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A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance (apple.com)
1176 points by jayachdee 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 832 comments



I think this is a good response, and I think a lot of the outrage over this issue is overblown. At the end of the day there's a fundamental tradeoff that Apple needs to make on behalf of their customers: performance or stability. They chose stability, and I think they have a convincing argument as to why: "It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it."

I have two concerns:

1) They still haven't fully eliminated the sudden shutdown behavior. My old 5S would shut down randomly under 20% without warning. Sometimes it would make it all the way to 1-2%, but most of the time it was between 5-15%. You'd think they'd scale performance throttling untilt this wasn't an issue.

2) I think their messaging with respect to battery health and the battery being a consumable is pretty poor. As far as I can tell there's no built-in battery health indicator in iOS. Sure there are those dodgy "Super Battery Health Plus Pro" apps, but it seems like a diagnostic menu in settings would go a long way. Even more puzzling is that techs at the Apple Store have access to some sort of diagnostic that does this already. Last time I went to get another issue fixed the guy said that my battery was at 70% capacity and the voltage was pretty low. Why wait until '2018' to ship a self-serve version of this?


The outrage doesn't seem overblown to me. For years I knew that my iphones were becoming obsolete not entirely from the passage of time but instead from upgrading the OS. Apple insisted they were not slowing down devices. Now they claim that they started this in iOS 10.2, without notification.

My experience has been that upgrading the OS results in degraded performance 100% of the time. Whether intentional or not Apple would not acknowledge the issue. The phone shutting down at X% charge has always started after an OS upgrade.


What people are missing here is that while Apple now confess that they did slowdown the iPhone 6 and 6s when they released the 7, they are not saying anything about earlier models.

They are however lowering the price to exchange batteries even for older models. Why would they do that if they where not affected? Why don't they say this practice started with the IOS 10 update? They just say they did it in the 10 update. For me it's obvious this is just a PR "puff piece" and looks like a majority here is buying it... So well played Apple.


This was a perfect opportunity for Apple to come out and explicitly state they have never slowed phones down other than in this instance. That would certainly go a long way to restoring confidence.

Instead they came out with a weasely-worded statement that is designed to give the impression that they only recently starting doing this. But... they don't actually make that claim.

Apple lawyers are very good at what they do. Well played Apple indeed.


Give me a break please. From the post:

>First and foremost, 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. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

I see 0 weasel words or dodging here. Give me a break hacker news. Thanks.


Notice all the qualifiers? Notice that the above statement, while technically truthful does not tell the whole story?

This is not a time for vague promises IMHO, it's time for specific and clear statements. Why not just say you don't slow phones full stop?


What qualifiers? They said they haven’t and never would do anything to shorten or harm device life. That’s as direct as it gets. This isn’t a weasel word message, sorry.


they would never do it "to drive customer upgrades".

That isn't never do it. That's never do it for a single specific reason. Why add that clause?

I guarantee no word in that statement is wasted on meaningless fluff.


The reduction in battery replacement is only for anyone with iPhone 6 or later, not older models.

"Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com."


> They are however lowering the price to exchange batteries even for older models.

No, they’re not:

> Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018.


> For years I knew that my iphones were becoming obsolete

The clock down feature is new so your past experiences are very likely unrelated.


Sure, for this specific issue. But the culture of increasing hardware requirements beyond the reasonable point of not-that-old phones coupled with the opacity surrounding what is done to support them is systemic (and not Apple-specific of course).


>But the culture of increasing hardware requirements beyond the reasonable point of not-that-old phones coupled with the opacity surrounding what is done to support them is systemic (and not Apple-specific of course).

My recollection is that back when you needed a new computer every three years if you wanted to be able to read word processor documents from others in the office is that there was a whole lot less vitriol then. Maybe I am misremembering; it has been a long time.

We did joke. "What Intel gives, Microsoft takes away" - I do remember that every upgrade came with complaints of "Bloat!" - but I remember there being a lot more excitement than complaints, (modulo really bad ideas... Did anyone like Microsoft bob? I mean, I understand where they were coming from, but it was just a really terrible implementation)

I personally find it super amusing that I now have two laptops in front of me; one that is a year old, and one that is seven years old. Both running modern software, and they both work just fine. The new one uses a lot less power, of course, and doesn't get as warm on my lap, and the old one has some physical problems; I need to take apart and clean out the keyboard, but it mostly just works.

I wonder if cellphones will be that way in twenty years?


> My recollection is that back when you needed a new computer every three years...is that there was a whole lot less vitriol then. Maybe I am misremembering; it has been a long time.

Back then I think people saw a lot more noticeable, and tangible process across the computing space, which made the constant hardware refreshes palatable. For instance, there was only three years between the release of Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Plus, back then, computers were so new that people didn't know what else was possible.

Most of the recent "progress" in consumer computing have been gimmicks, IMHO, and consumers have also seen a recent period of blissful stability (e.g. the long reign Windows XP) that makes them less tolerant of a 90s-style refresh cycle.


There's a trade-off. Either your device becomes obsolete because it doesn't have the hardware capacity to support the requirements of a newer OS so you are stuck at an older version, or it becomes obsolete because the vendor allowed an upgrade that was detrimental to performance.

For the vendor: damned if you do, damned if you don't.


There's no problem with having an older iOS that still runs as fast as the day you bought the phone. Many people I know purposely hold off the upgrades just to retain the same speed, and are satisfied with it


There is a very fundamental problem to it, namely the lack of security patches. They really shouldn't browse the web anymore, then.


Unless the vendor also makes the OS and can choose the minimum hardware requirements they target.


Which was exactly the point.


Or a third option: invest in software that doesn't have strict absolute hardware requirements. A lot of the hardware requirement inflation is due to unoptimized software. Which is not a quality failing as much as a deliberate choice. Apple could absolutely include older device performance in their QA testing.


Mobile CPUs have quadrupled since 3.5 years when the 6 came out. Most normal people want cool new features. If you are in the minority, don’t expect it to be fixed just for you — especially since the old OS is optimized for you and you can use it just fine.


This is not true. Apple does not let you install old versions of iOS and if you try to avoid upgrading you’re bombarded multiple times per day with pop ups asking you to either upgrade now, or install overnight. There’s no option to skip the new os. You can only click install overnight, then cancel out of the passcode prompt.


It's a simular situation on the mac os. I remember reading a post here a little while back about some security flaw in the new mac os that allowed unauthorized access to root. The fact that i have to go through the process you deacribed evry day is very frustrating.

They push way to hard to be constantly updating os versions, especially given the serious bugs that people seem to be finding.


> […] especially since the old OS is optimized for you and you can use it just fine.

This is inaccurate. The fundamental issue is that Apple doesn’t backport security fixes to old iOS versions. This makes it untenable to use older iOS versions, unless you don’t care about the security of your data/device. If Apple changed their policy on backporting security fixes, they’d be able to offer iOS downgrades without compromising user security.


> Most normal people want cool new features.

The problem is not new features, but bloat. Look at stack traces on recent versions of iOS, or at the view hierarchy, or at the method table of NSObject. Apple is rushing out junk software by adding another fat layer of duct tape every year.

iOS 11 is just as terrible on the 5s as iOS 9 was on the iPhone 4s. Within two years, the OS has caught up with a 4.5x increase in CPU performance! I'm not talking about 3D games, just unlocking the phone, taking pictures, launching apps, chatting on iMessage/WhatsApp. And iOS 11 should actually be more lightweight since it has dropped support for 32-bit apps.


I don't think it is new. The article doesn't say it is new, which Apple would if it was.


They literally said it was new in the 8th paragraph in the link, consistent with the patch notice from that release. The second paragraph plainly says they have never engaged in planned obsolescence. As a business they’d never make so blunt a statement if it weren’t true, as they’d get sued into the ground if it came out otherwise.


Just judging from my own experience, I do believe it is new. I have had a 5S for around 3 years now, my wife just finished her 2 year contract on her 6.

She has been noticing a slow down on her phone, while I have not on mine. I thought this was strange before reading this press release, but now it seems to fit.


Does this include running the new OS after a factory reset?

I find that even on Android, you drop some performance after a full system upgrade and it doesn't come back until a full reset is performed with the new OS.

It's stupid that this is required, but that can be explained as a technical problem rather than planned obsolescence.

On top of that, there's the variable of increased system resources to consider, which will account for some of it, and is a no-win scenario from the manufacturer standpoint no matter what they choose.


Shouldn't be necessary after a proper upgrade. Maybe wipe the Dalvik partition yourself afterwards if your vendor is incompetent?


Yes, the "upgrade" to ios 11 slowed down app load/switch times on my ipad by several seconds, even after a full reset (made no difference). It's nonsense that I am now stuck with it.


Define "full reset". Did you wipe and re-install via iTunes? I seem to recall reading recently that can make a big difference.


Maybe it's from this link on Daring Fireball? [1] A wipe and reinstall via iTunes is also an extremely painful process. Since the ability to transfer apps from iOS to iTunes was removed long ago (for reasons — like App Thinning — that don't make any sense to me), once the reinstall and restore of the data (alone) from iTunes is done, one would have to wait a long time for all the apps to download via WiFi from the App Store. For people with many apps and games (that are quite large), this wipe and reinstall would cost them several GBs in download traffic and several minutes to several hours (depending on where one lives and the Internet connection).

[1]: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/12/22/glenn-iphone-sl...


Yep, thanks.


No, reset from ios. I'm not aware of a difference with doing it from iTunes, either way you get an empty ios that first asks you the os language you want.


I would give it a try. A reinstall of the OS is more thorough than wiping the data from it.

http://mglenn.com/blog/2017/12/22/apples-bungled-battery-fea...


Battery performance is just one of the ways your phone becomes useless. Apple is notorious for pushing iOS updates that basically make a phone useless.

Apple has been trying to trick me into upgrading to iOS 11 which will make my phone useless junk.


Is iOS 10 still receiving security and reliability updates?


No.


>>My experience has been that upgrading the OS results in degraded performance 100% of the time.

Well yeah, since more features mean slower performance.

I saw a noticeable performance decrease when I went from Windows 7 to Windows 8. That doesn't mean Microsoft started throttling the CPU.


I’m not saying I wouldn’t expect some slowdown but Apple essentially forces you to upgrade with no path to downgrade the os. After upgrading my iPhone 6 to iOS 11 I could not launch Lyft, uber took minutes to open, and even the built in message app would have multi-second lag on key press. If you are destroying what was a perfectly fine phone with a software release it should simply not be supported. I would have been content with an old version of iOS that had reasonable performance and did not result in my phone shutting down at 30%, which was a problem introduced with iOS 11.


I wish someone would take the time to benchmark how stark the performance difference is between Day 0, Day 365, Day 730, etc. of doing the same exact tasks on a factory reset device with whatever is the latest software version at that time.

It's not hard to roll out new features behind flags for devices which can't reasonably support them. But your experience of ridiculous lag trying to open basic apps which have no particularly high resource requirement has been my experience exactly.

There's more going on than simply, "we added new features!" Devices which on Day 0 are blazingly fast and incredibly responsive because literally unusable in a few years doing exactly the same tasks.


I fully agree with you that not being able to downgrade is one of the biggest issues at play.


> I could not launch Lyft, uber took minutes to open

That’s something that’s wrong with your phone, not iOS.


That has been my experience as well.

Perhaps with each upgrade, Apple can let us know how much of a performance hit we will be taking.

That way I can weigh the benefit of the new/improved features of the new OS vs the performance penalty.


Hell will freeze over before that happens.


> My experience has been that upgrading the OS results in degraded performance 100% of the time.

I have the same experience on Android. Of course I rarely received OS updates, but even that's better than Google making the device practically unusable.

Be it a marketing ploy, a conscious decision trying to protect me, or just a mistake, I don't care. It's bad.


I have the opposite experience with Android. My Nexus 5X now went from version 6 to 7 to 8, and that's not including the minor version updates. It hasn't gotten any slower. Looks like it will last a few more years easily.

Storage degradation is the only thing that worries me, I wish more companies made phones with microSD slots. Modern microSD cards are cheap and fast.

My old Apple devices, for comparison, are useless bricks.


That's nice. I don't remember which Android version it was, but it made my Nexus 7 unusable. After the update it would take minutes to start a web browser. I put it in a drawer and haven't used it since.


My Samsung is definitely slower than it was few OS upgrades ago. It's becoming an annoyance. My at-the-time-google-owned-Motorola did't receive any updates. My Google Nexus tablet became completely unusable (like, really, really unusable, not just slow). With older devices, Android 2.x was horrible from the go, so I don't know if it could get worse (and there were only minor updates anyway).

A very small sample, I know. But part of my post was to point out that Apple users can consider themselves lucky at least in the regard that they do receive updates.


You're confusing the slowness caused by the updates (which doesn't exist on Android) with the slowness caused by the flash storage degradation (which absolutely does exist). I too have an old Nexus 10, which died from that cause, a common problem.

That's exactly why I think microSD support is so important. Your old card got slow? Buy a new one for $20, copy the files over, done.


Ah, I see. Well that might be the cause for the Samsung device. It has an SD card slot, but I don't think that will help much now (good to know for future I guess). As for this

> which doesn't exist on Android

it's simply not true. Google pushed updates[1] to old Nexus devices that extremely hindered the performance. Downgrade made them fine again. I'm fairly certain it isn't a unique case, and Google wasn't the only one forcing shit upgrades on their customers.

1. quick find, but should be enough https://forums.androidcentral.com/google-nexus-7-tablet-2012...


There's absolutely no way updating a few dozen apps takes 6 hours because of the OS. It's the classic flash degradation symptom. My Nexus 10 is the same. It didn't get slow after the updates, it progressively slower over a couple of years.


> My old 5S would shut down randomly under 20% without warning. Sometimes it would make it all the way to 1-2%, but most of the time it was between 5-15%.

"avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE[...]we recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus"

They did not apply the change to the 5S.


The change definitely didn’t fully solve the problem in the effected models either. (Can’t comment on if it was partially effective.) Recently had a sudden shutdown from 50%->0% on a 6S.

It’s a decent response by Apple, although would have been better if they didn’t require a scandal to reduce their absurd markup on batteries.


My wife just two days ago had a shutdown on a 6 at 45-50%


There's a free battery replacement "quality program" for that issue. [1]

Also (unrelated, but will apply to many here), if you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro that the anti-glare coating has started to come off screen (typically around the edges), you can get a new screen for free. [2]

[1]: https://www.apple.com/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/

[2]: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/11/17/apple-extends-free-stai... (Apologies, couldn't find the Apple link.)


No, the replacement program is for iPhone 6s, not iPhone 6.


I had the same issue with the 5S I'm typing on now, and replacing the battery a few months ago entirely solved that issue for me.


My iPhone 6 was snappy, then ios 11 came along and now it's not. Also, it's not the battery - I smashed the screen and they replaced the phone in April. It's just classic Apple: programming for the latest CPUs and damn the rest. As an example, siri used to load instantly when I held down the home button, on ios 11 it takes 5 seconds.


Siri buffers your speech as soon as you hit the button or say, “Hey Siri.” You don’t need to wait for the screen to load.


Apple if you're reading this: let us downgrade to iOS 10 please.


Downgrades are not going to happen. They take pride in saying “Look at this chart, the vast majority of users is running the latest iOS”. That is also why you get annoying update reminders that you can never dismiss permanently, only choose “Remind me later”.

This in itself wouldn’t be so bad if Apple didn’t nag-force these updates onto models that are clearly not capable of providing a pleasant experience. On one hand Apple applauds itself for being environmentally friendly, on the other hand they purposefully make millions of devices obsolete with every major iOS release. Hypocrites.


Hypocrites.

Yeah, I've also ranted about this before. My favorite example is Apple board member Al Gore, who, according to Wikipedia[1]: remained prominent as an author and environmental activist, whose work in climate change activism earned him (jointly with the IPCC) the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Yeah, the guy literally wins the Nobel Prize because of his environmental activism, and has been on the Apple board for many years, and yet Apple embraces planned obsolescence. Not hypocrites, fucking hypocrites.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore


I don't think Apple ever applied throttling to devices prior to the iPhone 6. As you say, old 5Ses would shutdown at 20% (or lower), but it was with the iPhone 6 and later where devices would occasionally stop at 50%, so became a much bigger issue. Presumably this was due to the A8 CPU having a wider-range of power consumption (this is a guess, if anyone actually knows why I would be interested to know).

For point 2, there is Coconut Battery on MacOS. This is telling me my old iPhone 6 has 90% capacity after 400 odd cycles, which is probably par for the course, but I have no idea if that's bad enough for the performance throttling to kick in or not. Hopefully the new screen is going to be detailed enough to say how much throttling has been applied.


I think the outrage is justified, for one particular reason: none of this would have happened if Apple hadn't devolved the feature: user-replaceable batteries.

It is Apples' arrogance that painted them into this corner, and nothing less.


Incorrect

I had the same problem with a user-replaceable phone battery

It took me a while to realize it was the battery to blame. Yes, replacing it was easier, but you need to identify the problem first


Not incorrect at all. Its a perfectly reasonable function of the operating system to tell the user that their battery is end-of-life and it should be replaced.

What is "incorrect" is all the justification for this unacceptable, anti-customer behaviour. The current design serves no purpose other than to treat the customer as a cash-cow, who must upgrade their phone at the EOL of their battery, or suffer a degradation in the capabilities of a device they own. Or, do they not?


> Its a perfectly reasonable function of the operating system to tell the user that their battery is end-of-life and it should be replaced.

Agreed

> for this unacceptable, anti-customer behaviour

There are two choices (besides warning the user): either you make the phone use less electricity (slowing down the CPU, dimming the screen, etc) or you let it shutdown unexpectedly and without warning.

The pro-customer behaviour is the first one, not the second one. It is graceful degradation of a system that can't perform to its top specification.

This is regardless of the battery being replaceable or not, there is no other option that keeps the phone running and without unexpected shutdowns.


Pro-customer would be:

1. Measure the battery, see that it is not optimal. 2. Tell the user: "your system has been slowed down due to non-optimal battery performance. Please replace the battery as soon as possible." 3. Let the user replace the battery.

Instead, this phenomenon is being exploited to prompt people into dumping the old phone and upgrade to the new one.


As I said, I don't disagree with warning the user

> There are two choices (besides warning the user): either you make the phone use less electricity (slowing down the CPU, dimming the screen, etc) or you let it shutdown unexpectedly and without warning.

> The pro-customer behaviour is the first one


Option Alpha: Tell the User, let them Fix the Consumable Themselves.


What do you mean Incorrect?

>> but you need to identify the problem first

Apparently apple had identified the problem first and they choose to put non user-replaceable batteries.

Plus why does my 4 years old Oppo android phone is not suffering from this battery issue ? Does apple use inferior batteries ?


Battery life is somewhat random; it's why batteries as a whole are measured with MTTF. You may be lucky enough to have an outlying battery life, or you may have used the phone in such a way that the battery lived longer, or the battery itself may have had a higher MTTF due to it being a larger capacity.


>> Battery life is somewhat random

Looks pretty deterministic in case of apple. That is until the next phone release.


> Plus why does my 4 years old Oppo android phone is not suffering from this battery issue ?

Slower processor/smaller overall consumption, possibly. Living in a place without temperature extremes (especially cold) helps


It still sounds like a false dilemma to me. I've never had reboots on my Android phones because of battery problems.

Maybe Apple just needs to buy better quality batteries? And perhaps higher capacity that are also capable of more charges before they lose too much of their original capacity?


Upthread at the moment there is a Samsung owner who does have shutdowns from battery problems.

Part of it has to do with how the battery has been treated. Wild swings in charge daily cause damage. Hot temperatures cause damage. I'd guess most iPhone owners have little to no damage. But for those who do, slowing the phone and giving a warning is a good alternative to shutting down.


I had plenty of reboot, freezes and boot-cycles on my not even 1 and half year old nexus 5. Maybe you just use your phone to do an odd call or two if you never experienced anything strange?


Do you live somewhere cold? My old devices are perfectly fine indoors but if I step outside in the winter they shut off in a few minutes


Li-Ion batteries lose the ability to provide energy at low temperatures, pretty fast. If the battery is aged, the effect becomes much more pronounced.


I've had my HP laptop running Windows (one of the best models a few years ago) shutdown randomly because of an aged battery. Replacing the battery made it usable again. I don't believe this is an Apple-only issue or even a smartphone-only issue. If it hasn't happened to someone, it may be due to many other factors at play.


The parent post actually mentions this happening on the 5S, a phone which did not get a software update choosing stability over performance. The 6 can slow down and run with a 20% battery while the 5S runs fast and must shut down due to the voltage drop.



I disagree, I think this was a terrible response. They start with the following:

"First and foremost, 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"

... and then proceed to explain why that's exactly what they did. Also, I have no reason to believe getting a new battery will fix my iPhone, especially after they lied so blatantly about planned obsolescence.


> ... and then proceed to explain why that's exactly what they did.

Well they didn't, because "[...] to drive customer upgrades" is the key part they state they are not doing.

> lied so blatantly about planned obsolescence.

Again, they didn't, they aren't admitting to 'planned obsolescence', only attempting to prevent shutdowns.


> Well they didn't, because "[...] to drive customer upgrades" is the key part they state they are not doing.

When you write an entire article explicitly stating that you made your older products slower compared to newer ones, and then at the end you offer a promotion on batteries, you kind of are trying to "drive costumer upgrades".

On planned obsolescence: of course they won't admit it. But at the end of the day, they made old iphones slower, and new iphones faster. On purpose. How is this not planned obsolescence?


They did not categorically make all old iPhones slower. If the iPhone reported healthy battery statistics it clearly wasn't affected. This is demonstrated by the scores of people who replaced their battery and saw the performance increase.

If the change had simply made all iPhones 6 and 6S throttle down CPU 20% then replacing the battery wouldn't 'fix' anything. That would certainly be planned obsolescence.


Given that there is no scenario where they would literally say that, we have to judge by their actions and not their words.

What they said "[wouldn't] degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades"

What they did "degrade the user experience"

I can't think of any reason they would do that in good faith instead of simply telling users that their battery is old, this is why your phone is shutting down, please replace it.


> I think this is a good response, and I think a lot of the outrage over this issue is overblown

No it is not, unless you don't own iPhone 6(S) OR haven't updated iOS.


I don't know any good reason for them not to make ast2 and the battery health check available directly, other than to promote sales and additional door swings at their retail locations.

I've always hated how opaque iOS is; Android allows wayyyy more insight into data/battery stats, and most Android phones (unless carrier locks them down) allow the user to dial a #code to test most features.

Hopefully, Apple will change their tune going forward.


You can get some of the battery stats via the (Mac) app coconutBattery: http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/


There are iOS apps to check the battery stats on an iDevice. Example: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battery-life-check-runtimes/...

(I have no affiliation with the app, just a satisfied user)


I agree it's a good response, both marketing wise (the compensation in the form of cheaper upgrade) and technically (the improved health visibility).

Regarding your concerns:

1) The software update that improved the power management was released for iPhone 6 and later only according to the article.

2) They state "Early in 2018". I think this is a pretty conservative, yet realistic estimate, considering they don't want to risk the user experience.


"Early in 2018" might mean beginning of January, because 2017 seems unrealistic for a feature like that, especially since today is the last working day for this year.


My wife’s 6+ was incredibly slow after the iOS upgrade.

My 6+ drained the battery incredibly quickly. I was told that upgrading the iOS would fix that problem [0]; it didn’t. Instead it slowed my phone to the point of being unusable.

If I’d have known replacing the battery would have fixed both of them, I’d have done that. Instead, I stupidly bought two new, very expensive phones. Since we were already locked into the Apple ecosystem (with paid apps and media), we bought iPhones.

This does nothing to compensate or win back the trust of customers like me.

[0] https://i.imgur.com/OYZr7zd.png


And, cynically, they don't care as much as they should about this lost trust, because:

> Since we were already locked into the Apple ecosystem (with paid apps and media), we bought iPhones.

I feel that iPhone vs Android is the current Holy War [1], and it's just as contentious as Mac vs PC, Windows vs Linux or even vim vs emacs. (PC, Linux and vim, of course!)

