So people thought their phone was just old and slow and bought a new one, when they could have just replaced the battery and made it fast again.
Not only that but this is the second time Apple's being sued since they did the same thing to the 4 and 5. And the thing is, they pushed the update when they released the 6. I'm surprised (but not really) that they're still pulling this crap.
Then France should issue fines for every electronic device sold that had this functionality. Except that would have meant fines being issued for effectively every laptop, phone, and tablet sold in the last decade. What Apple did is a near-universal function in battery powered devices with powerful processors.
It'd be funny id Apple disabled this functionality in France, thus bricking many old phones, and tell the French that they made this change to comply with French regulators.
What irrationality, twisting everything to be some secret anti-US agenda than to just assume/see the obvious that the big players are the big offenders and they happen to be US players (for now).
Yes, go fine every other company that throttled processor clock rates when battery power supply was low. Apply the law equally and that would convince me that this isn't discriminatory enforcement.
The reality is that this would never be carried out, since effectively every phone, tablet, or laptop maker would be fined. Throttling processor clock rates when battery voltage is low is something that every good electronics manufacturer does. Because if they didn't your device would stop working when the battery is old, close to discharged, too cold, or more. By throttling clock rates, the phone still functions but with a slower clock rate. The user impact is strictly better (a slowdown vs. a crash or not even being able to boot). Every mobile device manufacturer did (and still does) do the same thing that Apple did to its iPhones.
It's not like many EU companies do that. And when they do, they also get fined, but they don't cry about it as much.
The argument that customers should have been notified of functionality that strictly improves the usability of the product doesn't make any sense. How does extending the usable life of the phone (even if it is less powerful during the end of the usable life) making consumers more likely to buy new phones? Apple had acknowledged that old batteries could not drive the processor at the highest clock rate long before this became newsworthy. Like I said: if Apple pushed an update removing throttling it would lay bare just how absurd these penalties are.
(BTW, laptops would report bad-battery condition usually, this is how you know you need a replacement, which is an easy operation with them.)
As far as ease of replacement goes, Apple prioritizes form factor over ease of service. Mercedes vs. Toyota.
Then this happened, I replaced the battery and kept it another 2 years. I replaced the battery again and now my wife has it.
Definitely was on the verge of replacing it.
Yes feature creep plays its part but this was a big deal.
Unless you had done the backups of your data yourself and wiped the installation of the machine, you were screwed. This is the same situation for iOS.
But regardless, this is not the point. The point is they misled people and let them think it was that the new OS was slow, but it was not! When you replaced the battery the phone became very noticeably faster.
A base install of Windows 98 was a hell of a lot slower than a base install of Windows 95. But that was mostly down to the IE4 integration. Once you installed IE4 on Win95 the two platforms were pretty similar.
That’s called design.
You have to make the decisions yourself. Customers are paying you to do that, not present them with a million checkboxes.
Apple deserves a lot of criticism but this is a complete non issue.
Having your phone slow down instead of shutting randomly down when the battery can’t supply the proper current is the best choice for the customer in pretty much every conceivable situation.
There are a lot of other decisions they are making on your behalf without warning you. And that’s how it should be.
"This thing is mysteriously slow, so I guess I'll get a new one" is much more profitable for apple, and more user hostile than "You're phone is slow because the battery is old. It' x% slower now than at purchase".
So in my view, it's a dark pattern.
It's simple. Don't hide what you're doing. Either a notice in the UI, or even a press release at minimum. Something.
The ones that change a feature after the phone is sold when that feature was prominently marketed to consumers is a safe minimum threshold for what you need to notify your customers of.
If they changed it after 6 months because of a battery design flaw, there would be a class action lawsuit for false advertising. Natural processes that all batteries exhibit that cause them to degrade are fine, and nothing to get up in arms about, but a third party "fixing" the problem for you without letting you know they did so (or giving you the option to opt out) is both not expected, and for many people, not wanted.
It's like buying some high-end car with a supercharger, and a few years later you take it in for a service and the service technicians "helpfully" disable your supercharger because it can sometimes cause problems in some circumstances now that the engine is more worn and the tolerances aren't as tight, but decide it's not worth telling you. That might be something you want, but ultimately you should get that choice.
> Because if what you propose goes into legislature there's a non-zero chance that will happen.
It's already covered. Apple was hit with a class-action about this very thing, and France is fining them, as this submission notes. That's it working as expected, and it hasn't stopped updates from rolling out (but it might have stopped some specific portions of updates that people wouldn't have liked, who knows).
Either companies are to be held accountable for what they say when they are selling you something, or they aren't. I prefer a world where they are.
Batteries degrade over time. That's expected. Processors don't process fewer instructions over time though, that's someone making a decision, rather than letting the natural laws of physics play out.
