The long-speculated rumors have recently turned out to be somewhat true, that Apple has indeed been slowing iOS devices for quite some time. In a fiasco being referred to as ‘battery-gate‘, Apple has issued a public message that it does deliberately slow down the older iPhones in efforts to prevent the devices from shutting down due to aging batteries.

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Those who wielded an iPhone 6, 6s, and 6s Plus devices were often facing  issues including spontaneously shutting down even though they had sufficient battery. The problems usually arose during processor intensive tasks such as playing a game or downloading an app, and some users even reported refreshing Gmail caused their iPhones to crash. Apple acknowledged the bug and introduced a fix in an update to its operating system software with the iOS 10.2.1 patch.

The team at Cupertino got caught when Geekbench developer John Poole mapped the performance of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 over varying software updates and found a few anomalies. Analyzing a sample size of 100,000 phones, with the specific intention to look at the performance of iPhones from iOS 10.2.0 and iOS 10.2.1. His findings did reveal that processors did slow down after the update.

In Apple statement (which can be read here), the company says the slowdowns were to protect your phone. As the lithium-ion batteries in the phones age, they cannot handle the same processing demands as a newer product, which can cause the phone to shut down unexpectedly.

In an effort to regain customer loyalty and to “regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions” the company is taking the following steps in order to rectify the situation:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Apple, who has made their devices notoriously hard to open and repair, has offered a battery replacement program for awhile now, but the company seems less inclined to advertise the benefits. The ‘battery-gate‘ feeds into the ‘planned obsolescence‘ conspiracy theory, in which Apple intentionally slows down iPhones, frustrating users and forcing them into an upgrade, but the theory has yet to be confirmed for all iOS devices or just those affected by iOS 10.2.1 update.

Apple is currently facing multiple class-action suits filed in US District Courts in California, New York, and Illinois, one of which seeks $999 billion in damages.