1: http://catb.org/jargon/html/H/holy-wars.html


> This does nothing to compensate or win back the trust of customers like me.

What is it that you want Apple to do to make you personally feel better?


There's nothing that Apple can do here; trust is hard earned and easily lost. Apple just lost however much of trust the grandparent had accumulated over the years.

Trustworthiness aside, Apple as a hardware company has made many questionable choices that makes me rethink purchasing their hardware. (headphone jack and the touch bar being the most egregious) I don't think I'll be getting the next macbook if these don't get addressed.


This is an appropriate response. Much better than google selling phones that are just barely crawling after not even 6 months of very average use..


step one should be removing google from your phone (android or otherwise) and limiting reliance on all their services.


How would you remove Android from an Android phone?


LineageOS with microG [1], microG in general, or installing another port of an OS such as Ubuntu Touch or SailfishOS. The Fairphone [2] can run any of these OSes, without unlocking the bootloader and without rooting the phone.

[1] https://lineage.microg.org

[2] https://www.fairphone.com


Android =/= Google: you can easily have an android phone with zero Google services if you choose a phone supported by one of many AOSP-based OSes.


Even with stock Android you can skip setting up a Google account, turn on "Unknown Sources", and direct-download an alternative app store like F-Droid. It probably still feeds them telemetry, but you're not locked in to any of their cloud services.


Google services and apps are constantly phoning back to HQ, the important part is getting that off your device...just like most other apps, facebook included.


It's a legitimate question. Frankly, the idea of a phone's performance drastically changing over the course of one(1) version upgrade should aggrivate someone more than this. How can it be acceptable for a single release to "slow a phone to a crawl"?

This response makes sense. They screwed up communicating the issue of battery life to the masses that apparently don't know batteries wear out. They're fixing it, they're biting into their revenue with a mea culpa price cut, and they're making the OS more communicative of this nuance of phone performance.


People know batteries wear out, but the expected behaviour is the phone lasting less hours between charges, or even unexpected shutdowns, but definitely not degraded CPU performance.

That has never happened before, there was no precedent for that, and no way of knowing it was a battery issue. The only solution for most people was buying a new phone.


They're not biting into their revenue. They are doing the minimum possible to maximize their revenue given the news is out.


How about be more open and acknowledge problems sooner?

While Apple always eventually gets to the right response, they can sometimes take too long to do so. In the case of these iPhone batteries, I think Apple's response was relatively timely.

But there have been cases where well known problems took over a year to acknowledge and remedy (like the early 2011 15" Macbook Pro GPU problems).


This story broke less than 2 weeks ago. So 10 business days (minus holidays) to put together a corporate response that affects hundreds of millions of devices seems pretty damn quick.


As soon as iOS 11 came out, there were widespread complaints from iPhone 6 owners. Your timeline is about determining the cause which had to sadly be done independently. Ask yourself why they had to wait for outrage about the cause for this response instead of the symptoms (which should have provoked research into the cause)?


Ok, if you read my post, I did say "In the case of these iPhone batteries, I think Apple's response was relatively timely."

But even then, my comment is only with respect to the response being timely relative to the problem becoming publicly known.

If you take a cynical view that Apple knew what the side effects were a year ago when they released the software update but chose not to disclose it in the release notes, then the response was not timely.


The story was relevant in July, when they released the 10.2 update. They should have had something in place before they released that update.


I think they could offer free battery replacement for affected models for the next year, and, more permanently, a 1 hour or less turnaround for battery replacement or a loaner program.


They could offer to buy back any functioning iPhone 6S at an above market rate from anyone who recently purchased a new phone. Its sort of a crazy idea, but close to what people want.


> Its sort of a crazy idea, but close to what people want.

Of course, what people want is free iPhones. Apple isn’t going to do it just because it’s what everyone wants.


Don't send fake apologies like "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down."


Be transparent in all of these surreptitious actions henceforth. Give more power to users to make their own decisions about browser, battery, OS, etc. But they won't. So I guess the answer to your question is to change the type of people that they are, which is an unrealistic request of course.


> Give more power to users to make their own decisions about browser, battery, OS, etc. But they won't.

To be fair: what do you expect from Apple? Power to the power users? Because that’s not happening.


I actually would say yes. Come out with a Pro model of the iPhone that lets you pick which OS And Battery you want as well as expandable storage. This would get me to buy one...


I don't expect it and I know it's not happening. I was just answering what they could do to make some personally feel better as was originally asked.


Make batteries easily replaceable.


Yup, but Apple innovated the non-user replaceable battery with the iPhone. They set the trend, the rest followed. Before that, in the 90s and 00s we had user replaceable batteries.

On top of that, the iPhone 7, 8, and X make it significantly more difficult and cumbersome to replace the battery. See the iFixit guides. Even with the iPhone 6 you need special screwdrivers and tools.


let us downgrade to iOS 10


Questions like this always perplex me. People aren't asking for apple to do something. They're asking for them to not do something.


How about free battery replacement? That's not asking much. The solution to underclock to make sure the device doesn't go off is a hack. A cool hack, because it ensures the device stays somewhat useable, but a temporary one. Which also targets devices which don't suffer from the problem.


And it stayed under locked even when running on a/c power.


This is the first real argument I've heard on this. Everything else has been noise about apple slowing phones to rip people off.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience.

To be fair, they said iOS upgrade may help fix the problem, and I agree that they were probably just saying "update so I can check that off my list of things to recommend."


The battery issue is unrelated to your slowdowns if you were experiencing them constantly. Lost in all the media reports is that the throttling only happens at peak system power demand. My 6s Plus also was constantly slow until last week, when I backed it up, wiped it, and restored. Now it's as fast as ever, on the latest iOS.

We take the underlying computer for granted, but apparently the iPhone can benefit from a clean install to clean out always-running rogue processes.


This is not true according to my experience. See https://imgur.com/a/VH0Bs. Note that in my case the performance restoration came about after I had my battery replaced -- no data wiping or other system cleaning occurred.

> Lost in all the media reports is that the throttling only happens at peak system power demand.

Throttling at least occurs during app loading. Apple admits as much and it was true (subjectively) in my experience. If loading an app qualifies as "peak system power demand" your point is kind of lost because loading apps is something everyone with a mobile device does very frequently.


I can't claim to know what was going on with your phone, of course. But artificial benchmarks that push the system to its limits seem more likely to trigger this behavior than everyday usage, so I wouldn't take those results as evidence. I didn't see the app loading bullet point and agree with you there.

In my own case, everything was slow. Loading apps, loading web pages, whatever. And the difference after a clean install now is huge. Went back and did the same to an old iPad that I stopped using for its sluggishness, and it's usable again.

Complex devices, so there's certainly going to be a complex set of problems, but I think that some of it is due to us taking Apple's message that iOS devices are appliances to heart, whereas the truth is that these portable computers still need mysterious maintenance rituals. It's been impressive, but Apple's still got some work to do to make these things bulletproof.


I'd assume that these processors use the same 'race to sleep' philosophy that Intel CPUs have been using for a while, which would mean that peak power draw would be requested very frequently in short bursts.

The degree of throttling that seems to be occurring does seem to be quite excessive. Excessive enough that I wonder whether they've had unexpected battery degradation in the field, or unexpected degradation of the power delivery circuit, or unexpectedly high load consumption or some kind of fault with the SoC.

Either that or they have just pushed the envelope a little too much knowing that their customers are likely to get fed up and buy new phones... hmmm...


I had a very similar experience with my 6+ but instead of buying iPhone I finally jumped ship and bought Essential Phone (Android). (I also changed my Apple Watch 1 to Nokia Steel HR as a result of ecosystem change)

If only I knew that replacing battery would make my 6+ usable again I would remain iPhone user.


> Since we were already locked into the Apple ecosystem

How is that a thing? Media - you should be able to move. And how much do the apps that you actually use cost? You could apparently afford 2 new Apple phones... you can't be truly locked in


Being locked into the Apple ecosystem is mainly because:

1) Important historical data you can't move out - like iMessages

2) Apple Music - Your curated playlist is just that without actual songs (Of course you can recreate and start from scratch here)

3) Apps/Games - Specifically where the account is tied to your apple account and you have ample progress be it in app purchases or unlocking features on apps (which can really add up)

4) Your family - My entire family, wife, parents, sisters, neices/nephews and brother in law are all on iPhone and we all share the same Apple family plan for music and purchases. We also share location information so we know where each other is at once - This is done through Apple's find friends app.

#4 is the most important one. Because the habit of many individuals has to be changed in order for me to get out. Which is not impossible but it's just a lot of work (teaching my senior parents android? not worth it imo). And this also comes back to having our group messages in iMessage and my family loves going back to reference something or look at pictures we send each other.


I traded my 6 in early but I put the blame of slowness on the iOS upgrades reasoning that each version added more bloat. I do enjoy my 8s and don't regret the upgrade. I only annoyed at most that Apple didn't fully disclose the issue and perhaps the performance hit they chose was a bit over the top


> This does nothing to compensate or win back the trust of customers like me

You simply behaved exactly the way that Apple predicted you would (preferring to spend money over the inconvenience of migrating your data to Android).


What does "locked in the Apple ecosystem" imply? Apps that don't have a satisfactory equivalent on Android, integration between Apple devices or general usability/user experience?


Probably having tons of photos, contacts, email and whatnot in the apple cloud instead of Google or Amazon or local.


That's relatively trivial to switch. If anything it would be the ecosystem of purchased applications that you still intend to use.

Other than that, nothing should really keep you "locked-in" on iOS. Not even iMessage. You can use WhatsApp or FB Messenger with friends or family. It's not a big deal.


Google and Apple also both offer "switch" software that makes transferring the critical parts a trivial affair.

https://www.android.com/switch/

https://www.apple.com/iphone/move-to-ios/

I still like iOS better and don't intend on switching but the only "lock in" I feel exists is the years of sunk cost I have in purchased apps I still use.

I would disagree about iMessage though. I have older family members on iOS that would not use another messaging or video chat app. Our chat experience would simply degrade to stock SMS.


Facebook - really?


You will be surprised on how Messenger is like iMessage of messenger apps in some countries outside the US.


I hope it doesn’t get that way in this country outside the US.


Well, can you return the two new phones?


You might not have trust but yet you have 2 new iPhones.


You realize you are locked-in into a proprietary ecosystem. Clearly, that is bad for you and customer-unfriendly. But I wonder why you don't take action, and get alternatives that don't lock you in. Is this an example of the sunken cost fallacy?


>> you are locked-in into a proprietary ecosystem

Ok, so what do we do? Sell iphone ((or android phone)) and then.. get what?


With Android you are not necessarily forced into a locked-in ecosystem. I use a Google-free Android phone. I can watch movies and listen to music, talk to people and chat. And I'm free to take my data and move to another device.

So, yes, extracting all of your data Apple is not withholding from you, getting another device, and then selling the Apple devices is what I would start with.

Also, I would keep an open eye for neither Android nor Apple devices. The Librem 5 might become an excellent alternative.


most popular android phones have large development communities[0] behind them. Removing the default [Android] OS that's ridden with spyware, including always-on Google Services, is critical to getting control over your phone.

Flashing something like LineageOS (formerly CyanogenMod) is the best way to get started with a lean android os

[0]- forum.xda-developers.com


How much can I trust those ROM builders, though? If I use anything other than the official LineageOS builds (e.g. if there are none for my device, or only nightly ones) I can't even be sure that the binaries that people upload match the source code they publish, right?

They might even not publish the source, and if they do, what are the chances that anyone has audited it?


you only have to install what you trust. Why go beyond LineageOS? Just stick to that, get Xposed and a good firewall. Have control over what your apps send back to HQ.


>> I use a Google-free Android phone. I can watch movies and listen to music, talk to people and chat.

Is that somehow impressive? Every smartphone since 1980 can do that.

>> And I'm free to take my data and move to another device.

So what. People with Androids and Iphones can, and do, move to another device, data included. So what is your point.


It's not impressive. However, it shows that I don't need to abstain from modern uses of my device.

The first ancestor of this comment chain is saying, that they were locked-in partly because they couldn't move media out. This contradicts you.


>> The first ancestor of this comment chain is saying, that they were locked-in partly because they couldn't move media out. This contradicts you.

Sorry, you are just making things up. The first ancestor did not complain about moving media out. That is something that you invented.

Btw I do not know what your purpose here is... lying... to get what? Upvotes? Are these really worth... this? Just asking.


They didn't state it directly, but indirectly.

The exact quote is:

> Since we were already locked into the Apple ecosystem (with paid apps and media), we bought iPhones.

So, they are locked-in into the ecosystem partly because of media. This directly implies they can't move their media out, for else they wouldn't be locked-in.

I'm not lying, and received no Upvote, still I'm responding. Actually, I think I'm risking downvotes for responding to a rather angry comment without content for the topic of the link. It's simply that you asked, so I answer.


Yelling at commenters that they have an "upvote agenda" for being educational and informative, by giving useful advice....it seems rather crude. Please be a little more thoughtful and give others the benefit of the doubt. Even if you work for Apple's marketing department..


So you say that I accuse people of having "agenda" (and, presumably, such accusations are bad), then you accuse me of having agenda.

That's funny. I hope you can see how it is funny.


I actually specified a reason for the agenda, while you meandered about the posters' personal characteristics. Quite different. If you work for Apple, we can all understand the intrinsic bias you would have toward Apple doing something questionable or wrong. In fact, you sidestepped whether or not this is true - to do a bid for false equivalency. Do you or do you not work for Apple? Feel free to drop the mic and not reply if you cannot by the bounds of your contract.


Make changes over time. When other devices are due to be replaced, make sure they work with multiple vendors or ideally, using open standards. Then when your iPhone is up next for replacement, you won't be locked in. Consider lack of lock-in a real feature worth trading for other nice-to-haves, such as price, convenience or features.


One thing is not buying into the marketplace. Use free apps, use web services, use a home server.

I made a single app purchase in the last 5 years so I don't feel too locked-in, at least other than habit.


Not really. It is an evaluation of the cost of migrating to a different ecosystem and set of workflows.


My guess is that iOS 11 is much more to blame for slowdown that users are experiencing, myself included. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be resolved -- even if I replace my battery for $30, my iPhone 6 will still be worse than it was in August.


> Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29...

> Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

There we go.

It took too much trouble and too long for it to happen, but Apple is stepping up and doing the right thing.

Actually, the cost of battery replacement is now excellent. If they hadn't screwed this up by not communicating what was going on, I think they could have easily justified $49 - $59.

So I take the drop to $29 as a tangible apology, which I appreciate. (Well, personally, I've already replaced my battery using a $25 kit from Amazon, but obviously that's not viable for the great majority of iPhone owners.)


This isn't the first time this has happened to Apple. They use to not sell replacement batteries for the original iPods, and when people called in to complain, they were often told to buy an entire new iPod. This was settled in a lawsuit:

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/apples-ip...

Another important note is this battery replacement cost only cover the iPhone6 and up. That's only the 2015 release. That's still lubricious. If we had devices as powerful as today's cellphones that cost $500+ in the early-90s, losing support after 2~3 years would be lubricious.

In 2012 I remember seeing someone with the first generation iPhone EDGE (pre-3G). That's right; the thing was like 6? 7 years old? He really only used it on Wi-Fi. EDGE data was painful, but it was still his primary/only phone for another year.

The throwaway economy saddens me, and this move doesn't really do enough to prevent the continuing pileup of e-waste being shipped on boats to China and Africa.


Agreed. It’s also a waste of human labor to throw away devices when they could still be made useful with some simple repairs. To go further, it is wasteful to design hardware to be disposable rather than repairable and reusable.

People with jobs I wouldn’t want to do work very hard to bring us these devices, and the earth gives up resources to mine, transport, and shape the materials. Throwing things away when they could last 5-10x as long consumes our precious resources and wastes our collective capital.

Finally I’ll say that a lack of open software support contributes to this. If I could flash alpine linux on an old iPhone, Nexus, or Samsung, I could find great uses for the old hardware. Such a project is now underway (Alpine linux for Mobile), but mobile devices are still a morass of unpatchable secret binaries with glaring security holes.

I know we can better use our resources than to throw a two or three year old flagship phone in the trash or let it waste away in an old drawer, but it will take us demanding more of manufacturers and calling them out for their waste before they take action on it.


It's because everything is so cheap nowadays, because all the externalities that we worry about (pollution, resources running out, etc.) are left for the public and future generations to bear, with those who actually cause those externalities not paying their dues.

Unfortunately, I don't see this changing within our culture of mindless consumerism and a governance system based on what is essentially legalized bribery ("lobbying").


Who are these magical "they" we own Apple we vote in people in congress and on and on.


That's quite a simplification of the situation. While shareholders technically "own" a company, they usually don't have that much influence over a companies policies.

This holds even more true with matters that will cost the company a lot of money while giving no added value to the shareholders, such as those externalized costs by polluting the environment.

Why would any Apple shareholder willingly take a hit to their portfolio just for a "nice feeling in the tummy about having done the right thing"? Not to mention that with most publicly traded companies there's only one "right thing": Increase shareholder value, everything is optimized around that and pretty much only that.

And sure you can vote people into Congress, but what leverage do you have that those people actually stick to their word once they are there? Imho that's one of the major flaws with most representative democracies: There's only positive voting, you can't "vote out" people who didn't hold up their end, you can only try to replace them with somebody who got more votes and hope he/she keeps their word.

In the end, this is also a question of how do we want our economies to be built: For supposedly perpetual gains and growth or for a sustainability which accounts for the actual scarcity of resources not easily measured and accounted for, like a clean environment.


Politicians in the US do not do what their constituency wants. This is before getting into the numerous issues like gerrymandering, lobbying, lack of education and informed public, propaganda and social media, etc.

As far as owning Apple, unless you are a major (read: majority) holder, good luck trying to make any difference because the actual majority holders want the profits, and they are not (as much) concerned about the externalities involved.


> Politicians in the US do not do what their constituency wants.

Actually they do, if enough of them care loudly enough to organize and push back. Constituent participation in the ACA Repeal debate earlier this year caused the measure to fail. They had to sneak a small, partial repeal into the huge tax bill they just passed. When the dust settles, blowback from that sneak might cost more then a few their jobs.


99+% of all laws by content are not going to enter the public's awareness. Aka, if a tax bill is 1000 pages people may notice 10 pages worth of changes at the very high end, but that's about it. The average is far worse with many bills especially at the state or local level simply ignored in their entirety.

In practice this basically rounds to zero on most issues, especially over time.


That's why people largely vote on lines of ideology and hot-button issues; they're (ostensibly) voting on character and judgement, leaving the minutiae to Congress and bureaucrats to figure out.

Otherwise, what's the point of Congress if we aren't going to leave it to them to figure things out?


The point is there should not be a far-away Congress with such large powers. It worked when there were 13 states clustered along one coast. Now it's its own empire-building entity with little practical oversight.


Truth.


What's your point? Neither you nor me personally can tell Apple what to do, and certainly not congress.

That's the point of my pessimism – modifying your own behaviour does not make any difference. Even if millions of people boycotted iPhones that would still be a smaller loss for Apple than changing how they're doing things, because doing things right is suicidally expensive when most of your customers don't care. An even smaller loss would be doing some marketing to make most of boycotters ambivalent enough to forget the whole thing.

Using Apple just as an example, could be any company or government.


We can't because we do not care enough. You don't have to boycott Apple largest apple shareholders are pension funds so intermediaries owning shares of Apple on your behalf.


> We can't because we do not care enough

There's a difference between "me" and "we". "We", the majority, could, if we cared. "I", alone or even in a sizeable minority group, can't make a difference, regardless of how much I care.

People can certainly be very self centered, but a big part of this _collective_ culture of either caring or not caring for various things has been manufactured entirely artificially by governments and corporations alike.


Apple makes great long-lasting Hardware. That being said the unreplaceable battery design is obviously driven by a clear Market Force to sway you into buying a new phone


> Apple makes great long-lasting Hardware.

Six months ago I would've agreed with you. After getting a touch bar MacBook Pro for a work computer? Not so much. I don't like the ergonomics at all, but I'm more concerned about out-of-warranty costs.

Thunderbolt glitches aside (it used to kernel panic fairly regularly upon resuming from sleep, more so if I had plugged/unplugged it into the TB3 hub), it took about two weeks before the keyboard started acting up. About 50-75% of the space bar actually works. The left command key isn't centered in its bore properly and sticks with some regularity. There's something rattling inside now too.

I'm in the market for a replacement personal laptop and, for the first time, I've doubts about the longevity of the Apple product.

Also recently I finally dumped my old black MacBook off at a electronics recycling place. Apple keyboards have really gone to crap. Yes, the non-touchbar MacBook Pros had really mushy, nasty keyboards... but the touch bar slim keyboard pales even in comparison to the keyboards the polycarbonate MacBooks got.


At least the aging MacBook Air, while not retina, is still available and is evidently the last machine with the "old" style (good) keyboard.

I've used the new keyboard, and the reduced travel doesn't bother me, but the numerous reports of failed keys to the degree of "I just wanted to clean the fan"[0] level[1] is keeping me away.

My 2013 Air is still an excellent machine though...so is the Mac Mini, if only a cheaper NUC wasn't a better option in every regard other than it doesn't (natively) run macOS. :(

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpCJzdWxEbQ

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdS3tjEIqUA


Nah, the chicklet keyboards were all crap. Even the polycarbonate MacBook ones. That old MacBook chassis was at least serviceable so that when the keyboard died on mine (after about five years) I bought a stack of top cases and replaced it.

The early MacBook Pros and the aluminum and titanium PowerBooks had excellent keyboards. I put up with the subpar keyboards because the rest of the machine was generally pretty nice and OSX is/was leaps and bounds above the alternatives.


The new keyboards are totally defective (especially v1)


This is a known issue? Great... And, yes, the work machine is a 2016 model.


Yes they reinforced the keys on v2 not too long after initial release because they have low durability especially when dust gets in as it causes the connectors to break when the keys are depressed.

Not sure how nice Apple is being with replacements. My IT department was lazy and just ordered some replacement keys off the Internet for $20/each...


> Such a project is now underway (Alpine linux for Mobile)

Check out PostmarketOS. It's made a lot headway into attempting to create a single, semi-universal image that can be used on multiple devices.


What bothers me about PostmarketOS is that they are focusing on pretty much everything except 3d data/phone calls/texts.

You know, those reason I carry a mobile phone in my pocket in the first place.

I hope they don't lose focus. Imho having a popular device being well-supported would be a killer feature. A bit like a flagship model, you know.


I was surprised to find out my son's robotics team used old phones as robot controllers. No idea what software they used.


If it's FTC robotics, they typically use an app framework that manages the wireless connection and enforces some game rules (ex: autonomous vs driver controlled period), and they just program in Robot behavior around that.

Or at least that's how it was when I left a couple years ago.


> It’s also a waste of human labor to throw away devices when they could still be made useful with some simple repairs.

Are you sure? Assembly line production is highly efficient, that's why warranty service usually means "throw way the old one into the refurbish or recycle pile and give you a new one", not "fix your old one"


Which is a more efficient use of our labor? The manufacture of a phone with a removable battery or the manufacture of a phone with a non replaceable battery?

Both situations benefit from the efficiency of modern production lines, but in the former case that device can be easily refreshed by a lay person out in the real world while with the other phone, the same amount of manufacturing resources went in to a phone that only lasts two years.

No matter how “efficient” our modern manufacturing methods are, using them to make a device that lasts two years uses more resources per unit of delivered utility than using them to make something that lasts 5-10 years.

Also the reason why it’s cheaper to manufacture new than to repair is exactly because repair is not engineered in to the design. If you have to de solder a battery and crack a case to replace a LiPo, it’s going to be more costly than if you just remove some screws and pop out a connector.


There are phones with removable batteries, but consumers largely choose phones without removable batteries, and the market serves them.


It is possible that ecosystem lockin effectively prevents consumers from displaying affinity for removable batteries.


Where can I buy an iPhone with a removable battery? I didn’t realize I had that choice.


You can have removable battery, or top of the line phone. Choose one.


False choice, some people would pay extra for a removable battery. There's an entire market for external iPhone battery packs, which are heavier than a removable battery.


less and less phones with replaceable batteries among flagship ones.


