If you’ve ever thought your old iPhone was feeling sluggish, you’re not alone. And you’re not imagining it: Apple has confirmed to multiple media outlets that it slows the performance of older iPhones in order to prevent their aging batteries from causing unexpected shutdowns.
Apple says it began slowing down the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE last year, and just began doing so with the iPhone 7, which is little more than a year old. The company’s statement came after a recent Reddit post and blog post on benchmarking tool Geekbench’s website sparked a conversation around the relationship between flagging iPhone performance and battery condition.
Apple may have the best of intentions. Having your phone occasionally slow down is probably preferable to coping with total shutdowns, as is prolonging the overall life of your battery. But some are reading the company’s statement as confirmation of a longstanding myth: Apple slows down old iPhones to get users to upgrade to newer, pricer models as a form of planned obsolescence. (The company also charges about $80 to replace an old iPhone battery with a fresh one.)
Either way, Apple is in some hot water over the issue. A pair of California residents have already filed a class action lawsuit against the company. They claim Apple interfered with the possession of their phones, as they did not consent to Apple’s meddling with their devices’ performance.