Is that really such a foreign concept? You've been sold something with promises, and those promises are subject to natural occurrences and common conceptions, which are that some things will physically degrade without any outside action. Outside action to change that but at the expense of something that would not normally degrade, when it's about something that was marketed for sale, should not happen without notification and in most cases the ability to opt out.
Don't change how sold features are handled after sale if it flies in the face of assumptions without taking care about letting people know and opt out. It's not really that complex. All it requires is actually respecting your customers.
What do you think the average user thinks when their older phone performs worse after an OS update? "Aha, I bet the vendor is throttling the performance to preserve battery life, which I can fix by replacing with a new battery, a repair process which the vendor makes clear and easy!"
This has not been my experience. I'm a technical iPhone user and I don't even research it this much, I just think "%#&* they updated the OS again and now my phone is slow again"
I wouldn't so arrogantly claim to know how consumers spend their money on technology.
It's what you normally do when the new phone comes out.
I did it with my iPhone 3G when they put the new iOS on it. It became barely usable and i got an iPhone 4.
That was real. The 3G was SLOW.
This time it was not real.
Not because they slowed it down, contrary to the headline.
The phones do "get slower" - and this is annoying af.
May be it should not be one-click, as it causes security issues and user must understand the implications. But there must be a way for official downgrade.
Given that the iPhone 4s can't run iOS versions past 2015's iOS 9, "now" would seem to be fairly relative. Also, I'm not sure I'd describe iOS upgrades as "one-click"; IIRC, you need to click through at least one screen telling you about the new OS and enter your passcode before the install. A lot of people probably do breeze through that without really understanding they're going through a major OS upgrade, but that's awfully hard to address. (People tend to just breeze past any boilerplate-text dialog unless it looks threatening and dire.)
I agree that Apple should make it much easier to downgrade the OS, though. (I'm not 100% sure it's even possible, although I think you may be able to do a clean install of an earlier version from iTunes if you've archived a backup.)
You can see Apple is only signing iOS 7.1.2 for the iPhone 4. For the iPhone X (iPhone10,3) they're signing 13.3.1 and one version below it, iOS 13.3. So you could still downgrade to that.
In practice, if you're currently on the latest version and you update to a new version as soon as it comes out, you can almost always downgrade back to what you just had. But of course, if you wait too long without downgrading and Apple stops signing the old version you want, you'll be stuck with what you got.
The batteries issue is obvious (as per this thread).
The Flash memory slows down over time with usage. For example the Nexus 7 slowed to a crawl because the flash in that device was especially prone to slowing down. It happens eventually to all flash (although I presume that Apple uses high quality flash that stays fast for longer).
> shooting blurry pictures
That's a very strange symptom.
Same with various iMac models I've owned that they refused to admit fault with until they were well out of warranty.
I was, literally, the legal rep to Apple for a company with 500m a year in sales, and they would still bullshit me like this. I literally, had so much authority I could buy every single product at South Coast Plaza and have it billed to my company, and Apple wouldn't let me pay to have my battery replaced.
Apple is not fundamentally honest.
If you put aside any fanboys and think the reasons why Apple did this behind the user backs:
- maybe the user won't notice and ask for a free battery replacement
- maybe the user feels that the phone is slow and buys a new one and Apple makes more money
- fixes the PR issues that phones close unexpectedly
Tell me any other reason Apple hid this from the users and from power users and the press(the issue is this thing was hidden and users did not know they had the right or option to get a new battery).
It's an option the user shouldn't have to deal with. I'd say it's in any user's interest to keep their device running in stable conditions rather than preserving a slightly higher clock speed at all costs and risking random shutdowns.
There's an old trick in software development, some of us learn it by example, others by experience: be conservative when rolling out performance improvements. If you have a feature you know will make things slower, pair it with changes to improve performance. If you make version 1.2 faster, and version 1.3 is as slow as 1.1, people will feel robbed (because performance is a feature and you just removed a new feature).
Pulling this off can be problematic unless you happen to work on both features. What if one slips to the next release? One of the perks of being a generalist and having some seniority is that you have a degree of control over such things, where others might not.
If Apple had wedded the clock throttling to a new major revision of the OS, people would hardly have noticed.
The iOS updates most notorious for slowing down iPhones were generally slower for a good reason. Most famously, iOS 8 introduced whole-disk encryption and the oldest compatible phones ran like crap.
I see this posted a lot and I honestly just don't buy it.
Processor power draw for most high-priority OS tasks (eg: keyboard input) are virtually zilch compared to keeping the screen lit for that much longer.
Everything says this happens to older phones, not phones with high usage. If you get the battery replaced--will Apple speed up the phone again? If I am on my iPhone 24/7 and constantly discharge down to 5% SOC, how come Apple doesn't slow down my phone more than someone with scarce use?
