It isn't necessarily surprising when people with older editions of Apple's iPhone claim that it's running slower than the newer ones; that being said, it came as a surprise to many when Apple issued a statement confirming that it is slowing down older iPhones to Tech Crunch. It isn't often that Apple releases statements at all, let alone statements of this nature, but recent online discussion about the speed of older iPhones — particularly on a now viral Reddit thread and tweet — prompted a lot of iPhone users to look more closely into the phenomenon. Although a lot of users were concerned that this might be a way to subtly motivate people to buy the newer, more expensive models of the iPhone, Apple's statement dispels that belief by claiming that the lower speeds are to prevent damage to batteries in iPhones with lower capacities. Update: According to TMZ, a California man has reportedly filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, claiming Apple allegedly slowed down older iPhones without properly letting users know. Bustle has reached out to Apple and will update this post upon response.
Earlier: Here's Apple's full statement to Tech Crunch on the matter below:
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.
The revival of this discussion was prompted by a post on reddit on Dec. 10 by TeckFire, labeled "PSA: iPhone Slow? Try Replacing The Battery!" in the iPhone subreddit. In the post, the user details concerns with their iPhone 6S running slowly — particularly after they used their brother's iPhone 6 Plus and discovered it appeared to be running much faster. After testing the speed on Geekbench, they discovered that, upon replacing the phone's battery, it seemed to achieve full speed again.
On Dec. 20, a tweet pointing out similar issues went viral when a user compared the CPU Frequency on their three-year-old iPhone 6 before and after its battery was replaced.
The overpowering of old batteries may also be the reason some users experience intermittent shutdowns despite the iPhone having enough charge — a phenomenon that occurs when they reach "peaks of processor power". An iPhone battery is especially vulnerable to that in extreme cold, if it already has a low battery charge, or if the battery is old. This isn't an iPhone problem so much as it is a lithium ion battery problem; Apple's slowing of the processing speed is merely meant to prevent this from happening (and, say, forcing you to finish your run in complete and utter silence, which is a thing that recently happened to yours truly on a 20 degree day).
So what exactly can you do to get your iPhone back up to speed? No worries — there's no need to go out and get the latest model. Users saw improvement with speed by replacing the battery. Reddit user TeckFire recommends either taking it to the Apple store, where they will replace it for $79, or a reputable third party repair shop, where the prices range from $30 to $40. They also recommended using CpuDasherX, a free app in the Apple store, to compare your iPhone's current speed to the initial speed it was upon purchase, so you can see just how much of a difference there is and determine whether or not you want to replace the battery.