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Apple Says It Slows Older iPhones to Save Their Battery Life (npr.org)
249 points by lyk 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 291 comments



It's not only to make them run longer - they're reducing the peak demand on the batteries to avoid spontaneous shutdown when the aged battery can't handle the load.

This seems like a good idea, and it appears to be well executed (ie it's not apparently based just on age or milage like a crappy car maintenance reminder), but Apple should probably have something in iOS that tells people their phone is running slow because the battery is 2 years old.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/20/apple-addresses-why-people...


This comment deserves more attention. And, in fact, means the headline is wrong.

Apple is not slowing down devices to extend battery life. Apple is slowing down devices to prevent the thing from crapping out entirely ("unexpectedly shutting down"). Arguably, this does more to prevent obsolescence than plan it.

Agreed with @djrogers suggestion to alert the user to the situation. It should not be a user choice.

"Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions [cold, low battery, battery age]."


That quote really hurts. My iPhone 6S has had spontaneous shutdowns since the first winter it was out (and is supposedly not in the replacement program). No previous Apple phones did. This winter it's the same. To me it suggests a more widespread defect that they do not wish to admit.


FYI - https://www.apple.com/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/ that was effected by a recall. You should check your serial number.


Like I said, it's not part of the replacement program.


Put in my number for fun, found out it is eligible for a replacement. Good things after 2 years a free new battery :).


So got my battery replaced today because of this thread. Feels very smooth again but may be between my ears. Only now realize I forgot to do a benchmark test with the old battery still in.


Glad it worked out.


Just got a brand new battery today after 2 years of usage thanks to your comment.

Thank you. You just saved me 80$ from paying to replace it myself.

Now I can justify to myself that it pays to read hacker news ;)


Why didn't you replace it the first winter you had it? Would have been free.


Had the same problem - they told me I‘d have to wait up to 8 weeks for them to return my phone. I instead chose to pay a local repair shop €50 to swap the battery within 30 minutes. For €80 they would have used an original Apple battery replacement.


This was happening to me, resetting it solved the problem.


If that's true, why was Apple being so cagey about it for so long? Why didn't they advertise it as a feature?


Feature list: * 4.7-inch retina display * 12MP camera * Phone will get slower over time

No, not seeing that advertisement working.


Well it's not like Android phones advertise "comes with malware direct from Google Play store" and "malware can run your phone so hard it will deform, catch fire, or explode"


no, but that's also not true so it's not really a valid comparison.


Actually the second one sounds like a selling point to me, in a Mythbusters sort of way.


[citation needed]



If anybody could sell it as a good thing, it's Apple. "Phone performance adjusts automatically to preserve battery life"


Because it is not a "feature". It is a band-aid for a design defect in the affected iPhone models, advertising it as a feature would only draw attention to those design defects.


It's not a design defect. It is intentionally designed this way - as thin and light as possible with a battery that's only sufficiently powerful for the first month.

And they get planned obsolescence too!

It's intentional.


Did you see how the internet reacted? Even the allegedly technically-competent parts of the internet?


When were they cagey about it? Not documenting something isn't equivalent to being cagey...


I would say it is quite cagey. I'd argue if your specs page says phone has 1.8GHz processor, it must deliver 1.8GHz otherwise it is faulty. If it does not live up to specs, and you (Apple) know about it, it is direct deception of the customer. I'd bet 100% court case victory for any complaining customer.


It does deliver 1.8 GHz though, but the window in which it can do that shrinks as your battery ages


It's one of those things that woukd get bad press whether they were out in front of it or not, so you might as well keep quiet until it comes up.


> Arguably, this does more to prevent obsolescence than plan it.

Why not simply make the battery replacable?


I'm assuming you mean user-replaceable, since as others have pointed out, it is replaceable by a technician. And the answer is: it would compromise too many other areas of functionality. User-replaceable batteries would mean both internal housing hardware to create a bay, electrical contact interface, and housing for the battery itself. These would either add weight and bulk, or reduce the capacity of the battery overall, and it would make waterproofing much harder. I personally very much prefer the trade-offs Apple has made, and I suspect a lot of other people do too.


It is replaceable, just not replaceable without expertise and tools. Would you say that most of your car parts aren't replaceable?


Sure, and so are the motherboard, screen, digitizer, etc. But that doesn't make it consumer-friendly. The battery in my phone is also user replaceable. A new battery costs almost $20, and requires me to pull the back cover off the phone with my fingernails. Whatever excuses a company makes for not offering that feature really just boils down to making money.


I'll take removing two screws to access the internals over having the entire thing fly apart when it's dropped on the ground any day. Do you remember removable batteries and cases from the early Nokia days? Even a minor jolt could interrupt the power supply and freeze the phone, so even if it didn't explode into four pieces, you still had to disassemble it and re-insert the battery.

Solid construction and mechanical fasteners are a feature. Servicing any part of an iPhone is not that hard; lack of serviceability is a myth.

Additionally, batteries are not the most commonly replaced part. So far my SE has had four screens and a lightning connector. I'll do the battery myself when I notice performance degrade, too.


The battery sure is, and so are the tires, windshield wipers, seats, etc.

have non-replaceable ram and cpu is one thing, but a part that is known to deteriorate with age and usage should be user replaceable.


It is user replaceable. You can buy the part and the tools and do it yourself if you're handy with a screwdriver. It's not a simple matter of snap-out/snap-in, but it's not much harder than replacing a car's windshield wipers, and much easier than something like replacing tires or brake pads.


I've done this on many phones. The phone often isn't the same as it was initially because it was not designed for this. Many phones have tape that has been adhered through the use of heat. Changing the battery requires removal of many screws and disassembling very sensitive parts. Little mistakes can make the phone inoperable.

Not to mention you take it to a technician who has the tools and you'd assume is doing a good job right? No, often it's some high school kid who is not invested in doing a good job but rather just getting it done. It's sloppier than if you were to do it yourself. So you have to resort to buying hundreds of dollars of tools and taking painstaking hours to get it done right and even then it might not turn out.

To the other posters who argue'd that we make a choice about this - no we really don't get a choice. If you want a cutting edge phone there are simply 0 options with replaceable batteries. This is planned obsolescence in an age where my several year old Motorola works just fine for my needs.


Hundreds of dollars of tools? iFixIt sells a kit with tools and a battery for $25.


Certain phones can be done with a cheap kit. Some require heat guns (for certain adhesive tape) and more advanced equipment. Plus if you don't want to take any risk you really should have an anti-static environment with proper grounding.


The car is a good analogy.. As @mikeash said, it is replaceable, you just need tools, parts and expertise (and time and willingness). Same as replacing parts on your car.


It is just as user replaceable as those car parts, if not more so. It requires only a few cheap tools, some time, and maybe watching a YouTube video example before starting. I'm generally more comfortable dissembling my phone than my car since the consequences of messing up are much smaller.


Returning to your car, so like your timing belt for example?


It's a "regular maintenance" type thing - less common than an oil change, sure, but perhaps just as necessary. So why not make it as easy as an oil change?


Having done both, I can tell you that replacing the battery on an iPhone is already easier than an oil change on a typical car. The iPhone parts are expensive, but it's a relatively simple operation for a trained person.