Even unreliable power draw makes no sense. You may be not able to predict the SOC from the OCV of the cell as accurately as SOH diminishes than when it's 100%, but cell phones largely use lithium cobalt oxides which have well-defined OCV:SOC curves! There should be no need to guess how close to a low SOC you are--you can just read the OCV.
Yes, and they did this to avoid a recall of millions of iPhones because the batteries were unable to provide necessary current for designed operation less than 2 years after purchase.
Then when they got caught, rather than issue a recall they instead offered replacement batteries at a discount from their normal price.
Basically they sold a defective product, hid it with a behavioral change after launch that encouraged users to upgrade, and when caught swindling people managed to convince everyone to instead pay them to fix the issue.
- Communicated via release notes that the newer iOS version may make their device slower to improve battery performance
- Allowed users to downgrade their iOS version if they want to
- Informed users that their batteries may have degraded, and can be replaced
- Gave users a toggle (buried away in settings, if need be)
- Admitted publicly that they're doing this instead of lying
I actually don't think Apple had malicious intentions, but I do think they deserve the criticism because their communication was so tremendously sloppy here. They deserve the fine because the sloppiness happened to benefit their bottom line and sell more phones. France has decided that this shouldn't be an excuse for Apple, nor any actually malicious company in the future, and wants this kind of thing disclosed to consumers before it's rolled out.
They also denied they were slowing down old phones for several years.
We know that throttling is real, and it has been well documented and was undoubtedly a communications failure of Apple, however it's remarkable how frequently throughout this discussion people are giving vague anecdotes about performance that should be easily verified and proven.
Sometimes, though, our old phones feel slow only in a relative sense. When you experience a newer device it does often suddenly make your old device that once seemed silky smooth and magically performant now look like a piece of crap. That's just the march of technology.
If their intent was customer happiness, they would have notified. But they didn't, and there was a lot of upgrade money to be had.
Yes, it happened a lot. Do a quick search on Google, reddit, wherever with, say, "iphone crash", "6S crash" and there will be thousands of articles and posts about it, many from 2016 and 2017 when this problem was most pronounced. Anecdata, I know, but I also had a 6S that shut down almost as soon as I took it out in the cold, or when some power-hungry app was launched, and it all went away with the battery replacement.
I suspect those replacement batteries were some kind of "old new stock" as it didn't really last all that long, it went pretty bad within a year.
To quote the regulator:
> were not informed that installing iOS updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) could slow down their devices [...] committed the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission" and had agreed to pay the fine.
This is kinda clickbait reporting from the BBC. Which depressingly has become more the norm in the last few years.
On the flip side, I have friends with Android phones that are 4 years old, and barely usable.
They are overvolting them and don't implement mechanisms to keep battery change using optimal levels.
Apple also pioneered the move to make batteries non-removeable (and other companies followed) most people are then forced to get new phone when battery gets bad.
Just not by the average user.
But in the same way you don’t have to trade your car in when it needs an oil change or new breaks, you don’t have to buy a new phone when the battery degrades. You can take it in for a non-prohibitive fee, or do it yourself for a little less if you’re a little more technical or adventurous.
Apple should just have phones in France run full clock at all times to comply with this regulation. These types of things don't recognize that phone design is a CONSTANT power management / speed tradeoff. If you demand things run 100% speed at all times - poof - your batter life is gone.
Doing it without telling users their batteries were expired and causing their phone to slow down was the wrong thing to do.
Whether that merits a $27m fine is debatable.
Why do I think it is important to be told? My old iPad has almost overnight slowed right down and it is unusable - utterly pointless using it. Why do you think that it slowed down? A new update? Maybe. Or maybe it is the battery. Let me go check... yes, the battery has an issue. Only because I know where to check means that I know how to resolve the issue. And I know that the battery replacement cost will be ridiculously expensive. If I didn't know this then I would buy something else. That's pretty bad.
Someone should tell that to Apple, throwing devices and buying new ones their strategy when the same devices can easily be repaired but repairing things is not encouraged by Apple.
I used the original Pixel for 3 and a half years and at this point it's gotten completely unbearable to use. If it wasn't so I wouldn't have felt forced to upgrade to a phone lacking the features I wanted. Maps takes half a minute to load, the share dialogue is O(n) since the list of targets is regenerated every time you open it, the screen runs at 30FPS or something, taking pictures has several seconds of delay between shutter presses and a quarter of them come out as a solid green, and there's just general slowness of several seconds on nearly every app. And that was after I downgraded to LineageOS from Android 10, when I was getting four hours of standby time (!) and a hole burnt in my pocket.
The thing was as smooth as the OnePlus 7 Pro I'm using now at the time I got it. It was criticized at the time for being overly expensive and an iPhone clone. And now, using it in 2020 feels like using a $20 knockoff device. It was released in 2016. Three years isn't terribly long in the span of human life - at this rate I'll have to buy about 17 new phones if I live another 50 years just to be able to use them at a bearable level of performance. (Certainly a lot of potential money to be extracted for the manufacturers.)
