Spectre fix can drastically reduce iPhone performance

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iPhone 6 Plus
How is your iPhone holding up after iOS 11.2.2?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If the iPhone was a Pokémon, using a Spectre fix against it would prove super-effective.

Benchmarks reveal that Apple’s latest update has a drastic impact on performance on some devices. Scores fall by as much as 56 percent in some tests.

Recent reports have warned that Meltdown and Spectre fixes will decrease processor performance. Apple’s statement on the bugs revealed that it found “no measurable reduction in the performance of macOS and iOS” following its December fixes.

But it turns out not every user is that lucky.

Spectre fills kills iPhone 6 performance

Melvin Mughal, founder of WeCure and publisher of the Melv1n blog, ran performance tests on his iPhone 6 before and immediately after updating to iOS 11.2.2. The hardware was identical in both cases (there was no battery replacement in the meantime) and no apps were running.

Mughal found that both single- and multi-core scores dropped dramatically after iOS 11.2.2 was installed. His device achieved 1,561 points in the single-core and 2,665 in the multi-core test prior to updating. Those figures fell to 924 and 1,616, respectively, with iOS 11.2.2.

Scores for certain tests, like those that run HTML5 and SQLite, dropped by as much as 56 percent.

This is a ‘necessary evil’

“All numbers point to the same conclusion,” Mughal writes. His iPhone 6 “took a serious hit in performance at every possible level.”

It’s unclear how iOS 11.2.2 affects performance on other iOS devices. We should point out that Mughal only tested his own iPhone 6, so this isn’t the most accurate representation of the performance impact the update might have across all iOS devices.

It could be that there are other factors at play here; we would need to see benchmark tests on a greater number of units for a more accurate picture. Mughal admits that others have performed the same tests and seen no significant changes in performance.

Either way, you can’t really avoid iOS 11.2.2. As Mughal puts it, the update is a “necessary evil” that we must install to ensure our iPhones and iPads are as secure as possible.

Have you noticed any changes in performance since installing Apple’s latest update?