Austeja Linkeviciute

INTRODUCTION

We have all been there

Complaining about our running batteries from 40% straight back to 0% in half a day, having to carry a charger everywhere we go and wondering whether it’s worth the hassle and just discarding our old model for a shiny new device. However, do we really need that new phone?

According to new research, the fault actually lies with Apple ‘hiding’ a secret power mode deep inside the OS that deliberately slows your device as it ages.

This unpleasant finding is credited to John Poole – a primate Labs researcher, who discovered tell-tale performance readings in iPhones and iPads – and Guilherme Rambo, an iOS developer, who followed Poole’s work and managed to unearth Apple’s secret power mode in the iOS code.

As we can all assume, this news made a lot of Apple users and fans angry and disappointed with the brand.

Apple tried to explain..

20th December 2017, an update came out confirming that Apple’s new updates slow down the older iPhone models to protect their older batteries and prevent them from suddenly shutting down.
 
Apple tried to explain the reason behind all of it by saying that it has been done to compensate battery degradation rather than push people to upgrade to their newer phones. Apple needed to take action for their consumers good. A year ago, some iPhone users reported sudden phone shut-downs, even though they had a significant charge remaining. Apple quietly released an update that slows down the phone when it is putting too much demand on the battery, preventing these sudden shutdowns. Despite the rumours that Apple slows down all older iPhones, at this point, Apple confirms that the power – management update only affects models older than iPhone 6.

Also, as much sense as that explanation may make, Apple could have made plenty of choices that would benefit consumers instead of penalising them. One of the solutions could have been to simply educate users about the limitations of the lithium-ion battery. Another, more beneficial solution could have been to start selling battery replacement kits to consumers, allowing them to install a fresh battery into their aging iPhone themselves. However, Apple has actively fought against laws that would require it to provide a way for users to repair their devices and simply confronted the issue by saying that this way would make iPhone more vulnerable to hacks. So, what is next? Finally, the rumours and complaints have pushed Apple to take action. The newest update iOS 11.3 introduces a new battery management system that puts users back in control of their iPhone.

Let me introduce you to ‘Battery Health’ - a new tool available only to iPhones 6 and later, which will help iPhone users to manage performance to prevent such shutdowns. Is this new feature going to change the future of the iPhone batteries and bring back trust in Apple products? We do not know yet. However, Apple promises that this new tool should prevent iPhones from unexpected shutdowns as the batteries inside its products inevitably fade.

Many of us still believe that this built-in obsolescence was a step too far from the firm. The company could not ignore the push back and launched a cut-price battery replacement scheme with the promise of a new management tool within iOS to put users back in control. Apple took action only after consumers’ rumours, complains and several lawsuits. We can only hope that it will get better in the future as long as we will not stay silent about it.

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