Three years later I'll have to remember this post to see if this still holds true for this new phone.
Also there are practical reasons for this besides social ones (the insistence that OS and hardware refreshes are pushed out yearly or so at the cost of increased CPU and battery usage for existing devices). Flash memory has a limited lifespan and I would imagine it's incredibly cumbersome to replace. It's one of those things where you would just buy a new phone with the money it would cost.
Reusability in the phone market is severely lacking. I run Linux on a ThinkPad manufactured a decade ago and have zero issues running 2020 software. You can't realistically expect to do the same on a smartphone that old. PostmarketOS can't become polished soon enough - I just need to be able to make calls and can't do so using it yet.
The specs are perfectly sufficient to run anything modern. Granted, I don't play games. But browsing, navigating, chatting, watching silly videos, they all work flawlessly. So far, the battery has been holding up, too, even though I use dashcharge all the time.
So that's just that, two data points. I do believe a lot of people could probably fix their phones by hard reset or using Lineage — in turn, that puts the burden on the OEMs to produce good OSs for long-term use. They don't want to, obviously. I don't think the mobile market is FUBAR, but I do agree it's not in the best state. That's not due to the phone per se, it's due to the ridiculous vendor/OS situation we're in with Android.
And don't get me started on security patches…
I did have an awful experience with the original Google Nexus phone and its updates.
Having to install LineageOS just to be able to keep using it invalidates the "first-party" argument though.
Replaceable batteries come with their own trade-offs, namely water intrusion through failing seals. I'd rather pay occasionally for someone skilled to replace the battery than replace the entire phone after a drop in the sink.
These phones were unusable with the throttling. I switched to Android because my iPhone 6 was unusable less than 3 years after getting it.
This is like saying that an appropriate fix for a car manufacture is to limit the maximum speed of a car to 25 miles per hour. It breaks so many use cases that the car becomes worthless.
Would you prefer the car simply turn off entirely while driving at highway speeds? Because phones with this issue would turn off entirely below certain charge levels, when the batteries had this issue.
A more appropriate analogy would be that your car's fuel pump could randomly fail at highway speeds when below 1/2 tank, so the manufacturer just started arbitrarily limiting the car to drive 25mph to avoid the pump shutting off, when it detected this issue.
Point being, the real problem is not the mitigation they employed, but the fact that they didn't tell users in any way, users just saw a slower phone (equivalent to a slower car.) If my car detected a fuel pump issue for me and said "Fuel pump needs replacing, car is limited to 25mph when below half-tank to avoid catastrophic failure, please take to service center", it would be acceptable. Arbitrarily limiting to 25mph without any indication why, not so much.
Unlike a car, a phone doesn’t pose a threat to my safety so I’d like to at least turn the throttling on/off according to my needs - given that Apple provides accurate information about the implications.
In retrospect throttling might look like a good idea, but back then it was outright bizarre.
Some people were already suspecting that older models don’t get along with newer software, but there was no certainty.
I remember I avoided some iOS updates without being sure it’s helping my phone - all until Whatsapp (or some other critical app) stopped working and I had to upgrade.
This Apple situations has a good analogy in car industry history: the Ford Pinto.
Speaking of car industry, Apple might have gone through a cost-benefit analysis reminiscent of the Pinto Memo.
Ford converted the likely injuries and deaths that would be caused by an unfixed issue into a dollar amount, and the compared that dollar amount to the cost of fixing the flaw in every vehicle.
Apple might have done the same sort of cost-benefit analysis: as in, just let the throttling cover up the flaw so the phone doesn't abruptly shut off, and then we only have to deal with the lower cost that comes from any complaints about performance, from those who notice.
If the vehicle's age is only the equivalent of a phone being two or three years old, I would prefer a real fix, free of charge, in addition to any safety mitigation. I wouldn't want the mitigation to be regarded as the fix.
People have decade-old phones that aren't throttled and still have usable battery life at the same time.
Nobody’s saying their initial fix wasn’t flawed, I’m only saying that “throttling is bad” is an ill-thought-out knee-jerk reaction.
So, Apple could instead have had a "battery EOL" warning, sold batteries and specs to 3rd party market, and ensured batteries were easily replaceable.
Oh, why didn't they do that I wonder, maybe because they've spent the last decade making their stuff hard to repair and ensuring parts aren't available in order to encourage upgrades instead of repairs? Surely not, not Apple, they hate sacrificing the welfare of others for the sake of their profit!
If the idea that Apple would rig this didn't fit perfectly in the rest of their narrative then perhaps the judgement wouldn't have come.