Not to mention that an Apple battery replacement is about the same cost as having someone change the oil in your car if you use full synthetic. I just don't get the complaints. If the battery is dying, get a new one. If you don't want to spend the money, then Apple has provided a feature that lets your phone keep running.


I mean, I'll agree that replacing a battery on an iPhone is a rather easy thing to do, but it's definitely still easier to change a car's oil…


Not to mention there are an infinite number of 5 minute tutorials on YouTube. You don't have to be trained, you just need a set of eyes and a brain. I'm glad an increasing number of phone manufacturers, not just Apple, put form factor and durability above user laziness.


Cars, you may have noticed, are big. Apple has made a tradeoff between replaceable batteries and small phones, and the market has more or less agreed with this decision.


Did the market know that their phone will be slowed down after a year? I don't think it was an informed decision.

An informed decision might yield the same outcome though.


One of the reasons I upgraded to an iPhone X was that my 6 Plus was getting slow. I'm just now finding out that I could have replaced the battery for $85. Am I mad!?

No, I'm not. 3 years is long enough for a smart phone, I probably would have replaced it anyways. And I like the X way more.

My guess is most people plan to replace their phones after 2 years, and few have this problem before that. So disclosing probably doesn't change more than a minute number of purchase decisions. Though I don't doubt that some marketing person at Apple influenced limiting disclosure of this fix because they thought it helped upgrade rates. If that person exists, they should be fired, because it damaged Apple's credibility.

Instead of a hard to find value in settings that tells you your battery needs replacement, they should have a one time warning when it's first detected that explains this behavior.


Thank you for the your very informative message. I think messages like yours are somewhat lacking in this discussion.

I understand your argument. I think I would be somewhat mad, or maybe it's better to say, disappointed. While I most likely would have bought a new phone anyway, I would despise that Apple took away my ability to make this call. It also means that I could not refurbish the phone and pass it on to parents/friends.

In the last years, I am somewhat disillusioned by Apple. Instead of engineering a better overall package, the innovations seem to be based on cheats (I would the /undisclosed/ cpu down-clocking as such), cutting corners in QC and questionable design decisions (touchbar - why not with some touch feedback? No headphone jack for reasons already disproved by android phones.)

I didn't buy in into the ios eco-system, but like the mbp and mac os. But the number of advantages get smaller, and the number of disadvantages grows.


I mostly agree although I don't really know if my iPhone 6 seemingly getting slower is due to power throttling or general software optimized for more performance over time. The geekbench numbers are still fine. I'd hesitate to get a new battery purely on speculation my phone would get faster. So it would be nice if there were some indication of where the battery is in its life. Though like you, I'm upgrading to an X in any case.


Optimized for more performance is more like pessimized.


No guarantee that replacing the battery would disable the underclocking. I suspect it's still be underclocked.


The battery is replaceable. Apple offers free replacement with AppleCare and $79 replacement otherwise.


I do not think situation is quite so simple. Apple has designed phones with insufficiently good battery to guarantee top speed operation as device ages. They have probably done it to make thinner handsets, but the end result is that an older device physically slows down. Moreover each new iOS release is slower and makes the older devices feel cruftish.

Where does that leave us? People that must have newest and fastest are encouraged to upgrade every year. Others accept slow downs due to old batteries and new iOS.

This is definitely not 'planned obsolescence' because your phone still works. Maybe 'encouraged obsolescence' is a better term.


The problem isn't specifically Apple's batteries; it's with current Lithium-ion battery chemistry in general. As a whole, we've nearly reached the upper bound of where energy density and consumer safety are at for providing us with a good battery that doesn't easily explode and gives the phone a constant current. The documentary series NOVA had a good episode earlier in the year that showed some possible alternatives to these https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gxZrQ5yPsLI

Regarding the slowing down of devices, underclocking the CPU allows for both less power and a lower peak voltage to be drawn from the battery and extends the real usable life of the phone. Others would simply not turn on or pass a hardware test by failing to POST. You are right about new software versions being 'encouraged obsolescence'- a company that pushes features to its older phones knowing they may not be able handle these alongside the older essential ones definitely has an interest in you purchasing a new phone. This could easily be fixed by not having the slimmest phone on the market and instead have a thicker and more easily user-replacable battery.


"The problem isn't specifically Apple's batteries; it's with current Lithium-ion battery chemistry in general." - I'm not a battery expert, but at least according to this page [0], if you were to fit a 30% larger capacity battery, and only charge to a maximum of 4.0V instead of 4.2V, you'd apparently get the same day-to-day battery life, but the overall life of the battery would be extended 4x (ie from 1 years to 4 years)

[0] http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_li...


So you would be willing to have 30% less battery life everyday to avoid replacing the pack every couple of years? That’s a trade off I personally wouldn’t make.


There is no such battery.


The performance requirements could be met, but the battery (and phone) would be larger and more massive.


Even a bigger battery is going to degrade at the same rate. It might limit the need for CPU throttling, but probably not by much.


Seeing as iPads are basically iPhones with much larger batteries, and don't suffer from the same issues, I disagree.

This could have been avoided if they weren't so obsessed with thinness. I reckon that if it was thick enough to not have a camera protrusion, it would be the perfect balance of form and battery life.


A larger battery, running the same CPU, with the same stated "battery life" as the original battery, will degrade gracefully for a longer period of time before the compute performance must also degrade.


Alternatively, you could say Apple is putting in a barely-sufficiently-sized battery for planned obsolescence... and masking it under "make it as thin and light as possible".

In reality, it's probably some mix of both sides.


Strange, I have an old HP veer That is 6 years old and it doesn't spontaneously shut down. I have a 3 year old android phone that doesn't spontaneously shut down. What is so special about iPhones and why do they crap out in 2 years?


My Nexus 6P starting having spontaneous shutdowns at 15-30% over the past few months. I replaced the battery and it's back to normal. My old Galaxy S4 before that had similar problems after 3ish years.

So a feature to throttle the CPU while I waited for a battery replacement on Android would have been great I think! It needs to be toggleable and it needs to clearly surface to the user what the long term fix is though (i.e., replace the battery). Apple's solution did neither of these, but if it did I think it would have been fine.


All of the Android phones I've had do when the battery starts to get old, Especially when you use the camera while it's low. Maybe you take better care of your batteries?


My 2013 Macbook Pro would spontaneously shut down with anywhere between 30-40% battery. I tried a few tips I found online to fix it, but nothing seemed to work.


This post gives us an estimate for what percentage of the iPhones are getting throttled by this issue. I think it's reasonable to use this as a proxy to estimate how many units were at risk of shutting down and it is the minority of units. Happily it appears both of your devices are in the majority of units which don't exhibit this issue.

https://www.geekbench.com/blog/2017/12/iphone-performance-an...


If I read that correctly, is it 25% of two year old devices (6s) that are getting throttled?


Have your android get any update after a year? Doubt it.

If you do, are they even functional after the upgrade? Mine became couldn’t do anything because it is so slow after upgrade.

Only good thing was I had an unlocked boot loader and able to flash the original Android back

Please don’t act like Android is anything better. It is not.


