South Korea probes Apple's decision to slow down iPhones with weak batteries

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2017
The Korea Communications Commission has reportedly asked for an explanation in the wake of Apple's admission that it slows down older iPhones to prolong battery life.




"We are hoping to get some answers on whether Apple intentionally restricted the performance of old iPhones and tried to hide this from customers," the Commission said according to The Korea Herald. The organization can't actually launch a formal investigation of Apple, since it's a multinational firm beyond its jursidiction.

Nevertheless the request could signal greater problems for Apple. The company is already facing a mounting number of lawsuits in the U.S. and elsewhere, and it might not be long before other governments take action. In fact Korean lawmakers have been proposing changes which could theoretically bring companies like Apple under more accountability.

On Dec. 20, Apple responded to a growing number of anecdotes about iPhone batteries with a statement.

"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices," the company said. "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."

Critics, including some plaintiffs, have noted that Apple benefits from this financially. Customers dealing with a lethargic iPhone may be prompted to buy a new one instead of asking for a battery upgrade, which in some cases Apple might be obligated to provide for free. The issue is compounded by the demands newer apps and iOS updates can impose.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Apple’s intentions were good but I can see how some will view it as a sinister upgrade scheme. People love conspiracies. 
    edited December 2017 cornchipanton zuykovStrangeDaysbshankjahbladeracerhomie3watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 39
    VRingVRing Posts: 108member
    jd_in_sb said:
    Apple’s intentions were good but I can see how some will twist it into a sinister upgrade scheme. People love conspiracies. 
    I disagree, especially when even Apple Store staff remained in the dark. They couldn't even suggest for a user to replace their battery to fix any performance issues.
    edited December 2017 muthuk_vanalingamaylk
  • Reply 3 of 39
    I hope they also investigate Samsung, my Tab2 is unusable now for anything other than watching YouTube. 
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Just return the darn thing if you don’t like it....go get Androids phone and quit complaining....did you really noticed slowing down of your old iphone?? probably because it’s old....i am slowing down because im getting older, no matter how I get re-charged.
    bshankMuntzwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 39
    TheUnusual6TheUnusual6 Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    Apple doesn't slow down all the phones, only those with degraded battery. Also it slows down only in the peak performance time. Why can't people just understand that? When would you buy a new phone? when your phone shuts down randomly or when it lags sometimes? If Apple wants you to buy a new phone, it could just let your phone shut down due to poor battery. Its actually making you not to buy a new phone often. My 6S has the same exact Geekbench score now on iOS 11.2.1 just like it the day I bought it.
    mwhitecornchipStrangeDaystmaybshankjahbladeMuntzwatto_cobraJFC_PAjony0
  • Reply 6 of 39
    VRingVRing Posts: 108member
    Apple doesn't slow down all the phones, only those with degraded battery. Also it slows down only in the peak performance time. Why can't people just understand that? When would you buy a new phone? when your phone shuts down randomly or when it lags sometimes? If Apple wants you to buy a new phone, it could just let your phone shut down due to poor battery. Its actually making you not to buy a new phone often. My 6S has the same exact Geekbench score now on iOS 11.2.1 just like it the day I bought it.
    Users that did experience this problem never knew that a battery replacement could remedy it. Apple never told them either, and to top it off, some of these users might have been under warranty and eligible for a free battery replacement.
    muthuk_vanalingam78BanditAndymanaylk
  • Reply 7 of 39
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    VRing said:
    Apple doesn't slow down all the phones, only those with degraded battery. Also it slows down only in the peak performance time. Why can't people just understand that? When would you buy a new phone? when your phone shuts down randomly or when it lags sometimes? If Apple wants you to buy a new phone, it could just let your phone shut down due to poor battery. Its actually making you not to buy a new phone often. My 6S has the same exact Geekbench score now on iOS 11.2.1 just like it the day I bought it.
    Users that did experience this problem never knew that a battery replacement could remedy it. Apple never told them either, and to top it off, some of these users might have been under warranty and eligible for a free battery replacement.
    All good points. I think Apple should have been transparent about it. But I disagree with you that Apple had bad intentions. 
    tmayjahbladeMuntzwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 39
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,868member
    Does reduce performance feature only acts on aged battery on iPhone 6/6S or it just does the same on Brand new iPhone 6/6S. If IOS/Firmware reads battery life degradation to a point before activating such feature than understandable. What happens in Brand new iPhoe 6/6S have genuine battery issue and software thinks it is degraded to a point to slow performance and customer will never know. Best solution is IOS should inform customer of battery performance degradation and let customer either choose to turn on in settings to turn on such feature or go replace the battery. .
  • Reply 9 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Just return the darn thing if you don’t like it....go get Androids phone and quit complaining....did you really noticed slowing down of your old iphone?? probably because it’s old....i am slowing down because im getting older, no matter how I get re-charged.

