With iOS 12.1, Apple introduced a bunch of new features to its mobile devices like Group FaceTime and dozens of new emoji. But the company also elected to add a controversial new performance management feature to the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
For the uninitiated, back in December 2017, Apple confirmed that it would sometimes slow down older iPhones through a software update in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. The result was that models like the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, and 7 Plus would often perform poorly after being updated to the newest version of iOS.
Users had long suspected Apple was throttling older iPhones, but it wasn’t until Geekbench published an exposé that the company publicly admitted it was, indeed, slowing down older iPhones — albeit, for a good reason.
Apple said in its original explantion of the throttling issue that its goal was “to deliver the best experience for customers” and essentially argued the practice of throttling was a feature — not a bug as it had been reported by Geekbench. Apple’s solution was to give iPhone owners some extra control over the feature and offer a reduced cost for battery replacements.
Then, in early 2018, iOS 11.3 rolled out with a new Battery Health section specifically made for older iPhone models: the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. The section gave people greater insight into the capacity of their battery and more information about how the lithium-ion battery aged over time. On those older devices, it would also let you know if you need to get a new battery.
Now, Apple is finally bringing this feature over to the iPhone that were released in 2017: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Apple says as much in its official release notes and on it’s Battery and Performance website.
“Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design.”
Whether you agree with the inclusion of the feature or not, it is nice to see that the company is being more upfront about the practice now. And on the bright side, Apple is making it extremely easy to turn this feature off by navigating to Settings > Battery > Battery Health.
In the end, this is just what it means to use a device that’s powered by lithium-ion batteries in 2018. Inevitably, the battery degrades. We’re just happy that Apple will let us choose whether we want to throttle our phones — or whether we’d rather keep them running at peak performance regardless of battery life.