It’s been established many times, my argument is not about their initial response, but what they implemented in the next iOS version. A battery control center that tells you your battery’s health, a warning when it’s in bad enough shape that it’s being throttled and needs replacing, the ability to control whether it’s throttled, and a recall/replacement program for affected models.
The initial fix was to throttle the phones, but we all (including myself) agree that was insufficient. But I also believe engineering resources are finite, and I have trouble believing apple would have been able to do the whole control center/notification thing as the first emergency fix.
I thought that instead of telling people they'd just underclocked all the systems secretly?
Do you have a reference for what the on-screen warnings looked like?
I don’t know why this is so hard to understand: their initial response was wrong, but they corrected it. Everyone who says “why didn’t they do X” is ignoring that they did the right thing, eventually.
Implementing the battery control panel the first time would have been the best route, but developing such a thing takes time, and with sudden shutdowns happening for a large percentage of customers, they did a stopgap that was questionable. Is it really so evil to make a quick hack at first and make a better solution in a software update? I feel like the whole industry does this.
Can't us computer people just agree to stop using car analogies?
And good luck getting operating system updates after only two years on Android.
Crucially, I never once left it plugged in all night - I believe not constantly fully charging the battery massively extends the useful life.
Which is the bigger problem here. iOS devices are completely impossible to downgrade, so if an update slows down your phone, you're stuck.
It's hugely wasteful. iOS isn't substantially more capable than it was five years ago—why is it so much heavier?
France fines Apple €25 million for slowing iPhone software
France's consumer watchdog slapped on the fine two years after Apple admitted its iOS software slowed down the performance of older phones.
Then a huge photo.
The failure to notify thing is fine - Apple should notify folks that
a) they may be using a non-apple battery if they can detect that - was a common scam to replace the battery with a junker just before resale to show full battery for those checking
b) showing battery life for batteries they know are legit
c) warning users (and/or giving the user an option) to extend battery life by running phone slower.
It'd be funny if the US turned around and started fining French electronics that have this same functionality - it'd lay bare the double standards being applied here.
Where do I collect my $27M?
It's also a bit nefarious that the slowdown coincided with a new product launch, so side-by-side comparisons show that the new devices are much, much "faster" than the old ones (which were slowed down without any notification). It's borderline fraudulent.
Good thing we've got people like you standing up for the trillion dollar companies of the world, though. They really need your help.
They could've given users the choice to enable that "protection" from the beginning or leave it off at the end, but instead they chose to implement something that looks suspiciously like it was designed to make people replace their devices way prematurely. We call that planned obsolescence and I believe in France it is illegal.
I don't buy this for a second. They've been throttling devices for many years and conveniently never mentioned it or built features that allowed control of it until they were forced to. It was always their fallback excuse in the event they got caught.
Their next strategy is building hardware that forces devices to constantly hold full battery charges at all times so it kills the (un-replaceable) battery faster which leads to a faster re-purchase (i.e. airpods).
Is there a statement from them to this point ? I couldn't find it in the article.
But this isn't the point anyway really.
The users were not told.
> IPhone owners were not informed that installing iOS updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) could slow down their devices
This means that the users would definitely just assume their phones were now in need of upgrade.
Also as for the trade-off between performance and optimisation, thats fine. That was there previously also.
I'm sort of conflicted about the fine hitting now, as a result. If they were still being intransigent about the issue, sure, but they've already fixed it...
It seems right to me. It's a relatively small fine; Apple makes a few hundred Euros in profit per phone. I'm not sure how many iPhones are in France, but I'd venture to guess this is less than 2 Euros per device.
My 2015 MacBook Pro has the issue of shutting down or turning off when still at 20% or 30% battery and I find it immensely frustrating (I assume it’s a similar issue of an old battery not being consistent). I’d much rather it be throttled and be reliable.
Almost no other line of phones has this issue.
It is amazing how people twist this situation to make Apple the hero for saving "old" phones.
The phones absolutely did not behave like that when new. And, if the battery is replaced, they go back to their original performance.
"Less than a year after release, iOS 12 has reached 88% of all active iOS devices" 
By contrast, Android has an insane amount of fragmentation, though the link is outdated, at the time, Marshmellow 6.0 had the most users, at 16.9% of all Android users, while Android 9 had just 10.4% (this was 10 months after Android 9 had been released) 
I know this comparison isn't perfect by any means. Apart from the differing time frames, Android has more use cases than just mobile devices. Nonetheless, the difference is staggering.
Preventing ecosystem fragmentation is well and good, but it's orthogonal to publicizing that the OS does CPU throttling on devices with batteries whose power delivery is compromised by age, and making clear that a cheap battery replacement will do as much to solve that problem as an expensive new phone will.
(I do my own refurbs, so I can vouch from experience for a battery replacement solving throttling. There's no deliberate derating of older devices qua older devices that I can see, but it's reasonable that people believe there is, because Apple has done a terrible job of making clear what's actually going on. One of many cases where their habitual allergy to transparency has harmed them and their userbase alike; it's hard to blame kremlinologists for being kremlinologists when that's the only way to try to figure out what the hell your company is doing.)
