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Apple admits it slows down old iPhones, faces legal battle

Apple has dropped the bombshell that it worked to slow down the performance of older iPhones as their batteries failed.

The iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and iPhone SE are all affected, Apple admitted.

The company is now facing a legal battle after copping to the long-rumoured function, as users say Apple did not have buyers’ permission to purposefully slow down performance and slower iPhones led to more owners purchasing the latest models.

In these court documents, laywers allege that users “notice that their older iPhone models slow down when new models come out”.

Until now, the idea that Apple deliberately slowed the performance of phones lay somewhere between an urban myth and an open secret.

It was assumed among iPhone afficianados that the company wanted to sneakily encourage users to upgrade to their latest devices.

Assault on battery

Addressing these concerns, Apple explained that when an iPhone battery begins to degrade, it is not able to supply enough current to the phone to allow charging to take place. When this happens the phone can shut down without warning.

The company said it first introduced the feature on the iPhone 6 to stop sudden shutdown and reboot and extend the life expectancy of its smartphones.

Safety, not profit

Despite staying schtum for years, Apple has instead pitched the solution as a safety feature instead of an underhanded marketing technique.

A spokesperson for Apple told The Guardian: “Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions.

“We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”

Two Americans, Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Peas, have lodged a claim for compensation, saying they were not given the option to choose whether their iPhone performance suffered as a result of degraded batteries.

They are asking for compensation from Apple for the drop in value of their iPhones due to the intentional slowdown, as well as asking for replacement devices from the company.

Apple has not commented on this latest development.

MAIN IMAGE: Laura LaRose/CC BY 2.0


Tom is a tech journalist and Editor at
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