My 5 year old android gets the latest updates, and I don't have that issue either. I agree Android's are POS, but that doesn't detract from the fact that iPhones are also POS.


what's so special is that modern iPhone CPUs are as fast as laptop CPUs (when untrottled).


This. iPhone has been the industry leader in CPU performance and integrated processor functionality for a while now, I have no doubt that plays a role.


This is kinda of a gray area, if they really wanted to treat their customers well, they'd have easily-replaceable batteries and a notification that lets people know their phone is slowing down because they need a new battery. Still seems like planned obsolescence, or at the very least, encouraged obsolescence.


>if they really wanted to treat their customers well, they'd have easily-replaceable batteries

It's an extremely infrequent service, but it's not difficult. Certainly much much easier than an oil change on a car, which is a frequent service. Instructions, third party supplies, and third party services are abundant for it. I don't think it's fair to call it anything but "easily-replaceable."


> I don't think it's fair to call it anything but "easily-replaceable."

Yeah? Well that is peculiar. Here [1] [2] it says: "Difficulty: Moderate". I guess someone is wrong on the Internet, and I don't think its iFixit.

You see, the battery in my phone can be replaced in literally under half a minute. Without any special tools. Without any guide. The only thing is, I gotta buy the battery from the vendor, for 20 EUR.

That is, according to my reference point, "easily-replaceable" indeed (I could even do it whilst I'm hiking without any special tools), while the circus act you're going to have to put up (which includes all kind of non-standard tools (with additional price tag) which you can read about at [1] and [2]), clearly -without the shed of a doubt- makes it a lot more difficult to replace the bloody thing.

And let us be honest: that is entirely intended. Because else, Apple would use standard screws, and wouldn't use all kind of acts to use more obscure screws.

Fun fact: my mother, in her 60s, has changed oil numerous upon numerous times in her life. She's never replaced a battery in a phone though. Some people are scared opening up hardware. Heck, I bet she was scared refreshing oil the first time as well but my father guided her (he became blind, so couldn't do it anymore). Another one: the other day I was replacing a battery and reapplying thermal paste on my partner's MBP and my partner's sister complimented that I was doing that, even though it was my first time doing that and I was just using iFixit's guide. (I still managed to kill the iSight camera, even though the guide said I shouldn't worry about that connector. GG). That guide said Moderate difficulty as well IIRC. And I screwed it up. So... easy? Give me a break. Its tedious. And that, too, is way more difficult than opening up a ThinkPad T61.

Ergo, my point is that calling it "easily-replaceable" completely and utterly ignores how easy it used to be to replace your cellphone's battery. Call it a reality distortion field if you must.

So your reference point is yours, and mine is mine. We can call it there. I won't though; I want other people to take iFixit's reference point more serious than randomers because they are experts at defining the difficulty and their guides have been proofread and used. By many eyes.

[1] https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPhone+6+Battery+Replacement/29...

[2] https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPhone+6+Plus+Battery+Replaceme...


I don't want an easily replaceable battery, the trade-offs are too costly and benefits too small.


> It's not only to make them run longer - they're reducing the peak demand on the batteries to avoid spontaneous shutdown when the aged battery can't handle the load.

Yes. I used to have spontaneous shutdowns on my iPhone 6 in cold weather when the fuel gauge indicated a number like 20% and it was this sort of problem that was meant to be fixed: the CPU using too much current, causing the battery voltage to drop enough to trigger the low-voltage/brownout detector, causing the phone to die. The battery would last long enough (from last full charge to needing to recharge) -- it wasn't inadequate in the energy department -- it just couldn't deliver enough power in cold conditions.

Throttling the CPU in those cases (when the aged battery can't deliver enough current) is sensical and extends the life of the phone -- the only serious issue is that the user might think that there is a problem with the CPU or the software (and replace the whole phone) when the problem can be adequately fixed with a new battery (far less expensive than a new phone).

The feature is good but Apple's software should be far more proactive in notifying users that this is happening, if only because users jump to a conclusion of "my old phone can't handle this new iOS update, damn Apple making me buy a new phone" rather than "my battery is too old to reliably deliver whatever current the SOC wants".


I think there’s more to this story than mere aging batteries.

I had the exact symptoms of this issue with my one year old iPhone 6 Plus in fall of 2015. Add in some very strange battery % readings: Even when it failed to shut down, the phone would drop rapidly from 20% to 1% but then remain there for ten minutes or more.

Bizarrely, this behavior (albeit less frequent or severe) jumped to my brand new iPhone 6S Plus in November of that year when I restored it from a backup of the 6 Plus. Both phones had Geniuses run battery diagnostics without finding any unusual degradation.

My guess: Apple’s battery “farming” code designed to maximize its life, level drain and charge across the cells, manage load, estimate charge % remaining... is incredibly sophisticated, even so far as to profile your typical use of a device to inform these decisions and estimates. There have been user-visible bugs in this code related to manual clock updates (something I did a fair bit while traveling), and I bet some fraction of these downclocked users have been the victim of that or related bugs. If the code is “farming” the battery incorrectly, some cells may be charged or drained too much for too long, and greatly increase a phone’s susceptibility to these voltage drops, even while the global status of the battery reads as fine.


I think you wanted sensical -> sensible. I'll show myself out.


Stop being non-sensical. Just be sensical, man.


It does say in iOS that your battery needs to be replaced [1]. Everyone keeps saying they never told anyone about this but they basically announced it to the press with a statement (as well as the notice in iOS) when iOS 10.2.1 was released [2].

[1] https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207453

[2] https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/23/apple-says-ios-10-2-1-has-...


My wife's iPhone has been running slow ever since she upgraded to iOS 11. Literally the day she upgraded, she's regretted.

I'll run the speed test later to confirm. But there is absolutely NO warning in iOS that I can see that says it's been put into low-speed mode.


That's because there is no low-speed mode. It changes based on a variety of conditions including how degraded the battery is (the OS tells you when it needs to be serviced once it's near the end of its life, 500 cycles), cold or hot temperatures, and the remaining battery life (low power mode decreases performance).


How did you come to this conclusion? My 6S was running in this “low speed mode” (as confirmed by Geekbench 4 results) even when the battery was at 100%, phone plugged in, placed at my desk at room temperature all afternoon. Only relevant variable seemed to be the battery age, and the results improved (along with subjective perceived performance increase) only when I recently had it replaced.


Those 3 conditions are literally what Apple said influence performance in the story you're commenting on.


I read both, and couldn't find any verbiage indicating they limited the cpu speed based upon the condition of the battery. Only that they "fixed a bug" to reduce "unexpected shutdowns."


Yes I think it's safe to assume that Apple is not going to be notifying users about CPU speed adjustments and when those occur, given that it changes based on anything from cold to hot temperatures.


It wouldn't have to be an event notification. It could be a once-a-month reminder that performance may be degraded.


Or even a one time notification on OS upgrade. Perhaps with a note next to the "you should replace your battery" text in Settings.app. E.g. "this may affect phone performance, tap here for more info..."


A one time notification would be all they need. I'm an iOS developer and didn't even know that settings tells me when I need a new battery. Once told, I'd never forget.


Millions of people own iPhone's and don't jump up and down meticulously reading every press release or notification. Hell I can't remember the last notification that didn't catch be at a bad time, prompting me to punt it off my screen as quickly as possible.


