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Apple accused of throttling iPhone performance as batteries age

A post on Reddit, and subsequent investigation by Geekbench, has found that Apple could be throttling iPhone CPU performance as handsets age.

The original thread suggested that the poster’s iPhone 6S was being slowed down by its older battery, with Geekbench marks of 1,466 and 2,512 on single- and multi-core scores. Changing the battery raised those figures to 2,526 and 4,456, respectively.

Geekbench followed up on the allegations – and other user reports – with its own tests.

The results show pretty pronounced differences in benchmarks by age and iOS version. This second point is important, as it means that the battery is not the only factor involved in the CPU throttling.

A poster on Reddit has said that the issue could be due to a change in iOS, related to Shutdowngate (which was resolved in iOS 10.2.1):

“Many iPhone 6S devices were shutting down unexpectedly, even after the battery replacement program (which many people weren’t entitled to use). Because degraded batteries last much less [time] and end up with a lower voltage, Apple’s solution was to scale down CPU performance; it doesn’t solve anything and is a bad experience… but it’s better than having your device shut down at 40% when you need it the most.”

The original poster of the Reddit thread, /u/TeckFire, added that Apple’s fix dynamically changes the maximum clock speed of the CPU relative to the voltage that the battery is outputting, so that the phone cannot overdraw and shut down.

The result, says Geekbench, is ‘reduced performance without a notification’ (unlike Low Power Mode, which tells users when it is enabled).

Tying the CPU’s performance to the battery means that the processor is affected by the age of the power source. Although it was originally a (pretty shonky) workaround to fix the shutdown problem, it could feed into the ‘planned obsolescence’ narrative.

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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