Swapping out the battery in a slow old iPhone could drastically improve the device’s performance.
That claim comes from a Reddit user who says he almost doubled the clock rates of his lagging iPhone 6s simply by popping in a new battery. His theory that Apple intentionally slows down old phones sparked a furious debate online.
“From what I can tell, Apple slows down phones when their battery gets too low, so you can still have a full days charge,” he wrote. “This also means your phone might be very slow for no discernible reason.” The idea, in essence, is that Apple intentionally slows down older iPhones in order to preserve a full day’s battery charge in the event that the regular battery has degraded over time — or wasn’t working perfectly to begin with.
As the Reddit user notes:
“Wear level was somewhere around 20% on my old battery. I did a Geekbench score, and found I was getting 1466 Single and 2512 Multi. This did not change wether I had low power mode on or off. After changing my battery, I did another test to check if it was just a placebo. Nope. 2526 Single and 4456 Multi. From what I can tell, Apple slows down phones when their battery gets too low, so you can still have a full days charge.”
Apple previously launched a repair program for a limited number of iPhone 6s devices. This involved replacing the batteries of a number of iPhone 6s handsets. A couple months later, Apple then issued iOS 10.2.1, which reduced seemingly random shutdowns on iPhone 6s and 6 devices. The Reddit thread hypothesizes that what this did was to intentionally throttle the maximum clock speed of iPhones so as to stop them using too much power and shutting down. Unfortunately, this may have had the effect of also slowing the devices.
It’s worth reading through the entire Reddit thread, where there are a number of technical responses explaining a bit more about the situation. This isn’t the first time that Apple has been accused of making older devices run more slowly to encourage upgrades. However, on this occasion it’s suggested that Apple may have ignored a more widespread battery fault with the iPhone 6s by making a large number of them run more slowly.
It will be interesting to hear some more conclusive findings!