Ever had the feeling your smartphone has slowed down since you first bought it? You’re not alone. And, as Apple confirmed this week, you’re not wrong either.
Allegations originally made by Reddit user TeckFire led to an investigation by Geekbench, published by its founder John Poole. It showed a significant decrease in performance once an iPhone passed the year mark, and once the user had downloaded a new version of iOS.
iPhone performance and battery age: https://t.co/OVWD2MWQz7
— John Poole (@jfpoole) December 18, 2017
Apple stalled for a few days, before confirming that it does indeed throttle older devices. In a letter published on December 28, it apologized for the “misunderstanding” and said the reason for throttling was due to lithium-ion batteries faltering after a year, impacting performance.
Sounds like a reasonable response, but many customers are livid that Apple has slyly changed the performance of older iPhone models without consulting them first. Now, the question on most non-iPhone owner’s minds: does my smartphone maker do the same?
Has your smartphone been slowed?
A few Android manufacturers have come out early to declare they aren’t throttling devices. HTC and Motorola both denied throttling older smartphones to The Verge. Samsung and LG also denied throttling devices to Phone Arena.
Motorola said: “We do not throttle CPU performance based on older batteries.”
HTC said throttling older smartphones “is not something we do.”
Samsung said: “We do not reduce CPU performance through software updates over the lifecycles of the phone.”
LG said: “Never have, never will! We care what our customers think.”
IPHONE 6S PERFORMANCE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IOS UPDATES
Google has still not denied throttling and Sony said its response would be delayed due to the holidays. It looks like, from early indications, Apple may be alone in throttling devices.
Both Samsung and Huawei use software algorithms to determine the best way to allocate resources on older devices. It is not clear if these algorithms are as intense as Apple’s own throttling methods.
Both companies say the software does not stifle performance of older devices.
Chinese companies Xiaomi, BBK Electronics (responsible for OnePlus and Oppo) and Lenovo have not confirmed if they throttle older devices. Lenovo owns Motorola, so we assume they share similar ideas about throttling.
Apple tries to make amends
Apple has taken two steps to resolve the furore. First, it has reduced the cost of a battery repair by $50, now costing only $29. Next year, it will add more granular battery life and performance details on iOS.
It also said it would devote more time to improving performance management in the future.
If there’s any hope from this fiasco, it’s that iPhone owners get their smartphone repaired, instead of scrapping them after a year or two. Electronic waste is at an all time high because of smartphones.
This will hopefully rub off on other device manufacturers, which do not have the most accessible or affordable repair shops either.
What do you think of smartphone throttling? Should it be used to conserve the smartphone or should users be able to max out performance for as long as possible? Let us know in the comment section!
IMAGE CREDIT: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS, GEEKBENCH
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