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Apple Admits to Shortening Battery Life of Older Phones

The company says the move was to actually save battery life, but angry customers are responding with lawsuits.

Caitlyn Morral

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Apple has come clean on intentionally shortening the battery life of its older phones.

iPhone 6. (Image: Hurk via Wikimedia Commons)

Apple has released five new phones over the past two years — iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X — and as these new products have been introduced to the market, users with older Apple products (specifically, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s) have noticed significant changes in the performance of their devices.

After many users recognized that they were having same problems, some began to press for an explanation.

It was a Reddit post that sparked a large Internet fire.

In a matter of days, Apple product owners rallied around one common issue: iPhone batteries. Theories and discussions on the post spread last month, calling Apple and its policies into question.

Apple then admitted to slowing down the battery life on older devices through iOS updates. Through the updates, the batteries and performance speed of older phones was significantly weakened.

On Dec. 28, Apple issued a formal apology on their website through a statement titled “A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance.” The message begins by addressing how they have been receiving feedback from their customers on the deteriorating battery life on their phones before going into a short explanation on how their batteries age.

The statement also reads:

“Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.”

The statement offers any customer who has experienced problems with their battery a replacement for $29, a discount off the standard $50 price. This replacement will be available through the end of 2018, and applies to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus.

Some users are not buying Apple’s explanation that the decision to slow down older phones is to prolong the life of their aging batteries and have filed lawsuits against Apple.

The company has also said they will issue an iOS software update this month that will offer more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, which will allow users to tell for themselves if the battery life is actually impacting performance.

 

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Catilyn is a student at St. Bonaventure University in New York. She's a writer and Digital Producer for CMN.

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