Yeah, iPhone's notification system is terrible. Based around "deal with it now because we told you to!". Makes me sad.


Upgrading the battery doesn't restore speed, though.


Replacing the battery does in fact "restore speed".


I can't tell how well it's executed but the major issue I have with this is that this is not properly communicated to the user. I guess most people already get the feeling that their devices slow down after time, or the new apps/OS's just require more potent hardware and replacement of the devices is necessary as time goes by. But for many of those it seems that a "simple" battery replacement would have done the trick as well.

If my device has to substantially throttle the performance to avoid a complete shutdown I expect a major notification that something is terribly wrong and I better do something about it.

My car had an occasional issue with an exhaust regulation valve and drastically reduced the performance in those situations. Every time I received a notification on the dashboard that the power was reduced but that I can continue driving but that I should visit a service partner as soon as possible. That would be exactly what I expect from a smart device


> not properly communicated to the user

s/user/buyer

Selling a car that markets 300,000 miles but can't drive over 3,000 rpm anymore after the first year is not a car, and marketing it as such is fraud.


In my car case it was a know issue of this model and repaired for free within one hour. And while a degraded battery is nothing that needs to be replaced for free, the manufacturer of the phone probably sunk a lot of time and money into developing a strategy to cope with the phone shutdowns due to a degraded battery. During that process it is hard to imagine that no one ever came up with the notion that maybe it would be a good idea to also notify the user that a serious issue is developing which should be handled some time. After all this is not going to get better since the battery will continue degrading (and probably with increasing rate) if it is not replaced.


How about just the ability for a user to replace the battery? Should be a law to cut down on ewaste.


Alternatively, folks buy batteries they don’t need just because they can. I did that with my Galaxy Note, bought a spare because they were $30 and because I could. Never used it, the Note had great battery life. Now it sits on a shelf, waiting for me to recycle it.


Somehow I am reminded of the lyrics "You spin me right round, right round, baby."

The spin, I feel, is that somehow being able to replace one's batteries is bad. Whereas having an iPhone with degraded performance and an expensive-to-replace battery is good.

You "bought a spare because you could" and "now it sits, waiting for you to recycle it", thus creating waste, but one can argue that anyone buying stuff they don't need creates waste, and that being able to replace one's phone battery isn't about saving the environment but saving one's hard-earned money.


First, you can replace an iPhone battery, just take it to your Apple Store. It's reasonably affordable ($79) or free if still under warranty/Applecare. User-replaceable batteries don't change anything for the environment.

Second, user-replaceable batteries don't come for free. They come with a series of trade-offs. Small increases in cost, space, even weight. If you plan to keep your phone for more than 2 years, user-replaceable will be more important to you than if you intend to replace every 2 years.

I remember when I switched to MacBook Pros from my Dell laptops. I had two flights a week that were about 5 hours each. I had to buy an extra laptop battery and charger so my Dell would last the entire flight. And sometimes I'd forget to charge both batteries and I'd be back to a dead laptop halfway through the flight.

Then I read the reviews of these new MBPs that lasted 7-8 hours instead of 5 hours, that used sealed batteries. I switched and my new MBP worked like a charm, easily lasting the entire flight every time. One big reason Apple made that advance was entirely because they abandoned removable batteries. They were able to fit more battery using a custom form factor that would have been super expensive to make removable. No one had done this as well before, because Apple was the first to implement good embedded battery conditioning software so they would last a couple years without needing replacement.

Sealed batteries aren't always better, but they typically are for most users and use cases.


> They were able to fit more battery using a custom form factor that would have been super expensive to make removable. No one had done this as well before, because Apple was the first to implement good embedded battery conditioning software so they would last a couple years without needing replacement.

Why speculate on a tech forum, when these things are easy to find out? Just look at the battery specs for both machines.

https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/ is ~ 55 Watt/hr

A few random dells I looked up

http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/xps-13/spd/xps-1...

60Watt/hr

http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/alienware-13/spd...

76Watt/hr

Clearly, it seems to be the opposite. After using all kinds of laptops, the main benefits of Apple laptops AFAICT is that they don't come with pre-installed bullshit, they're easier to test because they only come in like 5 varieties, as opposed to the hundreds of thousands combinations that Windows has to deal with, and that OSX can be easier to use, for some users. I would recommend apple to any non-technical user for sure. I personally have never found apple hardware to be any different than other brands. I'm still using my Sony laptop from 2011 and its just as fast and rock-solid as the day I purchased it. As an aside, Microsoft doesn't usually cripple their popular software (Office, Visual studio, etc) so that it requires the latest OS, unlike Apple which forces you on the upgrade treadmill - sure, its free, but you also don't have a choice. YMMV ofcource.


So your rebuttal attempt to undercut my description of laptop market technology 8 years ago is linking to a couple present day laptops?

OK, I’ll play. How thick are those laptops? How heavy are those laptops? How does their battery life compare?

And review this so you have some basic technical knowledge and understanding of history.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/2783/apple-s-2009-macbook-pro...

https://www.anandtech.com/show/2783/apple-s-2009-macbook-pro...


>So your rebuttal attempt to undercut my description of laptop market technology 8 years ago is linking to a couple present day laptops?

No, your claim was that making batteries non serviceable means you have more room for a larger battery. It doesn't seem to be the case now. You are welcome to point to an example from the year that you purchased your laptop.


A cursory search hints me that the XPS 13 battery is not removable, and, according to some reviews, downright soldered, while the Alienware one is a literal brick. To me that makes the case, even today.

I don't care about popping a lid off every three years; swappable batteries, to me, is nonsense. What makes me irate though is a) the fact that they're downright glued when they could be held in place by other, readily serviceable means†, and b) in 2013-2015 I could code/compile stuff and still have a sizable portion of the best-case battery life, while today the battery size is dwindling, compensated by enhanced power management to maintain the "10 hour" figure, but it falls apart under any load that does not involve browsing or watching some hardware-decoded video. We should be shooting for 20, 30, 40 hours of use on battery, not the current "good enough" status quo.

† Clips, double sided tape, whatever. If it's a problem to not use glue then it's a worthy engineering challenge to use some goo that comes off easily. The current glue situation is a lazy copout, it's Steve Jobs's "plywood on the back".


I suppose it depends on the year too. Here's a video I found for the XPS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kreTaNMswRA

Agree with the rest of your comment.


Neither of those laptops have easily swappable batteries.

[the XPSs is easier than MBP & Alienware, but you’re still disassembling things]

7 years later, Dell seems to have captured the same gains.

At present, Apple’s main battery life win is macOS.


>Neither of those laptops have easily swappable batteries.

But any repair shop could do that for you. You're not forced to go to a single vendor who can set arbitrary prices.

>At present, Apple’s main battery life win is macOS.

Yes, I would agree with that.

I was speaking more to the anti-repair/replace design from Apple (also others).


Apple will only provide service under warranty themselves, and issues caused by third party repairs aren’t under warranty. Same as Dell.

If you’re not in warranty, they don’t do anything to force you to go to them. The only difference is that going to Apple is easy, due to their retail stores.


Alternative ways of looking at things is “spin” in your mind, huh? Well, that’s one way to keep a narrative, I suppose.


