No, you aren’t crazy for thinking Apple is slowing down your old iPhone. The company confirmed as much after a report surfaced that said it was throttling processor speeds for older devices, in turn limiting daily performance.
Research from Geekbench developer John Poole concluded that as your iPhone’s battery deteriorates, Apple’s software throttles the processor to compensate. Throttling should allow the battery to continue to last throughout the day, though it clearly comes at a cost.
So what should users do? The knee-jerk reaction is to buy a new device, but that’s not necessarily the right answer. Several users on Reddit have reported that once the battery in their old iPhone was replaced, performance returned to normal.
So, in theory, your iPhone 6s should feel good as new once it has a new battery, which sure beats buying a brand new device. Granted, it won’t be nearly as fast as the iPhone X, but the experience should be much improved.
Here’s Apple’s official comment:
Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.
Essentially, Apple is saying it throttles performance to protect its users from their device potentially becoming damaged. Apple never makes this clear to users—why not mention it in release notes?—which is why conspiracies about planned obsolescence continue to persist.
As your device gets older, customers are faced with two options: Get a new iPhone or, as Reddit users have noted, get a new battery.