> Assembly line production is highly efficient

The highlevel production may be, but rare-earth mining is incredibly dirty (and some of them, if not sourced from fair trade, directly fund warring groups), and IC manufacturing isn't exactly environment friendly too, lots of nasty chemicals used there.


There's quite a bit of work into recycling those, and Apple has already has the means of recovering much of it - pity people don't generally return their used phones to them, though. Your replacement battery is unlikely to be recycled better than when it's done in an automated manner on a fairly large scale.

Of course Apple can get away cheap because of that "people don't even try to recycle" thing. Forcing the industry to do the same thing that happened with bottles (everyone has to accept bottles over certain capacity they sell, and _pay for them_ — though right-wing governments are shuttering those programs) would work wonders, and likely be far better than the romanticised "repairability."


> far better than the romanticised "repairability"

I decide on my own what I want, which is to fix the damn thing if it's fixable and not spend 1000$ on a new one. And to fix it is "far better" than to recycle it, or to have it artificially slowed without explanation and deceived into buying a new one.

Apple is not the company I once admired. Time passes, MS is slightly more ok and Apple is bad. Weird. I wouldn't have guessed in the early 2000's.


"And to fix it is "far better" than to recycle it"

Because what, because you say so? I mean, I can say it's far better to dress my phone up in a green skirt and hang it outside my window as a Christmas decoration then. About just as relevant.

"Time passes, MS is slightly more ok and Apple is bad."

You seem to have missed the lesson from the Apple thing: companies ain't your friends.


Recycling old phones in bulk may still be cheaper than individual phone repair.


My guess is it's not really much of a waste of human labor, but it is extremely energy inefficient. Energy used in production is generally many multiples of that used during operation. So extending usable lifetime versus manufacturing a new device is more energy efficient in most cases.


How can it not be a waste of human labor to have devices with artificial roadblocks to extended lifetime in place? We have sources of renewable energy, but human potential is the most valuable thing of all. Despite all our advances in manufacturing technology, they seem to be exploited largely to make more stuff faster that needs to be replaced sooner, and the humans never seem to benefit with a reduction in labor.


I think you mean ludicrous instead of lubricious, just fyi.


Apparently it's a real word!

Here's the excerpt from dictionary.com

------

lubricious [loo-brish-uh s] adjective

    arousing or expressive of sexual desire; lustful; lecherous
------

It kinda defeats the purpose of using the word if no one else understands what it means :)


Sexualising battery replacement schemes needs to stop.


Rule 34 cannot be stopped.


It's also an alternate spelling for libricous, which dictionary.com defines as: adjective 1. (of a surface, coating, etc.) having an oily smoothness; slippery. 2. unstable; shifty; fleeting.

So "shifty" could be what they were going for, but my sense of the other two words in definition 2 suggests that it's not quite accurate to use that sense of shifty.


The intended word was probably "ludicrous".


I doubt it. He's using it to mean "slippery" or "shifty." It's not a great use of the word, but that's probably the intention.


Doesn't fit the context.


Of course it does.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Maybe ridiculous?


It's a real word, but one that doesn't seem to fit in context nearly as well as the similarly spelled "ludicrous."


Thank you guys. Seeing it twice made me think someone should mention how aroused batteries were making the OP, but I'm glad to know there are some fellow folks who have this covered ;)


> no one else understands

I understand fine.


/r/iamverysmart?


I'm still using my 2009 Nexus One. It is painfully slow, and won't run any modern apps, and I've tried to find a suitable replacement several times but it seems a shame to throw away a perfectly good phone and I just haven't found anything that is of comparable size and build quality without having to sacrifice screen resolution, FM radio, removable battery or microSD slot.


The update that ‘caused’ this issue only did so for the iPhone 6 and up so a replacement wouldn’t be necessary for older models.

Also, if you must keep using these old phones when they are no longer supported and have known and unpatched vulnerabilities, please be a good citizen and keep them off of our internet.


I find that very hard to believe. We've been witnessing these slow downs since the beginning


My 3G slowed to a crawl with an update. Made me switch to Android for a few phone till I realized Apple's software was way better.


I use a powerful xiaomi android phone and an ipad pro. Apart from the amazing apple pencil enabled apps which i would never use on an iPhone i can't see any way ios outperforms android.


Should be easy to prove that then now that it is clear what to look for.


There's a huge second hand market for iPhones so I'm guessing the majority of devices get trade/sold or at least held onto as spares until they are no longer viable.


The iPhone 6 was released September 9, 2014, which is about 3.3 years ago.


Exactly, only 3.3 years ago. :)

I still use a beat-up 6 with a wonderful patina and have no interest in upgrading. For me the 6 seemed to be the point where everything was "good enough". Until there's a big advance in what phones are and can do (a bit more than the iPhone X ha), I'd rather just repair what's there.


I still use a 6, and have a replacement OEM battery on the shelf in front of me. I'll get apple to do it instead, just as long as they don't upgrade my phone to ios 11 at the same time... I don't want a slower OS just to gain the ability of it telling me one reason why it might be slow.

Also - good to see confirmation id this comment I made recently: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15832402


Counterpoint; I upgraded from a 6 to an X - the screen and the camera are really truly so much better. The X has mostly replaced my mirrorless DLSR in a way the 6 couldn’t come close to.


I don't want to be glib here, but I think that the fact that you refer to your camera as a mirrorless DSLR (dslRs by definition have mirrors) is part of the reason why you can replace it with a somewhat better phone sensor.

There is nothing wrong with doing that, but it's possible because you have limited needs.


So because of communication error, you can dismiss your parent commenter as having “limited” needs? Seems a bit needlessly smug, don’t you think?

I also shoot with a EVIL system, specifically Fujifilm’s X system, and while my friends iPhone X I borrowed for a week won’t replace it entirely, it’s on a completely new level for smartphone photography and for the bulk of my photos it really can replace my camera!

Glibly saying “oh but it’s not a real camera and will never replace it” is missing the forest for the trees. Not only can it replace it in a lot of circumstances, it’s also an excellent addition to! Using the amazing screen with my cameras built in wifi makes processing and uploading images out in the field super simple.


Maybe this just goes to show how many people buy gadgets they don’t really need or know how to use.


It think that it's an insignificant mistake that nevertheless correlated with the user being somebody who probably doesn't look very hard at MTF graphs.

I don't shoot Fuji, but I have friends that do and I wouldn't use a phone for processing the results (for software reasons, the best raw converters for x-trans sensors are Capture One and Iridient, neither of which exists for iOS - it would be nice to be able to run a good converter on an iPad pro).


You wont get anything close to the bokeh provided by larger sensors. It is fine as long as you know what your tradeoffs are.


Bokeh is the quality of blur, not the quantity, and it’s determined mostly by the lens, not the sensor.


I was about to join this debate and then ran the numbers and realized I still don't get this right. I was going to say it's about sensor size and bigger sensors have shallower DOF.

Here's where I go when I need a refresher - Tony Northrup's explanations:

https://petapixel.com/2014/05/27/tony-northrup-makes-correct...

There's a lot of criticisms of his series, but they're often shallow (they don't seem to watch his whole video) and actually end up agreeing with him.


I'm not saying anything about sensor size or depth of field. I'm pointing out the misuse of the term "bokeh". Bokeh is not depth of field. It's the quality of out of focus areas. You want good bokeh when you have a shallow depth of field but bokeh is itself a subjective measure of quality, not quantity.

Calling depth of field "bokeh" is like calling focal length "framing".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh


He's sorta right in the sense that most people like a "relaxed" character in the out of focus areas which is very hard to achieve with tiny sensors and lenses (while for example basically every modern large format lens is extremely "creamy").


If the statement was that it’s hard to make a tiny lens for a tiny sensor with good bokeh, then I guess that could be correct (I actually don’t know if small lenses can produce pleasing bokeh). I read the comment as the common “bokeh=shallow depth of field” misunderstanding, though, because the focus was on sensor size rather than the lens.


OK let's talk about depth of field. DOF is both a function of sensor size and lens aperture. That's why small sensors even with 1.8 aperture have no bokeh comparable to 35mm at 1.8.

And anyway with very small sensors you can only get blurriness if you are extremely close to the subject, while 35mm and higher sensor formats allow for MUCH more creativity.


> OK let's talk about depth of field... small sensors even with 1.8 aperture have no bokeh comparable to 35mm at 1.8.

Bokeh is not depth of field. That’s the point.

Yes, small sensors cannot get extremely shallow depth of field. However, shallow depth of field is not bokeh. If you want to say that small sensors cannot achieve narrow depth of the field or massive subject separation or a “destroyed” background or whatever, fine. But don’t call it bokeh because that’s something else.

A lens could yield the same bokeh (blur quality) at f/2 and f/4 even though the depth of field (blur quantity) would be much different.


Oh yeah no denying the X improves on the 6, especially screen and camera. And if I took pics regularly I’d upgrade. One of these days...

What would make me personally enthusiastically pay a lot to upgrade would be a blazing fast e-ink display. Or a flexible, paper-like body that goes rigid when you’re holding it in your hand. Or a gizmo you can just keep in your wallet (maybe resting on your finger when you want to project a touch screen on your palm or on a bracelet for your arm).

More imaginatively, I suspect there’s a lot of potential for a new lo-fi platform that makes a different set of trade offs than the iPhone and its imitators. But every aspect of the design and production would need to be nailed though for it to be pulled off. And it would require a bit of a reshuffling of what we expect from our “body computer”.


I'm still using the 3GS I bought 2nd hand 5 years ago.

Only in the house as a backup phone left permanently on charge because the battery is 99% gone.

Even though it's a little heavy, the curves make it feel nicer in the hand to me than any phone Apple has produced since.


5s here and still running iOS 8 to avoid the planned obsolescence. The phone is still blazing fast, but in the last year or so I've been out of luck with installing a majority of the apps that I've wanted.


That sounds like a good experience.. /s


Sure, but Apple continued to sell the 5s until 2016.


The 5S was released in Sept 2013 and still runs the latest version of iOS. If they were still selling it in 2016 it will likely be supported with software updates until 2019. For comparison the Galaxy S4 was released in April 2013 and received its last update to Android 5.0.1 in April 2015.


At least it's very easy to run 7.1.2 and soon 8.1 even on S3 (I do), while with iPhone you're completely at Apple's mercy.


Unofficial software downloaded as a binary blob from dodgy websites? I don’t miss that at all, though it’d be nice to be able to hack at my iPhone more.


What's so fishy about https://lineageos.org ?


What about official (but from OS, not hardware vendor) software downloaded as a source code easily compiled by yourself?


I run LineageOS on an old Moto G and think it's a great way for us technical people to keep our devices relevant beyond their intended lifetimes. For people less technically inclined I will always recommend Apple devices, however if Apple keeps rushing out buggy software releases this may change.


And people did buy it, at least in poorer countries... I know it was on sale for less than 330 € in Serbia (istyle.eu/rs).


Even back when batteries were easily replaced, I don’t think that stopped people from getting new phones every couple years.

I still have a perfectly useable Android with a replaceable battery.

People still upgraded right past it to built in batteries.


The build quality of phones back then usually didn't last longer than the battery. Keypads would die, screens would stop working, accidental damage, etc.

With phones that are now waterproof, dustproof, and have powerful CPUs and cameras, the time to replace them has lengthened. I know a bunch of people who have owned iPhones for 4+ years and were very satisfied until they finally upgraded.


The phone I have is a Google Galaxy Nexus. It only has 3 buttons, power, volume up and volume down. 6 years old, still works.

I don’t think replaceable batteries were phased out on flagship phones that long ago.


Still works is different than still working really, really well and feeling comparable to phones on the market today.


My concern is that is some lawmakers get their way; this is not just a US concern but there is an interesting lawsuit in France pending; we could end up never owning devices.

As in, if the mandated lifetime exceeds what is efficiently manufactured one direction they could go is the phone is never owned by the consumer. Its a lease.

Option number two is simply higher prices with replacement costs built into the sale price but not disclosed as the reason for the elevated cost.

Option three, We could end up having devices with reduced battery time so they can use the space in a managed manner to give similar run time over the course of the mandated lifespan. Initially they could increase battery size which normally would give more time but instead limit how much per charge you get to use. (example, my car has 18kw but only 14.2 is usable per run)


Hahaha "lubricous" - what a fantastic typo!


I mean, the official definition is: "smooth and slippery with oil or a similar substance."

So I guess OP could've meant Apple is being a sneak like a snake oil salesman?


Had to look that one up, it was worth the effort.


I can't read.


The first generation iPhone was released in 2007 so the device you're talking about would have been at most 5 years old at the time. Nevertheless that's still considered extremely old for a modern device.

(For reference, my current device is a 4 year old iPhone 5S because I like the form factor, and it still does what I need. It's just about getting to the point where I'd like to upgrade it, but that's mainly because I keep running out of storage space.)


> The throwaway economy

Apple is thinking about this, see the Liam[0] robot that takes an iPhone down to constituent parts, and consider that the aluminum, steel, and glass are all quick turnaround raw materials.

It's a start.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYshVbcEmUc


Still got my iPhone 3G and it’s suprisingly fast with iOS 4. Had to downgrade though to get back some performance


You act as if there is no method to replace batteries for the previous generations of iPhone.


What about those of us that already paid to have the battery replaced? I was having the automatic shut down issue and Apple was telling me the battery was just fine. Since they refused to warrantee the battery I just ended up paying for another battery.

This was before the issue was really well-known. They were acting as if I was making it up. But yeah, anytime the phone was below 50% battery life I was in danger of having the phone immediately turn off. In my line of work this is not acceptable. Above anything else I need a working reliable phone.


> What about those of us that already paid to have the battery replaced?

Devil’s advocate: one doesn’t complain if they buy something the day before it goes on sale at a store. It’s just bad luck.


But this is intended as an apology, not a sale. Apologies don't come with big asterisks if they want to be taken seriously. And PacketPaul's experience was even worse because the reps did not believe his story. You can always take to twitter if you want to get something like this fixed, however.


Actually, you do complain and then get the store to match it or use your credit card price protection.


Or just go to the cashier and tell them you want to return it and buy it again at the discounted price. They don't even make you walk to pick a new one.


If you had it replaced in an Apple Store I'm guessing they'll make it right for you. Call the store and tell the automated system you want to speak to a manager. It'll get you to a real person and given the PR around this issue I'd be surprised if they didn't give you something of at least this much value.


What about the people who bought new phones because of performance issues?


Your issue wasn't because of a faulty battery though, it was normal battery degradation. You would have had to pay for a new battery in any case. If it was less than a month ago you might want to try to press them to refund the difference, but otherwise you did get a tangible benefit from the new battery in the time since you replaced it, so there's a cost for that.


Normally degraded batteries are still usable at 50% charge. If the remaining capacity was truly unavailable they should not have been displaying a fictitious state of charge. But of course, then the pitchforks would be out right away with no chance of hiding this slick way to force upgrade sales.

The real reason why they implemented this extreme method of "protecting" the battery is that they are deathly afraid of what will happen when these older batteries are fully discharged.


This happened regularly on all my laptops, though, so it doesn't surprise me it was happening to people's phones. Reported percentage was based on design capacity instead of last-full capacity, and shifted so 100% is "Full". So when the percentage reaches right about the point where all that's left is the degraded part of the battery, it suddenly jumps to about 3%.

(Since figuring that out almost a decade ago, I've been using my own battery-monitor script to see both percentage and health, so it's easy to see what's going on and just how bad my battery has gotten. Maybe the default notifications are better now?)


Go to Apple and ask them to refund the difference. If you got it replaced at an Apple store, they'll have it all logged and will do this if it matches the issue being described.


> It took too much trouble and too long for it to happen, but Apple is stepping up and doing the right thing.

Because they were hit by lawsuits.

Do not expect that this is a sudden understanding of customers' needs by Apple. They knew perfectly well what they were doing and made the choice to hide this feature. They would not have changed it without these lawsuits.

> So I take the drop to $29 as a tangible apology

I take it as an admission of guilt that they were overcharging consumers 50$ of pure margin for this.


> It took too much trouble and too long for it to happen, but Apple is stepping up and doing the right thing.

The right thing would have been for Apple to either stop this behaviour or give users the option (retain performance or retain battery life). They're doing neither.


I disagree. I think they're doing the right thing here.

Most users shouldn't need to manage their battery performance actively at all. What's next? Users should manage their own RAM usage? Absolutely not.

They're giving away batteries for free, and giving users more visibility into the health of their battery in an upcoming update. That's the right thing.


So you think a Popup

"Hey you're battery is going bad. Do you want to [keep the performance] or [save the battery life]?"

Would be too much??


It’s not about battery life. It’s about not pulling so much current that it suddenly shuts down the entire device. Why do so many people think this is just about making a charge last longer?


The hardware/software behavior could be 100% justified and it still wouldn't excuse the fact that they've hidden it all this time, driving millions of people to buy new phones when they really just needed a new battery.


I completely agree, I just want criticism to rest on the facts. There’s far too much useless noise because of this misunderstanding.


Because it fits their biases better. Simple as that.


No. Because it is still about battery life. If it were only about the spurious shutdown then the throttling would happen once in a while, but the reports are about long lasting performance reductions, sometimes down to 50%.

If the battery is in a state where the only solution to prevent sudden shutdowns is to continuosly throttle the system to 50% then my hardware is seriously degraded and someome REALLY needs to tell me that.


It is about battery life. This is how the battery should be measured: 100% -> Doesn't charge more 0% -> Do no provide enough voltage/current for safe operation at current power mode.

At 5% the phone could switch (configurable) to extended battery mode (low power mode) and alert the user.

As the battery ages the user will notice better a faster battery discharge (from 100% to 0%) and not the performance slowdown.


Your demonstrating the same ignorance the post you’re replying to is complaining about. It is not physically possible for the phone to draw sufficient power off a degraded battery to power it in high performance modes. The battery just doesn’t provide enough electrical current. Apple isn’t stepping back performance on degraded batteries to keep battery life. They are doing it to keep peak current draws at a level the battery can support so that the phone doesn’t hard shutoff when it is receiving insufficient power.


I think you don’t read the comment. If the battery do not have enough power the level would be 0%. The time from 100%(plugged in) to 0% will depend on how degraded is the battery. It is not difficult to understand. You are repeating Apple excuses. Mobile phones had been dealing with degrading batteries for a long time.


That’s not how batteries work. Degration over time causes a battery to not just store less total capacity on a “full” charge, but also to output less current at the required voltage. The latter is what is preventing the phone from operating under a full load at peak performance without a hard shut off.

The issue is the device shutting off while there is still charge on the battery, not the battery reaching 0% faster.


To be clear: 0% would be when current voltage or current mAh level is bellow what the phone needs to operate at maximum capacity.

“Voltage and mAh are two different, but interrelated, things. voltage is a measure of the electrical power a battery can deliver, while mAH (milli-Amp hours) is a measure of how long the battery will maintain usable voltage at a given output current.” https://www.quora.com/How-much-mAh-will-equal-to-1-v


It is the opposite. Batteries degradation acts as an internal resistance at rest (Rd) that increases over time. There is a second resistance (Rc) that increases as you discharge the battery. As you draw current (I) from the battery the nominal voltage decreases according to Omhs law V = Vn - I*(Rd + Rc).

You can plot different voltage charts as the battery discharges at different stages of degradation (increased Rb). As you know the peak current that phone drains at maximum load you know the minimum voltage it requires to operate. At this minimum voltage you show 0% (or a little higher so the phone can have enough power to gracefully shutdown).

What Apple is doing is slowing down the processor so it drains a smaller current reducing the minimum voltage the phone needs to operate extending the battery life (that also measures the time between 100% to 0%). This way you don't complain that an one year old phone battery is discharging too fast probably because of battery fault or wrong specification. There also a good side effect for Apple of decreased performance perception that induces to premature phone upgrades.


I think the question is:

"Hey you're battery is going bad. Do you want to [keep the performance] or [shutdown the phone]?"


You'd never want an instantaneous shutoff of your phone, which is what you'd get from a brownout. That's just asking for data corruption.


Multiply this idea times the six thousand other locations people think this should be done and you suddenly get an frustratingly unusable device.

Everyone gets upset that their pet setting isn't available, but nobody stops to think about the consequences of having everyone else's pet setting available.


And with that comment we are back at the root of the problem. Apple is the one to evaluate what is and what is not important to the user. And many people who are currently upset think they had their priorities wrong.

We can argue all day long what is and what really isn't important. The fact is they decided it isn't and the backlash showed quite strongly that it was wrong.


> The backlash showed quite strongly that it was wrong.

What backlash? This same scenario seems to play out practically every month: Apple does something that generates tons of negative comments from — as far as I can tell — people who don't actually use Apple products (removes the headphone jack, throttles performance for phones with aging batteries, releases phone with minor antenna issue, replaces TouchID with FaceID, the notch on the iPhone X, USB-C MBP, etc.). The next quarter, they announce record sales and continue their absolute domination in terms of both customer satisfaction and profit share in the overall market.

The simple reality is that these things are never as big of an issue as people out for blood make them appear (antenna issue, headphone jack, the Notch), or most consumers actually generally agree with the stance taken by Apple (throttle phones with dying batteries rather than unexpected shutoffs, FaceID).


Don't you think the response from Apple (lowering battery replacement costs, modifying the OS to show the user what is happening) is a clear indicator that they really fid feel a backlash rather than the usual Apple bashing by non Apple customers?


I don't. This is about the smallest possible response you can imagine. If anything it's Apple doubling down on their original decision — they think they made the right call, and they're standing by it, but throwing a bone to customers by offering essentially at-cost battery replacement.

And honestly? I think they made the right call, even if the implementation details were off. Phones shutting off randomly is something that appears common on Android phones but not on iPhones, and throttling them to prevent this was the right decision to make. Warning that this is occurring is something that, in retrospect, was warranted. But it's easy to see how the teams in question for implementing this could have underestimated the performance impact, the scale of how many phones this would affect, or both. And it's easy to see how adding a warning might have been considered a v2 of the feature, whereas v1 was the quick band-aid needed to ship to prevent a problem that might have affected large numbers of phones in the wild.

In my opinion, Apple has so much goodwill built up from making difficult-but-principled decisions, I'm more than happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. If anything, their response reinforces my belief that they thought this was the right decision from the get-go. They didn't roll back the feature as other companies would have done. They stuck by it because it's the right move for the vast majority of their customers.


Or maybe "How long do you want your battery to last?" Choose 6 hours, or 8, or 12.


“How often do you want your phone to suddenly shut off without warning?” [Never] [Sometimes] [Often]


Do we actually know the numbers (e.g. battery life and expected number of shutdowns) required to make any of these points more than moot? Because there are definitely values that would win hands-down for either side.


I don’t think we have any numbers, but the sudden shutdown problem was pretty frequent, enough that Apple issued a recall for one model and a lot of people saw it happen.


The batteries are not free. How about a user replaceable battery design?


The battery is user replaceable. If a minimum wage earner in the mall can do it with a few basic tools it isn’t that difficult.


If replacing the battery voids the warranty, that doesn't count as 'user replaceable' in my book.

If the phone is under warranty, why wouldn't you take it to Apple and let them replace it for free?


If replacing the battery voids the warranty, that doesn't count as 'user replaceable' in my book.


If the phone is in warranty then they’ll take care of it for you. If it’s out of warranty then it doesn’t matter.


How do you know the wage for battery replacement?


The trade-offs that come with that would completely destroy everything that makes iPhones great.


It was pretty fantastic on the Samsung hardware that was contemporaneous with many iPhone designs.

Sadly the Galaxies have jumped on that bandwagon.


Do you ever wonder if there's a reason why that's the case?


I'm sure it's cheaper to solder it in, and you don't have to make the components sturdy enough to stand up to repeated assembly and dissassembly.

I still hate it. It was nice to be able to have a stack of charged batteries and not worry about being away from an outlet for three or four days. Especially with a phone that had its USB port melted by a shoddy cable.


I don't think it's just about it being cheap; I think it's about literally making some sizes and configurations of phones work.