I guess I could call them alternative facts, if you prefer.


Well that's one experience - as a frequent traveler and thru-hiker, extra replaceable batteries are an absolute necessity for me.


Just get a power bank for that, way more useful than carrying extra batteries that only fit your phone.


That's a fair point, and I'm looking into these now that laptops are coming out that can be powered off USB. For me, though, I like the ability to drain a battery to zero, then hot-swap to a 100% battery instantly, then charge all batteries when I get back to the hostel.

It has been getting difficult with TSA, though.


Most phones are probably getting recycled now anyways, so it really doesn’t matter. In fact, I would think user serviceability would increase waste because people would throw their old batteries away.


Not if you have a fee on the battery such that you have to provide the old one to get a discount.


There are quite a few good phones with a user replaceable battery, but that is just not what consumers want most of the time. The LG v20 is the most recent one that comes to mind


iPhones have the longest life of any smartphone and you can verify that yourself by looking at the used market for it (and any Apple product). User replaceable batteries may ironically decrease that and increase waste.


What metrics are you looking at in the used market to support your hypothesis? Could they be explained by a different hypothesis?

I'm still enjoying my 3-year-old non-iPhone, and intend to keep using it until it stops working entirely, whereas my spouse with an iPhone was already voicing suspicion before this announcement that Apple was intentionally slowing their old iPhone through updates, just to provoke an upgrade. With the announcement, I can't fault the reasoning.

How much of the used market for iPhones are devices that had been traded in (because slowed by Apple due to old battery), refurbished by the mobile phone company (probably just to replace the battery and reset it to factory settings), and then resold to people whose older model refurbished iPhone now needs yet another new battery? That generates an additional sale of an entire old iPhone, whereas other phones would only generate a sale of a replacement battery at that time.

I think you would probably have to look at what mobile phone customers are actually using, right now.


Refurbished by the mobile phone company? That doesn't occur.

The used market for iPhones on Craigslist is actual users. The market is very strong, and so is the resale value of iPhones. There is one (1) explanation for this: iPhones hold their value better because they are more useful for a longer time.

As an aside, iPhones also remain able to run the latest version of iOS for roughly TWICE as long as Android phones.

There is no competition, here.


The fact that iPhones are updated for the longest time and are built well is directly related to why you can get as much as you can when you sell a used iPhone. Apple actually has an incentive to create the longest lasting iPhone because the economics of the iPhone Upgrade Plan and every carrier upgrade plan depends on it.

That iPhones retain their value over time is a testament to the fact that Apple has not been slowing down old iPhones to make you upgrade (this conspiracy theory predates iOS 10.2.1 by many years).


But I don't intend to sell my non-iPhone, ever. It works as well for me now as it did when I first bought it, so why would I? It's the same reason why I'm never going to sell my 2001 Honda Civic.

Have you examined the reasons why iPhone owners sell their older iPhones, and why people buy refurbished used iPhones?


> That iPhones retain their value over time is a testament to the fact that Apple has not been slowing down old iPhones

Not at all. It's a testament that there is a market for old iPhones, that is all. People are possibly buying used iPhones despite them being slowed down.

> Apple actually has an incentive to create the longest lasting iPhone because the economics of the iPhone Upgrade Plan and every carrier upgrade plan depends on it.

Then why don't they? <5 years for an electronic device that hasn't seen any significant upgrades in later models is absurdly short.


The lower depreciation of an iPhone compared to any comparable smartphone is directly correlated to the quality of the iPhone. This isn't new, anyone who buys used cars understands this. More importantly, it's an independent (of Apple) market that is constantly repricing this. And the results have been clear: iPhones retain their value much better than anything else.

Just as we can use the price of iOS zero-day exploits in the black market as a proxy for how secure iOS has become over the years, we can also look at the resale market for iPhones.


> The lower depreciation of an iPhone compared to any comparable smartphone is directly correlated to the quality of the iPhone

That is not true, nor has it ever been for phones or cars. People buy each for all kinds of reasons: status symbols, ideals, etc. iPhones demonstrably do not retain their value as demonstrated by this battery fiasco.

After-Market value != quality


How would replaceable batteries decrease the life of the smartphone?


It wouldn't. It would obviously increase the lifespan of it.

The spinsters are deliberately confusing "lifespan" with "resale value".


>The spinsters are deliberately confusing "lifespan" with "resale value".

I realize I'm responding to someone arguing in bad faith. But lifespan directly influences the resale value.


Replaceable batteries increase lifespan.

The iPhone is a well-made phone which would have greater lifespan if the batteries were replaceable.

As it is, users who bought an older iPhone now have to pay middle-men to replace the battery or face degraded performance.


The iPhone already has replaceable batteries. Making them user-replaceable just reduces battery capacity, increases size/weight, all so in 2-3 years you can save about 5% of your purchase cost by replacing the battery yourself.

iPhone users buy iPhones because they wanted the best in class functionality, if they wanted to save money they'd buy a phone with a replaceable battery.


It is replaceable (by Apple, authorized and unauthorized third parties). User replaceable batteries could increase waste by being less reliable overall. I know every TV remote I've owned with a battery door eventually ends up with a rubber band around it, and I think that's pretty much a universal experience.

Also we've had this debate for years already when Apple went to unibody Macbooks. The reliability and battery life only increased because of the better structural integrity and increased room for battery cells.


It is not easily replaceable as with any other phone.

The issue is not creating waste, but wasting one's money on middle-men for replacing one's phone batteries.

>I know every TV remote I've owned with a battery door eventually ends up with a rubber band around it, and I think that's pretty much a universal experience.

You're relating a supposedly personal story to make your spin claims more relatable. Maybe you're like the people in late-night TV commercials who seemingly can't open a can of tomatoes without massive bleeding? ;)


> The issue is not creating waste, but wasting one's money on middle-men for replacing one's phone batteries.

Well I could say I'm spending that money on having a nicer phone that's sealed and seamless, rather than wasting it.


Sealed, seamless, performance-degraded, costly to service, with planned obsolescence.

It's quite obvious that it's a waste of money to pay middle-men to perform basic service on it for stuff a user can do at home with any other phone.


Right... but the point was I get something, in return for having to pay middle-men to service it. It's a trade I'm happy with. Maybe you aren't, but it works for me.


You can go to a store and ask someone there to replace the batteries of your TV remote or battery-swappable phone for free, if you like.


You're just being sarcastic for the sake of it and not really contributing anything to the discussion.


it seemed to me you were saying that your received benefit in exchange for not being able to change the battery... was that you now had to pay someone else to do it. which is a bit odd.

i would wager that their post was trying to highlight that.


> it seemed to me you were saying that your received benefit in exchange for not being able to change the battery... was that you now had to pay someone else to do it. which is a bit odd.

That would be odd! Which is why that's not what I said.

I said that the received benefit in return for having to pay for the batter to be replaced was 'a nicer phone'. I like the single form of the iPhone.


How do you know? Have you ever tried an iPhone with a replaceable battery? Is the iPhone 7 better than the iPhone 6 because it is more difficult to replace the battery?


This isn't a criminal trial. I don't have to defend it. I'm just telling you I'm happy with it. Someone told me I was wasting my money. I'm saying no I'm happy having to pay someone to replace the battery if it means I can have an iPhone instead of some other phone just because it has a user-replaceable battery.