11.3 in March of 2018 added the override UI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_11#11.3
Or to encourage users spending $500-$1,000 to upgrade their slowing devices.
>Apple should just have phones in France run full clock at all times to comply with this regulation.
Why does tech always seem to have the attitude of "we know whats best for you" and if you challenge us we will make things as bad as possible just to prove our point? Is there not a common sense approach of giving users the ability to throttle their own devices to manage power/battery trade-off?
With modern power management, the system constantly makes decisions on throttling up and down at the sub-millisecond level, balancing performance, power usage, battery lifetime and thermal constraints which affect component lifetimes. There are probably hundreds of combinations of criteria it uses to decide what to do and when.
This has nothing to do with Apple versus Android or open versus closed. All modern phone systems do this, the Android device makers face exactly the same issues. There isn't a single modern smartphone on the market that doesn't throttle the CPU in order to preserve device lifetime, because that's a big part of what thermal management is about. It's why people overclocking their CPUs are taking a risk. That running older batteries hotter and harder degrades them rapidly and risks device outages is simply a fact of physics. Painting these practices as 'planned obsolescence' is, frankly, incredibly ignorant.
I can try to start this conversation with my grandmother, but as soon as I say "throttling," her eyes glaze over - and just says "can you do it for me?"
Apple is trying to cut out that middleman. Even Android is getting on the "smart battery management" AI train, as no one outside of experts wants to do this.
And what do you mean - ‘make things as bad as possible to prove our point’? Where is that coming from?
Though it’s not like companies are in the habit of communicating their CPU scheduling strategy to their customers. The customers don’t care nor can the comprehend that information.
It still boggles my mind how many people I know refuse to get batteries replaced. The price is totally reasonable from all manufacturers, way more so than plunking down another $700 on a phone. They just want a new phone at that point because who doesn’t like new things? In a lot of ways Apple was responding to customer behavior - customers allow their phones to limp along with cracked screens and dead batteries and Apple was essentially helping them do so for as long as possible without disruptions, but it also looks like planned obsolescence.
A lot of the people who essentially say that a random shutdown due to lack of supplied voltage is preferable to throttling are flat out wrong.
Agreed. My iPhone SE running iOS 13 has randomly shutdown (I guess due to cold? In London, and in my jeans pocket?) about a dozen times in the last 2 months. It's really annoying. I'd much rather throttling. Apparently, this is what Apple does already though, just not well enough it seems.
Battery health is marked as 88% and peak performance capable though, so yay?
I think nobody’s talking about publishing their actual scheduling or CPU throttling algorithm, just about saying "we're slowing the phone down to save battery life, which it seems nearly everybody would understand.
There’s no conspiracy here. This was almost certainly just a well-intentioned part of their power management design that affected the performance of older phones more than anyone in a position of leadership intended or realized.
Bug report comes in: phone shuts down unpredictably when the battery is aged. Engineer see the issue, tweaks some values to make sure the peak power draw is kept in check when voltage drops, closes bug. How anyone who’s ever worked as an engineer in a large organization thinks this was some intentional decision to sell a handful more phones at the cost of upsetting customers is a mystery to me.
Nobody is perfect. Apple is far better than most.
It would be the same if an ISP silently slowed a user's internet when detecting their ISP provided router is getting flacky. That's not the right way of handling this, users should be warned of the issue so they can act accordingly, and not stay in the dark until someone discovers the hack.
Case in point, when Apple explained the issue and their hack, people got way more interested in checking the state of their battery (wether they were affected or not), and there was a rush to replace used up batteries.
I tried to replace mine 2 months after the announcement, there was still a 3 weeks backlog of replacements.
Also to note: those phones were still turning off in some circumstances. It wasn't like Apple's hack completely removed the need to replace the faulty battery.
What part of this sentence did you not understand?
It's about WARNING the user before they do the upgrade so they 1) know what will happen and 2) know how they could fix it.
You do lose X horsepower every 1000 miles. You get it back with your tuneup. Which involves changing the oil.
You lose X MHz every Y% of battery discharge capacity lost. You get it back with your tuneup. Which involves changing the battery.
You don't need to detune maliciously to get the effect Apple is getting here. The system just needs to self-calibrate to a depleting battery... Which is super good for the battery because it won't actually get worse as fast. Discharge cycles, especially close to the discharge limit, puts strain on cells, which have voltage sag closer to end of life.
Again, this is all semantics. The whole point is apple never told people they were throttling. And you've got two groups saying "Oh they are so nice, they did it so you could keep using your phone, how nice of them" and then the "my phone is slow I guess I need to buy a new one".