If you look at where the battery is currently (https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/2oa2QHEoq4Ke16su.m...) there's no way to make the battery accessible without letting you easily open the entire case.

It's just a trade-off, and a replacable battery isn't worth the trade-offs. I 100% agree with Apple on this.


Except that's exactly how Android phones solved that problem - removable backs. Want a bigger battery? Get one that comes with a bigger back plate, like the Galaxy S5 had. Also, before anyone mentions it, you can do this and still have an IP67 rating.

Apple has teams of engineers working on marginally different hues of silver/gray. They can spare a few to figure out a case lock mechanism that doesn't detract from aesthetics. For example, you still need a SIM tray, so hide the latch to release the edge in there. They could be crazy and follow the Android phones that use a combo sim and SD card tray to allow Apple users to add more storage, but then they couldn't charge a 500% mark up on 128GB of flash memory.

I don't understand people that give Apple a pass on clearly bad decisions that could be remedied by a simple 'Advanced' section in the settings or an almost imperceptible compromise on aesthetics (at least way less perceptible than a monster screen notch or the iTumor case).


Which all of a sudden makes it EXTREMELY hard to waterproof compared to what you’re working on right now, which was a big win on the 6S and seven.


Galaxy S5 was waterproof with a removable back. All the current waterproof phones have SIM card trays, mic holes, cord connectors, speakers, etc, so it might not be as 'extreme' as you're thinking. Just need a continuous rubber gasket and a tight fit. Of course making your phone out of materials that bend or shatter instead of flexing becomes a bigger problem, especially since the former offers no practical benefit beyond 'feel'.


"My USB port is melted and unusable but I don't want to replace it" is a real corner case in hardware design, don't you think?


Not everybody can afford to just go buy a new phone when some minor component fails. With replacable batteries, a busted usb port was an annoyance, but without, it makes an expensive and otherwise functional piece of technology into a paperweight.


Sure. But I had more in mind replacing the USB daughterboard or if necessary the mainboard, rather than the whole phone. Granted, that's still not necessarily cheap, but I'd be surprised to learn it cost significantly more than a stack of spare batteries...


Maybe if they made their iPhones that fraction of a millimetre thicker, they'd have the courage to bring back a headphone jack into their $1000 phones.


I know it's not common for people to say this out loud, but I spent $1200 on an iPhone last month, and

a. I don't care about a headphone jack, at all; I use Airpods and the experience is phenomenal

b. Consider me crazy, but I actually like my phones getting smaller and lighter

What if Apple is just making a phone for people like me, and is comfortable with those trade-offs?


> I don't care about a headphone jack, at all

Does "works for me" work for you as a reason for closing a software ticket?

Built-in speakers and bluetooth are probably the most common audio output cases for me, and I suspect it's that way for most people. It's totally fine and probably a good idea to recognize that and improve the experience on that front.

But complicating corner cases are a definite reality. If you're someone who was treating your iPhone as a digital musical instrument, for example, bluetooth's latency probably makes it a no go for you. But of course, that's too niche, not a market that Apple does or should have to care about, those people should be buying more complicated niche hardware, right? OK, let's use a "normal consumer" example: if you're someone who likes to connect your iPhone to a car stereo, then maaaybe bluetooth will work out for you, or maybe it's going to be an interesting challenge dealing with the auto/stereo manufacturer's implementation. A 1/8" aux input? Just works. And lets you charge your phone at the same time. Or at least it did.

And before someone says "well, get a dongle" -- a dongle isn't "just works." And that's the thing that bothers me so much about this. It's essentially a user-hostile decision for some portion of users, with no particularly compelling upside for the rest of users... but a thin margin of manufacturing savings and a nice accessories/integration play, I suppose. I fully expect that's just business for many enterprises and "just works" is an acceptable casualty, but I didn't expect it from Apple.

But I do now.

> I actually like my phones getting smaller and lighter

Surely there's a point of not only diminishing but actually vanishing returns. Maybe literally. I recognize that's not going to be the same for everyone, but for me "diminishing" started around the form factor of the original iPhone and I stopped seeing any particular utility in shrinking around the 4s.


It’s really simple:

1. It’s impossible for Apple to make a device that perfectly pleases everyone

2. Not all feature sets are possible

3. Apple constantly makes decisions about which trade-offs to make

Sometimes you’re just not the target market for a device a company makes. That’s ok, and it isn’t necessarily the fault of the company that such is the case, they just opted for a different feature set than the one you would have preferred.


It's kindof interesting that everything in your comment is true, and yet it's not clear that most of it is relevant in this case.

No one has introduced the standard of perfect pleasure here. The standard that has been introduced is one of both ability and ease in regards to what I'd think anyone would agree is a fundamental feature for a personal mobile device: getting audio to route from that device to common output devices or even arbitrary output devices.

If anyone thinks that standard is unreasonable or even not relevant to Apple's market, I'd be interested to hear about that.

As far as feature sets and tradeoffs go -- yeah, that's an argument that I find compelling in a lot of product discussions. But it really loses its power when we're talking about a feature that's been present in every. smartphone. ever. up until the iPhone 7 and non-Apple smartphones since. It's hard to take seriously the argument that keeping it just wasn't possible. Tradeoffs? Maybe. But good tradeoffs mean you gained something worth as much or more as what you traded away. I haven't come across any credible explanation of compelling features (let alone market-distinguishing features) the iPhone gained that required shedding the 1/8" audio jack. If you're in the know on this one, by all means, explain.

Overall, it seems more credible that maybe, just maybe, Apple underestimated the broad "just works" utility of the feature they removed here and actually got this one wrong. Or, possibly, "just works" wasn't a functioning value when it came to this decision.


Apple likes to set trends which means doing away with the past. The headphone jack is a 19th century invention and Apple feels that the time has come to make way for new tech as it has always done.

Add to the fact that they obsess over making their devices beautifully engineered by making them slimmer and lighter to increase portability. The more portable your hardware is, the more you are likely to use it and recommend it to others. Portability helps Apple sell more devices. This has been Apple's focus since Job's return.

A few examples:

1. They were one of the first laptop makers to do away with integrated CD/DVD drives because they saw that fewer and fewer people were using them. The tradeoff here is obvious: they figured that Internet speeds would improve to the point that it would eventually replace 4.7GB DVDs as the standard means of distributing software for most of their customers (read: people with high disposable income). This has happened.

2. Apple was the first to ship a mainstream device (iMac) that supported the USB standard (which they didn't invent). USB adoption helped obsolete older tech: serial, parallel and PS/2 ports.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#History

3. The iPhone obsoleted keyboard-centric phone designs from BlackBerry, Nokia, Samsung etc which were widespread prior to 2007 to a more natural touch-centric interface. Apple had previously launched the failed Newton device but this time they made several complementary investments in the user experience that made them feel confident that touch interfaces had matured enough to become mainstream. Remember that the first iPhone didn't even have copy&paste, regardless, their bet against old tech paid off :).


The big difference that you are missing is that those other technologies that they got rid of had ready and working replacements. The headphone jack does not have a ready and working replacement yet.


So you consider wireless headsets/ear phones utilizing BLE as an unworthy replacement for the headphone jack? That's fine.

I'm not Apple or its representative, merely trying to help the grandparent see why Apple would do what they did.


And I'm just explaining why that is a bullshit. It's clear that the real reason Apple is doing this is to make more money by selling accessories.


Theres also nothing wrong with criticizing that decision, especially when they are clearly using it to push you to buy a new device


> If you're someone who was treating your iPhone as a digital musical instrument, for example, bluetooth's latency probably makes it a no go for you.

If you are a musician that can actually hear, Bluetooth headphones of any kind are a non-starter. It is mathematically impossible for BT to have sufficient dynamic range and low enough noise noise floor for classical strings, for instance. Bluetooth sets my teeth on edge.


I'm with you. The iPhone X is the best iPhone I've ever used.

The headphone jack uproar was a tempest in a teapot. Apple saw the stats that either a) people use the headphone that come with the phone or b) they upgrade to wireless headphones. The small group of people using expensive wired headphones can afford an additional $7 permanent attachment.

Yes, Apple prioritizes size and design over everything else. Removable batteries add size, weight, and likely impact the water proof ability of the device. Even when I had a phone that could easily swap batteries I never bought additional ones because they were not cheap and would be discarded when I got a new phone.

I'll also say that I'm happy with the change Apple did here. They failed at communicating it, but I have been on the receiving end of an older phone that would shutdown/crash with plenty of battery left, and would have preferred it to slow down so I could at least use it.


I'm just an anecdote, but I lamented the removal of the headphone jack because it means my 6SE is my last iPhone.

I take pills for attention deficit disorder. I lose stuff. I lose corded and cordless headphones multiple times a month. And hey, I know my inattentiveness to be an annoying end of a spectrum. People have things going on in their lives. Not everyone neatly takes care of their in-separate-ears tiny bluetooth speakers. We're a segment of the market.

They're betting that they can do better without the likes of us -- lose some, earn more from the rest. Maybe their cash position enables them to take such risks.


Companies like Apple actually take accessibility really seriously though, which I applaud. That said, there's a pecking order to disabilities that these companies have to service. I can tell you that blindness is top of the heap and cognitive disabilities are bottom of the heap. It's a crummy situation for users like you when a disability doesn't weigh as heavily as the product design goals - grumble, the world is broken.

I imagine a headphone jack must use a lot of space within the case, which creates a lot of hardware design headaches that go beyond waterproofing.

I see some people at my workplace who walk around all day with a full bluetooth headset around their neck (not earbuds, like the big cans type) even when not in use, almost as a fashion accessory or statement. Perhaps you could experiment with those kinds of bluetooth headsets if you upgrade to a new iPhone. Obviously that doesn't solve your headset needs for running though, grumble grumble.


There are other smartphone companies, albeit with inferior products, that have models with headphone jacks.


Design is a big priority for all these companies. :shrug:


For what it’s worth, the AirPods have “find my AirPods” that will locate them for you in most instances.

I lose stuff too. I just find it eventually.


They do, but it's less helpful than it sounds. It only plays a sound if the AirPods are not in their case. Since I am fantastic at putting them in their case the instant they're not in my ears, I never have a chance to lose mine in a way where this feature would help.

Granted, it's harder to lose the entire case, though it's still small enough and made of slippery plastic that can slide out of pockets if you're unlucky.


If they _are_ in the case you can see the last location they were connected to bluetooth. I've lost and found my whole set several times.


I also spent the corresponding amount for an X in my country but,

a. Good luck when you run out of battery on your AirPods, or you loose one, or you forget them etc. It sure is nice to have the flexibility (Not to mention the much higher audio quality with proper iems/headpphones)

b. My X is considerably bigger and specially, heavier than my 6s.


Wasn't the point to have better waterproofing? IIRC the keynote mentioned it being the main spot for water intrusion.


I have a waterproof phone with jack.


The iPhone X is thicker than previous generation models.


Yeah, why should we let users manage the devices they own? That'd be absurd!

/s


Ah, so you prefer your phone just shutting down unexpectedly when you open your picture-taking app, update the public transportation app to buy a ticket because they updated the server, or exit the metro into the freezing cold of winter? Right.

Not an Apple customer (never was, probably never will), I use a Samsung Android, and I wish my phone were doing that performance limitation thing, because I do feel the issues caused by unexpected shutdowns on a daily basis. I constantly carry an extra battery to be able to reboot my phone when that happens.


Anecdotal evidence, but my 6s (which I had the battery replaced a year ago under the iPhone 6s battery replacement program) was shutting down just last week when I would walk outside, even if it was at or above 50%.

I'm really interested as to where this issue came from, because before I had the unexpected shutdowns with my 6s that Apple came out and admitted was the battery's fault, I had never had this problem with a previous iPhone (or even in the first 6-9 months that I owned the 6s).


These kind of things are worse with the temperature is very cold outside. Is that the case for where you are?


I know three Australian iPhone 6 users who had this problem when their phones were exposed to 0 °C on holiday in Europe. I wondered whether batteries sold and used in Australia might have different specs or somehow become accustomed to the higher temperature.


Sounds like very poor design and more dishonesty from Apple.


So the right thing is to have phones crash as the battery age?

This is not a question about battery life in terms of how many hours the phone can run. This is a question about the phones ability to draw high amounts of power for short intervals.


The right thing is that people who replaced their deliberately slowed down iPhones with new iPhones because of their ignorance about what Apple had done, should have an appropriate remedy not contained in this "we're sorry if you didn't understand that we care a lot about you" press release. It doesn't matter anyway, even though millions of similar batteries in Android phones apparently didn't require a similar secret performance degradation, we are still a long way from reaching the depths that Apple can go to before Apple fans will seriously consider an alternative.


> even though millions of similar batteries in Android phones apparently didn't require a similar secret performance degradation

You know for sure how the power-management code works in every Android device ever produced?


> we are still a long way from reaching the depths that Apple can go to before Apple fans will seriously consider an alternative.

You're literally proving the point here. There's much, much more transparency on the Android side of things. Custom ROMs and the stock Google Android images have been combed over for almost the last decade by loads of different individuals and groups around the world. Now, we surely don't control the Samsung-esque bloatware that they slap on top of stock Android, but there's absolutely no way there's throttling code that lives in Android that we don't know about yet.

Anecdotal evidence of my own: I have a Nexus 5 that's nearly 5 years old now that my kids use daily. It's using a stock Lineage ROM. The battery certainly isn't the best anymore, but the phone doesn't feel different than the day I bought it, and it doesn't crash.



Good point, must of helped Google sell another dozen of them. Thats what makes this whole thing creepy, how many iPhones did this scheme sell for Apple - I imagine a non-trivial number.


nitpick: "ignorance" puts the blame on the consumer -- in this case it's not their fault.

> should have an appropriate remedy

I think a lawsuit is appropriate.


As the ultimate cause is a bad design where they have underprovisioned the battery with little margin for degradation, presumably in order to fit it into a thinner phone, it becomes Apple to handle the issue in a transparent way. The right action for Apple then is not to degrade the performance to hide the problem under the rug, but to make it clear to the customer how they can have the phone serviced in order to make it work like before.

Apple is so lucky that this got noticed and they got called on it. The alternative is that millions of customers would continue to get an inexplicably bad user experience, which would chip away on their reputation in a more indirect but not less dangerous way than facing the press.


The battery is not underprovisioned. Every single battery starts to go bad eventually. The question is what to do when it does.


Of course it is, if it can't deliver the current the phone requires after some usage it's not fit for purpose. It's BECAUSE every single battery starts to go bad that they should have put in a battery that will work after a couple of years of degradation.


Lol. You can't just violate battery physics because you want it to be so.


Older phones manage to violate those just fine.


The right thing is to be honest with users about the state of their equipment. Many, many people shelled out to replace their "dying" phone when all they really needed was a new battery. I don't believe that Apple didn't intend that.


Have you never worked at a large organization? Things that appear like a good idea locally within an organization can easily be bad decisions at the scale of the company as a whole. It's not like Tim Cook or higher-ups personally had any idea that this was being done, much less asked for it to happen — this was likely just one of a million mini-features that team within Apple ship every release. One that was even likely well-intentioned, if poorly thought-out.


I don't understand the opposition to giving the customer a choice. If they prefer a crashing but faster phone, what do you or Apple care? The default setting can be to slow down, then if someone cares enough they can change it. This seems not only reasonable, but optimal.

But then again, I'm on Android now precisely because of this attitude of hiding information and configuration abilities (I hate paternalism), so I'm not the target market.


You really want Apple to put a “Crash: on/off” checkbox in Settings?


Lol yes, it should totally say "crash" and then "true/false". In fact the user should have to type the string "true" or "false" in a text box rather than using a switch or check box.

Fallacies involved in your response: strawman and false dichotomy.


For many, choice is a burden, especially technical choice.


I don't think Apple would ever introduce a switch that could allow the phone to randomly power down.


Well, there is a button that turns the phone off. The angry users could use that and experience the same thing.


Correction, it's "retain performance and experience random shutdowns or, reduce performance and avoid random shutdowns". You can't choose performance 100% of the time without compromise on battery power. That goes for literally any device.

After they figured out that it's a current draw issue with old batteries that caused it, they would _never_ give you a checkbox option to allow unexpected shutdowns.


The rigt thing would have been a model recall changing the battery with something that has enough voltage margin to keep the cpu running after the usual degradation for at least the 500 cycles it’s rated for

This is an engineering issue on evaluating margins properly repackaged as “we’re improving battery life” to hide stability issue caused by bad assumptions on cpu stability across voltage ranges.


3.3 years on the iPhone 6 charging it once a day is 1000 cycles, well above 500..


Cycles are floats, not integers. It's only a full cycle if the battery is discharged very deeply.

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_li...


Fascinating. Some tidbits to save others time:

> The worst situation is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures.

> Avoid so-called ultra-fast chargers that claim to fully charge Li-ion in less than one hour.


Because you’re being throttled, duh


Better being throttled than having to endure boot loops, daily crashes and a battery dead at 5 pm honestly..


Better having faulty hardware replaced tbh. Especially expensive hardware.


Exactly, this does nothing to prevent Apple from shoving a dinky battery in future phones and selling $99 annual battery replacements (after 2018). Battery itself costs nothing. $29 may be at-cost for labor. $99 is a large margin.


How long ago did you updated your kit from Amazon? I did days of research and did not come up with any seller with genuine quality batteries. Since two mildly exploded and one bloated to triple the size destroying the phone (mostly the case), I would be careful putting Amazon $25 batteries kit into expensive phone.


It was the "YONTEX" kit. It's worked very well so far, but that's only about a week or so.

Time will tell, I guess.

I'm not completely sure if I understand the problems you've had but if your original batteries are bloating, you have a pretty serious problem and I would NOT look at a third-party battery to solve it. I'd contact Apple and go from there. Also, if it's not a model known to have this kind of problem, wrack your brain to see if you can figure out if there's an environmental issue. (E.g., something like the locker you leave it in when you go to the gym in the morning is actually in direct sunlight at the time you go in the season when you had the problem. Not to let Apple off the hook, just pointing out that if you've had two swollen batteries for a model of phone not known to suffer from that, then the easiest solution could be something more proximate to you.)


I did this with my iPhone 4S about four years ago with no problems. The kit was $10. I destroyed the old battery in the process of getting it out - too much glue - but the new one worked fine.


Isn't this a time-limited offer? I understood it was valid for a year only.


> starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018


Yes, after next year, they still want to make dough from battery replacements that should have been priced into the outrageous premium price of a new phone that is billed as durable and long lasting. Why are you supposed to pay twice for long lasting performance? Either lower the price of the phone, engineer a better battery that lasts at least 5 years, or make its replacement free for 5 years; otherwise shut up about being a long lasting product.


Where have you seen iPhones "billed as … long-lasting"? I'm tuned into the Apple ecosystem and I've seen "powerful", "magical", and water-resistant, but I can't recall ever seeing the devices advertised as either long-lasting, or affordable.


From the article:

> We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

From their website, linked from the product page: https://www.apple.com/batteries/why-lithium-ion/

Your Apple lithium-ion battery uses fast charging to quickly reach 80% of its capacity, then switches to slower trickle charging. [...] This combined process not only lets you get out and about sooner, it also extends the lifespan of your battery. [...] Apple lithium-ion batteries are designed to hold at least 80% of their original capacity for a high number of charge cycles, which varies depending on the product.


For what it's worth, both the charging methodology and the longevity metric they describe are industry standard. The fact that would actually be interesting to know is the precise number of charge cycles they target for 80% capacity, but of course that isn't disclosed. So that website may sound impressive on first glance but they aren't actually claiming better durability (in the sense of battery longevity) than the competition.


As people have pointed out in other places it’s quite possible that at $30 they’re losing money on each repair (labor/parts/etc). It would make sense for the cost to go up after a year.

Hopefully it stays lower than it was. Maybe $50.


>So I take the drop to $29 as a tangible apology, which I appreciate. (Well, personally, I've already replaced my battery using a $25 kit from Amazon, but obviously that's not viable for the great majority of iPhone owners.)

Seems pretty cheap from the worlds richest company considering it's a $5 battery in question that takes minutes to replace. Why could they not offer full RMA service?


For the same reason auto makers don't offer free lifetime oil changes. A battery is expected to degrade over time so if you expect to use a device for 2-3+ years it's your own responsibility to factor that into the cost of ownership.


That's great. But they charged me over $100 to get mine replaced some months ago.


I'd like to see them and everyone else reintroduce removable batteries. If you're "in the field" all day, it's very convenient to have a second battery to swap out and those external battery powered chargers can be just as inconvenient as being tethered to an outlet.


God no. If I wanted a heavier thicker phone, there are plenty of battery cases that do the trick. Apple's is excellent.


In that case, the iPhone designers might find it puzzling that other smartphone makers have managed to deliver user replaceable batteries on their products without making them heavy OR thick. Or for that matter, other Laptop makers too.


On the other hand, I'm glad they don't. I work at a desk, not "in the field." I don't want Apple to do anything to make the phone less attractive. I'll just plug it in.


Considering how much a new iPhone costs and the obscene margins they get from selling these devices, Apple could just do the courtesy of replacing the battery for free a couple of times per device and would still have a decent margin.


That's fine, but realize that all you're doing is complaining about the price of iPhones. You're asking for more for the same price (presumably, it would also be OK to get the same at a cheaper price.)

And that's really a separate question: should Apple (and other phone makers) include the price of a couple of battery replacements in the initial cost of the phone or not?

That's a fair question, but it's not fair to try to change the answer after you've purchased a phone.

Put another way, if you don't think an iPhone is worth what Apple is charging, then don't buy one.


The main non-gimmicky differentiators of the iPhone from Android are longer term support for software updates and more efficient software that achieves a longer battery life.

The reality is that both software and battery show their age and need to be updated in order to keep the device in a good shape, within the specs people paid for when they bought the device.

Apple does a great job with the software part but it could also do something about the battery,without much impact on their bottom line, as someone else said,the battery costs them just about $5.

This practice has to be pioneered by someone and considering their pricing and margins, I think Apple is in the best position to start doing it.


Why not just SEE but choose what level of performance I want, based on the "conserve battery" setting. Just put it in the control center for swiping!


I’ve replaced things on my iPhones before, the only issue after that was dust ingress on camera lens.

How does your kit ensures it?


Except the battery is not the problem, everybody's problem started when we updated to the last iOS version. This is just bullshit and misdirection to make people spend even more money to replace something that already worked.


The real question to me is what else do consumers don't know about the products they are buying from Apple, Amazon and other big companies. Look at the great length we have to go to make sure there was no foul play.


Why can't they just state something like...

if battery total capacity < x % then set max CPU clock speed = x Ghz?

Or whatever KPIs they use like battery wear level.

The current release doesn't say anything more than what was previously known.


The main reason i moved away from iPhone was terrible battery life and phones obviously slowing just as the new models came out. Doubt I'll go back. Haven't missed them at all tbh.


A late apology, but they do save the brand from further damaging and retain my trust a little bit. For one, I accept their bribe as a customer.


>So I take the drop to $29 as a tangible apology

It's more like a middle finger to all the independent smartphone repair shops that have been replacing screens, batteries, speakers, LCDs, and cameras for years.

Apple has the resources to subsidize the cost of shipping and labor for battery replacements thus undercutting the Mom & Pop repair shop by a wide margin.


.... so what should they do? If they subsidize prices and help out the people who would never go to a local repair shop and only know the great white Apple logo in the sky, they're jerks for driving mom/pop shops out of business.

If they don't do it then they're non-responsive.

Them stepping up and going to $29 plus software updates is the way to go. It just took too long, like everything else Apple does post-Jobs.


  So I take the drop to $29 as a tangible apology
I take it as public relations and crisis management wrapped in a minor loss-leader. Plus, it automatically boosts store traffic to capture sales/upgrades that wouldn't have happened yet otherwise.


[flagged]


Oh come on. At least you can express what you think is wrong about my take on it rather than just calling me a shill.

I'm not a shill, BTW. I was affected by this and think Apple stinks for letting it get to this point. I found out my iPhone 6+ was running at 600Mhz most of the time when it would normally would run at 1400Mhz (going by CPU DasherX). Also, the real world user-experience seemed to be even worse than those numbers, so my guess is there are things affected even more by this than CPU clock.

