Good news from Apple about older iPhone battery life and iOS slow down

Nelson Au

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I was kind of surprised by the news I just saw about Apple apologizing about the battery wear and the iOS slow down to compensate for an older battery. I’m not surprised they apologized and got in front of it before it got more out of hand as a PR issue.

What did surprise me is a new battery replacement program as they consider it a consumable. It was the right thing to do.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/28...e-battery-replacement-price-slow-down-apology

I have an iPhone 6 that I was considering replacing the battery so this is perfect for $29.00 even though I use the iPhone X now, it will become a possible phone for my parents.
 

Mark Booth

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Apple will only replace the battery if their test reveals it is below a certain threshold of holding a charge. Prediction: There are going to be a LOT of people expecting get a $29 battery replacement only to be told by Apple that their battery isn't worn out enough yet.

iFixit do-it-yourself replacement battery for the win. It even has a slightly higher capacity than the Apple battery.

Mark
 

Nelson Au

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I didn’t know that Mark. I haven’t seen any documentation on Apple’s website about an iPhone battery that needs to meet a certain criteria before they will replace the battery at the $29 offer. As far as I can tell, Apple is reducing the price for anyone who wants to replace their iPhone 6 battery as a gesture of good faith. I’ll keep an eye for more detail on this.
 

Mark Booth

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Here's the coconutBattery (app for Mac) results for a friend's iPhone 6 that still has the original factory battery in it:



The battery is designed to hold 1810 mAh. But the battery has been through 744 full charge cycles and it's wearing out. The most charge it will now hold is 1562 mAh, which is 86.3% of its original capacity.

Based on what I've read, Apple will NOT replace the battery in this iPhone 6 yet. Apple expects at least 80% capacity after 500 full charge cycles. This battery is doing better than that. It has 744 full charge cycles and its still holding more than 86% of its original capacity. I do not believe that Apple's iOS updates will kick in and throttle this iPhone 6 yet, the battery isn't worn enough. I believe it has to be BELOW 80% (when fully charged) before Apple will start throttling the device.

For comparison, here is the iFixIt battery in my iPhone 6:



I installed the battery back in June or July. It's been through 61 full charge cycles. As you can see, the iFixIt battery has a slightly higher capacity than Apple's original battery. I didn't check the battery with coconutBattery when it was brand new, but it might have started even higher than 1889 mAh. However, iFixIt rates it at 1810 mAh, so the extra 79 mAh I am getting is an unexpected bonus.

My iPhone 6's battery has a long way to go before Apple will start throttling it. But now that I've opened the phone myself, there's no way Apple would touch it for any needed future repairs. And that's fine by me. I knew the risk when I decided to save $50 (and several days of being without my iPhone) by doing it myself.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Here is the document where Apple describes when your iOS device lets you know it's time to replace the battery:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207453

It's my understanding that that "Your iPhone battery may need to be serviced." notification only shows up when the battery is fully charged and the capacity is below 80% of its original capacity. So, in the case of the iPhone 6, that would be 1442 mAh.

I do not believe Apple will replace an iOS battery that hasn't trigged that alert. Apple does not feel those batteries are worn out yet.

FWIW, my friend that owns the iPhone 6 mentioned above just checked his iPhone's settings/battery. It does not show the alert.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Nelson Au

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I’ve updated my iPhone 6 to the most current iOS that just came out and I charged the battery back up to 100%. Looking at Settings/Battery, it doesn’t say the battery may need servicing. It shows 9 minutes of usage since charging and 1 hour and 23 minutes of Standby. To contrast, the iPhone X I’m using now shows 46 minutes of usage and 3 hours and 52 minutes of Standby.

It looks like it’s time to sit back and wait till January and the newest Apple battery health update information. It doesn’t look like my three year old iphone’s original battery is dead yet.
 

Joseph Bolus

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Apple has stated that they will soon have an official app available which will let you know when you qualify for the $29 upgrade.

Before acquiring my iPhone X, my old iPhone 6 had gotten so slow that even searching for contacts in the phone app could take up to 10 seconds. And, yes, it had huge issues trying to keep up when I was typing on the virtual keyboard. I’m fairly certain it would have qualified.

In any event, this is a *great* gesture on Apple’s part and will (hopefully) stymy some of these frivolous lawsuits.
 

Mark Booth

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What needs to happen to stymy those LEGITIMATE lawsuits is for Apple to give iPhone owners a choice. A setting that allows the owners to choose between slowing down the iPhone to help avoid unexpected shutdowns or letting them force the iPhone to operate at full speed at their own peril.

Choice is the answer. That choice should have been offered from the get-go. It was wrong of Apple to make a unilateral decision for ALL iPhone owners with degraded batteries.

Mark
 

Josh Steinberg

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What needs to happen to stymy those LEGITIMATE lawsuits is for Apple to give iPhone owners a choice. A setting that allows the owners to choose between slowing down the iPhone to help avoid unexpected shutdowns or letting them force the iPhone to operate at full speed at their own peril.

