Apple Admits Slowing Down Performance of Older iPhone Models via Firmware Upgrades

Last Wednesday - December 20, 2017, Apple Inc. admitted - via statement issued to TechCrunch - that it indeed throttles the performance of older iPhone models through software updates to keep the devices running at optimum if they are powered by an aging battery that isn't up to par.

To quote the Cupertino Company, "Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components. 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." (source)

Essentially, this means that Apple limits the performance of these iPhones by smoothing out the peaks in processing power that their degraded battery packs could no longer support. So if you wonder why your old iPhone suddenly becomes laggy after a software update, this could very well be one of the explanations.

While Apple tried to sound well-meaning in implementing this over-the-air iPhone performance downgrade, many owners of these devices were downright enraged by the stunning disclosure.

In fact, two iPhone owners in California - Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas - have just brought a class action lawsuit against Apple, stating that the company's actions caused them to suffer "economic damages and other harm for which they are entitled to compensation. The two are now trying to get the case certified to cover all people in the United States who own an iPhone older than the 2017 models. (source)

If they win in court, I believe all owners of these iPhone models across the world should also do something to get the same compensation from Apple. It would be but fair.

Is Apple limiting the performance of these older iPhones to protect consumers or to force them to upgrade to the latest model?

I guess that's the one question that the world's most profitable tech company would have to answer in court. As a tech blogger and Apple fan, I'd love to see the scientific proofs that will be presented by both parties.

Anyway, now that this issue has been brought to light, I also want to know if other mobile industry giants are also doing the same thing, throttling the performance of their older smartphone releases through OTA firmware upgrades. Frankly, I'd be surprised if Apple is the only company that does this.

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