But I just don't generally expect tech companies to always get it right, especially not the first time. I think this is just being realistic. So for me, the question is, how do they respond when they screw up. I think this response is excellent of Apple, except that it took too long. Knocking some points off for that, it still comes out to "good", IMO.


>just don't generally expect tech companies to always get it right, especially not the first time.

I think you're being far too generous to Apple. I won't repeat my previous comment on this thread, but the gist is they knew what they were doing, they knew rumors were swirling for years about slowing down older devices, and they certainly knew that slowed devices encouraged increased participation in their incremental update-oriented product roadmap.

There is no reason they couldn't have been transparent about this much earlier and, AFAIK, no technical reason this battery management software couldn't have been released earlier.

Given this context, to say they're just figuring it all out and suggest we should ignore their "mistake" and give them credit because they are now doing the right thing does seem a bit naive.


In this example, and like High Sierra root bug, these are primarily software-based issues that have no transparency to the public to evaluate their true origins or resolve on their own; instead it is masked behind a mostly closed-source multi-national corporation caught evading taxes, abusing workers, and now slowing old phones that further exploits their socio-economic divide:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/04/04/apple...

Let's see what Google says and does instead for their source code:

https://source.android.com

"We also wanted to make sure there was no central point of failure, where one industry player could restrict or control the innovations of any other. The result is a full, production-quality operating system for consumer products with source code open for customization and porting."

Let's see in terms of Android hardware, what you can get on Amazon that will outperform a $500 iPhone 6s and has better specs.

http://a.co/b16AAfJ http://a.co/d4XxSlO

Those are just two options, both better specs and over $300 cheaper. What is Apple really selling you aside from a status symbol and the feeling that you belong to some unique elitist club?


You're conflating and combing a lot of things here into a big Apple-is-bad bundle.

I don't think I can respond to all of it.

I don't even necessarily disagree with your conclusion -- at the moment, I don't know enough to decide if Apple, all things weighed, is predominantly "good" or "bad", relative to what you might be able to expect from a large corporation. I probably never will.

But if I think it's a fairly extraordinary claim if you think Google is relatively "good". As I see it, for Apple, the iPhone is the product and I'm the customer. For Google, I'm the product and advertisers are the customer. That doesn't mean Apple never jerks me around. Sure they do. But Apple jerks me around when they screw up, and Google jerks me around when they are doing their job right.

> What is Apple really selling you aside from a status symbol and the feeling that you belong to some unique elitist club?

Hm. I've heard this kind of thing before but I just can't see how the iPhone can be conceived of as a status symbol or a sign of an elitist unique club. Hundreds of millions of people are walking around with these phones (and everyone knows this). I realize it can be different in different parts of the world, but in the U.S., where I live, there's no sense of exclusivity or luxury from owning an iPhone, at least not in the middle class circles I run in. In fact, it seems the iPhone does the best in richer economies -- places where it is NOT a sign of luxury or exclusivity. Think about it. I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding the appeal of these devices.


I think I am fundamentally misunderstanding the appeal of these devices, which is why I don't own one. I don't want to use iCloud, iTunes, or anything else to lock me into an ecosystem that is expensive and restrictive. I don't want to buy exclusive hardware to use an operating system. I run Linux and use rclone with Google Drive and it is still supported. Why? Because Google actually has an API. What about Apple?

https://github.com/ncw/rclone/issues/1778

I don't even want to get into AirPods that are excessively marked up pretty much like every Apple accessory and product:

http://a.co/h3yPiSv

If it isn't about status, then I don't really get why people would choose this path. It doesn't make sense to me. I work in the tech industry and watch people spend $3k all the time for Apple computers and equipment that I can get the same or better specs for half the price by choosing a different company. Maybe I've just never felt it was very ethical to support a business that overcharges for devices that can help educate and provide tools and training to people. I always felt it was the responsibility of companies like this to make their equipment and software as equally accessible as possible, not actively exploit people through social engineering. Not everyone will agree with this, but that is my perception.


If you think this is important you should definitely buy an Android device instead. No need to belittle and mock people who have different priorities than you. That's a nasty way to be.


I wouldn't take it personal because I don't like Apple. Maybe it came across that way, but it really is more about the company and culture as a whole.


Android is so pure, they'd never do this type of throttling. Oh wait:

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


Except people post solutions/tools to diagnose & fix the problem in that link, because it is a significantly more open platform.


Nothing truly unexpected.

Just one more shinny, almost perfect PR reaction... after the fact actually facts which "just incidentally?" helped the sales of newer/replacement products?

That does neither give money back to ppl. who actually replaced their phones for big bucks "because it was slow" nor undoes the unnecessary waste, tactics like this produce, in which waste I guess the Management-Team of the company would not like their children to play in.

We know, we know totally unintended... "the corporation" says after being caught. U It's simple: gauge your internal enterprise tendencies towards the right-thing-to-do-by-default (in some countries by-the-law btw) or pay up big time.

It's new kind of mass-market tech news too; vw and other car makers, now apple, many more to come:

very nasty tricks we benefit(ed) from and got caught doing.


> but Apple is stepping up and doing the right thing.

Nope. I don't want "visibility into battery health". I want a damn toggle to undo this stupidity. This is just a cash grab plain and simple.


> So I take the drop to $29 as a tangible apology, which I appreciate.

The physical battery costs Apple about $5 to make (https://technology.ihs.com/api/binary/595761), and probably no more than $5-$10 to ship and install. They're profiting off of their own screw-up and spinning it as a kindness.


> They're profiting off of their own screw-up and spinning it as a kindness.

Lets say this gives them an extra $15 profit per battery replacement. I don't think that will balance out the people who now will hold off an extra year to upgrade.

As soon as this kicks in, I will be in line at a Genius bar to get my wife's 7 Plus battery replaced. This should hold her over for at least one more release cycle, possibly two. She was otherwise going to get a new phone in 2018.


>but Apple is stepping up and doing the right thing...

People are letting them off the hook too easily. I don't believe having even a perceived legitimate reason to slow down the phones explains why they didn't own up to it earlier. In fact, seems all the more reason they should have explained it, especially given the rumors that have swirled for so long.

In short, they certainly benefitted from the upgrades encouraged by the slowed phones, and it conspicuously complements their philosophy of releasing incremental upgrades to customers, which means they were certainly motivated to provide that extra nudge. I have trouble believing that's all coincidence.

They've had it their way on the front-end and profited handsomely. Now, on the backend, they are dictating the terms of their own penance. Pretty sweet deal for Apple.


What is their end game though?

* Do nothing and people's phones degrade over time with an ever shortening battery life.

* Slow down phones so that people still get a full day charge with less battery.

Option B seems like it enables people to keep their phones longer when performance is annoying but battery is a showstopper. A notification might have been appropriate when it happens but then people would still complain that Apple is pushing users to replace their batteries.

Better is worse?


>Better is worse?

I'd say "transparency is better". They should've done years ago what they're now doing, especially given the rumors that have swirled about phone slow-downs for so long. By not addressing them when they knew them to be true, they were tacitly denying them or--and this is a very generous read--at least denying even their concerned customers the right to know.

>people would still complain that Apple is pushing users to replace their batteries

You seem to be suggesting that purposely deceiving customers is better than being honest with them and having them think they are being deceived. I don't see a moral universe where that's the right choice. At the end of the day, that argument essentially says that a company is right no matter what it does, as long as it can get away with it.

From a technical perspective, their scheme was certainly explicable, as evidenced by the fact that so many people are willing to accept it now. So, they could've just as well been forthright years ago and taken precisely the same approach they are taking now, without having to be "caught" first.

But, in the meantime, they enjoyed years of upgrades, many of which can reasonably be assumed to have been at least partially incentivized by performance issues.

I don't think you have to be a conspiracy theorist to find this a little too coincidental.


WTF do you care what their end game should be for their best benefit? Maybe it'd be better for then to simply steal customer's money if they could get away with it. But that would be straight up illegal. And so is forcing users to upgrade by intentionally introducing performance degradation and telling users nothing about it whatsoever.


There is an action: Apple developers programmed phones to slow down at peak when battery capacity is less than some threshold. Then there is their motivation or 'end game' for doing so: the claim being thrown around being that it's to push users to buy more phones. But it seems like doing nothing and just letting the batteries degrade would sell more phones becuase not holding a full day's charge and shutting off abruptly are much more noticeable signs of a phone's age and not many people will replace their batteries.

So if Apple is doing this to sell more phones they're not doing it as well as they could and it's more effort to do this than to just do nothing. Hence I am suspicious that this is their true motivation.


>doing nothing and just letting the batteries degrade would sell more phones

Or have people decide that they don't want to buy another expensive Apple phone that "expires" so quickly.

We can theorize about elements of their execution, but the question remains open as to why they opted not to simply tell customers that they were doing this wonderfully benevolent thing for them to extend the life of their phones? And, the idea that they were concerned customers wouldn't believe them doesn't wash. It's just not a sound-basis for a corporate decision like this. And, if that were the case, then why would they expect customers to believe them now?

They created the "problem" in the first place, and chose to clandestinely solve it in a way that happens to benefit them.

I'm going with Occam on this one.


> A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

I think the people in the Silicon Valley need to take a step back and understand that people in the rest of the world don't change phone every year. If a phone become unusable because of its battery (according to them) during the expected lifetime of the device then batteries need to be easily replacable.


Easy replacement of batteries is a problem only if you don't have an Apple store or Apple authorized service center nearby (which could be the case for many people across many countries). The batteries have been replaceable for a fee by Apple or an Apple authorized service provider.


We have very different ideas of "easy". My phone died last night after a day of heavy use, so I pulled the battery out and swapped it with the spare one in its wall charger ($14 for both, shipped) and I was back at 100%.


That’s not actually true. That’s androids Demo, not apples.


There are tons of people who buy used Apple hardware because they can't afford to buy it new. If anything, Apple hardware is probably used for longer than Android phones. People who want a cheap Android phone will just buy a new low-end phone instead of a used flagship phone. People who want a cheap iPhone have to buy a used phone because there are no low-end Apple phones.


> If anything, Apple hardware is probably used for longer than Android phones.

Do you have any data to back this up? Looking at version market share, I'd say that there are way more people using older Android phones (1)(2). The second most used OS (10.X at 18.1%) goes as far back as iPhone 5 and the most used (11.X) goes as far back as 5S.

(1) https://www.statista.com/statistics/271774/share-of-android-... (2) https://david-smith.org/iosversionstats/


That doesn't really disprove my statement. That shows almost 20% of iPhones being iPhone 5 or older, roughly on par with the amount of Android phones running KitKat or older.

The successors to the iPhone 5 and KitKat were released around the same time (late 2014) but new Android devices, especially low end devices, continued to ship with KitKat long after that. KitKat was still supported by Google until 2017.


I'm really infuriated about this. Since mid-2016, my iPhone 6 Plus started to act "weird". It'd shut down sporadically, would reach 40% and then suddenly deplete, and started to get slow. But the problems were not consistent. I went to the Apple Store, and the phone passed all their diagnosis checks, even the battery.

A few months later, after my AppleCare+ expired, the problems intensified. And I spent most of 2017 with a very slow and unreliable phone. I honestly thought it was iOS 10. Had I known it was the battery, I'd have paid to replace it. Or I'd have forced them to upgrade it for me for free when I had AppleCare+.

I upgraded to an iPhone X, thinking the 6 Plus had reached its EOL, but now I think I've been lied to!


Your issue isn't this "scandal" though. This is about preventing sporadic shutdowns by throttling, so if your phone was shutting down it was an undiagnosed bad battery, which is a legit complaint.


Yes it is. The “fix” was introduced to avoid these crashes by throttling instead of browning out. It’s in the article.


The fix, the throttling, is the controversial part, NOT the sporadic shutdowns. It's absurd, because throttling is much better than brownouts, but that's what the lawsuits are about.


I don’t get it. You are acting as if the brownouts are typical behavior of a year-old battery in a phone?

The real scandal is the shoddy design and engineering that led to brownouts that necessitated either a massive recall or this throttling.


That might be the "real scandal" but it isn't "this scandal". It doesn't matter what I think about brownouts because that isn't the topic.


Same here i had a iPhone 6s and i had exactly the same problems you described.

1) Drop from 30% to 5% in some minutes. iOS 10.x fixed this issue.

2) Now with iOS 11 the battery does even last a day and the phone was extremely slow.

Sure i had issues in the past after 2 years with my Nexus 5 and Galaxy Nexus but both were kind of mid range price ~400 Euros.

But with a high end phone that cost 800 Euros I would expect better quality and also better costumer support.

This xmas i just got myself a ~350 Euros Android and i'm much more happy. After 2 years if the phone has battery issues or whatever i will not be so furious has i am now.

I've been recently moving away from Apple mainly due to Quality / Price ratio. I have a 2012 iMac which is basically useless except from Browsing on the Web. Other companies like Google, Amazon etc... ship good quality devices for much cheaper price. So for me i'm not thinking in buying anything else from Apple.


For 6s, the shutdown probably has to do with the faulty battery. But maybe there was a batch bad for 6+ as well.

https://www.apple.com/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/

Not sure if they checked when the battery was manufactured. But now given $29 I guess no longer relevant...


Were you on a version of iOS 10 before 10.2.1?


Just going to throw this one out there.

I swapped from an Nexus 5 to an iPhone 6+. I bought the iPhone 1.5yrs second hand to get a significant amount off its price. It is dented significantly on the back, but still serves me like a new phone apart from a noticed slow-down.

On the other hand, the Nexus randomly started shutting off and the battery only lasted half a day after charging every day for the following 2 years.

The phones are now effectively the same age and Apples fix has prolonged the apparent age of my phone, I guess (thanks).

But I think people are being harsher because Apple products have longer expected life but use the same battery technology. This isn’t really fair, is it?

Ftn. I have designed and manufactured 3 battery assemblies for electric vehicles in a racing context.


Same here. I bought Nexus 4 back in the day (February 2013). Couple of months later, I've got iPhone 5 from my company. Google's support for Nexus didn't lasted a year, if I remember correctly. I switched it on Cyanogen and gave it to my daughter, and the phone had constant issues with overheating (she was much more gamer than I) and finally the screen stopped recognizing touches at the top, so the drawer was impossible to open.

In the meantime, iPhone 5 went first to my wife, then to my daughter and finally to my younger daughter. It was supported until the last release of the OS, it's still in use, just got batter replacement a year ago. I'm not happy with Apple behavior lately, but they need to screw up something much, much bigger to make me think to switch to something made by Samsung or Google.


Your sample size is too small. You may have gotten a lemon phone. I don't know what point you are trying to make based on your personal experience with 1 nexus phone. I have personally never experienced what you are talking about.


My point was both phones experience similar degradation after similar periods of time, but the iPhone 6 is more usable as a result of the performance scaling, so (IMO) I don’t think their original motif was malicious [ftn 1]. I’m actually very happy they’re bothering to do it even though they surely realised the potential to become a PR nightmare.

[1] I could probably at this point even sell my phone again for like 200 bucks and someone would buy it, which could even be hurting them.


You say you haven't experienced the issue the parent comment is discussing, but at the same time, your sample size probably isn't any bigger.


And yeah my iPhone 6 lasts a day still, c'mon everything doesn't happen for everyone it depends on how you use, charge, and many more factors


Reducing the battery replacement by $50 is a great move. While I think this is a completely manufactured scandal, this will definitely take away the last argument people have against them.

I'm sure some people will still hate them for something, though.


How is this a "completely manufactured scandal"?

Tens of millions of old iPhone users were left in the dark why all of a sudden the phone was slowing down to the point where it was becoming unusable. Millions of people probably spent hundreds of dollars otherwise they wouldn't need to spend if they know this was something they can fix with a new battery.

I personally have been using iPhone 6 for 3 years until this CPU-Battery disaster struck. So I ended up buying an Android phone. I love my Android phone now, but it's still money I wouldn't have had to spend.

This is a huge scandal. I like the response by Apple, but it's too late and millions of people already spent money they could've avoided spending. Good bye iPhone. I won't be coming back.


If Apple hadn’t made this change those phones would have randomly turned off instead. Those people probably would’ve gone and bought either a new were iPhone or switch to android like you did.

On the whole I don’t think this would have caused anyone to spend money they wouldn’t have otherwise. Perhaps they would have stayed with their phone longer.

It’s hard to tell, and this is certainly worse than if they had just told people about the battery in the first place (although I imagine THAT would’ve become a scandal two).


You completely missed his point. If Apple had made the issue clear, he could have just paid for a battery replacement instead of a completely new phone. And they clearly knew the battery was the problem.


Apple certainly should have communicated the real issue, I have no problem with that idea.

The idea I’m arguing against is that Apple either did nothing or purposefully made it worse. They tried to fix one bad problem (random shutdowns) and it caused a different, although less severe, problem.

Apples move to retard performance to keep the phone from suddenly dying was a GOOD move. It wasn’t a scam as some others have claimed.

But obviously they should have communicated to the user that they knew there was a battery issue.


> It wasn’t a scam as some others have claimed.

It is a scam if they're not making it clear to the users why their phone is suddenly being slowed down. The fact is, even if battery issues are a perfectly fine reason to be doing this, by not making that clear to users and instead leaving them in the dark with a now extremely slow phone (Just in time for their new releases!) they are scamming their users.

If you took your car into a dealership, and instead of telling you that you had a bad battery (That they've known was already going bad in similar cars) they told you that they don't know what's wrong with it, but that they have lots of other cars you can buy, would you consider that a scam? I certainly would.


Obviously.


>If Apple hadn’t made this change those phones would have randomly turned off instead.

Why is apple the only company with this problem?


> Why is apple the only company with this problem?

It’s the only one people care about enough. Apple gets a major "scandal" almost each year about something that affects every single smartphone company on the planet. Think of the antenna-gate or the bending issues. Lots of non-Apple phones have shown these issues, and the random shutdowns are no exception [1].

[1]: http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/12/20/some-nexus-6ps-have-...

(updated to add a link)


That's natural since iPhones are being touted as the premium option while putting down Androids as "cheap" phones.

It's all about expectations.


Others may tout Android phones as “cheap”, but does Apple? I don’t actually recall Apple doing any negative marketing against Android.


Are you kidding me? How many WWDC and product introductions have you attended?


I’ve never been to WWDC. I watched the most recent iPhone announcement and I don’t specifically remember any negative commentary against Android. Hence my comment and my question.


Plenty of non-Apple phones suffer from random shutdowns and restarts due to faulty batteries.


They aren’t. Lots of devices utilizing lithium ion batteries experience similar issues once they get some age.


The Nexus has the same throttling:

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


You have sure done a lot of these posts...

https://hn.algolia.com/?query=cz2ghoxghk3&sort=byPopularity&...


Can you stop spamming this? This isn't reddit.


"If Apple hadn’t made this change those phones would have randomly turned off instead"

If Apple hadn't redlined the CPU to hit benchmarks the battery wouldn't have been in such a poor state to need to be shut down/throttled so early in its lifecycle.

They are 100% to blame this situation and have taken the least consumer focused choice up until this point.


What percentage of maximum CPU should all phones be restricted to to prevent causing these kind of issues?

That doesn’t seem like a reasonable solution.


It's more than reasonable to expect a manufacturer to not stress their (recently released) hardware to the point of it being damaged without significant throttling or flat out shutting it down.

But if it is that reasonable than surely there is a long list of electronic devices that do such a thing...


I agree, I simply don’t believe that the iPhone is not designed to be able to run at full speed a reasonable fraction of the time.

The implication that I keep getting from people seems to be that Apple is running their phones at 140% and when the battery can’t keep up they then slow it down to make up for the CPU being underprovisioned on battery.

I think it’s far more likely that Apple is running the phone at 100% of what it was designed for. When the battery ages they were running into problems with the phones having to shut themselves down (perhaps the newer chips were more sensitive to power fluctuations?) so they’ve started throttling to under 100%.

In a desktop analogy: I don’t think this is the equivalent of some company selling overclocked CPUs and lying about how fast they were. I think this is closer to a case of the computers just ended a clogged with lots of dust and had to throttle to prevent serious damage after a few years.

Obviously they should’ve told the user but I don’t think they set out from a malicious standpoint.


In that case, why don't Android devices face sudden shutdowns as frequent as iOS devices (yes, you can point to isolated cases, but it is nowhere as prevalent as Apple devices pre-throttling)?

Note that this problem only occurred on devices where Apple fully designed the chips (iPhone 6 and later). "Off the shelf" chips, and those used for Android, simply have a lot more of a voltage window.


Because no one cares or names it a "-gate" when one Android phone, consisting of <10% of the whole Android phone market has the same issues.


Sounds like a 2017 exclusive problem.


>the phone was slowing down to the point where it was becoming unusable.

Were the phones really slowed down by that much?


Yes, from typing to opening apps, I would say anywhere from 500ms to 5s latencies were added to regular things I do. Opening games and such, forget it, I gave up playing games on it.


I have a 6S and the difference is night and day. Random hangs everywhere, even just typing. My original iPod Touch with iOS 3 runs smoother than this (and has its original battery in it).


Typing a letter, seeing the keyboard respond to show that letter was recognized... Then putting the phone down, making a sandwich, coming back, and finally seeing it actually make the key click noise and enter the letter in the input field.(That is not an exaggeration. That happened.) A day after that it turned into a brick and I had to give it that DFU middle finger to get my iPhone 6 back into a workable state. That was all because of the iOS 11 upgrade.(I skipped past 10.2.) While the full reformat of the phone has more of less resolved the issues it still experiences slow downs while rapidly draining the battery due to iOS 11 idiocy.

My phone's remaining battery life is above 80%.


Same experience on an iPhone 7. I wish I’d never upgraded to iOS 11 :(


I’ve seen a six that you can noticeably type faster on and can take a few seconds to launch simple apps.

In some cases, yeah. It’s bad.


Sadly you should wait at least 6 months before declaring unconditional love to an android phone as I learnt by myself..


That's the second time I've seen that timeframe mentioned in this thread. What was your experience? I don't like upgrading so I tend to keep my Android phones for years and just keep the OS updated. I was getting a good day from my S4 after years of ownership.


I bought a new Nexus 5 about ~6 months after reveal to supersede my aging iphone 4 that was 4 years old at that point. At the beginning I was super excited about the very good performance, just after less than 6 months the performance started to become sluggish, battery life was noticeably worse and while with my iphone 4 I had probably 4 reboots or freezes in 4 years, in 6 months with the nexus 5 I had many more such problems. The worst was a loop boot after 1 year and something that killed my battery from 80% to 0 very quickly and, very luckily, after it was dead it didn't continue loop booting. It happened to me another one or two times if I recall correctly. The phone was 100% stock, I never flashed anything at all, I just performed the android updates. Arrived at the point of having a quite strong desire to throw it against the wall pretty much every day, I sold it to my friend's father when it was 1 year and 8 months old. I begged my friend to thoroughly test it before getting it and I gave him a really good price and he was very happy with the performance (I still can't fathom how in the world it is possible...). After 8 - 10 months his father could not use it anymore because it won't charge.

After that awful experience I would rather get a kick in my genitalia than an android phone.


So you had a bad device. I am using a one plus device for last 2 years with none of your issues. I have friends relatives using even older devices. Not all devices are same.


My friend Nexus 5 had the same shitty performance in the same timeframe and then I realised that he never used an iphone and for him that sluggish performance was normal and he never noticed that he had a problem. Pretty much every other Nexus 5 that I have seen was the same and my friend Nexus 6n or whatever is called was even slower when it was newer.


Yeah i typed that on an iPad. I know sluggish performance. Even iPad can get sluggish on few occasions.


>>Tens of millions of old iPhone users were left in the dark why all of a sudden the phone was slowing down to the point where it was becoming unusable.

Enough with the hyperbole already. Yes, a few (rather outspoken) users had this issue. For everyone else, slowdowns were noticeable, but they barely made the phones "unusable".

That's why this is a manufactured scandal. Yes, Apple could have (and should have) been more transparent. But their decision to throttle the CPU was based on sound engineering principles, rather than a nefarious attempt to get people to upgrade.


