Apple is controversially limiting iPhone 6s and 7 CPU performance to reduce battery load

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While Apple has never had to deal with a scandal as bad as the one that prompted Samsung’s total Galaxy Note 7 recall last year, we all remember the negative publicity generated by the “Bendgate” controversy back in 2014.

The occasional random iPhone explosion also kept Cupertino constantly on its toes, not to mention the damage control required once the full “Error 53” story was out. Even more recently, unexpected iPhone 6s shutdowns were (partially) fixed with a software update after an initial explanation elicited both laughter and user frustration.

Bottom line, Apple is no stranger to public criticism, and the latest outcry may have something to do with the aforementioned shutdown issue. It appears CPU performance was drastically reduced on the iPhone 6s running iOS 10.2.1 and up to avoid putting too much pressure on the 4.7-incher’s aging battery.

This way, the handset’s life can be theoretically extended, as users don’t need to worry about either unexpected freezes and system terminations or low endurance times between battery charges. Then again, a crippled processor can cause just as many headaches as a faulty battery, if not more, forcing an upgrade to a newer iPhone generation.

Worse yet, this type of undisclosed performance downgrade by way of a software “update” might have become company policy, as suggested by a similar deterioration of benchmark scores for the iPhone 7 after the iOS 11.2 “promotion.”

To our knowledge, the iPhone 7 never exhibited the same glitchy behavior as the 6s, so Apple can’t justify the abrupt drop in theoretical (and practical) CPU speed as a necessary preservation method.

That leaves the old “planned obsolescence” conspiracy theory as the only logical explanation for this evidence-backed move. Basically, Apple seems to be intentionally slowing down previous iPhone generations starting at an arbitrary point in order to convince people to buy newer devices.

Interestingly enough, replacing the used battery of a crippled iPhone 6s appears to be restoring the handset’s initial performance levels.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).