A user of Reddit shared a few days ago a post that immediately caught the attention of the community. According to his experience, his iPhone 6s was slower than his brother’s iPhone 6 Plus. After investigating the network, he decided to change the battery of his terminal and noticed how his performance improved significantly. With the passing of days, the story has evolved and deserves to take a closer look.
An iPhone with lower performance than it should
My iPhone 6s has become very slow these past weeks and after the successive updates, it was still slow. I could not understand why, I just thought that iOS 11 was horrible. Then I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus and it was, faster than mine? I made some inquiries and decided to change the battery to mine. His level of wear was around 20%. I did a Geekbench test that gave as scores 1466 in single core and 2512 in multi core .It did not matter if I had the low power mode on or off. After changing the battery, I did the test again to check if it was a placebo. No. [It resulted] 2526 single and 4456 multi core . As far as I’m concerned, Apple slows down its phones when its battery degrades too much, so you can have a full day of charging.
This is the beginning of the TeckFire user story, which you can read in full in this thread. The prints collected by him were put to the test by John Poole of Primate Labs, a company known for the Geekbench benchmark , a popular tool for evaluating the processing power of a smartphone. Poole has carried out a data collection on different iPhone models using different versions of iOS to check if there was any truth in it.
As he says in the analysis, “the distribution of iPhone 6s scores under iOS 10.2.0 shows a clear peak around the average”. However, as can be seen in Figure 2, there is a distribution with small peaks far from the average when it comes to iPhone 6s with iOS 10.2.1, a few peaks that become even more pronounced with iOS 11.2.0. Repeating the same tests for the iPhone 7:
As you can see, the iPhone 7 has a very similar distribution with iOS 10.2.0 and iOS 10.2.1. But when you look at the graph of iOS 11.2.0 it starts to look like the iPhone 6s we’ve seen before. The conclusion that is circulating most in the network at the moment is this: that Apple is reducing the performance of some iPhone on purpose to force users to renew the terminal.
However tempting this theory may be to reinforce the narrative of programmed obsolescence, it is wrong. The real explanation is much more logical, although Apple has room for improvement when it comes to alerting the user and being more transparent. We return, then, to the batteries.
iOS 10.2.1 and the iPhone that went out suddenly
With iOS 10.2.1, Apple made improvements to reduce unexpected shutdowns that a small number of users were experimenting with their iPhone. iOS 10.2.1 is already found in more than 50% of the active iOS devices and the diagnostic data that we have received from the updated devices show that for this small percentage of users who experienced the problem, it has been reduced by more than 80% on the iPhone 6s and more than 70% on the iPhone 6.We have also added the ability to the phone to restart without the need to connect to power, if a user continues to find an unexpected closure. It is important to keep in mind that these unexpected shutdowns are not a security problem, but we understand that it can be an inconvenience and we wanted to solve the problem as quickly as possible. If a customer has a problem with their device, they can contact AppleCare.
iOS 10.2.1 is just the version we saw in the previous graphics that marked a before and after in the iPhone 6s (but not in the iPhone 7). At the same time, this version introduced in the section Settings> Battery a notice about the health status of a battery. The famous message “The iPhone battery may have to be repaired“:
When performing diagnostics in iOS, we have detected that it is possible that the battery of your iPhone must be replaced. When a battery has little remaining life, the charge and the ability to provide power are reduced. As a result, the battery will need to charge more frequently and your iPhone may experience unexpected shutdowns.
Everything indicates that iOS 10.2.1 was a version that introduced a new way to manage the battery of the iPhone. One in which Apple has decided that before a degraded battery, it is more important to prolong the autonomy of the terminal by reducing its performance instead of maintaining its power and that the battery is consumed before. And this is where we connect with the user experience of Reddit and many other users.
This could be the cause of some users experiencing worse performance on their devices and not so much because of the optimization of iOS 11 for models with the A11 Bionic chip with which it has been previously speculated.
Solution to the problem: notify the user of what happens
Batteries suffer wear and tear over time and with use. It will be more or less intense depending on how aggressive we are with our device. It is known as the battery cycle when it is used until it is completely empty. It does not have to be followed for the load cycles to be counted, that is, I can spend it a little and reload it, but when it consumes the load that was left before, an entire cycle will have been completed.
The durability of a battery is measured in how many of these charging cycles it is able to maintain a reasonable level of total charge, generally 80%. The one on an iPhone has about 500 charging cycles during which it should maintain 80% or more of its factory capacity under normal conditions of use (a battery can degrade faster if exposed to high temperatures).
Apple has decided to solve the problem of some less current terminals by reducing their performance, so that the user can use your iPhone for longer. And as we have seen, it does so at the expense of the device’s performance. Apple’s mistake here is not telling the user what is happening with your device and reducing performance without notifying or offering solutions. Even more strange when this is a practice that does in their portable Mac (in fact, changing the battery to your Mac can improve their performance too).
Hiding the status of your battery in a setting of your device has given rise to the current confusion. A situation that could have been avoided with a simple pop-up of the system in the devices that suffer the degradation of the battery.
What can I do if I notice that my iPhone is slow
As we have seen throughout the article, a sudden drop in performance can be caused by a deterioration of the battery. Before going to an Apple Store, you can download one of the multiple apps that measure the status of your battery, such as Battery Life or the legendary Coconut Battery of the Mac (you will need to connect your iPhone to the Mac with Lightning cable).
If you see that the health of your battery is below 80% and you notice that your iPhone is slower than normal, it is very likely that both are related . If you have questions, you can check if your iPhone has effectively lost performance in the following way. Download the Geekbench 4 app from the App Store, it costs 1.09 euros. Execute the CPU benchmark as shown in the following image with the red arrows:
Next, go to the Geekbench website and look for your iPhone model and select a test performed as close as possible to the launch date of that model. That is, if it is an iPhone 6s Plus, you must select a test done at the end of 2015. When you have it, compare the scores of the web with those obtained by your device through the app. You can perform several tests if you prefer.
The normal thing is that the scores are not exact. But if you see that there is a negative variation of more than 10%, you can be sure that your iPhone has reduced its performance due to the battery. The best solution arrived at this point is to go to an Apple Store to check it and replace the battery if you consider it necessary.
If your iPhone is within the warranty, you will not have to pay anything. Otherwise, it’s 89 euros for the replacement service and the new battery. You can check the conditions here . It is possible that Apple will release a free repair program, so we recommend saving the receipt for possible reimbursement.