In the wake of negative reaction to iPhone advanced power management — the system that slowed down older iPhones with degraded batteries to prevent shutdowns — Apple is including a new Battery Health feature in iOS 11.3. Currently in beta, the feature is built into Settings > Battery, and provides information on current maximum capacity and peak performance capability.
It will also inform you if your iPhone is being slowed down, whether it needs service, and even allows you to turn off advanced power management — now called performance management — if you so choose.
This one’s for the conspiracy theorists who’ve long held that new iOS versions purposely slowed their one-year old phone to push them into an upgrade. There’s more than one reason older phones slowed after an OS update, but now these folks have insight into the only one that Apple purposely caused: throttling the CPU when the battery was unable to handle full-clock operation due to wear:
If your iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 7 had previously been slowed down to prevent power surges and unexpected shutdowns, iOS 11.3 will restore it to its previous, unmanaged performance levels. The system’s performance management will only restart if you experience an unexpected shutdown; until then, it’s a clean slate.
The feature, added last year in iOS version 10.3.1, can also be disabled altogether.
The other, more consequential cause of phone slow-down, and the only one applicable to pre iPhone 6 models, is the additional API and core OS code delivered in each new version. Same CPU, more software running, OS runs slower. Most of the time it’s a small slowdown but if your phone is in year two or three of its life and significant additions have been made to the OS (in the Fall of most years, but sometimes also in late winter), you’ll notice.
Normal battery wear and different usage patterns are at work here, plus software engineering. No conspiracy.
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