Primate Labs, the developer of the GeekBench benchmark tool, as well as redditors, pointed out that iPhones with degraded batteries saw throttled performance. In fact, the reddit thread saw the user run a Geekbench test, replace their old battery with a new one, and then re-running the test.
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“I did a Geekbench score, and found I was getting 1466 Single (core) and 2512 Multi (core). This did not change whether I had low power mode on or off. After changing my battery, I did another test to check if it was just a placebo. Nope. 2526 Single and 4456 Multi,” wrote user TeckFire.
Apple has since confirmed the news to The Verge, explaining that they effectively reduced CPU performance on devices with older batteries in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
Apple has spoken out after iPhone users reported improved CPU performance with new batteries
In case you forgot, unexpected shutdowns were indeed a bugbear for Apple users earlier this year, resulting in an iOS 10.2.1 software update to fix the issue.
“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,” Apple told The Verge.
“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.”
So expect your iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X to receive this feature down the line, as those batteries degrade. It’s not quite planned obsolescence then, but we can see why many would think it is.