Apple Is Right To Slow Down Old iPhones, But Wrong To Hide It From Users

After strong accusations, Apple admitted they slow down iPhones after a year of use. While their intentions could be in the right place, their secrecy has certainly left a sour taste in consumers’ mouths…

The past 24 hours have rapidly unravelled for the Cupertino-based tech titan – starting with that tweet from Sam_Si.

After that, Apple responded to The Verge’s request for comment that basically confirmed this to be true, but argued the assumed intention of the company’s actions:

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“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.”

Allow me to sum this up in one line: Apple starts slowing iPhones down after a year of use.

The response to this confirmation has been exactly what you’d expect, with a lot of people negating any positivity in Apple’s response and going straight to what they believe is the underlying reason – extracting more cash from consumers by forcing upgrades.

But the super frustrating thing about this situation? Apple is right to do this. Lithium Ion batteries deteriorate significantly after a while, leaving other smartphones without this feature virtually unusable and permanently strapped to a portable battery. It’s a clever way of managing battery life as a phone ages, but pretty damn disingenuous to not tell the user about it – letting them assume their phone just got slow.

So, what’s the fix? Simple – transparency. Be up front and tell people what’s going on. Give users control over whether they get full processor power or battery longevity with a switch in the settings. Or if Apple’s still on this power trip of controlling the experience end-to-end, just plenty of notifications of your intention to slow down the phone and a recommendation to get a new battery once the degradation is noted.

But in its current state, your real corporate-focussed intentions are on show – forcing users to upgrade or be stuck with a slow iPhone.

Don’t be hostile, Apple. People love your products and you’re running a real risk of losing that.

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