    👍🏾🤣👍🏾
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    wood1208 said:
    Does reduce performance feature only acts on aged battery on iPhone 6/6S or it just does the same on Brand new iPhone 6/6S. If IOS/Firmware reads battery life degradation to a point before activating such feature than understandable. What happens in Brand new iPhoe 6/6S have genuine battery issue and software thinks it is degraded to a point to slow performance and customer will never know. Best solution is IOS should inform customer of battery performance degradation and let customer either choose to turn on in settings to turn on such feature or go replace the battery. .
    iOS does inform the customer of battery degradation. There’s a setting under Battery. In addition to this, if you contact Apple they will be able to test the battery remotely if your eyesight is good enough to read the phone’s serial number. Apple won’t just replace the battery because you ask them however. If the phone is shutting down or the battery is draining really quickly then the problem could be somewhere else. 
    tmayracerhomie3Muntzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Rayz2016 said:
    wood1208 said:
    Does reduce performance feature only acts on aged battery on iPhone 6/6S or it just does the same on Brand new iPhone 6/6S. If IOS/Firmware reads battery life degradation to a point before activating such feature than understandable. What happens in Brand new iPhoe 6/6S have genuine battery issue and software thinks it is degraded to a point to slow performance and customer will never know. Best solution is IOS should inform customer of battery performance degradation and let customer either choose to turn on in settings to turn on such feature or go replace the battery. .
    iOS does inform the customer of battery degradation. There’s a setting under Battery. In addition to this, if you contact Apple they will be able to test the battery remotely if your eyesight is good enough to read the phone’s serial number. Apple won’t just replace the battery because you ask them however. If the phone is shutting down or the battery is draining really quickly then the problem could be somewhere else. 
    Where in the Battery section does it report that my battery (or any battery in any version of iOS) is now operating in a "Degraded" mode based on its age or functional state?  And then where is the user notified that this automatic battery/power management will continue based on the same age/state?  Bonus points if you can also point to a message that informs me (or any user) that it is recommended based on this activity that I take my iPhone take an Apple-certified repair shop to have my battery tested or replaced?
    edited December 2017 muthuk_vanalingamVRingaylk
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    jd_in_sb said:
    Apple’s intentions were good but I can see how some will view it as a sinister upgrade scheme. People love conspiracies. 
    Yeah, but they’ve seen geek faux outrage for years. They should have known what would happen and been more open about. 

    But us forgetting the usual crowd of gleeful detractors, remember that many of their most well-known cheerleaders have been saying the slowdowns aren’t happening, because they didn’t know what the phone was doing. 
    lkruppMuntz
  • Reply 13 of 39
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,108member
    jd_in_sb said:
    Apple’s intentions were good but I can see how some will view it as a sinister upgrade scheme. People love conspiracies. 
    My thoughts exactly. It is interesting to note, Apple never specs things like clock rates, RAM size and such. They do specific battery life like n hours of talk time and such. In slowing down the phone, they are trying to maintain the item they actually specified as best they could.

    Communication, however, was piss poor.
    Muntzwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Yesterday, I talked to Apple Support via the Support.app on my old iPhone 6s. I pre-ordered my 6s and got it on ship day so it's a little over 2 years old. I was just thinking of asking AT&T to unlock it and maybe sell it on eBay to pay for an upgrade to an iPhone 8 or X. So I decided to check out the battery status, I was horrified to discover it was at 50%. I'd have to replace the battery to give it any resale value, I bet that's expensive.

    So I talked to Apple Support. The support tech ran a little remote utility to read the iPhone's statistics, she said yep, that battery needs to be replaced. It turns out my iPhone was eligible for an extended warranty replacement on the battery. Some early 6s models would shut down unexpectedly when the battery was low, the fix was a replacement battery, so Apple extended the warranty for these defective models. It sounds like this is the specific problem the new iOS CPU throttling is designed to address. My iPhone 6s never had the shutdown problem, so I never had the battery replaced. But it's still eligible so Apple agreed to just swap it for a new iPhone, they will cross-ship a new 6s, FedEx it overnight, I migrate to the new iPhone and send the old one back. Nice. I don't have to send my iPhone to repair with a round trip of 3-5 business days. I just paid $29 shipping and my replacement iPhone is already out for FedEx delivery, about 16 hours after my call to Apple. Oh no, I just realized, I forgot to make sure they sent me the same 64Gb Space Gray model, all my accessories are Space Gray.

    Anyway, this is why I buy Apple (and I told this to Apple too). They offer extended warranty terms that are sometimes generous and resale prices on good used iPhones are surprisingly high. I also told them, I only burned up this battery with too many recharge cycles because I use it all the time. I watch DirecTV for hours, as well as other videos I download. But the big battery burner seems to be games that show 30 to 60 second commercials. Good thing I have an unlimited data plan, but I didn't consider the iPhone battery life isn't unlimited. People often complain about iPhones' battery life, and I always tell them, well the battery life sucks because you're always using it. Maybe you should just put it down and stop using it occasionally. As Groucho Marx once said, "I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while!"
    tmaywatto_cobraGG1jony0
  • Reply 15 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    steven n. said:
    jd_in_sb said:
    Apple’s intentions were good but I can see how some will view it as a sinister upgrade scheme. People love conspiracies. 
    My thoughts exactly. It is interesting to note, Apple never specs things like clock rates, RAM size and such. They do specific battery life like n hours of talk time and such. In slowing down the phone, they are trying to maintain the item they actually specified as best they could.

