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Apple Confirms It Slows Down Old iPhones As Their Batteries Age

Do you have an iPhone that suddenly feels … slower … than … it … used … to?

There might be a good reason for that, Apple confirmed to media outlets Thursday: The company is deliberately slowing down some iPhones, albeit for a good reason.

The batteries in older phones start to lose their oomph, especially if the devices have been repeatedly exposed to extreme temperatures. Phones used to abruptly shut themselves off if too much was asked of their decrepit batteries, since that helped protect sensitive electrical components.

Beginning with a software update it pushed out last year, however, Apple tried a new tactic: slowing down devices during moments of high demand so their beleaguered batteries could keep up.

Here’s how the company explained it in a statement to TechCrunch:

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.

Some outraged consumers see this as a plot by Apple to force people to upgrade their iPhones more often ― and it could certainly have that effect ― but there is a cheaper fix: replacing your battery.

Before you go through the hassle, though, dig through your iPhone’s settings (here’s how) and see if your battery actually needs to be replaced. Look for this warning:

Apple will replace your battery for free if your phone is under warranty, according to The Verge. Otherwise, it costs about $80. If you’re willing to make the replacement yourself, you can expect to spend around $30 on the battery and necessary tools. 

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