I uploaded you because I think the down votes are over done, but how much your phone slow down does seem to depend on how the phone was used. Some I’m guessing it was barely noticeable but some it was a real problem for. I’ve seen them.


I don't think it's a completely manufactured scandal, although most of the reporting was deceptive (as is, I'm starting to suspect, most reporting, full stop).

I think the non-manufactured part of the scandal is having your phone throttle itself w/o telling you it's doing that is pretty annoying.

You're left wondering, is my phone running slower or is my mind playing tricks on me?

I think Apple's response here is great.


> I think Apple's response here is great.

I have bought a device of a certain performance, fully expecting that the battery will degrade and hold a smaller and smaller charge, but NOT expecting the performance of the device to suffer. I was given absolutely no warning that, come a certain age or use-pattern, the performance of the device will degrade. Apple went behind my back and installed software that prevented device lockup, and gave me no info about it.

What if I was entitled to a warranty replacement of the battery, but the software hid that from me by devaluing my purchase? This is not 'great', it's sleazy. Apple is essentially getting away with installing lower performance batteries and/or reducing it's warranty costs compared to competitors. The behavior itself is good from an engineering point of view, the communication was deceptive and fraudulent; the feature should be made optional, enabled at the user's discretion to extend the life of terminals that are outside of warranty and start to lock up, or the customer should be thoroughly informed at the time of purchase that the performance of the terminal will significantly degrade.


right, i agree! original behavior was shitty, but their response is good.

their response is

- an apology

- a promise to update the software so you know when you're getting throttled

- cheap battery replacements

i think that's pretty solid.


I don't think the response is good enough.

- They make no promise of the target lifespan of their devices. It appears that their internal culture believes that devices that last only 1 year is acceptable. They do not say if they want to deviate from this.

- No transparency on the expected battery degradation and performance impact over time.


batteries seem to be tricky for everyone (remember the exploding samsung notes?). visibility into the battery status and official replacements after 1 year for $30 seems pretty darn good to me.

more generally the useful lifespan of iphones is definitely more than a year. i was recentlu able to sell still-perfectly-functioning iphonr 7 for almost half it's cost new. my 3-year-old ipad mini only started feeling slow a couple months ago. this seems better than what my friends with android experience, anecodotally.


> I think the non-manufactured part of the scandal is having your phone throttle itself w/o telling you it's doing that is pretty annoying.

If you have a laptop then I have bad news; your CPU throttles itself. Especially if you play games.

It gets too hot and slows itself down to prevent damage. There’s not even a direct way to detect this. Which I do admit is annoying.

Apple deserves this PR egg on their face. But they aren’t doing anything super wrong. Additional battery life info will go a long ways towards doing things right.


fair point, tho there are a few salient differences:

the laptop always does this; it's not something where it magically (and mysteriously) gets slower as it ages. it's also obvious when this is happening, even if not directly indicated: the fan will be cranking and the laptop will be really hot to the touch.

and, there's also somehow more of a feeling that a phone is a controlled system that will "just work," whereas computers/laptops are always screwing up in one way or another...


> it's not something where it magically (and mysteriously) gets slower as it ages

In some ways that does happen. As computers get more lint in them that often start heading thermal barrier’s and automatically throttling themselves without telling the user.

As for whether the fan makes it obvious I guess that depends on how loud the fan is. Or this could happen to a desktop that you just have placed out of the way enough that you can’t hear it well.


> There’s not even a direct way to detect this.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, but you can run software that will give you these details and much, much more about the state of the CPU.


It can be detected analytically, but you can’t directly query the CPU for throttle state.

https://randomascii.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/defective-heat-...


No, my mind is not playing tricks on me. My 6 slowed down to a barely usable pace after an iOS upgrade. This happened suddently, and not gradually, right at the time Apple was releasing new devices.

It is normal to be suspicious. My battery did not wear out overnight.


the theory is that your battery was already worn out, putting your device at at greater risk for sudden shutdowns.

when you updated your software, it started throttling.

per that theory, a new battery should put you right again. (or wait for a future software update, which will tell you for sure if it was throttling.)

i think there is a little more going on, though, because my old ipad mini is slow a.f. w/ the new software update, and it shouldn't be affected by this throttling. my guess is it's simply lazy software engineering: apple doesn't seem to try to target good performance on old devices.


It is knowing that sometimes reinstalling the OS from scratch can make a big difference on iOS devices. Even John Gruber posted about it today.

I’m not sure what it is but there can be some sort of “gremlin“ on a few old installs. It’s possible that’s your issue if the problem is especially severe.


I will likely take advantage of Apple's battery replacement policy and give my old unlocked phone a few more years. It's perfect for travel.


I’m curious whether anyone who was organically affected by this power management feature actually could notice the peak CPU throttling, and especially if the throttling would be anywhere near as noticeable as the gradual increase in random shutdowns. Of course it will show up in synthetic benchmarks, but I haven’t heard any analysis of whether people’s perception that their old phones are getting slow had anything to do with this power management code.


Yes.

It may depend on various factors, but I know someone with an iPhone 6+ that is ridiculously slow. At times it can’t keep up with typing terribly well. Or you’ll go to open a simple app and it will take a couple of seconds.

And iPhone 6 that one of their relatives purchased on the same exact day does not exhibit this behavior. At least not to a noticeable degree.

The phone is three years old and has had a hard life. It gets discharged down to 10% pretty often.

As soon as the articles about this started to come out it fit perfectly. We’ll find out when they try and replace the battery, but I suspect this is the issue.

However this is also probably one of the worst cases. I mean if my phone was throttled 10 or 15% I’m not sure I would really notice. If things get bad and it starts being 40%+ I can see how it would be noticeable.


I’m assuming this slowness started immediately when upgrading to the iOS version that introduced the throttling?


That version came out almost a year ago, but I’ve only heard the complaint about performance recently.

However the battery would’ve been deteriorating that time, and it’s starting to get quite cold here which would only make things worse. I think I remember hearing that it would randomly shut off before that so I’m totally willing to believe the battery already had small problems.


Yes I was noticing it. I was really noticeable compared to my wife’s iPhone that’s newer but of the same model. The time it takes for search to return was the biggest thing that was bugging me.

A $50 battery replacement for 2.5 years of service is totally reasonable.


Small note, it’s not $50. That’s the price REDUCTION. So now it’s only $30.

I made the same mistake, which someone else pointed out to me.

There are a lot of companies that make their money fixing iPhone batteries for $30. If this isn’t a limited time offer they’re in deep trouble.


> If this isn’t a limited time offer

It is.

> starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018.


> (as is, I'm starting to suspect, most reporting, full stop).

Don't hate on all journalism (or anything, really) just because of some bad apples. Even if it were true (which it isn't), it takes away all motivation for people in that industry to do the right thing. Why bother spending time on well-researched reporting, if all you get back is "fake news" or "all journalists are corrupt and produce clickbait"-hate on Twitter?

More specifically, here's a Q&A, and a previous article, discounting Apple conspiracy theories by The New York Times:

"Is Apple Slowing Down Old iPhones? Questions and Answers": https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/technology/iphone-battery...

"A New Phone Comes Out. Yours Slows Down. A Conspiracy? No.": https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/technology/personaltech/n...


> Don't hate on all journalism (or anything, really) just because of some bad apples

Unfortunately, since these days anyone with a smartphone can call themselves a "journalist," it's become like the lawyer situation — the 90% bad ones give the 10% good ones a bad name.


I've also seen news reporting be frustratingly inaccurate on plenty of occasions, but I guess the right approach is to apply some amount of skepticism and think about the limitations of news reporting and the signs that the reporting is biased or editorialized.

In this case, I saw lots of headlines like "Apple admits it deliberately slowed down old phones". To me, the word "admits" is a big red flag. It's a loaded term that you can apply to pretty much any public statement, and it suggests (but doesn't directly imply) that Apple is admitting to wrongdoing. Phrasing like that signals to me that the reporting is untrustworthy.


that's the thing, incentives are all wrong in general for media to be accurate.


“Bad apples.” hehe


I could not care less about which company did this, it could have just as easily been Samsung, LG, <put your favorite brand here>

BUT, what I do very much care about is that the company who did this does not get away with it without losing some feathers, because they did intentionally hide something from the user that did affect them quite noticeably and if they would not have been called out could have had even more serious effects in the long run.

Imagine the following scenario. The battery of your phone is happily degrading and the manufacturer of your phone puts in some serious effort to develop a strategy so you as the user don't notice it. You keep using your phone thinking everything is fine, all the while your battery keeps degrading faster and faster. Then some day you actually need the power (in terms of processing power and in terms of stored energy) because, let's say you are taking a longer high quality video of a wedding. But since your phone is now running on full throttle your battery keeps discharging uncharacteristically fast because it is already in a bad state, or the software can't keep up with the data compression and has to start dropping frames and the video of the event you wanted to keep in good memory now looks awful.

Sure, this is only a very benign scenario but it still illustrates that the manufacturer should not try to hide such important information from the user. And as I have mentioned in another thread, no one can tell me that not a single Apple engineer during this whole process has stepped up and said "Hey maybe it's also a good idea to tell the user that we are throttling the whole system so it may live a few months longer"


Personally I think this is great news. I like my 6s. I like my headphone port. I don't do anything CPU intensive on the phone. As long as security updates continue to be issued, I don't see a need to upgrade.

I got lucky and wasn't affected by the battery shutdown issue even though my serial # was eligible for a free battery replacement, so I was able to put off the free battery replacement for a couple years and get a new one free. In another 2 years I'll probably swap it again for 25 bucks :D


Same here. I already had my battery replaced under that replacement plan, and for $25 why not get it replaced at some point this coming year and hopefully get another year out it.


> for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced

I'm guessing they'll have some criteria on that


Apple has criteria for whether or not they'll replace your phone's battery at all. I assume that eligibility for the lower battery replacement price will be identical to the eligibility test they're already doing for the battery replacement service.

When you take your phone in, they'll do a test on the battery's current capacity and status, using a custom app. If the battery has reported errors, or if the reported capacity is low enough (below 80% capacity remaining, as I recall), then they'll agree to replace the battery. Takes a couple minutes to run the test, and then about an hour to swap the battery.

(Caveat: I was last through this process on my old iPhone 5, about six months ago. I assume that the procedure and policies are basically the same for newer iPhones, and haven't changed substantively since then. My battery's remaining capacity was below 40%, and was reporting errors, when I had it replaced.)


Health needs to be under 80%. Sadly my iPhone 7 device is at 87% and nevertheless suffering from frequent 5-10s UI freezes when doing anything as complicated as opening an app, responding to a notification, or switching IMEs.

As reported by so many others, this happened immediately after the iOS 11 update. And by immediately I mean within seconds of booting right after installing the update. I stupidly waited for 11.1 hoping it would address the issue rather than revert while it was still possible.

Apple will not replace my battery even under this new program, as it’s still considered healthy by their standard. However an iPhone 7 with 87% battery health is unable to run iOS 11 without frequent UI freezes or sudden power loss, as I’ve found out, due most likely to the fact that I’m running iOS 11 on hardware designed for iOS 10. I’d be okay with that if there was some way to revert, but there is not.


I understand the promotional cost of swapping it is valid until December 2018 as per the article (though I am not a native speaker of english so perhaps I got it wrong).


You are correct in how you understood the article. But I get the impression from the parent poster that he will use a "DIY" solution which costs $25 to get the same result.


I like this comment referring to someone else's (Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips) opinion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16013565

How is it "completely manufactured"? Apple programmed (and hid) the slowdown because it knows the batteries it is shipping with its phones won't last more than a year. Linus compared it to a car performing worse after 1 year of usage..


> Linus compared it to a car performing worse after 1 year of usage

I hate to break it to him, but a one-year-old car will perform worse than a brand new car. A car is a hugely more robust piece of machinery than a telephone, so the degradation is less noticeable, but it's there. Why do you think the car depreciates the second you drive it off the lot?


Good point until:

> Why do you think the car depreciates the second you drive it off the lot?

Because of the dealership and "new car" markup. There's next to no difference between the car that left the parking lot and a "new" one. If you don't care about this silly game, you can save a lot by buying an ex-display model with a few hundred/thousand km done.


Tip of the year!

I bought a "used" one-year-old Cadillac ATS with 6,000 miles on it. It had AWD, the V6 engine, and every option available except the rear-seat BluRay entertainment system. It was priced at 60% of new.

It was a great deal and I challenge anyone to tell the car wasn't brand new without checking the odometer.


It's not less noticeable. It's unnoticeable to anyone who isn't a professional mechanic.

How many people complain that their new car is slowing down significantly after less than a year, or becomes inexplicably unusable around the time the year+1 model appears?

This is very much not the case with the iPhone slowdown, where a lot of people were noticing issues, on a product which already has a pitiful and barely practical battery life.


It's actually not unusual for a car to perform better after a year. Check out some of the C&D long term tests (e.g. https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-honda-civic-sedan-... -- both acceleration and braking improved at 40k miles).


Huh? By that logic, the car performs 40% worse _seconds_ after it leaves the lot.


> because it knows the batteries it is shipping with its phones won't last more than a year.

There is no evidence for this. Plenty of people use iPhones for two or three years and don’t have an issue, and didn’t before any of the iOS changes that “hid” them.

Some people are just really hard on phone batteries. I have a few relatives that way. I’m not sure I’ve ever had an issue using the phone for 2+ years but I don’t tend to drain it down near the bottom much.


I am no Apple fan, but part of what they sell you is an experience where details like that are hidden from you. Before everybody got a Mac, didn't techies complain about Apple dumbing down computers?


Do you have any evidence that this much battery degradation would happen after just one year? I highly doubt that, unless the battery was very heavily used or was exposed to extreme temperatures.

The car analogy is not great. First off, new cars cost way more than phones, and are built out of very different types of components. Secondly, cars absolutely need maintenance, and generally more than $29 a year.


Just my case, but Apple replaced my 6s battery because of random shutdowns under the replacement program on Jan 17th.

Around the release of iOs 11 (not sure exactly when because it was gradual and I was also on the iOs 11 beta) my 6s became incredibly slow, almost unbearable, until last month I decided to upgrade to an X because of how slow it was. Was planning a year more but I just couldn't see myself using it 1 year more.

Now I see via CPU Dasher and Geekbench that my 6s with a battery less than a year old (95,7% original capacity, 406 cycles) is running at 1400-900Mhz, (almost always between 1200-1000Mhz) instead of 1800Mhz.


> because it knows the batteries it is shipping with its phones won't last more than a year

Actually, it's an 8% decrease starting after the first year. But go ahead and keep on spreading the FUD. Your HTC stock should catch up soon.


It depends on lots of factors; but the degradation can be a lot more than that if you really abuse your battery. And unfortunately most devices don't make it easy to avoid being hard on your battery - you just kind of need to know what not to do, and play a guessing game. Apple specifically isn't one to burden the user with unnecessary mental load - so battery-health management is unsurprisingly something I've never seen on any apple device (but it's pretty rare anyhow).


> Your HTC stock should catch up soon.

Because stock price is an indicator of how well a company's products are engineered!

Meanwhile until a month ago; username: root, password: none (no password, not the word "none"). Try it twice, get administrator access!


Props to Apple for doing the right thing. Sad that it took a manufactured scandal for iOS to provide elementary transparency into the behavior of known-to-degrade battery component.

> Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.


If you're ready to dismiss other people's complaint because you don't have one fuck you


If this is an issue that affects every iPhone say past 2 years (although I think I've heard reports of the issue affecting much newer iPhones), then wouldn't a much better solution (for the future) be to make iPhones with user-replaceable batteries? Why do people have to come in to the Apple Store to replace their batteries? Is Apple just counting on the fact that not too many will take them up on it?


> Why do people have to come in to the Apple Store to replace their batteries?

That’s how Apple tends to handle almost all warranty issues. Either that or you can mail it in.

iPhones are not exactly designed to be easily opened and messed with by normal people. It’s part of how they get them so thin (insert various other theories that may or may not apply here).


> Why do people have to come in to the Apple Store to replace their batteries?

You don't. Thousands of people replace their own iPhone batteries every week. Even I've done it, and I'm not especially dexterous.

Just go to Amazon or Google and search for a $20 replacement kit. Or, if you're not a DIY person, where I live there are places on every other streetcorner that will replace your battery for you.


To be fair that is a pretty decent response. The reality is batteries do degrade over time and they have to manage that. They should have been transparent about what they were doing and I'm not sure giving the user control over it is all that sensible.

Are there any battery experts who can chime in with their opinion on this?


I'm not a battery expert, but it needs to be pointed out that other smartphone manufacturers do not have this problem. It was Apple specific - it's not as if every device with a lithium battery shuts off at 40%. So it still feels like they're doing it to mitigate a fault with the device, and should've been more transparent about that in the first place.


It’s been pointed out in many places that other manufacturers absolutely do have the same battery problems.

https://support.google.com/pixelphone/forum/AAAAb4-OgUsQiGBJ...

https://us.community.samsung.com/t5/Galaxy-Note-Phones/Note-...


> op: [request for a battery expert to chime in with professional opinion]

> response: [non-battery expert with subjective opinion]

sums up why I hate HN comments sometimes.


To be fair: the OP didn't merely ask, he also gave a subjective opinion on the matter; and it looks like the response was to that, and not related to the battery expertise bit.

But hey; in an online forum things get off topic... kind of like this ;-)!


> It was Apple specific

Maybe these symptoms are Apple specific but Samsung had fire and explosions:

http://www.techradar.com/news/samsung-galaxy-note-7-battery-...


Is there any evidence that, all else being equal, Apple’s batteries degrade faster or degraded iPhones shut off during peak usage more than other smartphones?


Of course there is no evidence of that - because then people would have a legitimate (though different) complaint.


> it's not as if every device with a lithium battery shuts off at 40%

Nexus 6P.



Yeah, some other manufactureres phones just carch fire instead.


As posted above, Android phones do show this behavior, too. However, and I'm no battery expert, I think that Apple was running the CPU incredibly close to the red line and draining the batter faster than necessary. They already have the fastest phone CPU by quite a large margin, they could probably run it at a lower frequency that the batteries can better match, leading to slower degrading.


One thing that Apple hasn't addressed is if the Geekbench results [1] over-represents or exaggerates the the throttling effect. Since Geekbench pushes the iPhone to its limits for the duration of the benchmark, iOS needs to throttle performance to prevent shutdown while being tested. This results in lower-than-expected test scores every time. But how much does this map to real-life, visible performance drop?

Edit: Another question I have is how do other devices handle battery degradation? Do Android phones just let devices shutdown unexpectedly or is there also performance throttling? Or is the problem non-existent on non-Apple devices somehow?

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


The problem isn't very prevalent in Android devices, because they have more "voltage headroom". The chipsets are not pushed to the limits / the red line, so battery degradation won't result in performance drops or sudden shutdowns.

Sudden shutdowns do still occur for some devices, but it is nowhere as iPhone devices pre-throttling. It's also something that didn't affect previous iPhones before the 6, because those devices did not have a very thin redline.


I still think Apple should sue some publications for defamation for the manifestly bad reporting about this story [1]. Here's John Siracusa about it [2].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15995018

[2] https://overcast.fm/+CdQP59ws/56:00


Unfortunately, this is just how Apple is treated by much of the industry. People love to hate Apple, so there will always be: "Fingerprint Scanner: how Apple is stealing your identity and eroding your privacy", "Thin phones: how your phone will break in half", "WiFi On/Off: Apple & NSA tracking you even when you think your WiFi is off" articles, etc. This battery thing is just the latest Apple FUD and panic with a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I work with a guy that doesn't use Apple products at all, yet _always_ forwards this stuff to me. I don't even argue about it or defend Apple—it isn't worth my time and it isn't worth Apple's time either.

Maybe they have a defamation case, but really who cares?

(edit grammar)


Corporations don't have feelings, no need to be so personally attached. Who cares if Apple gets hate?


I dislike animosity based on falsehoods because it diminishes society as a whole. Look at the loss of trust in the media as a consequence of last year's election as a giant red flag in that regard.


I don't think anybody really cares that much, except for I guess the biggest of Apple fanboys. There are fanboys for everything: Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc. There's also the inverse, haters for everything. It is interesting, however, how MUCH hate Apple gets proportionally to other companies. Especially around this story, there was a lot of misinformation around what was really going on. There just seem to be a lot more people willing to bash Apple for everything, moreso than there are people doing the same to other companies. And especially more than there are Apple fanboys.

I do use Apple products, but every company and product should be scrutinized equally. Not that it matters if Apple gets hate, they're still a billion dollar company, but I do find it interesting on why they get that hate at times when it's not really worth it.


John sort of skated by the point that these phones were designed to have this problem. Spontaneous shutdowns with aging batteries are not a standard feature of all smartphones. Apple made a trade-off in the phone design that caused this hardware problem and then used software to try to workaround it but didn’t tell people that this would slow down their phones. My wife has an iphone 6 with this problem and was considering a new iphone to fix her performance problem. Whether apple meant to or not, their lack of full disclosure caused people to needlessly replace their phones. To say apple did nothing wrong is fanboyism.

Was the reporting bad? Sure. Was apple in the right? Definitely not.


Spontaneous shutdowns at 20-30% battery was a feature of my Nexus 6P.

http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/12/20/some-nexus-6ps-have-...


Apple is right that this is a fundamental battery issue. Other phones must have SOME way of dealing with it.

Does anyone know how Samsung phones (for example) deal with low battery voltage issues? Do they simply adjust the battery meter so that it reports zero percent by the time you might start having these issues? Does it slow the phone down The way Apple did? Does it issue some sort of warning that your battery is getting bad?

Or does it just shut down if you overtax things?

It must be possible to figure out how other vendors solved this issue.


If by "fundamental battery issue" you mean that all phones have this issue or some comparably severe tradeoff, then no, this is not a fundamental issue. Batteries don't all degrade at the same rate, and even given a specific battery tech, the way it's implemented in the device can have a dramatic impact on the longevity. Temperature, rate of charging, the degree (i.e. voltage) up to which it is charged, the degree (i.e. voltage) at which it is considered empty are all factors that are primarily in the device manufacturers hands.

Even a few percent overprovisioning can extend life expectency by a lot; and aggressive temperature-related charging (and discharging) throttling can trade peak (benchmark) performance and predictable charging speeds for longevity. I bet apple could make a phone with at least double the battery longevity with 1% price, mass, and size increases, and perf and battery life decreases -- if they wanted to. Of course, those factors are easily quantifiable, and battery longevity less so...

So sure: battery degradation is a fundamental issue in the sense that all batteries degrade - but how they do and what tradeoffs the device makes to minimize that are largely up to the manufacturer, and unfortunately also poorly documented, poorly benchmarkable, and I'm not sure how clearly a warranty would apply - so yeah, the it's a factor that manufacturers are bound to skimp on.

(I wouldn't particularly expect apple to be any worse than the rest of the pack, though).


There are ways to try and mitigate it, but when I was really getting at is that if you use ANY device with the lithium ion battery long enough something like this will end up happening.

Some other phone may be designed so it takes an extra year and a half or two, but it will still happen one day.


Technically, I suspect they could easily make em last 10 years without too many drawbacks. And if you're willing to be a bit more compromising, much more even than that. But why engineer that kind of life expectancy into a device that's going to be hopelessly outdated before then?

But a little more honesty in expected degradation would be nice, including the warranty that if degradation exceeds some minimal specification, the phone will be fixed at the manufacturer's cost, and not just for a year. 10 years may be unnecessarily long, but 1 year is definitely too short; and the level of acceptable degradation is too vague.


Cheaper Samsung phones shut off, thought Samsung has SO TERRIBLE BATTERIES it's not even shameful, they should be sued! Every battery puffs up after 6-12 months, and the warranty only covers first 6 months of usage. I know many people to whom it happened, to some multiple times, and they didn't drop the phones. This was with cheap phones obviously, but still, very bad behavior from phone manufacturers on all sides... :/


Back when I was still an Android user, I had a Nexus 4. After a year of use, it also started shutting down at random points if battery was below 20%. Before that I had HTC Desire (the first one), which did the same, at reaching 10% of battery, after about a year of use.