Choice is the answer. That choice should have been offered from the get-go. It was wrong of Apple to make a unilateral decision for ALL iPhone owners with degraded batteries.
I agree completely.

I am generally happy with my Apple products, and my consumer electronics from other brands in general. But the one thing that generally bothers me about all of them is when the device tries to "outsmart" me by doing things automatically without telling me what its doing. Whether it's a spellcheck or autocorrect that I didn't ask for or battery management settings, I would seriously prefer it if these things weren't hidden, inescapable features.
 

DaveF

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It’s driving me to distraction, wasting a lot of my time, that Microsoft has made Windows 10 updates, particularly device drivers, mandatory and unstoppable. There’s no user choice here. And there’s no communication on the topic. But I don’t think that’s cause for a lawsuit.

Likewise, Apple implementing a new approach to preventing iPhones from exploding or spontaneously shutting down might be a problem for some people. But I don’t see how lawsuits are appropriate recourse. (And they’ll become lawyering money grabs where actual iPhone owners get $10 iTunes gift cards.)

Apple screwed up in not explaining the behavior. And for not dispelling the speculations, rumors, and misinformation generated around the user problems.
 
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KeithAP

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It’s driving me to distraction, wasting a lot of my time, that Microsoft has made Windows 10 updates, particularly device drivers, mandatory and unstoppable. There’s no user choice here. And there’s no communication on the topic. But I don’t think that’s cause for a lawsuit.
Well, in the case of Windows 10, that behavior was known ahead of time. It doesn't seem comparable to what Apple has done here.

For the record, it is my belief that Apple has a fundamental hardware problem that, for whatever reason, they haven't been able to fix. The software slowdown was an attempt to buy themselves some time while they fix the hardware…IMHO.

Don't get me wrong, I know what they are saying about battery aging is accurate, however it doesn't seem to be a problem for other devices like it is for the iPhone. Like I said, I am thinking there is something about the iPhone's hardware that is making the old batteries more of an issue.

-Keith
 

Ted Todorov

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^ so what do Android phones do as the battery age? They’re saying they don’t do slowdowns. But they don’t say how they’re managing battery life. Is managing Li-Ion battery life something only Apple is challenged by?

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbre...ont-slow-processor-speeds-old-batteries-apple
According to Benedict Evans, the average Android phone lasts 9 months. The average iPhone 3+ years. Android phone batteries don't "age" in within 9 months, so no slowdowns or anything else is necessary... See this tweet thread: https://twitter.com/BenedictEvans/status/946879925465653248
 

Greg_S_H

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I've got an iPhone 7 Plus that I got in October 2016. Things seem mostly fine, but Animal Crossing is extremely choppy. I'm not sure that it was choppy before the update. Does anyone here play this and is it choppy for you on a similar phone?

If this all started with an update, why can't they just rescind that update and come up with a better game plan for this "threat of unexpected shutdowns?"
 

RobertR

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According to Benedict Evans, the average Android phone lasts 9 months.
No evidence was presented that Android phones don't "last" (ie "died"). "Last" and "time before being upgraded" are two different things. I have an almost 7 year old LG Android phone that still works, with the original battery. I upgraded because I wanted a bigger screen and new features, not because it didn't "last". I used a Galaxy S4 for 3 and a half years. I upgraded because I wanted to use a new app, not because it didn't "last".
 
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Scott Merryfield

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According to Benedict Evans, the average Android phone lasts 9 months. The average iPhone 3+ years. Android phone batteries don't "age" in within 9 months, so no slowdowns or anything else is necessary... See this tweet thread: https://twitter.com/BenedictEvans/status/946879925465653248
That data is from 5 years ago.

My wife's Motorola Android phone is five years old and still working on it's original battery. I just upgraded from my 3+ year old Motorola phone to a new Samsung Galaxy as part of a switch from Verizon to Sprint. It's original battery still got me through the day without charging.
 

Thomas Newton

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If this all started with an update, why can't they just rescind that update and come up with a better game plan for this "threat of unexpected shutdowns?"
The unexpected shutdowns that they are talking about here happen because a battery that has deteriorated with time cannot keep up with the peak power demands of the phone. Short of replacing the battery, reducing power usage - by throttling the CPU - is the way that you deal with the problem. I don't believe that there is a magic game plan where you get to keep the old battery AND run the phone flat-out AND never have an unexpected shutdown.

At least one media commentator wrote that Apple's mistake was not throttling the CPU, but rather, doing it silently and not providing better visibility (on the iPhone itself) as to what is going on.

Of course, someone who pulled up an app or a Preferences panel and saw that the battery was worn down and that the CPU was being throttled might not be all that happy about it. But at least they'd have some idea of what was going on, and why.
 

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