Apple apologizes for iPhone slowdown controversy, will reduce out-of-warranty battery repl...

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2017
Apple on Thursday addressed mounting criticism over the revelation that it slows down iPhones with aging batteries to prevent performance issues. In addition to apologizing, the company has also lowered the price of out-of-warranty battery replacements to $29, and will issue a software update in early 2018 to let users find out more information about the health of their device's battery.




The new $29 iPhone battery replacement is a reduction of $50 from the previous cost of $79. It will be available for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018.

The company will also issue an iOS software update with "new features," coming in early 2018. This will let users see if the condition of their phone's battery is affecting performance.
"Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that."
"We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize," the company wrote in an open letter published to its website. "There's been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we're making."

It went on to clarify that it has never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the lifespan of any Apple product. The company also denied degrading user experience to encourage upgrades.

"Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that," they said.

The letter goes on to explain how batteries age and degrade in performance over time, and what the software changes do to address these problems. It states that recent customer feedback over the controversy compelled it to make changes, including the upcoming software update and reduction in battery replacement price.




Aging batteries have reduced capacities, and can cause random shutdowns of devices when they are subjected to spikes in power usage. Apple has addressed this by reducing peak performance of processors in older phones, which can make them run slower, but also keeps them operational for a longer period of time.

Despite the fact that throttling keeps devices operational for longer, Apple's own admission has helped fueled a popular conspiracy theory that the company intentionally slows down older iPhones to encourage customers to buy a new device. Tests have shown that older devices outfitted with a new battery, available for $29 starting in late January, will see their performance return to normal levels.

However, Apple's admission and continued belief in the conspiracy theory have helped to spur a number of lawsuits from around the world. Some critics have contended that even if the throttling is in the best interest of users and their devices, Apple should still have been more transparent about the fact that software updates could result in slower phones.

Seeing an opportunity from Apple's public relations crisis, some competitors this week issued statements to say that they do not throttle the processing power of older devices.

Apple, too, clearly saw the damage that was being done with the story continuing to make the rounds in the news and on social media. It remains to be seen whether Thursday's response and the upcoming changes will put the controversy to bed.

Apple's full letter to customers is included below:
December 28, 2017

A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

We've been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There's been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we're making.

First and foremost, we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

How batteries age

All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

To help customers learn more about iPhone's rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we've posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.

It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don't want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns

About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

Recent user feedback

Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

Addressing customer concerns

We've always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We're proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors' devices.

To address our customers' concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple's intentions, we've decided to take the following steps:
  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 -- from $79 to $29 -- for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
  • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.
At Apple, our customers' trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support -- and we will never forget that or take it for granted.
h2pjahblade
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 233
    Apple confirms what I thought was the clear reason for the slowdown and the mechanism by which it was done — the Low Power Mode function being automatically applied. 
    bshank
  • Reply 2 of 233
    h2ph2p Posts: 260member
    Thank you, Apple, for stepping up with steep discounts for battery replacements.

    I understand the reasoning behind the system slowdown for mostly worn out batteries... but thank you anyway for this "fix." My wife's iPhone 5s is only 2.5 years old and has major lag issues. Although this is outside of the program, I think I'll bring her phone in anyway for a Genius-look-see.

    The software update will be a nice addition even for my iPhone 6 that only rarely has what appears to be battery issues (same 2.5 years old).
    Muntzbitmodwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 233
    Just finished reading the letter, and the linked info about Lithium-Ion batteries and how things work, and I think Apple handled that beautifully.

    I also think 99% of consumers won't even bother finishing the letter, much less read the information about batteries, because consumers these days are mostly dumb, short-sighted, short-attention-spanned, bafoons who only know now about "Apple being bad and being sued" as fed to them by mainstream media.

    And I can GUARANTEE that mainstream media won't even mention a whisper of this explanation or battery tech background, as it won't jive with their pitchfork narrative against Apple, which means the BS stupidity against Apple will continue unabated.
    esummersracerhomie3macseekerStrangeDayscornchipsennenh2pMuntzpscooter63baconstang
  • Reply 4 of 233
    Still don't even see this as a big issue at all but glad they've done something about it, the discounted battery replacements is a good gesture and they will now be more popular than ever.
    magman1979badmonkbshankStrangeDayscornchipsennenlkruppMuntzzeus423pscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 233
    And for those users who do not know or care about how their phones actually work (i.e. the vast majority of users), the software update will lead to some phones randomly shutting down without warning and yet another class-action lawsuit against Apple for "intentionally putting out a software update that degrades the iPhone's reliability." Fuc*ing lawyers.
    magman1979badmonkcurtis hannahlkruppzeus423baconstangcincymacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 233
    The reduced price for the replacement battery is much more reasonable for a phone battery. I hope this stays low. 
    dysamorianetmagemuthuk_vanalingamstantheman
  • Reply 7 of 233
    It was the right thing to do so well done Apple. Now let’s hope they make battery replacement easily accessible (ie no arguing with a genius guy who insists your battery is just fine even if you suspect otherwise).