Maybe manufacturers should focus on usability instead of bling and flesh-cutting thinness, the latter of which would probably never make it as a feature request if it weren't for the incentivized yearly upgrade cycle.


But I bet you knew it was a battery problem, and how to fix it without buying a new phone.

That's the main problem here.


Well, yeah. But to be honest, I'd rather the performance decline than knowing I have 20% of battery and am waiting for a critical call and then the battery dies.


Nexus do this exact throttling behavior:

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


This would be a bad PR move. A giant insanely-rich company suing news publications?

Apple has dealt with overblown controversies before (Antennagate, etc.) and the best way to deal with them is to do what they're doing: communicate better, improve their software, make repairs or returns more affordable.


don't they already snub publications that they don't like anyway ?


Yes, if they want to be petty about bad publicity, there's other effective strategies like denying access to the publication as they did to Gizmodo back in 2010.


I don't think it's an either/or. They should do what they announced today and sue for defamation. When they announce the suit they could state that they intend to donate any awarded damages/settlement to charity to counter the "Big Company sues blogger" stories. But I think the reputation damage is very real and it would give Apple the opportunity to testify under oath (if it went to trial).


Even if they took publications to court, the public opinion would not change for the better because people stop paying attention to any story within two weeks of when it's revealed. The damage has already been done. The only potential reasonable argument to do something like this is for Apple to scare off other publications from publishing damaging headlines in the future. But the benefit of this strategy would be little when balanced by the negative PR hit it would take by every other news publication writing articles and OpEds on Rich Big Corp vs small, struggling, important-for-democracy news organizations. There's no faster way to torpedo your public approval than to go after news publications.


I think you’re both overstating how widely known this controversy is and understating how bad suing a tech blogger would look (see: Streisand Effect). I’m a techie and have barely heard about this. People who went and bought new phones will be pissed, but the majority of users won’t care.

This response owns the responsibility of countering misconceptions. The huge majority of Apple users won’t remember this in a month.


I had to turn off that episode after Casey opened the segment by condescendingly dismissing any concerns about the behaviour. Quite rude and annoying.

Marco doesn't see the value in tracking podcast listeners, but I'd think he'd benefit to know what causes people to stop when listening to their show.


> opened the segment by condescendingly dismissing any concerns about the behaviour.

Really? I thought that was perfectly fair. Apple made it so people’s phones don’t randomly shut off all the time if the battery is old and people are complaining about it because it fits into a different false narrative.

I honestly do think this whole thing is very overblown. I’m glad they’re fixing iOS to inform users it’s going on (that was certainly an issue) and dropping the price of battery replacements is a great move.

But I don’t think this is the giant scandal that the tech press is trying to make it. I thought Casey’s assessment was quite fair.


Apple hid the cause (an ageing battery), and purposely slowed down peoples phones without warning.

If your phone randomly shuts downs, or it last less time between charges, you know it must be a battery issue. You go to Apple or whatever, and fix it paying no more than 79$ (maybe even free if it still has warranty!)

If you hide it and degrade performance, people don't know its a battery issue, leaving them to suffer a slow phone, or spending 700+$ on a new phone.

No matter the good intentions, and the "good solution" they implemented, they fucked up.


Thats the sort of thing that happens when you are spoiled by buying every iPhone, never experiencing an ageing phone or even an iOs update on an older phone.

It was painful to hear.


I'm sure ATP knows what is and isn't popular on their show. All three hosts don't need to be in alignment on an issue; having three parrots reciting the party line would be horrible. The fact that Casey is the less technical, touchy feely (hell he's on a podcast named analog for chrissake) is part of ATP. As is making fun of his white cars.


Reportage: Apple secretly slows down your phone.

Reality: Apple secretly slowed down people's phones.


Why would they, if other people throw mud on their brand, respond by throwing more mud?

The proper response is to clean their brand. That’s what they do now. I think it is better late than never, but it also is somewhat (depending on how picky they will be on replacing those batteries, and on whether they will pay back people who replaced their battery recently because of this problem) classy.

I also think this is intended to, and will, stop the class action suits being filed before they have even started.


From the statement...

    "All rechargeable batteries are consumable components"
If they are "consumable", why aren't they user replaceable. As far as I'm concerned any company that seals consumable parts inside a device isn't acting the interest of their users.


They can be replaced for $29.


That kinda misses the point though (and it's only that price because of recent events, it was more expensive)

Apple themselves are describing batteries as consumable, and to me it doesn't work both ways, you can't describe something as consumable and seal it inside the device and still claim to be doing the best thing for the user. Either it's consumable and user replacement should be supported and within warrenty, or it's not consumable.


Or you can replace them yourself. Its not that hard.


Doesn't that void your warranty tough?


That’s no different than replacing parts on a car. You can pay Toyota to replace your brakes, or do it yourself. If you choose the later, then they fail, it’s not Toyota’s fault.


The elephant in the room is, of course, Apple's obsession with thinness which makes it near impossible these days to get a usable laptop because PC makers totally copied Apple alas. It also gave us nonreplaceable batteries and any successful lawsuit that comes out of it is totally justified.

No one asked for this. Lighter, somewhat, yes but thin to the point where batteries are barely functional? Samsung's colossal Note failure is just another symptom of this. I had a Panasonic CF-Y5, a 14" 1.5kg laptop ten years ago and somehow it managed to be that light without this thinness craziness.


> Apple's obsession with thinness

You mean the obsession customers have with buying thin products, which Apple is simply satisfying, and extremely well, judging from sales.

> No one asked for this.

Yes actually, I asked for this, like many other customers who bought much thinner Apple products instead of thicker, bulkier, heavier competing products.


I totally agree with you. I'd rather have a slightly bigger laptop with the ability to replace the battery easily.

I slightly disagree with this though:

> but thin to the point where batteries are barely functional?

My previous MBP (mid-2014) was still very usable after 3 years of intensive use. Overall, I can't say I suffered from not being able to change the battery easily. (I passed the problem to the next owner...).


>makes it near impossible these days to get a usable laptop because PC makers totally copied Apple alas.

I'd say that is only the Ultrabook market which goes for super thin. There are plenty of other laptops out there that are thick enough to even have a CD drive. On top of that there are the gaming laptops which are even thicker.


Is it also why we have these awful keyboards on the new mbp ?

I feel them absolutely awful to type on (I have never complained about a keyboard before but I just can't stand this one), although it is subjective, some people are fine with it.

What is unquestionably bad though is that you need to replace the whole keyboard if one key has an issue (and apparently it happens a lot). I know several people for which Apple had to reset the whole laptop after a keyboard issue, but I can't make sense of it.


> I feel them absolutely awful to type on (I have never complained about a keyboard before but I just can't stand this one), although it is subjective, some people are fine with it.

I don't know why some people hate these keyboards. I don't really have a strong opinion about them. They feel slightly different and noisier but I get identical typing speed results compared to the previous one.


Not all laptops are thus compromised. My HP Elite X2 G1 1012 matches the Surface physical attributes and yet has a user-replaceable battery (and screen, and m.2 SSD.)


Lots of people saying that Apple only had two options - make old handsets slower, or have them randomly shutdown.

Might be a reflection of the culture those commenters are from, but it's disingenuous to assert.

Other options existed -- notably to advise the user, as part of the update, via mail-out, etc, that this choice had been made from them, and (optionally) what they could do about it.


Agreed. The comments here apologising for Apple are so disheartening. Inform the user that the battery has degraded or failing that at least allow the batteries to be user or third-party serviceable.

I know car analogies are overused but … I would be classed as literally insane if I replaced my car because the battery had become degraded. When this happens you get a mechanic to replace the battery. (Or, if the owner is very competent they replace it themselves.) If we do it for cars, why not for phones?

I would absolutely love if this issue got regulated across the board the same way the charging cable connection (everything has to be usb-micro or usb-C) got regulated. Though somehow Apple didn't comply and didn't get penalised.


What are they gonna do about it, "Yes I do want my phone to shut down immediately instead of continuing to be able use it"?


This is not realistic. The actual options are

a) slow the phone down

b) make the battery percentage accurate so that people will know when the battery is empty

I have used Samsung phones for a long time (since Galaxy S4), and I've never had a phone turn off on me when the battery percentage was anything other than 0%. Are we supposed to believe that the maker of the "world's most advanced smartphone" (their words) cannot figure out how to prevent random shutdowns without slowing down the whole phone?


Stating that a battery replacement will fix it instead of letting them suffer and increasingly slow phone or buying a new one unnecessarily.


The Nexus 6P recently had a big consumer backlash and refund process bc phones would shut off randomly below 20% charge once they got older. I would guess the same thing is happening here. I would have much rather had reduced performance than a phone unusable under 20%. Luckily I got a free upgrade to the Pixel to fix it.


Yeah, I have owned various Android and iPhones over the years and this was a pretty common issue especially with an older phone in either a hot or cold climate.


I second that. My 2 year old Moto G was near unusable at the end. When it reached 15% charge it would just die.


Same issue here. Google won't do anything now. A lot of people took advantage of the Pixel handouts. (I'm not defending them, it's total BS.)

Usually they send you to Huawei who wants a few hundred bucks to fix it. ...no.


That's well and good, but this letter avoids the elephant in the room. Apple has gone way too far in sacrificing functionality for style.

I'll accept a seam in the phone, and a slightly thicker phone, if I could replace the battery myself. (That might also avoid the camera bump.)

The latest MBP really shit the bed with that poorly conceived touchbar, and the horribly inferior keyboard.

And in general, for many years now, Apple laptops have gotten far less serviceable in the name of sleekness.

Then there is the issue of software quality. That is a different issue, although perhaps the decline reflects corporate priorities, (sleek hardware is more important than anything). ITunes and Photos are just terrible. Bloated, confusing, inconsistent even within themselves, and certainly across releases. I dread having any contact with Apple's cloud -- it just never acts the way that I want it to, and I tread very carefully to avoid propagating deletes to places I don't want them to go. I don't want files to move seamlessly from one place to another, and to be downloaded on demand. It chews up my phone's monthly data allotment, and it doesn't work at all when I have no connection. Sharing is a disaster. I don't share anything because it is unclear who gets access to what.

Another aspect of software quality is a noticeable uptick in bugs. That iOS 11 texting bug (couldn't type "I" correctly) was a huge embarrassment, and it took an astoundingly long time to fix. And I heard many reports of crashes with iOS 11. My iPhone 6 is staying on iOS 10. Then there was the MacOS login-as-root-with-no-password bug.

I am seriously thinking about my non-Apple computer future. I have a mid-2015 MBP -- the last good one, as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping that when I need an upgrade there will be some nice hardware compatible with Linux (fingers crossed for Razer). I'm stuck on the iPhone (because I trust Google not at all), so I'll need to figure out how to get that to coexist with Linux.


Inferior keyboard? I LOVE the new keyboard. And Touch Bar works great.


Unfortunately, Apple doesn't seem willing to support the Touch Bar.


Until you get some dust under the keys


> First and foremost, 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.

Didn't they degrade the user experience by slowing down the cpu? I definitely wasn't enjoying my slow iPhone


Would you rather have a slightly slower phone, or one that shuts off at random due to the battery not being able to provide peak current.

I think the only major mistake Apple made here was not being originally transparent about this. I don't think that Apple is being 100% noble in its intents either. In addition to driving users to buy new devices, there's the much less obvious side-effect which is a lot of people attempting to get their batteries replaced at roughly the same time as devices age. Which creates a tremendous support burden at Apple Stores around the world as people pile in to get their batteries replaced. (Although more daring consumers may attempt the DIY route, but I expect that to be a very small minority).


I am affected by this issue. I would rather have a risk of my phone shutting down at <40% than my phone gas lighting me with performance degradation.

If my phone shut down when it shouldn't then I know to search out diagnostics about my battery. But if my phone slows down I have actually done these things:

* complained to developers that their apps are slower, wasting their time and resources when my battery should have been changed.

* reinstalled my OS. Which did not help when I should have changed my battery.

* searched and searched and searched resources online. When I should have researched a new battery.

* I also have to mea culpa all friends to whom I have ensured through the years that Apple never intentionally slows down their hardware. I have lied to my friends and need to apologise to them.


> Would you rather have a slightly slower phone, or one that shuts off at random due to the battery not being able to provide peak current.

I wish people would stop inventing this false dichotomy. What people want is a phone that doesn't degrade horribly after only a year, regardless of whether that degradation is that it shuts itself off at 40% (which is fucking ridiculous) or that it gets noticeably slower. When a phone degrades so noticeably after only a year, people feel like they've been cheated. Do any other phones turn themselves off at 40% charge? My android phones certainly don't.


It’s not a false dichotomy. That’s what the phone did before. It was a pre-existing problem.

They could choose to do nothing. They could do what they did. With either of those they could’ve chosen to be more transparent (which clearly they should’ve).

You’re arguing that given the problem they saw once the phones have been in the field for years they should have designed the phone differently originally. That’s not reasonable.

I’d be very curious to know how android phones handle this. They must, in someway. There’s another comment in this story that someone had an HTC phone that would tend to just suddenly die under 20%, that may be the same thing iPhones were doing before.


Thing about the problem this way:

When your battery doesn't last as long, what do you think of replacing? When everything on your device runs noticeably slowly, what do you think of replacing?

> You’re arguing that given the problem they saw once the phones have been in the field for years they should have designed the phone differently originally. That’s not reasonable.

I'm arguing that given that battery degradation curves are absolutely a known quantity, and have been for many years, they should have chosen to not put in a CPU that would, with 100% certainty, fuck itself in the eye with batteries that otherwise still appear to be reasonably healthy. 500 _complete_ charge cycles should get a battery to 80% capacity according to Apple. 80% original capacity doesn't mean suddenly turning off at 40% of current capacity because of power draw.

> they should have designed the phone differently originally

They should have. The current situation has been caused by either negligence or intent to deceive. That's what has people so upset. Did you know that you don't get the performance back if you keep the iPhone plugged in?

> I’d be very curious to know how android phones handle this. They must, in someway.

By running their CPUs at voltages farther from the absolute edge of what their batteries are capable of putting out. Possibly by displaying charge percentage differently. Definitely not by making performance unbearable.


> doesn't degrade horribly after only a year

That doesn't happen unless you have an absurd number of charge cycles. It usually takes 2-3 years of normal use to reach a point where the battery degradation is a major problem.


It's choosing the lesser of two evils. The two options are to have the phone run slower, or have the phone shut down unexpectedly with shorter battery life.

Personally, I agree with Apple's call on this one.


The right call is actually targeting performance at a level that would allow for longer consistent performance state.

If they're having to go to measures this drastic to keep their phones from shutting down, their batteries are underspec'd and their processors are overspec'd.


The issue only affected the 6/6S generation (EDIT: with overwatch for the 7); presumably Apple identified and fixed the issue for the 8 onwards.


No, that's not what is being stated here.

The iPhone 7 came out a year ago. iPhone 7 users are also being offered the $29 battery replacement.


Fixed comment with clarity.


Are you sure? I bet the iPhone 7 batteries simply haven't aged enough.


I agree, and imagine they probably tried. Maybe it's a new supplier, maybe newer apps are more power hungry than predicted?


That's a false dichotomy; Apple has many options other than slowing down the phone and having it randomly restart.

For example, they could have altered the calibration of the battery indicator so 0% charge corresponds to the charge level where random restarts/throttling starts to occur.


What are some other options?

Calibrating for a new "0%" effectively lead to a "shorter battery life".

I don't know the intricacies of these options, but I can make a guess. The point which a phone resets isn't accurately predicted. Some user actions may cause larger voltage drops than others. For which action do you calibrate to 0%? What if you only do that action once a day? Is this trade off worth sacrificing 1% of your full capacity? What about 10% or 30%?


Depending on how bad the battery is that me end up giving someone 30 to 60 minutes of battery life.

That seems almost useless. Certainly worse than having a slower phone that has hours of battery life.


But it could prompt them to see an Apple Care Rep and get a new battery, which would fix the ultimate issue according to them.


As the owner of an iPhone 6 that was degraded enough that even with the mitigation I had the issue, I agree.

Any time my phone was under ~15% battery, it would randomly crash during demanding tasks. I'd think the battery had died, but turning it back on would work immediately and my battery wouldn't be at 1%/0%.

At that point the battery capacity might as well be 85% of the already degraded value since the phone stops being stable.


My 6 would die at 30% with some regularity, even though supposedly only the 6S was impacted and hence only the 6S got free repairs.


There is an obvious third option: replacing your battery with a new one instead of playing this planned obsolescence game.


There is no "planned obsolescence game". Just stop.


The last time I checked I couldn't change the battery of my mobile phone and tablet.


You can have it changed. Perhaps you should check again.


Not in my country.


The other option would have been to alert the user this was going on. This didn't always happen. They were degrading users phones while showing the battery as fine. That's the problem, you can't just start degrading performance without telling people why.

When you have people running 3rd party apps to determine whether their phones are still running fine, and then going to get battery replacements and finding performance returning, and nothing the OS told them indicated anything was wrong, that's a problem.


There is an obvious third option - have the phone run slower but tell user about it, that it's running in limp mode because of deteriorated battery.


Make it an option? Plus, having the phone shutdown would force users to upgrade out of necessity without feeling swindled.


>Make it an option?

Hmm, that could work, but I feel like that might go against Apple's ethos. Not malicious, they just seem to like telling the user what's best and surfacing fewer options. I feel like the average user doesn't want to have to make this decision

>Plus, having the phone shutdown would force users to upgrade out of necessity without feeling swindled.

I'd disagree, but may be in the minority. I would hate having to upgrade because my battery life is shot. A large reason I chose iPhone was the battery life


Rock and a hard place for Apple, after 600 cycles or 2 years 'average usage' (based on reports I've seen in the past) the battery might only have 50-60% of the design capacity, so their choice is between reducing battery consumption (via throttling) or having users whose phones are totally drained in significantly less than an 'average working day'.


If iPhones are really experiencing that rate of degradation, then Apple are solely to blame for using such an aggressive battery management profile. If they had given up a millimetre of thickness, overprovisioned the battery and managed it less aggressively, they could have easily reduced battery degradation to <20% after 1,500 cycles. Adding 50% to the capacity also gives you 50% more current at the same C-rate. I think this is a clear case of Apple prioritising shelf appeal over durability; it's the same root cause as the Galaxy S7 battery crisis.


> If iPhones are really experiencing that rate of degradation, then Apple are solely to blame for using such an aggressive battery management profile.

Consumers are responsible at least as much as manufacturers for the current state of phones. Manufacturers may create the designs for phones, but consumers vote with their wallets for what they want, and they've consistently voted for thin over longer battery life.


There's a difference between battery life and battery longevity. The Galaxy Note 7 had a fairly beefy 3500mAh battery, but Samsung tried to cram too much capacity into too little volume. The unconventional pack shape created a substantial risk of internal shorts. Poor thermal management or aggressive battery management can vastly increase the rate of battery degradation, but they're non-obvious and most tech journalists don't have the knowledge needed to identify those issues.

Most consumers don't understand battery technology and don't know what's available on the market. They go into their local cellphone store and choose whatever looks nice and is recommended by the salesman. They aren't aware of handsets with bigger or user-replaceable batteries, because the industry hasn't really offered them the choice. I use a Chinaphone with a giant battery, but I have a lot of knowledge that no average consumer has.


Idk if the grandparent comment is correct about the degradation rate, but I’d need to see more evidence supporting the claim that Apple is doing something aggressive relative to the rest of the industry. Overprovisioning the battery is silly, and would deservedly cause a much bigger controversy if it were discovered.


>Overprovisioning the battery is silly, and would deservedly cause a much bigger controversy if it were discovered.

Really? Would there be a strong negative reaction if Apple said "we've designed the iPhone 9 to give you all-day battery life for four years"? Would customers be angry that their device was built to last longer and perform better? To my mind, it's a marketable feature.

All battery management is a trade-off between capacity and durability. Manufacturers have an obvious commercial incentive to sacrifice durability - you get a thinner device with longer initial battery life.

Purchasing habits are starting to change in the mobile market. Pricing is moving away from an all-inclusive line rental price to separate usage charges and device payments. As the market matures, customers are holding onto their devices for longer. I think it's inevitable that manufacturers will have to improve durability as we move away from the lock-step of 24 month contracts.


Old batteries draining to zero quickly isn’t even the primary problem. The primary problem is phone instantly shutting off during a peak in CPU usage because the battery voltage drops below a usagable threshold. This can happen with old batteries long before the battery life meter goes down to zero.


I remember experiencing it with my six. I’d be using my phone and then the phone would just randomly shut down. I might have noticed the battery indicator saying five percent or something like that right before it died (even though that wasn’t true).

You’d restart the phone and after a second trip to the battery indicator would show the correct level (let’s say 60 to 80 percent).


It's not just battery life, some people might live with 50% battery but due to chemistry they can't put out the designed voltage leading to the iPhone suddenly turning off.


“degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades” (emphasis mine because you left that important part out)

If you bought a new phone strictly because your old one was slow, you might have an anecdotal point to make.


I did. 6s to X one year before planned.


They said they wouldn't degrade the UX to drive upgrades but said nothing of other reasons to degrade the UX.


What other reasons could they have to degrade the UX that they should have reasonably disputed in this context?


They explain it in the article, they think it's a worse UX to have the device turn off unexpectedly.


Why is it that low power mode is usable but slowed down mode because of a battery is sometimes almost unusable?


Probably because low power mode is completely different, and probably doesn’t do much to reduce the CPU usage peaks that the old battery protection code protects against.


Slowing down the CPU is a better experience than your phone shutting off or battery lasting half a day...


I’m not sure why you got down voted. This is a completely valid opinion and comment.


Not necessarily, I'd rather have my phone die at 40% or something, at least I can investigate then, and replace my battery. In the other hand, throttling my system and hiding it from me...


Keep reading the article and you will find out.


What theyre doing to fix it:

"Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.

Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance."


This basically means they're giving you the battery for free. Takes 30-45 minutes of semi-skilled labor to replace it, loaded cost of the employee for even 30 minutes has got to be pretty close to the $29 they're charging.

Wonder if this means we'll see 12-24 month phones popping up on eBay with battery health reports, or receipts showing the owner(s) had them changed out just prior to sale.


Apple is rolling out machines to make this process faster: https://consumerist.com/2017/06/07/apple-putting-screen-repl...

To your second point, I'm curious to see if Apple only offers this to original owners, or if a subsequent purchaser can get it swapped at this price also.


Really? 45 minutes for an Apple tech to do a battery swap?


They wouldn't have to give anything for free if, like for many other phones, the owner could replace the battery in 1 minute flat with no special tools...


I would love HN to force people to explain why they are downvoting something.

Batteries fail after a while, it has been a constant for a very long time.

What has changed is that in many recent phones it is a pain to replace it yourself.


My guess is that the downvote was a sort of "offtopic" one: "yeah, we can't change the battery ourselves, c'est la vie, it's Apple, get over it, let's discuss the issue at hand".


Not even that much of a pain. Apple makes the batteries fairly easy to replace (with the right tools) to lower their own cost of warranty repairs, staffing, etc.


What "many other phones?" Samsung, Google, Motorola, LG, and others have all gone to sealed battery design. It led to thinner phones and, down the road, better water resistance. Samsung tried water resistance and removable batter with the S5 and it was inconsistent at best. I'm sure there are some phones out there that still have removable batteries (BLU comes to mind), but by and large all flagships have sealed designs now. Whether the trade-off is worth it is up to the person (I prefer a sleeker phone with water resistance myself, but I'm also capable enough to replace an iPhone battery on my own), but the idea that there are "many other phones" where one can replace the battery in 1 minute with no special tools is just not true.


This is great, and it's going to really hurt some independent shops that offer battery replacements.

Also, I wonder what percent of people will walk into an Apple Store intending to get their battery replaced and will end up walking out with a shiny new iPhone. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple offered incentives to folks who want to just trade in and be done with the old device. At the very least, they've got you hanging out in their store for 15 mins.


Yup, they took some bad press and made it good for themselves and their customers. This announcement should be used as an example for other big companies. Be sympathetic, truthful, and human. I don't own a single apple product but I respect how they handled this.


