Following the attention that Apple had gotten over the past few weeks regarding the discovery of mechanisms that reduce CPU frequency on devices with aged batteries, Apple has now issued a more comprehensive statement and apology addressing the matter:

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

When power is pulled from a battery with a higher level of impedance, the battery’s voltage will drop to a greater degree. Electronic components require a minimum voltage to operate. This includes the device’s internal storage, power circuits, and the battery itself. The power management system determines the capability of the battery to supply this power, and manages the loads in order to maintain operations.

The statement doesn’t address any new information as to cause of the issue and confirms my initial technical explanation of the battery impedance causing the battery to no longer be able to supply a stable voltage supply during transient loads.

What we do have as new information is the various other effects that the throttling mechanism touches:

  • Longer app launch times
  • Lower frame rates while scrolling
  • Backlight dimming (which can be overridden in Control Center)
  • Lower speaker volume by up to -3dB
  • Gradual frame rate reductions in some apps
  • During the most extreme cases, the camera flash will be disabled as visible in the camera UI
  • Apps refreshing in background may require reloading upon launch

As it appears, CPU and GPU frequency reductions are not the only things done by iOS to prevent shutdowns of iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7. The system also reduces backlight dimming (which can be overridden in settings), lowers speaker volume by up to -3 dB, disables camera flash cease app refreshing in background. All of the said performance-related features are important to the user, yet are not crucial when it comes to phone usage in general and in emergencies in particular. Apple stresses that while it reduces SoC frequency, it preserves cellular call quality, networking and GPS performance, location accuracy, captured photo and video quality, operation of sensors as well as Apple Pay. In fact, the FCC and other regulators have a set of emergency-related requirements and recommendations for wireless service providers and hardware manufacturers, there is also the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and the iCanConnect program to provide people with disabilities a viable way of communications (including video communications during emergencies). To participate in this and similar programs a vendor probably needs to guarantee that its hardware can make the aforementioned features (and therefore emergency services) available to users at all times.

Based on the large media attention and relatively negative feedback which prompted Apple to this second official response and statement, Apple promises three key points to address consumer’s concerns:

  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on
  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
  • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

Reduction of the cost of an official battery replacement from $79 to $29 is a much welcomed change that makes this a much more attractive option considering replacement batteries only cost $10-15 depending on model; Apple’s previous pricing at $79 was extremely extortionary given the critical aspect of this service. I would now recommend any users who hesitated on replacing their iPhone batteries on their own to make use of the official service as it will have very noticeable impact both on device battery life as well as device performance (due to the nature of this story). Meanwhile, the program has been announced for the U.S. and it remains to be seen how Apple handles it in other countries, including smaller European states that barely have official Apple service providers that can handle additional workload

The way that Apple has handled disclosure on the throttling mechanisms has also been heavily criticised as users felt their devices slowing down with iOS updates and not knowing the reason. Here Cupertino promises key changes in the way that iOS handles information sharing on battery health and reporting, as well as promised improvement on performance management under degraded battery conditions. The issued time-frame for when we can expect these updates are “early 2018”.

Overall the response from Apple was the only possibly correct one to the whole fiasco, and the only one which was to be realistically expected, though it took longer than it should have to implement changes such as drastically reducing the battery replacement cost.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • mobutu - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    Just make the batteries user replaceable again ... easy, logic, common sense solution.
  • krumme - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    Smoke and mirrors or they would have informed the public years ago.
    They didnt, for the reason we all know.
    Simple as that.
  • jrs77 - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    I simply take off the backcover of my Lumia 530 and replace the battery, which I can still buy original batteries for btw for €19.
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    question: what's the shelf life of such Li-ion batteries?? stock up a decade's worth?
  • jrs77 - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    They don't last forever obviously, but you can easily store them for 10 years, if you check that they're charged every now and then.
  • MicroGadgetHacker - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    I don't see how Apple should be apologizing for this - with the possible exception that they should have been upfront about the throttling feature.

    Have you tried running Windows 10 on an older memory limited laptop? It's less responsive and tends to max the cpu frequently and decimates the battery run time. Why? Because Microsoft is adding features to take advantage of the CPU power they have available on newer hardware. Apple is doing the same thing and is partially compelled to do so because of competition from Android.

    My two year old power drill, weed trimmer, laptop, tablet, etc are all showing signs of battery wear. Can't use 1" bits anymore, can't finish edging whole yard, etc, etc due to normal wear. Heck my 5 year old car battery just refused to start my car in the cold temps outside - am I going to sue the car maker? That's ridiculous.

    Get a new battery installed in your phone if you've been a heavy user for 2+ years. Batteries are like tires - they wear out quicker the harder you use them.
  • HiOahuPhone - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    The volume issue is so irritating. I (and others) spent time at the genius bar, cleaning our phones etc.... and it never was fixed. The CPU slowdown is a another problem. I would have never guessed that the volume issue was software based. So many people were complaining and got new phones. Ridiculous.
  • HiOahuPhone - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    When the "geniuses" have no clue what is going on and why your phone is SUPER SLOW and SUPER SOFT, then this is a problem. I don't understand why people are defending this? Yeah, we all understand how batteries work and guess what? If a battery was causing shutdowns, then maybe we change the battery OK? Don't sneakily slow down the phone, make it soft, screw up software performance and not tell your front line support people. Don't defend this kind of action.
  • atirado - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    They are trying to do what they can at the time being, but this unlikely to make people happy. Let's hope they develop a dynamic approach to power management based on PMIC that makes things better, i.e. Give you the option to choose performance over stability.

    In any case, some of Apple's design decisions are odd. Here's an example taken from

    "iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch work best at 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C) ambient temperatures."

    The Apple Watch, a device designed to be sitting next to human skin, does not work very well at body temperature (~37° C).
  • antm86 - Friday, December 29, 2017 - link

    This has to be the most trying to sound smart but having zero knowledge of what I’m talking about comment I’ve read all year! The internal temperature of your body is 37 degrees Celsius. The external is close to room temperature especially on your hand where there is no much blood flow to keep it in even internally to 37 degrees so no the watch should not work at 37 degrees unless you planning on surgically implanting it

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now