My iPhone X is 3 years old, and feels just as fast as when it was new.
If you want a reference that proves that NAND performance degrades over write cycles: then I will only list one, but there are hundreds, at least.
But is there any evidence that translates into an appreciable impact on device performance?
Perhaps it doesn’t, and this is why nobody is talking about it.
Would you guess, this is actually what's happening.
ECUs constantly adjusts for current conditions (EGR, variable gem turbo, o2/fuel ratio, fuel inlet timing, combustion timing, variable cam timing and phase, knock sensor...). As the engine is used, wear makes its performance degrade over time, and the ECU adjusts in real time for that. Maintenance such as timely oil change mitigate that, some parts may have to be replaced at some point (from spark plugs to turbo), and over time the engine itself wears out.
Here's a very specific example: all those cars with hypermiling downsized engines turbocharged to compensate perform brilliantly, but when the turbo is dead they can barely crawl themselves in 1st gear. In less extreme situations, turbo wear will put you relatedly anywhere within that [perfect, broken] range, and the ECU will do its best to compensate, unbeknownst to you.
It's more like, "Imagine if for reduced horsepower when your engine was at risk of overheating, and would not function properly at the standard horsepower".
But I still think they should have implemented this how it is now (being able to turn it off). And inform the users that their phone is being slowed down. I can‘t tell if this was an oversight or deliberately done so users would switch to a new phone. To me a slower phone is better than s crashing or no phone but if I don‘t know why it‘s getting slower I‘m probably more tempted to buy a new phone instead of replacing the battery.
IMHO, Apple’s “crime” here is bad communication.
And battery replacement has been made to be as inconvenient as possible. 15 years ago, swapping the battery was a 15-second task that required no tools. Pull off the backing, pull out the battery, push in a new battery. Before Apple's response to bad press, it was $80 to have a battery swapped. Aftermarket kits were $30, so that is $50 on labor and markup. $50 to do what used to take 15 seconds by an untrained user.
This is a problem of Apple's making, by their design decisions.
The same can be said of SSD media. It's well-known that flash memory is under-provisioned to allow for inevitable degradation: Defective sectors are flagged and re-mapped. This so that your 500GB SSD still has 500GB in 5 years.
This can be applied to battery tech as well. However, that would require either thicker, heavier phones, or less run-time between charges.
I would say Apple's "crime" is producing hardware where one particular component has a well-known failure mode that makes the entire device virtually useless after 3 years of moderate to heavy use.
Next thing they will be telling phone companies what types of cords to use....
No they didn't. The software updates didn't properly work on phones with the older batteries, so this was their work around. The options they had were: 1. not allow the updates on those phones, 2. allow the updates and have users deal with potentially having the phones shut down. 3. Offer battery upgrades. 4. Jerry rig a hack to deal with it.
They went with the most subversive option. They were not being benevolent here.
Apple were silent about this for many years and were pressured to put the option to disable this in. This is what is important. They were happy to be silent and let users feel like the only option was to upgrade to have a fast phone. And since it's not feasible to replace batteries on older phone, everything was stacked in Apple's favour.
> users feel like the only option ...
A fine is fair because people jumped to conclusions because of the proximity in time of an OS release and a new product release? No, that's called a conspiracy theory.
If people had convinced themselves this was a ploy to sell more phones, then why on earth would they go back to Apple for another round?
I think it's in everyone's best interest for Apple to have been more transparent, but there was not a shred of proof of intention of harming users, and they ran a battery replacement program likely at a loss for a year.
They believed their phones were obsolete, which it turns out they weren’t as it was in fact Apple who had slowed down the CPU to save power and made a decision not to inform users this was happening.
I believe the consequence of this was those users feeling they needed to upgrade sooner that what would have been. That is my subjective take on it.
Google Trends has shown that there is a spike in people searching for ‘iphone slow’ at the same time there is an iOS release.
While not causation, it is certainly correlated that people are perceiving a slow iphone when Apple release new software. Turns out the cause may have been Apple slowing down the phone in those updates.
I'm not seeing the crime notice on https://www.apple.com/fr/. Where do I go to see this thing?
The disclaimer states :
Au cours du mois de décembre 2017, le procureur de la République du tribunal de grande instance de Paris a été destinataire d’une plainte émanant d’une association de consommateurs. Cette plainte vise le groupe Apple, pour des faits qui auraient notamment consisté en la diffusion de mises à jour du système d’exploitation iOS entraînant un ralentissement de certains iPhones, sans en avoir préalablement averti les clients et utilisateurs.
Au terme de son enquête, le Service National des Enquêtes de la DGCCRF estime que le groupe Apple a commis le délit de pratique commerciale trompeuse par omission (article L. 121-3 du code de la consommation) en ne révélant pas aux consommateurs et utilisateurs, la présence d’un système de gestion dynamique de l’alimentation inclus dans les mises à jour d’iOS à partir de la version 10.2.1 et pouvant, sous certaines conditions, ralentir le fonctionnement des iPhones des catégories 6, 7 et SE, en particulier ceux équipés de batteries âgées. Un procès-verbal de délit a été adressé au procureur de la République.
