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

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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CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

It's not planned obsolescence, since a new battery restores the old performance characteristics.

This doesn't seem nefarious to me at all. It's annoying, and it's not the decision I would have made, but it's a sound decision. There are two possible ways to deal with the problem. Accept decreased battery life to maintain performance, or decrease performance to maintain battery life. The two options are mutually exclusive, and Apple is the kind of company that prefers to avoid burdening users with those kinds of decisions.

Still, I wish they'd included an option to toggle the behavior. Old slow iPhones suck, and literally, have caused me to advocate for Android because they don't slow down (I had presumed with iOS releases, though now the evidence shows a different reason). I'm probably not the only one.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

CaptainN-,

It's not planned obsolescence, since a new battery restores the old performance characteristics.

This doesn't seem nefarious to me at all.


That remains to be seen. Technically a used battery, on a fresh charge will output a higher voltage than a new battery when depleted.

So, this is sort of a litmus test. If the iphone performs worse with the old battery even when it's fully charged (and even plugged in), then they are guilty of decreasing performance unnecessarily.

This would be hard to achieve without some code that says "make the performance decrease after a certain number of battery recharge cycles regardless of it's ability to supply voltage". This would clearly make apple guilty, we won't know unless someone tests it though.

Reply Parent Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

It could be considered planned since Apple does very much discourage battery replacement and usually don't even bother performing it themselves. If you take one into an Apple store, and you have Apple care, even if it's just a bad battery they often transfer your data to a "new" device instead. What they do with your old one is anyone's guess, but it probably goes straight to the refurbishment team and becomes someone else's "new" device.

Reply Parent Score: 3