Here’s What to do When Your Pricey Smartphone Starts Slowing Down
Are you the owner of an expensive but not particularly new smartphone that's been slowing down exponentially as it's gotten older?
If so, you're not alone—and you're probably not the only person who is angry about it.
A few days ago, a Reddit post reignited speculation that Apple, the massively popular company that operates the beloved iPhone, purposely slows down its older model smartphones in order to gently (or not so gently) prod consumers to upgrade to newer versions.
A very thorough article by TechCrunch unpacks this notion and explains how the persistent myth is just that—a myth. As TechCrunch—and an updated version of the aforementioned Reddit post—point out, the phones are slowing down because of aging batteries.
Earlier in the week, Apple made the following statement in order to address growing outrage:
"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."
While this is annoying, the problem can be rectified by replacing the battery (which might be a bit of a pain, but is certainly cheaper than upgrading to a $500+ phone).
Solutions aside, a number of consumers are still angry and demanding legal action.
The U.S.-based Sulaiman Law Group recently announced that it's representing several plaintiffs in a class action complaint against Apple.
The law firm says several clients came forward against Apple, claiming the company "purposely and knowingly released operating system software updates to a number of generations of the iPhone in an effort to slow the CPU performance speeds of these devices."
These iOS updates, plaintiffs claim, were engineered to fraudulently force iPhone owners to purchase the latest model offered by Apple.
"Apple’s failure to inform consumers these updates would wreak havoc on the phone’s performance is being deemed purposeful, and if proven, constitutes the unlawful and decisive withholding of material information," the law firm writes in a statement. "…As a result, countless consumers have been harmed and defrauded by this illicit and immoral conduct. The plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury."
So while it is true that older phone do slow down overtime, some can be salvaged with a battery change.
That might be a better (and more affordable) option. Unless, of course, you want a sexy (but pricey) iPhone X.