It is not a criminal trial therefore you don't have to construct an argument?

Your original reply was you got a "nicer phone that's sealed and seamless". Apple innovated the smartphone_without_user_replaceable_battery. So I am asking you, would you not prefer to have the choice of having a similar smartphone (with pretty much all the benefits of the iPhone) but then _with_ a user replaceable battery?

You know what the beauty of such a device is? We wouldn't need this silly discussion. You'd just buy a new battery from Apple and be done with it. But for some magic reason, Apple is doing it different again.


It's fine rationalizing it but how is that conceptually different from say Comcast saying: "Well actually your 100Mbps connection was just a first year promotional speed and now dropped to 20Mbps unless you sign another limited period contract. Oh, and actually, it's all for good reasons because the crappy modem that you rented at 10$ a month just kinda starts melting if it keeps transmitting at 100Mbps so we just saved your house from burning down. No need to thank us. Sorry we didn't disclose any of this to new customers but don't worry, just give us more money and everything will be ok."


I think the problem is deeper. They put batteries in these devices that cannot handle load the rest of the hardware demands. Their solution is to just slow down the rest of the hardware.

I've got a phone that is nowhere near to needing a new battery. It holds 87% of its original charge capacity. Yet it never runs above 50% speed unless it is above 97% charged, and even then it only runs at 2/3rds original speed.


The batteries handle the load just fine until they start wearing out around 500 cycles.


How are people getting to 500 cycles in one year?


It isn't purely about cycle count. If you ever forget and leave your phone on the car dash in the summer that heat has a permanent negative effect on your battery.


Yeah, this is a real problem that I’ve had with devices in the past and as someone who doesn’t buy the hot new phone every year, I appreciate that Apple is taking steps to keep my 5S happy. That’s a commitment to long-term support that I would not expect from the average Android phone vendor.


Or they could, you know, design the thing so that the battery is replaceable and provide easily accessible replacement batteries.


Apple will replace the battery for $79 [1]. When you consider the cost for a battery, the labor for replacement, the confidence that this is not a junk replacement, and the warranty for the service, that's a very reasonable price. There is no way Apple is making money on this.

[1] https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/battery-power


You make a good point.

If you consider that you can't easily change the battery in an iPhone without voiding the warranty or paying a premium price to Apple Support then one can make a strong argument that it's sneaky planned obsolescence.

Then again, a battery that dies down after a few years and is so difficult to replace is also planned obsolescence.


It's just another nail in the coffin. OS upgrades requiring more CPU usage, the lack of repair-ability, dying batteries, and now this CPU tweak.

It's pretty obvious what apple is doing. We need a law to make them stop or at least one which requires them to declare in obvious language about the things that reduce the functioning of their devices over time.


My geekbench CPU scores (single-core 1458, multi-core 2480) show that my 6s has been throttled but honestly I hadn't noticed a slowdown.

In which apps would I notice a significant difference if I replace my battery?

If Safari page load speeds increased I would be happy, but I assume that is more influenced by bandwidth and mobile optimization.


> they're reducing the peak demand on the batteries to avoid spontaneous shutdown when the aged battery can't handle the load.

It doesn't seem to help my gf had an iPhone 5 that started dying on peak demand but only after it got upgraded to new ios (i guess 8.0).

We replaced it (it had bad battery from the start and apple had a program for replacing those). After few years on new battery it started doing the same thing again. I replaced the battery and it stopped. But I know what I can expect in two years or so. Maybe I should stock on iPhone 5 batteries? Do they age less if they are unused?


All batteries wear out after a few years of use.


I understand lasting shorter on charge but shutting down when I turn on the camera while on 40% is uniquely apple experience.


I've seen the same shutdown problem on multiple different Android devices with degraded batteries.


I must have been lucky then.


nope.


> but Apple should probably have something in iOS that tells people their phone is running slow because the battery is 2 years old.

Or a disclaimer telling people the caveats (or cons) of upgrading their OS.

More transparency would be great instead of making people feel like the company is pushing them out of their, otherwise, perfectly functional smartphone which cost them a fortune.


> avoid spontaneous shutdown when the aged battery can't handle the load

This doesn't make sense to me. I've been playing with LiPo batteries on quadcopters for a few years now, and I've found that battery capacity is directly related to its voltage, and the voltage decreases in a deterministic fashion according to use. High quality and well maintained LiPo batteries just don't behave randomly - that's why we feel safe attaching them to our houses in the form of Tesla Powercells.

Or, in other words, if a phone is showing 40% charge when it shuts down, that's not the battery "spontaneously" being unable to cope with load; that's a bad charge indicator.


It IS a good idea. My step mom had a high end Samsung phone (not sure exactly which one) and it’s battery degraded enough within a year that it began to shut down randomly a lot.


I guess that means all Samsung phones ("not sure which ones") are inferior to Apple phones, hm? ;)


Haha, no. It just wasn’t a Note or Galaxy S, but it still cost like $700. Was a bit smaller. No idea what device it was specifically. And she couldn’t replace the battery easily, either. It was non-removable, as are basically all high end Android devices now.


I had to replace the batteries in our Nexus 6Ps recently. I didn't buy from Google, so they wouldn't deal with it out of warranty, despite it being a defect.

They're replaceable, but they are clearly not meant to be done by the user. There were many opportunities to break pieces of the phone or ruin it completely. It's a horrible design.


Both the iPhone and the Nexus 6Ps have horrible battery-swap design, but I still don't want to pay middle-men for what should be simple service I should be able to do at home.


I fully agree. When I said I replaced the batteries, I meant it literally. I did the work. It was ugly.

But it was a hell of a lot cheaper than the quote I got from the repair shop, and I didn't break anything. (Which isn't a surprise... I like fixing things.)


Apple did that and people would start cracking iphones open to replace batteries. Not in line with Apple's philosphy.


Had the battery in my iPhone SE replaced about an hour ago to test this out

Geekbench 4 benchmark before https://twitter.com/invisiblea/status/943439761066397696

And after https://twitter.com/invisiblea/status/943891561661812736


Did you have it replaced at an Apple Store or by a third party? I'm deciding between the two – my gut is to go with the Apple Store, but the apple website makes it sound like it could take up to 5 days, which is too long.


I'm based in London, so dropped it off with https://www.ismash.com/ in St Pancras. Was done in half an hour and cost £40. Can't vouch for the quality of the battery yet, but they are a pretty big chain now so I'm assuming it won't be awful.

However I've had batteries replaced (different phones) at the Apple Store before and it took about an hour.


What app or site are you using to test that?



And what battery did you (GP) replace the original with?


It looks like Geekbench 4.


It's Geekbench 4


I don't get it. An old iPad 2 was running fine card games until we upgraded to IOS 9 a few weeks ago. Now it's almost unusable. Pretty sure we had the same battery before we upgrade, so why wasn't cpu throttled before we upgrade?

This looks more like Apple needed to slow down devices to sell new ones and found a really good excuse for it.


Exactly. I had an old iPhone 3G that was working fine until Apple released an update that crippled it after I held on to it too long after their product line had moved on...

