Apple has reportedly disabled older iPhones

File photo: A member of the public takes a picture of the Apple logo for the start of the annual developer conference in San Jose, California, USA 5 June 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

If the last data of Geekbench is any indication, Apple is making some behind-the-scenes changes that affect older iPhones.

Geekbench developer John Poole evaluated Reddit thread last week that suggested Apple’s older iPhones, including the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, not acting as responsively recently after software updates. And some users wonder whether, in an attempt to boost battery life, Apple was throttling the performance of the processor.

So, Poole used Geekbench is a benchmarking test to find out. He performed the single-core test, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 units with different versions of iOS. His findings suggest that Apple has a tweak in iOS 10.2.1 11.2.0 that appears to slow down the iPhone’s performance when the smartphone is “the state of the battery decreases beyond a certain point,” Poole said.

The change was probably made after iPhone 6s users reported that their smartphones would spontaneously shutdown even when there are seemingly more than enough to live on their batteries. Apple acknowledges the problem and offered a battery replacement program. The company has also released an update to address this.

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Poole pointed to a Reddit user, who goes by the handle “kadupse,” who has the most likely explanation: “Because the affected batteries a lot less and end up with a lower voltage Apple’s solution was to the scale of the performance of the CPU, it doesn’t solve anything and it is a bad experience… but it is better than having your device to shut down at 40% when you need it the most.”

But at least in public, Apple has only acknowledged the problem in the iPhone 6s. Poole found that the same limitation takes place in the iPhone with iOS 7 11.2.0. It is possible that Apple provided the change equal shut down problems do not occur on the iPhone 7.

However, Poole notes that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 owners end up getting worse performance any way they slice it. And it would mask the larger problem.

“This solution allows for a third, unexpected state,” Poole wrote. “While this condition is made to mask a shortage in the battery, users may believe that the delay is due to the performance of the CPU, instead of the performance of the battery, that is the triggering of an Apple introduced the CPU slow down. This correction will also cause users to think, “my phone is slow so I need to replace’ not, ‘my phone is slow so I need to replace the battery.'”

In other words, instead of just a new battery, some iPhone users may feel compelled to get a new device. And that of course benefits Apple.

For its part, Apple has not yet responded to the apparent limitation, so it is impossible to say for sure that it actually happens. But Poole and a lot of Reddit users certainly believe that it happens.

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