    lets also hope this comms is widely reported by the media just like he problem has been. 

    extra info in the iOS update will be welcomed to make informed choices (simply  - how many cycles has my battery been charged, how much has the capacity degraded , is my phone being throttled , and perhaps an estimate of how long till it needs a replacement). 
    netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 233
    Seeing an opportunity from Apple's public relations crisis, some competitors this week issued statements to say that they do not throttle the processing power of older devices.

    That was not a publc relations “crisis” but an engineering and testing issue at first place. Slowness claims started with the release of iOS 11, and testing, locating and fixing the issue took until this date. Apple has identified the issue in adequate time and immediately communicated its findings and solutions. There is no “public relations crisis” at all, but some media outlets and trolls won’t stop and will continue to push to create an artificial crisis, even after that. As always, their efforts will be futile...

    racerhomie3cornchiph2ppscooter63bb-15watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 233
    pdbreske said:
    And for those users who do not know or care about how their phones actually work (i.e. the vast majority of users), the software update will lead to some phones randomly shutting down without warning and yet another class-action lawsuit against Apple for "intentionally putting out a software update that degrades the iPhone's reliability." Fuc*ing lawyers.
    That’s not what the letter says. They’re not dropping the power management feature. They’re going to add a battery health status feature.
    78BandittmayStrangeDayscornchippscooter63netmagerepressthiswatto_cobrastanthemanjony0
  • Reply 10 of 233
    VRingVRing Posts: 108member
    They're only doing this after they got caught, and it still doesn't help users that already changed devices.
    dasanman69digitolZooMigoraclark77williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamtechprod1gyrepressthisbr
  • Reply 11 of 233
    Just finished reading the letter, and the linked info about Lithium-Ion batteries and how things work, and I think Apple handled that beautifully.


    I agree to a point. Yes. Apple did the right thing here, but I feel they missed an opportunity about a year ago. This update that will let you know the health of the battery should have happened with the changes in iOS 10.2.1. Had they done this at that time, all of this wouldn't be as big of a deal now (which is it shouldn't be anyway) and they wouldn't have to had lower the battery replacement charge. Hindsight, right?
    esummersnetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 233
    Well done Apple - a good recovery, just hope it gets the press it deserves
    caddyman33watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 13 of 233
    Good job Apple. This should calm down some of those conspiracy theorists.The cheaper batteries should help too.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 233
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,249member
    VRing said:
    They're only doing this after they got caught, and it still doesn't help users that already changed devices.
    Pretty evident that Tim knew about this and Approved this last year otherwise he would make a Sr executive walk the plank like Forstall had to.   Remember he also let Uber get a away with some dirty stuff - never yanked them out of the apps store - just a stern talking to.   Lol.
    VRingwilliamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 233
    Reminds me of ‘VW defeat device scandal’.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 233
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,543member
    This is what they should've done in the first place  
    dysamoriawilliamlondonnetmagemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 233
    VRingVRing Posts: 108member
    knowitall said:
    Reminds me of ‘VW defeat device scandal’.
    The end result was a performance loss and a certain amount of money back.

    Both Apple and VW only acted after getting caught. If not they would have both continued without the consumer's knowledge.
    ZooMigodysamoriawilliamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamsingularityrepressthis
  • Reply 18 of 233
    What about (third party) battery health apps, by the way?
  • Reply 19 of 233
    ...I wish Apple would explain the inability of iMac pro (and macbook pro) design to accommodate user ram and drive flexibility...
    While I've read arguments for soldered ram optimizing narrower tolerance tuning speed, the iMac Pro is socketed...?
    OEM batteries too may have such concerns, yet is it reasonable to ask if iPhone batteries may be cheaper than extended lawsuits?
  • Reply 20 of 233
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,249member
    All in all it's a very good letter even if Tim is a the top of the conspiracy.

    although it would be better if this price was permanent.

    Also Android phone makers can't charge more than $29 for battery replacements - if you charge more than Apple its price gauging.
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