I mean, to all those who might think "well, old phones be old", it's not that simple. The OS was running very smoothly, it's Apple, after all, but then I installed an OS update and after the update everything was slow and painful and took long to load, etc. It was night and day, pre-update: perfection, post-update: laggy as hell.

You can't tell me that this is anything but a way to force users of older models to upgrade.


There are two issues with older phones running more slowly, and you are probably encountering both of them

1. Newer versions of iOS demand more processing power because they do more (or perhaps do it less efficiently).

2. Old batteries can't deliver as much power.

So an old phone will new version of the OS mores slowly than a new one, regardless of the battery situation.

But, if the battery was marginal but hadn't hit the limit before the upgrade, then you get a double whammy

1. The phone simply can't run a more demanding OS as fast as the old one

2. The increased demand pushes the battery over the limit

At some point, the battery was going to age out anyway, so it was only a matter of time until you hit the second issue. But the upgrade made you hit it sonner rather than later.


> 2. Old batteries can't deliver as much power.

Does anyone have a citation for this? I know capacity falls, but what fraction of peak current is lost with age? And what fraction with throttling just the CPU to 50% save in total load?


I guess we'll find out during Discovery!


+1 I don’t use any new features in the new iOS releases just want the same speed and efficiency I’ve come to enjoy, and that I literally had minutes before the upgrade.


Because iOS 8 didn't have throttling code?

Did your iPad have any problems with spontaneously rebooting?


I don't remember random reboots or otherwise similar behavior. More importantly, I remember same upgrade problems since 2010 or so.


Exactly! I had iPad2 working fine until upgraded to iOS 9. Then I had to upgrade the whole iPad to latest iPad Pro.


How come that the MASSIVE slowdown of my iPhone 6s occurred after upgrading to iOS11? TBH the spin that Apple is sending out to make us believe that this was all a clever implementation (which it still might be) does not match with the reality that iOS 11 was creating the slowdown of a device that was working 'fine' before. And yes - this 6s is eligible for the battery replacement program and the Geekbench scores also indicate that this device has an issue. tl;dr: it seems that this is not the only explanation of the slowdown. Any thoughts?


You can see that a LOT more devices were affected on iOS 11. I assume they tweaked the algorithm as to when it's triggered.

https://www.geekbench.com/blog/2017/12/iphone-performance-an...


did you upgrade from a version prior to 10.2? apparently that was when this was implemented


I had this issue, restore it and set it up "as a new phone" then manually reinstall your apps. the backup-restore process introduces all kinds of crappy issues


My wife had a phone replaced off Apple about 6 months back because it was shutting down for no reason about 40% battery life.

She’s recently upgraded from 10.x to latest version. She’s noticed an actual decrease in performance to the point where she’s nearly punching the phone. It just locks up for no reason.

I’d like to blame this on the battery or age of the phone but I can’t. It is an iPhone 6 but it is only half a year old.

I believe that this phone should be able to handle the latest release just fine.

She’s now looking at upgrading the phone.


Was her replacement phone a refurbished or new unit? Either way, she can probably get a brand new battery just by taking it in to the Apple Store.

Also, battery age isn't actually time based, it's cycle based. If your wife uses her phone so heavily that she has to recharge it multiple times a day, she's putting more cycles on the battery. Still should last more than 6 months though.


I’m not 100% on whether it was refurb or brand new. It came in a non branded box without a charger etc. The phone looked brand new.

I’m going to install the app to check what the CPU is running at.

It’s still ridiculous that she was running 10.x fine, she only updated because someone sent her some emojis that her phone didn’t understand and now is it’s running like crap


"she only updated because someone sent her some emojis that her phone didn’t understand and now is it’s running like crap" is like basically the state of the art for code running in 2017


The last time I heard of someone buying an iPhone in a non branded box, she ended up getting a box filled with potatoes. Your wife is already ahead on that person.


Actually it's pretty standard to get replacement phones in a plastic bag with no accessories, I got a 5S replacement in a ziplock bag with a piece of A4 paper with some diagnostics data printed on it all in a thin layer of bubble wrap then in an envelope. All standard for Authorized Apple resellers and service centers in Eastern Europe, idk in other parts of the world. I'm guessing an official Apple store doesn't do that.


She didn’t buy an iPhone in a non branded box, it’s how Apple sent the replacement phone.

I thought it was weird when we got the replacement though.


I ve gotten these but never had an issue with any of these phones or iPads.


Run the benchmark test and see if performance is way below expectation.

Just because Apple replaced the phone doesn't mean the battery isn't deficient.


Did you restore from a backup or "setup as new"? the latter is the only real way to get rid of issues like this


WOW. Conspiracy was real the whole time!

Devil's Advocate to spark discussion (I'm not an iPhone owner so no dog in fight):

Apple did the right thing by not putting a switch in to toggle this slowdown[1]. For many iPhone users, the phone is a magic box that gives them videos and apps and (unlike our HN audience) don't have a clue about how it works, nor do they care. If such a switch existed, these same people would see a twitter comment saying "speed up yuor (sic) IPhone by turning off this setting~~~!!!!1" and would just do it.

The result? iPhones dying at a faster rate. Even today, as Android phones are barely updated at all, it is still a desirable selling feature of an Apple iPhone that it will be supported for years. People turning that switch on without understanding the consequences would shorten the life of their devices and then //still// complain about how the device didn't last that long.

I would think that a jailbreak-locked option would work IE you have to know enough about how your phone works to make the change, thus increasing your chances of making an informed decision on whether to shorten its life or not.

[1]Which is different than not telling people about it, which IMO is shady

Edit: remove italics


Or make the battery replaceable...

It pains me that I effectively have to choose between replaceable batteries and IPXX ratings.... T_T


iPhone batteries are replaceable.

Making iPhone batteries user-replaceable means making the phone worse, heavier, larger, more expensive and with worse battery life.


The easiest way to get an IP rating is to use lots of glue.

If they went the o-ring route, it would take up more volume and would probably require replacement when the phone was opened as damage from dirt/age will make reusing the o-ring hard. Even worse is that resuse isn’t obvious to a layperson as it could be IP69 with a new o-ring and IP67 with reused o-ring.


The Samsung S5 is IP67 rated and has a user replaceable battery.


It also has a headphone jack while being IP67 and is still reasonably thin, which is an insurmountable design feat according to some opinions I've seen here.

"User replaceable" barely does it justice either. I just had the battery in my hands in under 5 seconds easily. People earlier in the thread stating iPhone batteries are easily user replaceable are ridiculous, when the process can take upward of 20 minutes, and can leave the phone temporarily inoperable if any of the multiple connectors aren't quite seated correctly. I'm also intrigued as to where all this imaginary extra weight and bulk is coming from when implementing specifically the S5 battery enclosure design, because having stripped down hundreds of iPhones and dozens of Galaxy variants I just don't see it.


> WOW. Conspiracy was real the whole time!

No, because this is a new feature as of the iPhone 6. The conspiracy way predates that.


Why haven't I observed my old iPhone 4 or 5 spontaneously rebooting?


After my iPhone 3g's (not even 3G S) last update, it became noticeably slower. It became one of the main reasons I upgraded my phone. It never spontaneously rebooted, but it definitely became slow.