I wonder how big a hole this is going to dig in Apple’s balance sheet. I have known many people who bought new iPhone because old one was getting too slow, not because they wanted even more thinner phone. This is especially true with families where cost of replacing iPhone is so prohibitive that no one wants to do it unless it’s absolutely needed. Now that this issue hasn’t got so much media attention I would think iPhone upgrades will hit major breaks.


This is a great response imho. It doesn't fully tackle the issues I'm having with the approach Apple is taking, but at least Apple acknowledges its customers in a human way. This is almost un-Apple.


How many times have Apple written "We apologize" in press releases this year?

I think I read one during the whole disk encryption fiasco a few months ago..

Edit: no, that was the username: root, password: (blank) fiasco. And literally less than a month ago.


I believe this is a poor response because,

* In the first paragraph, they only apologized after limiting the limiting the scope to "some" customers who "feel" slighted. Like an irrational person on the defensive, giving a non-apology apology.

* They didn't address issues like: the CPU throttling is 24/7, whether the device is running off A/C or not. (!) Completely unnecessary and also — inconsistent with the battery-voltage argument.

* Affected users like me have been stuck with a barely functioning phone for a year. Since it stayed nearly unusable even when plugged in, I assumed it was simply due to Apple bloatware affecting older devices.


I think part of what's missed here is the fact that Apple's products aren't just the physical things we hold in our hand.

A lot of folks would buy  stuff because they TRUST Apple to provide a stable and reliable product.

It seems like with each release, quality and stability decrease, and customers' trust is further eroded.

I wonder if Apple management even considers issues from that perspective?


> A lot of folks would buy  stuff because they TRUST Apple to provide a stable and reliable product.

Just wanted to emphasise this.

I put my parents on iPhones because I wanted to minimise them calling me for technical support. I taught them to update the phone's OS for security reasons, but iOS 11 came out and was dogshit for six weeks until 11.1.2 came out and my mom (a layperson) exclaimed "A[?]'m never updating again!".

Tim & Craig need to stop making their customers beta testers. That's why we paid the premium.


One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that Apple uses some of the smallest cells in the industry.

iPhone 8, 8+: 1821, 2675 mAh

Galaxy s8, s8+: 3000, 3500 mAh

That's a huge difference.

Apple gets away with this because the iPhone is more energy efficient than comparable Android phones, but that's only on average -- peak energy consumption is still comparable.

And when cells age, nominally larger cells retain the ability to drive peak workloads without browning out (even if they drain really fast), while Apple's tiny cells eventually just can't do it anymore.


> Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

So depending on the implementation of the feature iPhone users would be able to see how fast the battery degrades due to its low capacity. Apple could do what every other manufacturer did—provide phones with higher capacity batteries to start from for phones not to burn the battery with too many recharging cycles in the first year. The thing is Apple deliberately supplies small batteries for them to require many recharges and degrade fast. Androids now have on average 3000 mAh batteries. I got 5300 mAh. Small iPhones—1800 mAh.


Apple is in this situation because they've very invested in having the fastest mobile processor on paper. So you get a high performing part when your phone is new, and all the reviews and benchmarks are done with the high performing part, but after a while the battery can't handle it, so they're forced into these shenanigans.


It’s not like android phones are purposefully running with multi year old chips to avoid this issue. The high-end found they are all rush to have the newest chips as well.

I’ll ignore the “on paper“ comment. It was totally unnecessary.


His point was that Apple's latest chips promise something like 2x the performance of the best Qualcomm or Samsung chip.

If that gain is indeed real, or mostly real, then the difference may be explained by the fact that Apple makes some compromises that other chip makers don't - such as increasing the boost performance of the chip more than the battery and the heat management can handle.

As for the "on paper" claim, I think it's justified, because largely we only know the Apple chips are "so much faster" from synthetic benchmarks. But in real world tests it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.


It’s the “on paper“ that I took issue with. From what I’ve seen from developers (which is admittedly limited) the chips Apple has do seem to be incredibly fast. Between that and the benchmarks I have no reason to think Apple chips are artificially optimized to look good on benchmarks and aren’t noticeably better on normal tasks.


> I have no reason to think Apple chips are artificially optimized to look good on benchmarks

I never stated that. My point was that they wanted their processors to benchmark above everyone else's, and this quest for the highest performance numbers in synthetic benchmarks (aka on paper) has lead them to a bad place.


Simple solution. Replace your battery once a year.


This smells like a direct response to latest lawsuit from France [0].

[0] - https://www.thelocal.fr/20171228/french-lawsuit-launched-aga...


I kind of doubt it. This is been going on for what, a week or two? I’m guessing they’ve been working on this response that entire time, not just in the last 24 to 48 hours.


This is a good smell though. It likely will adversely affect the efficacy of the lawsuit.

Company internal investigation followed by public facing change is pretty much the death knell in a civil/monetary lawsuit.


They've either been grossly overcharging consumers for these battery replacements for years, and are now just listing a "normal" price, or they're taking a loss on it for PR purposes and folding the price decrease into other products.

I don't see how either of those builds customer trust.


Apple's prime business trait is making big margins on everything relating to hardware. The fact that battery replacements were not historically being done "at cost" should surprise precisely no one.


I'm not surprised at their behavior, I'm surprised that so many in this thread think this is a good response to these complaints.

Plenty of their customers will have already bought new phones thinking their current ones are just broken, and their response is to stop adding a 100% margin to this one product category temporarily.

If I was a regular customer of a company that overcharged me by that much, I'd expect to have correspondingly awesome customer support that would make me whole when they screwed up. I.e. in this case refund the new phone I bought because mine was slow.

But I suppose I should stop being surprised at the low expectations people have for Apple.


> Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

Thank you! I've always thought phones should provide info about battery health.


Trying to raise awareness to the fact that Apple's battery letter is only available on the american store. We in Brazil already experience absurd prices (a battery replacements costs R$ 449,00, equivalent to US$ 136,41), but I doubt will see equivalent reductions...


The article does mention price reductions “starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018.“


> available worldwide through December 2018

Which is quite frankly ridiculous. Nothing really justifies waiting a year for this.

Apple already has everything it needs to replace batteries worldwide right now (either with third party official repair companies or their own), and the cost of doing so will not likely change from here to December 2018.


The offer is "starting in late January" and goes "through [to] December 2018" and it's "available worldwide."


Ohh right.

D'oh.


"Late January" is 1 month from now


"making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that." ... Then I suggest that you do something unheard of and really stretch Johnny Ives to come up with the unthinkable, nearly impossible, design task....an easily replaceable battery.


Yeah. People talk about how nice the phones are, but honestly, I feel like Apple takes the easy way out in this regard. It's easier to make what they do when you don't have to worry about letting users services the device. The flip side is, when everything is so tightly tied together, the quality has to be that much greater. They should be held to a much higher standard because they have no one to blame but themselves.

In this case, this is completely on them.


> To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

> Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.

> Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

> As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

I cannot think of a better move from Apple than these three options. Bring awareness to the user by displaying battery performance and if updating the battery would resolve their power issues, you have a (now even cheaper) method of fixing it. As I understand it, the only way to tell if one needs to update their battery is by downloading some third party app (that costs money) and then praying that it helps in some way.

Also wanted to point out that by going deeper into the issue with this article shows (at least to me) some sense of transparency and should be really encouraged. While I disagree that they needed a scandal to bring clarity and it should've been brought up a while back, it's still great they did it nonetheless. This has been a conspiracy for some time, glad to see Apple has shed some light on it.


I have an iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 10.3.x.

I wish they would put a new 10.3 version with the new battery code out. I have every intention of not using iOS 11 due to feature changes that don't work well for me (like the control center wifi/Bluetooth silliness).

Won't happen, though - this is Apple.

I am afraid of ever breaking this phone because it is my understanding a restore from backup forces an update to the latest code.


Are you sure that iOS 11 is as bad as you say? I use it on a 7 and have no problems. maybe you just like to hate Apple, Silicon Valley, or change?


I am certain. I like the way iOS 10 works and don't want to learn different ways of doing things, and be unable to turn off (really turn off) WiFi/Bluetooth quickly. (I'm a pilot, these things are important.)

I like the way macOS 10.12 works (I prefer 10.8, but whatever). At least Apple provides security and patch updates to 10.12 and I can stay on it for several years until they put out another version I either need to upgrade to (for third party reasons) or want to.

Apple does not allow me to stay on iOS 10. I have no option to upgrade to 10.3.4 - they won't put out a 10.3.4 even. No, the only option is 11.

If 10 is working for me, why am I forced to move to 11?

This is very anti-consumer of Apple.


This is indirectly pro consumer of Apple. This means they can engineer for the current gen. Everyone on all platforms should only be served the latest and greatest!


I'm glad they did this, but it still doesn't handle the FUD about Apple generally slowing down old hardware in the name of planned obsolescence, which people have been tinfoil-hatting about since forever.

The fact is that new OS and software is designed to run on the latest hardware and checked on older hardware to see if it will work at all.

The conspiracy theorists think that Apple has been doing this with their phones since they started making them, and for their computers for decades.

It's horseshit, of course, and I wish the statement had been stronger.

The tinfoil garbage is about like if people complained that game companies were intentionally slowing things down for older graphics cards. No. That's just the natural progression as technology advances.

This is a case where Apple is slowing things down, but doing so to improve the user experience, not make it worse.

You have almost all of reddit and several other idiot websites that have been complaining for years about perceived slow-downs now feeling vindicated over this. And it's complete garbage.

I wish people could separate issues effectively, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.


It's very interesting to see the cognitive dissonance of all these posts complaining about how Apple has lost their trust etc. yet still wanting to cling onto the brand. There wouldn't be this pseudo-Stockholm syndrome if people just became more rational and voted with their wallet. Go buy a phone that you mostly own instead of buying the right to use and iPhone from Apple.


This whole battery scandal is ridiculous. It's literally the opposite of planned obsolescence, they're prolonging the usable life of these phones by underclocking them enough to stay functional for a full day, when otherwise they'd be shutting off randomly. I wish I could underclock even with a fresh battery in order to have solid 2-day battery life.


No, the consumer doesn't have enough information in this case. They are more than likely going to buy a new phone rather than a new battery.


Under the old software, where the phone would randomly turn off on you, what do you think they would’ve done? Probably the same thing. Buy a new phone.


The consumer-friendly response is a large notification that explains that the battery should be replaced while also downclocking.


I agree completely. Whatever Apple did, that should have been included. I’m glad they’re doing it now.


The random shutdowns sound like a technical problem with the phone. The correct solution is for Apple to fix it. It doesn't happen on any other flagship phone. So you are being disingenuous in listing that as a choice. The real choice is between slowing down the whole phone or the battery lasting a day instead of a day and a half. Or another choice is for Apple to include bigger batteries so that the degraded battery still provides a day and a half of usage.


I think the argument is that one would notice that the battery drains very quickly, and starts shutting off at a certain percent. Then they could know the battery is a problem, and pay $79 to get that replaced, instead of upgrading.


That makes sense.

So I question the question is would users be happier having their phone slow down or having the battery appear to drain extremely fast?

I guess my answer to that would depend on how bad the average “slowdown“ is. I think you’re right if the issue is serious, but if most people only take a 10% hit when your phone is old then the slowdown may be a better option.


That's not how it works. The phone crashes when the CPU load spikes higher than the degraded battery can support.


I think this Siri there is that if the battery is only capable of supporting full voltage when it’s charged to 80% or more, then you consider that top 20% the full range of the battery and when the battery gets to 80% actual charge you tell the user it’s at zero.

I’ll admit that I’m not sure how possible that is. If this technique would let you pretend that the battery only had half its capacity left without slowing down the phone then that maybe one thing. If even a slight battery degradation meant you have to pretend the phone only had 1/20th of its original battery left then obviously that’s pointless.


Apple knows what typical usage patterns will do to the battery. If most customers hit an issue that degrades their phone performance before 1 year, then Apple made that conscious decision when doing system design (multiple phones have this issue). It’s fully within their power to spec a battery that lasts a bit longer.


> It's literally the opposite of planned obsolescence

Having a too small battery is the exact definition of planned obsolescence!

If they hadn't tried to make the phones as small as possible and used a battery with 20% more capacity the problems would not be as severe.


> Having a too small battery is the exact definition of planned obsolescence!

That’s not true. Having a too-small battery on purpose is planned obsolescence. Having a small battery (what does "too small" means? Compared to what?) has nothing to do with that. That’s the purpose of "planned" in "planned obsolescence".


> what does "too small" means

If a battery has not enough capacity to carry the phone trough a whole day after 1-2 years of use then it was too small to begin with.

I have the feeling that iPhone batteries are just large enough that the phones survives a day of medium use if the phone is brand new. After 1 or 2 years the battery is so bad that it barely holds enough charge for a few hours of usage.


> I have the feeling that iPhone batteries are just large enough that the phones survives a day of medium use if the phone is brand new. After 1 or 2 years the battery is so bad that it barely holds enough charge for a few hours of usage.

That’s just a feeling. I’ve had my iPhone for 3 years now and the battery is completely fine.


Not. Even. I felt forced to upgrade my 6 because it was unbearably slow. The battery? Excellent. In fact, at the time of trade-in, it was lasting longer than my iPhone X does brand new. More proof - the 6 was actually almost brand new itself; 3 months prior I smashed the screen and Apple replaced the entire unit (yes, generous on their part) instead of a screen swap (the body was bent enough to not allow a screen replacement). New unit, new battery, and thus not just anecdotal evidence.

Perhaps there is _some_ good intention on Apple's part. But I think it hides a just-as-motivating factor as forcing upgrade purchases. My opinion is their position is disingenuous at best. I would rather see them move toward the customer having the control to choose the experience or not instead of - as they explained - only adding transparency into the decisions into which Apple is forcing you.

Plainly, my experience was: I had perfectly healthy hardware, yet my 2-gen old device was almost too slow to be useable. And now here I sit with a $1200 unnecessary replacement.


They always release a new OS when a new phone comes out, which puts more strain on the old phones, causing them to perform worse because they have old batteries. It's pretty similar to planned obsolescence that has a good technical explanation.


Do you own an affected phone? Ridiculous is my $800 year-old device stuttering like it was Android 1.5.


Yes, I own an iPhone 6 and it works fine. My battery is around ~75% health and I sometimes get underclocked, it's still fast enough for me though.


We must be getting completely different experiences then. I have a couple of friends with the same issues as mine, I know I'm not alone. It started immediately after upgrading to iOS 11.

Pulling down search on the home screen: freeze. Typing into search input: freeze. Unlocking from notifications screen: freeze. Freezes every two or three times an app is opened or closed. Screen transitions always stutter a little, Safari hangs, screen becomes unresponsive, sometimes it just starts draining battery and gets hot with no app running at all.

I think my mention of Android triggered some emotions here (many downvotes). My first smartphone was a Dell with 1.5 that ran horribly slow, around 2010. That one was really bad, couldn't even answer calls most of that time due to unresponsive UI, and is still my benchmark for bad experience. This iPhone is getting quite close.


For years individuals and the tech press have reported about the forced obsolescence of Apple devices, with many detractors claiming otherwise. It would appear that instead of "eating crow" they've decided to double down and are now parroting how this is "manufactured" or "overhyped".

Let's be clear: Apple knew that they were pushing the hardware of older devices so hard as to lead to premature expiration. Instead of being forthcoming about this, or reducing the unreasonable load they were placing on older hardware, they used software to throttle the older devices causing many consumers to buy a new (often iPhone) device as a response.

This is especially greedy and deceptive and Apple has earned every last bit of negative coverage (and then some).


It wasn't until I upgraded to ios 11 that my iphone 6 began shutting down at 30% battery. This coincided with the phone being completely unusable. I could not launch apps, using the message application was nearly enough to make me quit apple.


I'm curious about how much slimness people would be willing to give up for easy, cheap battery replacements for phones.

One could design a phone the thickness of the original iPhone that would be able to take AAA batteries.

8 AAA Eneloops have about the same energy as the batteries in iPhone 6s or iPhone 8, and just shy of an iPhone 7.

If one would accept a phone about 40% thicker than the original iPhone, 3 or 4 AA Eneloops would do it.

I was comfortable with the thickness of my original iPhone, so I would be willing to consider an AAA powered phone. I'd probably even be OK with AA--it would still be thinner than my wallet, which I have no problem with.


Just want to note that Samsung has made their phones thicker for the last 2 generations. It has directly resulted in much better battery life compared to their older phones and I don't think it has hurt sales at all. So maybe people don't really want the thinnest as much as apple likes to believe.


Personally I ditched my iPhone because the updates were forced and diligently increased the workload put upon the device. To what end? I don't know, the change logs were cryptic, God forbid allowing the end user selection of what aspects they want updated. Ultimately every update left you with a less functional device. They can say they didn't plan this obsolescence intentionally until the cows come home, but it doesn't matter, what matters is Apple was fucking up old devices and in turn pushed consumers into buying new devices. Intentional or no - fuck it, fuck the tax dodging, fuck the app store, fuck the developer-hostile platform, fuck the double-blended mocafrappachino cult following, fuck Apple. It's over priced tech-fashion and the masses are catching on.


So how long will getting a replacement battery take? Is this something that can be done in an Apple Store in a few minutes, or is it a matter of leaving/sending the phone away for a few days?


>A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

In my years of experience owning smartphones, since the original iPhone, and including a Samsung S4 (decommissioned last month - purchased in 2014). I have never experienced sudden shut off from an aging battery.

Have I been lucky or is this extremely rare?


You probably just don't run on an extremely low battery very often.

I have only experienced it when my device was displaying less than a 15% charge. It also helps if you practice good battery management, not leaving your phone plugged in all night/day.

I also have a theory that people are damaging their batteries more if they are a heavy user, while the phone is plugged in. If your phone is charging and you are playing a game my phone seems to get much hotter than at any other time.


You have been lucky.


"Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions."

I find this disturbingly vague. If the slowdown was strictly due to physical battery degradation (and I haven't heard what specific metric(s) they use to objectively measure age/wear), then replacement should instantly reset performance rationing back to its starting point.

They only say it "returns to normal when operated in standard conditions" without defining "standard conditions" and without saying how long it takes before they deign to allow you the performance you paid for.

Their official Battery & Power page[1] acknowledges none of this beyond a separate issue affecting only a two-month manufacturing window of September-October 2015.

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

And weren't there earlier iPhone models that weren't designed with user-replaceable batteries?


I assume they’re referring to some of the other things they talked about, like how performance maybe temporarily degraded if it’s extremely cold outside; not unlike how the phone may have to shut itself down in extremely hot temperatures.


On a related note, they have used underclocking so "solve" hardware flaws on other devices too. If anyone remembers the nVidia unleaded solder microfracture-fest of 2008~. It affected more than just Apple, but the difference is that Apple didn't admit to any issue with their hardware, people who experienced the failure and attempted to go through the Apple care hoops ended up with a logic board with the same issue (another time bomb). Apple pushed a firmware update to underclock all affected GPUs and effectively push the issue outside of their measly 1 year warranty.

I learned my lesson: you should only buy Apple hardware if you are happy with it as is, if you can't be certain it will remain that way and something goes wrong you have to accept that you will be ignored and Apple will admit to nothing, at the most they will remotely modify your device at whatever cost to the user to prevent them owning up and making replacements.


Apple apologizes for iPhone slowdown drama, will offer $29 battery replacements for a year

https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/28/16827248/apple-iphone-ba...


This seems like a thorough and good response, but look at what it took in order for it to happen! Apple cultivates a perception that they stand by their products, but you really can't count on that.

I've recently had a month-long (and ongoing) to-and-fro of Apple Care repairs to my late 2016 Macbook Pro. I have Apple Care, but it's been more than a month and they're okay with it having taken that long (and being ongoing). The solution to a repair not having fixed a problem is another round of the same tests as last time, followed by a repair that replaces another component. The crash report is easily findable on Google and seems to be a long-standing hardware issue, but Apple Support behave as though it's the first time they've ever encountered it.


I want the option to turn this off.

What Apple is saying in this media release is "pay us and we'll fix it".


All of Apple's battery problems would disappear if I could replace the battery in my device instead of being forced to chuck the whole thing because the battery will no longer take/keep a charge. Surely someone at Apple can design a device with a replaceable battery?


Apple needs to continue signing iOS 10. It is unacceptable that they have increased the software drain on power for normal activities beyond what supported hardware can run, and then when the problem is recognized not allowed downgrading to revert the experience.


That's a great response PR-wise, but it doesn't answer the question of why these batteries are degrading to a point where unexpected shutdowns are a concern in a single year. The iPhone 7 is only one year old. That just isn't OK.


People who constantly re-charge their batteries (more charging cycles) are more likely to have the problem.


A uniform answer to that question isn't possible. There are many different environments that batteries operate in and those environments produce wildly different results.


Design flaw. They use small batteries so there is absolutely no slack.


Perhaps. That could explain why other phone manufacturers don't do it.

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/12/28/16825288/...


My son's few-years old iPad (who knows what model since Apple stopped actually naming them) turned into a lagfest after the iOS 11 update. UI operations are choppy where they used to be smooth. Could it be the battery?

Samsung, under intense criticism from their Note 7 battery scandal, didn't increase battery capacity with their S8. Instead, they opted to take steps to greatly improve battery life (total capacity loss over time). Whilst I still think retaining 95% after a year is wildly optimistic, I'm happy with this change of focus (yes, I bought one).

PS. I noticed that Apple uses lifespan where I use life, and life where I use capacity. Verdict?


The whole thing just reveals Apple's bullshit. They oppose right to repair laws and block third party repair by denying them access to parts. The fact that despite all the obstruction and sabotage from apple, you can still get parts is a wonder in itself.

>Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

"Ofcource". Wow! How the heck is a user supposed to know this?

>We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible.

More BS. The iPhone is designed to be unrepairable.


How could iOS (definitely) detect if a battery is chemically degraded? If they slow down performance based on the "expectation" that device is old and it's battery _must have_ degraded, then it is obviously a slowdown for many unsuspecting users, whose batteries might be in fact absolutely fine. I have SE and never had any shutdowns; fortunately staying on 9.3.3, without any need nor desire to upgrade. I'd be utterly disappointed if next software update started to "manage" performance for me, suspecting old battery.


Charging and usage stats are logged so it should be pretty easy for Apple to spot the problem.


This is not limit to Apple iOS.

Android has this problem too. If you upgrade your 2 years old phone with the latest Android (if your phone manufacturer did happens to provide update), your phone is not responsive at all. I know, few years ago I updated my Note 1 to Lollipop and it was completely unusable. The good thing is the Note 1 has unlock bootloader and I was able to restore the older software.

Unfortunately, you cannot downgrade iOS. I wish I can as I am on 11.2 and the battery drain is crazy. 10% on idle. FU Apple.


My 6S was affected by the faulty batch of batteries, and it was a miserable experience to have my phone shut down unexpectedly at 40% if I was using it outside in ~60F or colder weather.

Apple replaced the battery once they admitted to the faulty batch, and my phone has been great since, but the way they handle battery issues is extremely frustrating. Going to an Apple Store and having them to their standard test, being told everything is fine and there's nothing they can do is not what I expect from them.


Finishing sentence says it all: "We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted."


That's exactly opposite of what they're doing, so it's a lie. They've just lost my trust, faith and support, and I've sold all of my Apple stock.


Coincidence that they waited till after Christmas to release this?


Everyone was having fun, eating and singing Mariah Carey. Christmas is over and moods are worse, so here's the good Santa Apple Claus is bringing you a gift. That's the logic behind this, I guess... ;)


Hopefully they chose to wait, so employees could spend time with family.


They could have begun the battery replacement plan/prices in the new year.


What would the non-coincidence reason be?



The news could have slowed upgrades to iPhone 8/X ahead of the holidays if buyers thought adding a battery could speed up their device.


But they already admitted such before Christmas: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/21/572538593...


> Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

Has Apple ever acknowledged battery replacement that explicitly? It's almost like the iPhone just grew a removable battery door with those words.

(Also, for those curious, I'm impressed to see that this has 466 comments only 3 hours after being posted.)


I'm happy with the outcome but I'm not buying their reasoning. It's forced obsolescence and they just got caught this time.