Apple found itself facing some unwanted attention last year when it was revealed the company throttles performance of older iPhones to compensate for battery degradation. Although it has a reason for this setup, the secrecy surrounding it–knowledge of it only became public after a third-party group’s report–understandably caused a great deal of consternation among consumers. Soon, however, the so-called feature will become an option you can toggle off.
The system in question was implemented as part of iOS 10.2.1 in 2016 and affects the iPhone 6, 6s, SE, and, more recently, 7. Essentially, it slows the speed of iPhones as their batteries age. This is because performance spikes can require more power than an old battery is capable of providing, which can result in a phone shutting down completely. Apple’s solution to avoid this issue is to slow the phone down.
Apple acknowledged the initial report of performance-throttling and apologized. CEO Tim Cook has now addressed the subject in an interview with ABC News, denying that the feature was completely hidden but admitting it could have done more to inform users about what was going on. “When we did put it [the software update] out, we did say what it was, but I don’t think a lot of people were paying attention,” he said. He later added, “Maybe we should have been clearer, as well.”
More importantly, Cook revealed that, following a future update, the feature can be disabled. Although he wouldn’t suggest users do so, he said, “If you don’t want it, you can turn it off.”
There’s no word on when this option will be added. In the meantime, users can take advantage of a discounted battery replacement, which will help to circumvent the need for performance-throttling. For 2018, Apple has dropped the price of battery replacements to $29, down from $79.