I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy S5 in 2015. I've replaced the battery once after the original started swelling, and it's still going strong. I plan to next upgrade my phone in 2018/9. I'd be pissed if the OS updated and suddenly made it very slow before then!


iPhone 3GS had a 600 mhz 32 bit processor with only 256 megabytes of RAM. The last update for it was iOS 6. Like all operating systems, iOS's memory and CPU demands have grown over time, that's likely why your perceived performance suffered.


Less speed stepping, making battery prediction easier?


> If such a switch existed, these same people would see a twitter comment saying "speed up yuor (sic) IPhone by turning off this setting~~~!!!!1" and would just do it.

If only we had such a technology as a scary warning message with a 5 second wait time before you can toggle the switch... Maybe in 10 years, meanwhile we'll just have to keep crippling old phones and tripling revenue!


Remember it wasn't until someone ran benchmarks before and after replacing their battery that apple decided to let the world know this was a thing.


This is probably the most scandalous part about this.


Should be a switch in the settings. Prefer battery life or prefer performance. One more setting won't kill anyone.


The whole problem is that the batteries can't deliver that performance.

They can throttle the chip to what the battery can deliver or it will crash. Maybe Apple's more conservative on the throttling, and some amount of performance could still be achieved without a crash, but there's zero chance Apple's putting a "make my phone unstable" switch in Settings.


That doesn't pass the sniff test. The available voltage from a lithium ion battery will decrease as it is discharged. When your phone turns off, that does not mean there is no more energy in the battery. It means there is no longer enough voltage to power the phone.

Over the course of many discharge cycles, the battery will lose capacity, and the point when the voltage is no longer sufficient to power the phone will come sooner.

But this is overly pedantic. People generally consider this point to be simply an "empty battery."

Android phones do not suffer these performance changes. Instead, the phones lose battery life over time, and within a year or so, you might be lucky to get 12 hours of life out of a full charge.

You can make an argument that we should optimize for duration or performance, but the difference is that casual Android users are aware that their battery is deteriorating, while casual iPhone users believe their phone is itself deteriorating, or else much slower than the newer models.


Wrong. The peak demand from the phone can exceed the available voltage even if you're at 30%, causing an immediate shutdown. That's what we saw a year ago. Now they no longer shut down unexpectedly, but the performance of the phone sucks, even with a battery that holds 87% of its original capacity.


I don't dispute that, but that does not explain the observations that a fully-charged, reduced-capacity battery performs poorly on a standard benchmark test versus a new battery.

It's not just smoothing out a peak demand. It's reducing the peak performance all of the time, and that is unique to iPhone.


You're assuming the issue is only changing capacity vs age. Internal impedance increases with age as well. A full battery that can't source its energy in a timely manner might as well be empty.


That's not entirely accurate. They observed that with a fully charged battery it performed as expected. The CPU wasn't throttled until the battery was depleted.


That's not my experience. Unless depleted means 95% charged and 87% capacity compared to original spec.

Mine runs at 50% CPU speed under those circumstances. I wouldn't call that "performing as expected."


> The peak demand from the phone can exceed the available voltage even if you're at 30%

So throw in a fat capacitor. This was a solved problem 50 years ago, the only problem is this constant rush to make phones 1% thinner.

I've never met anyone that used phone thinness as a metric when choosing a new phone and yet here we are.


Android phones do suffer from spontaneous reboots. It appears not as much as iPhones, and the most likely reason is the higher performance CPUs in iPhones. Android manufacturers have chosen to let the minority of users who suffer through spontaneous reboots, to keep suffering through them, rather than moderate CPU performance for them.


Not a good implementation, this feature should be been far more explicitly stated in some sort of alert rather than buried.

This is something that is burning the good will towards apple. Something that is in shorter supply since the days of Steve Jobs. You can see the polarization about it on social media.

Again whether the feature was good/bad, there is clearly something to be learned from the shitstorm that it is causing. Something I hope Tim Cook learns quickly.


I'm not sure what the right move is here. Apple does have a notification once the battery reaches some threshold of "bad". But maybe it's too conservative? Clearly, notifying an iPhone customer that their battery is going bad when they're throttling CPU by 1% is too aggressive. 75% is too late. Where the right number lies, I don't know.


I ran the benchmark and my phone is affected (showed 1650 and 3000 when it the average for my phone is 2400 and 4000). I went into the battery menu people are saying that this notification shows up and there is nothing there about my battery needing to be replaced or serviced.


Dear one of the richest damn companies on the face of the earth:

MAKE . IT . EASIER . TO . REPLACE . THE . BATTERY !!!


Could you please not use uppercase for emphasis, like the guidelines ask? We're after less of a shouting kind of vibe here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


You can replace it an an Apple Store for $79.


Why should anyone have to pay to do trivial service to their own phone?


One has the choice to pay $79. But you don't have to: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPhone+6+Battery+Replacement/29...


Yes. Also make the batteries standard, like they did with the chargers.


Yes, lets have lower battery capacity, and heavier thicker phones so that 2 years from now a user can save $30 replacing their battery.


Like, AAA?


wat


They are one of the richest companies because sealed batteries make for substantially better phones.


Why doesn't it run on normal speed when connected to the charger?


This isn't a new thing with smartphones, nor limited to iOS/Apple smartphones. Android does/did it too:

https://plus.google.com/+YgorCortes/posts/CZ2GhoxgHk3


Sounds to me like Apple didn't factor the degradation of battery into the design of the phone and instead focused solely on their relentless push for thinness.


All modern batteries degrade past the point of usefulness. It doesn't matter how big the battery is if you leave it in the Sun long enough it will die. The question is, "what then?"

Many people are reasonably asking that they be made aware of the problem instead of quietly kneecapping the phone.


I'm somewhat impressed that such a detail hasn't leaked through Apple's walls in all these years. Tells a lot about secretive culture at Apple.


My reading of the article was that it's a pretty new "feature". I'm running iOS 9.1 on a 5s, and it neither shuts down in the cold, nor runs slower than it used to.


I have a hunch that it isn't, and they tweaked the algorithm around iOS 10, which made it a lot more noticeable.


Let's get real here, they did this to reduce battery related warranty claims.


Has it been confirmed whether Apple stops slowing the phone when the phone is plugged into AC power, i.e. the battery is not being used?


It has been anti-confirmed by me. My iPhone 6S continues running at 50% CPU speed, even when charging from the OEM adapter. Only thing that makes it run (a little bit) faster is if the battery charge gets above 97%.

(Also worth noting that the battery in my phone still holds 87% original capacity.)


That this is happening when the cell is still at 87% capacity is really the problem here. How do you justify degrading your system's performance when the cell is still soundly in the healthy region?


Capacity is not power. Old batteries produce less power (volts times amps) no matter how full they are.


What threshold(s) are used by Apple to determine when to throttle?

If a new battery is purchased today, how many months of daily usage will cause Apple throttling to begin?

If a Samsung and Apple phone are purchased on the same day, used the same amount and benchmarked each day for 24 months, would their performance graphs look similar?


Regardless of what chemistry they are using, a lithium cell should be capable of producing more than enough power for a cellphone at any residual capacity before it becomes useless. You aren't discharging at more than 0.5C on a portable device.

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