    Communication, however, was piss poor.
    That it was.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Just return the darn thing if you don’t like it....go get Androids phone and quit complaining....did you really noticed slowing down of your old iphone?? probably because it’s old....i am slowing down because im getting older, no matter how I get re-charged.
    Hmmmm.  Perhaps we shouldn't be shocked or ask any questions then when our car manufacturer implements a proprietary governor in an effort to throttle our engines.  'Ya know, to "protect" the engine from excessive speeds when it reaches a certain age as determined by that manufacturer.
    VRing
  • Reply 17 of 39
    thedbathedba Posts: 473member
    jd_in_sb said:
    VRing said:
    Apple doesn't slow down all the phones, only those with degraded battery. Also it slows down only in the peak performance time. Why can't people just understand that? When would you buy a new phone? when your phone shuts down randomly or when it lags sometimes? If Apple wants you to buy a new phone, it could just let your phone shut down due to poor battery. Its actually making you not to buy a new phone often. My 6S has the same exact Geekbench score now on iOS 11.2.1 just like it the day I bought it.
    Users that did experience this problem never knew that a battery replacement could remedy it. Apple never told them either, and to top it off, some of these users might have been under warranty and eligible for a free battery replacement.
    All good points. I think Apple should have been transparent about it. But I disagree with you that Apple had bad intentions. 
    We can speculate all we want about Apple’s intentions.
    I agree that this should have been communicated to at least the Apple Store employees.
    I expect Phil Schiller to call a press conference soon. Would this fall under his management?
    VRingmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 39
    yes big surprise korea is more concerned about apple's weak batteries than samsung's exploding ones
    cornchipwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 19 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member

    vonbrick said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    wood1208 said:
    Does reduce performance feature only acts on aged battery on iPhone 6/6S or it just does the same on Brand new iPhone 6/6S. If IOS/Firmware reads battery life degradation to a point before activating such feature than understandable. What happens in Brand new iPhoe 6/6S have genuine battery issue and software thinks it is degraded to a point to slow performance and customer will never know. Best solution is IOS should inform customer of battery performance degradation and let customer either choose to turn on in settings to turn on such feature or go replace the battery. .
    iOS does inform the customer of battery degradation. There’s a setting under Battery. In addition to this, if you contact Apple they will be able to test the battery remotely if your eyesight is good enough to read the phone’s serial number. Apple won’t just replace the battery because you ask them however. If the phone is shutting down or the battery is draining really quickly then the problem could be somewhere else. 
    Where in the Battery section does it report that my battery (or any battery in any version of iOS) is now operating in a "Degraded" mode based on its age or functional state?  And then where is the user notified that this automatic battery/power management will continue based on the same age/state?  Bonus points if you can also point to a message that informs me (or any user) that it is recommended based on this activity that I take my iPhone take an Apple-certified repair shop to have my battery tested or replaced?
    Er… what?

    When the phone tells me that the battery needs servicing, then it reasonably expects that common sense should tell me that I should:
    a. Get the battery serviced
    b. Expect degraded performance and/or an eventual shutdown.

    What it doesn't need to do is give me a list of possible causes for the battery problem or associated symptoms, because until the phone is looked at by a qualified bod then it's best not to assume what the problem is. The warning is there to get people to take the phone back to the shop. It is not there to give them a readout of possible scenarios and then say, "Your choice, dude."

    When my car warns me that it is running out of petrol then I can:
    a. Stop the car at a filling station
    b. Carry on, but expect degraded performance and/or an eventual shutdown. 

    What my car doesn't do, is try to guess how long I can run on fumes because that can change depending on how I'm driving it. 

    If the phone says the battery needs servicing, I don't checklist of options to tell me to get the battery serviced.
    edited December 2017 StrangeDaysMuntz
  • Reply 20 of 39
    Apple doesn't slow down all the phones, only those with degraded battery. Also it slows down only in the peak performance time. Why can't people just understand that? When would you buy a new phone? when your phone shuts down randomly or when it lags sometimes? If Apple wants you to buy a new phone, it could just let your phone shut down due to poor battery. Its actually making you not to buy a new phone often. My 6S has the same exact Geekbench score now on iOS 11.2.1 just like it the day I bought it.
    Why would they understand that? They have already made up their minds and some pesky facts will not stop them! Head deep in the arse and full speed ahead, to new adventures...
    smh
    tmayMuntzwatto_cobrajony0
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