Apple released an extensive public statement about its practice of throttling down processing performance of its older iPhones.
In its message to customers, the company goes out of its way to explain how batteries deteriorate over time and especially with heat. The battery becomes less capacitive for charge and is less capable of peak loads — certain tasks may ask for a charge the device can’t provide, causing it to shut the phone down.
The company previously stated that it intended its behavior to prolong the life of iPhones. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 series, along with the iPhone SE, were first modified to protect from these shutdowns with the iOS 10.2.1 update. Apple began maintaining the iPhone 7 generation devices from the iOS 11.2 update.
These sorts of updates tend to most viscerally affect app launch times, but other impacts may be felt in performance. Feedback on the most recent update — rushed to prevent a major crash-causing bug from happening — was particularly harsh, though Apple chalked it up to “a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system” and bugs associated with the update.
The key piece of information from Apple’s message is that a new battery will, indeed, speed things back up. The company has decided to extend an olive branch to customers by discounting non-warranty battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later devices by $50 to the price of $29. The program will launch worldwide in late January and will last through 2018.
Another iOS update coming in the new year will also have a new settings interface for users to inspect the health of the battery.