Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Dec 2017 17:36 UTC

A Reddit post from last week has sparked a discussion regarding iPhone performance as a function of battery age. While we expect battery capacity to decrease as batteries age, we expect processor performance to stay the same. However, users with older iPhones with lower-than-expected Geekbench 4 scores have reported that replacing the battery increases their score (as well as the performance of the phone). What's going on here? How many phones are experiencing decreased Geekbench 4 score?

To answer these questions I've plotted the kernel density of Geekbench 4 single-core scores for the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7 running different versions of iOS. Scores obtained in low-power mode are not included in the distribution.

Evidence seems to be mounting that Apple is decreasing the clock speed of iPhones with decreased battery capacity to maintain the advertised battery life.

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RE[4]: Known issue
by Alfman on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 15:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Known issue"
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Tony Swash,

Things like Geekbench may not produce a useful metric in this situation.

What Apple has done is introduce a throttling system used in very specific and episodic situations where iPhones with older partially worn out batteries encounter peak system utilisation (a relatively rare event) which without the episodic throttling could cause the iPhone to suddenly shut down due to lack of power.

I'm sorry Tony, but if an android vendor used this as an excuse for why users couldn't run the CPU at full speed, then we would rightfully be criticizing them right now. Apple does not get a pass here, this is a fail. I don't buy their excuses in the least and I think they were made up by PR. However even if you want take apple 100% at their word and argue that apple does this to prevent crashes under high load, then this is an implicit engineering fail for the iphones. Normal phones don't crash under high load, if I were an apple customer I would demand to know why their iphones are crashing. Even with old batteries in other phones this is not normal and the iphone should not have a crashing problem even on an old charged battery.

I'm open to evidence that apple is telling the truth about the iphone crashing under load, but I think it's an outright lie to cover up their motive for deliberately slowing down old phones after updates. Especially since they said this:

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.

WTF apple!? If the iphone really does have a crashing problem and its power supply margins are too tight to run reliably on old batteries, then what about fixing the damn problem? This response that they'd officially continue to degrade performance of old phones in the future is insulting. That's as close to an official policy of planned obsolescence as you can get.

I'm not an apple customer, but I still recognize that apple is a trendsetter. If users don't collectively send a message for companies to stop it when they are condoning performance loss on older devices, then we will end up encouraging more of this sort of behavior in the future. I don't care if it's apple, microsoft, google, or whoever, please let's just stand up against bad precedents like this, otherwise it might become the new norm.

Edited 2017-12-22 16:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4