar reminding you to replace the battery. The difference though is you can run a Mac laptop even without a battery if you plug it in.

      Also it should be noted that prior to this, iPhones with old batteries would simply shut down in the cold. You'd run it for like 2 minutes and then it would turn off, even if it had say 20% power left, which you can imagine would be extremely irritating. This actually solves that problem. Not sure why it happens but I'm guessing is that the battery can't handle the extra power draw when it's old and cold.

      Note that this issue is not limited to iPhones. It also happens with Android phones.
      This is the main reason why I choose to buy phones or electronic devices with removeable battery that can be replaceable by its owners with ease.
    • Report Post
    • Devhux wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 8:21 am
      Not true. The latest update is already slowing down some iPhone 7 phones, and there are quite a few reports of iPhone 6 & 6S batteries less than a year old that are causing throttling. Even apps that show battery wear levels seem to be reporting faster than usual wear since these updates.
      Battery degration is a physical effect. Software cant magically cause the battery state of health to degrade.
      Devhux wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 8:21 am
      Perhaps Apple isn't using good batteries and is hiding it with these updates that slow performance drastically (greater than 50% drop in performance)
      There was a case where they released bad batteries and they replaced them free of charge.
    • Report Post
    • Mr_Dogg wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 6:15 pm
      Battery degration is a physical effect. Software cant magically cause the battery state of health to degrade.
      If the batteries are degrading enough that CPU performance has to be throttled, or the device shuts down prematurely, that's a problem. Apple can also adjust how the battery wear level calculations are made.

      We have several Android phones in the family that are several years old, and aside from worse battery life there are no issues. Yes, that's anecdotal, but I'm still not giving Apple a pass here.
    • Report Post
    • Devhux wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 6:48 pm
      If the batteries are degrading enough that CPU performance has to be throttled, or the device shuts down prematurely, that's a problem. Apple can also adjust how the battery wear level calculations are made.

      We have several Android phones in the family that are several years old, and aside from worse battery life there are no issues. Yes, that's anecdotal, but I'm still not giving Apple a pass here.
      Take it out in -15 C weather and then see what happens. Sometimes it will be fine, and sometimes it won't. What Apple is doing here is compensating for the latter.
    • Report Post
    • Not so expensive for a battery change on an iPhone 6 Plus.
      Tomorrow, I will be there.
    • Report Post
    • Should have made it opt-in just like battery saver mode.
    • Report Post
    • Devhux wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 6:48 pm
      If the batteries are degrading enough that CPU performance has to be throttled, or the device shuts down prematurely, that's a problem. Apple can also adjust how the battery wear level calculations are made.

      We have several Android phones in the family that are several years old, and aside from worse battery life there are no issues. Yes, that's anecdotal, but I'm still not giving Apple a pass here.
      Adjusting how battery wear calculations are done doesn’t change the fact that the battery physically is degraded.

      Up untill the iPhone 6, this was not even necessary. The thing is, these newer phones have MUUUCH higher peak power requirements and this is where things start going wrong.

      When a battery has degraded a lot,
      It can still deliver power consistently and the state of charge is still reasonably predictable due to the minor voltage drop.

      But when you try to draw a lot of current, the voltage is much much more drastic which results in the phone just shutting down.
    • Report Post
    • yow2kvil wrote:
      Dec 21st, 2017 2:06 pm
      If only Apple (and other phone companies) made replacing batteries easier and cheaper.
      That's the price people have to pay for wanting ultra thin. Making a door for the battery takes too much space, I guess. Personally, I would sacrifice a bit of thinness for an easily replaceable battery. And as of yet, I haven't dropped a phone in the toilet, so I don't need waterproofing :) .
    • Report Post
    • The title is a little misleading. The article states that Apple will only reduce performance when battery levels are critical. I guess a type of forced battery-saver mode? This isn't really the same as slowing down older iPhones in general. I'm also curious about how this would impact the user experience. Apple has a strong reputation of being able to fall way short on benchmarks without any consequences to the actual experience of using the device.
    • Report Post
    • Apple should give a discount on battery changes because of this.
    • Report Post
    • Actually, changing batteries on iphones isn't THAT difficult.

      Yes, it would be easier with a removable battery but opening up the iphone to change batteries isn't so hard if you are good with a screwdriver.

      You just need the right screwdrivier (I think it is called pentalobe) and ebay sells OEM apple made in japan batteries with free tools.

      I've swapped batteries on a iphone 5, 5s and 6 and it wasn't difficult.

      Hardest part was shimmying the original battery out of the iphone since Apple uses really strong glue.....you can just use double sided tape when you replace the battery, the battery isn't going anywhere. Some replacement batteries come with the same adhesive tape that Apple uses..

      The 5s was a bit trickier since it had the fingerprint wire on the home button....have to be careful not to rip the wire when opening the case.
    • Report Post