Avec l’accord du procureur de la République, une amende transactionnelle significative a été proposée à la société Apple Inc. qui l’a acceptée.
Apple has already made the settings for all of this much more apparent, which seems like the outcome that actually helps customers here.
It fixed the sudden shut down issue for me that was driving me insane. The shut downs were unpredictable and rendered my phone unusable until it was plugged in to charge.
It would have been better if Apple acknowledged the sudden shut down issue in the first place, rather than rolling out this secret fix.
They denied all knowledge when I took my iPhone 6 in for service, and refused to replace the battery as it was still showing more than 80% of its original capacity.
"Man in California fined 15cents over parking dispute"
We've all now got houses full of IoT devices (Smart TVs, Webcams, etc.) that have serious security problems and don't get proper updates because the vendors lack incentive. This is a disincentive, and totally the wrong way to go.
A choice between telling customers you'll slow down their phones because <technical explanation nobody gives a shit about> and silently making their phones work better in a way that's likely to generate clickbait outrage if it gets out is one between a rock and a hard place. Companies do so much shit behind consumers' backs, and so many hardware vendors drop software support on ridiculously short timelines, that this feels wrong. Very legal and very cool, sure, but just barking up the wrong tree in terms of focus on good outcomes for consumers.
My wife's iPhone got throttled, and it felt really bad to use. This wasn't some small hit to performance that you can just do without informing the customer.
> As part of the agreement, Apple must display a notice on its French-language website for a month.
> It says Apple "committed the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission" and had agreed to pay the fine.
I am unable to find this notice on Apple's French-language website.
: https://www.apple.com/fr/, https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https...
Edit/Disclaimer: I'm not saying such a demand is reasonable or agreeing with the decision; however, I'm curious as to whether Apple will comply.
What I’m unhappy about is that iOS 13 broke a few things in Safari that have affected its stability. Double-tap to zoom is incredibly unreliable now and it worked perfectly for years. There’s some weird caching going on and some rendering issues, so sometimes a site will get stuck in a weird broken state that re-navigating or refreshing won’t fix. Have to exit Safari and reload it to fix.
The email client now has a huge amount of white space at the bottom with all of the features like Mark as Read bundled under the reply arrow.
And text selection is complete crap now. Selecting text in the url bar just defaults to highlighting the entire url and it takes 5-10 taps just to get a cursor. And in regular text, it’s impossible to see where the cursor is BECAUSE ITS UNDER MY THUMB. The old magnifying glass was a way better UI.
I think that's reasonable. I doubt many people would've cared if Apple had TOLD us that's what they were doing, and also made it an switch. "Hey you can slow down your phone so the battery lasts longer now that you've upgraded" or something like that. It still feels like they made a deliberate choice to not let us know what they were doing so we'd buy new phones.
It’s just a few dozen of bucks to change a battery, and people did it in droves when Apple told what they were doing.
Therefore, it makes sense that patches curving or throttle performance are made transparent to the consumer. If anything, these patches should ask for permission from the user and toggle-able via settings. Performance was promised.
If the "wear and tear" argument of batteries aging is true, they should be made replaceable. If an item is subject to wear and tear - it should be serviceable, not soldered.
It would be pretty ridiculous to have a firmware update for a car that makes it use more gas, in hopes they'll buy a new one. Especially if it was snuck in.
Maybe we need a regulatory bureaucracy to audit software patches and wire refunds when performance advertised degrades.
Perhaps the cost of the electronic should be held in escrow by the regulatory authority, made into a security for the model of the unit, and only vest to Apple/Lenovo/etc based on a timespan. That escrow can subsidize the cost of a $1000 soldered logic board replacement on their own balance/tab.
Or they could just make the units serviceable from the outset. The path of least resistance.
That way, it incentivizes honesty and success for businesses like Apple by tying their products to sustainability. Them being all about the environment: https://www.apple.com/environment/.
I’m not arguing for or against Apple being fined. It’s just such a pointlessly trivial amount for Apple as to be totally meaningless.
They are expected to fine a standard amount based on a certain case and this amount should be big enough for all companies to avoid the thing in future, but at the same time not bankrupt the company either.
I'll see if it starts shutting down while on battery power, I want that power and control over something so basic about my device. This HN thread has done what Apple should have in the first place: disclose.
Every phone I've had since then I've switched from on my own schedule, never forced to by slowness like my one iPhone.
My 11 Pro is at 96% and it is only a few months old.
Lithium battery degradation is a chemical fact; it happens as reliably as, say, car brakes do with use.