Practice Area: Product Defects


Apple has admitted to releasing software that intentionally makes older phones run more slowly.

For years, people have noticed their older iPhones have degraded in performance at a rate faster than anticipated. These rumors have sparked significant online discussion and suspicion that Apple has intentionally slowed old devices to prompt its users to upgrade to the newest and fastest version.

For example, Apple states that the new iPhone X A11 processor has four “efficiency” cores up to 70 percent faster than A10 and two performance cores that are 25 percent faster. Apple claims that the present chip can perform 600 billion operations per second. One wonders if advertising speed of the newest product would have more effect on the end consumer if, simultaneously, their device had grown more sluggish with age.

Apple has recently confirmed that its iOS (mobile device operating system) released last year intentionally slowed iPhone operation. Apple claims that this “throttling” was needed to account for aging lithium ion batteries and today applies to the following models: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. Millions of people own these devices and had no idea that when they updated their iOS systems that they were introducing changes that degraded their phone performance.

Apple’s Statement in Response:

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. Shara Tibiken, “Apple admits slowing older iPhones, says it’s to prevent battery issues,” C/Net (Dec. 20, 2017) (available online at

Technical Explanation of the Software Changes

Apple iPhone users have experienced battery problems over the life of the iPhone model run. For example, in January 2017, Apple updated the iOS with the release of 10.2.1 to address iPhone 6s unexpected shutdown issues. (Tech Crunch .) Clearly, battery life and resultant device health are constantly being addressed at Apple.

However, the current issue is a different one that does not seem to address a particular known problem. Apple has admitted that for older phones with battery efficiency < 80% it has decided to address peak processor power needs by essentially capping the value of a peak per cycle. If the power needs would exceed that peak in a particular cycle, the requests would be spread out over a few cycles. Apple says that capping the peak power will result in less shutdown or freezing issues.

Since each cycle takes time to complete, spreading out what used to occur in a single cycle into several cycles will have seem like a slower and more sluggish phone to the end user. A deeper analysis of iOS power smoothing and Apple’s response can be found on CNET and Tech Crunch.

A graphical representation of the iOS power cycle caps can be found on Geek Bench . Apple has not denied the Geek Bench figures.

How Are You Affected?

Consumers unwittingly update their iOS systems on these iPhone models with software that intentionally slows their device. They assume that they need a new device because theirs has become dated. Apple’s software only targets those phones with worn batteries but does not warn users that replacing the battery would increase the performance of their phone. Replacing the battery is much less expensive that purchasing a new device.

These changes were made without consumers’ consent under the guise of an operating system update.

On December 22, 2017, The Brandi Law Firm filed class action lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court against Apple claiming that its intentional software changes to reduce performance were unlawful, unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent.

If you believe that you have been affected by Apple’s intentional iPhone slowdown software, please contact the Brandi Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

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