Apple Vows Clearer Information on Slowed Phones

John Lister's picture

Apple has promised to warn users when a software update could slow down their iPhone or decrease battery life. It follows concerns from a government agency.

The effects of iOS updates on phone performance has long been a controversial topic for Apple. Critics accused it of deliberately limiting the performance of older phones to encourage users to upgrade to newly released handsets, with some even producing what they called "diagnostic evidence."

Apple has always denied this accusation. It says reduced performance such as decreasing battery life may simply be the cumulative effect of iOS updates which become ever more demanding as phone technology advances.

Consumers May Have Upgraded Unnecessarily

That led to more confusion and controversy in 2017 when Apple issued an update that slowed down older phones. That was a deliberate move designed to let the phones run the latest software without suffering a significantly decreased battery life.

The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised the issue with Apple. It said the move may have violated local consumer laws. (Source:

Critics suggest that Apple hadn't done enough to explain the effects of the update. That may have caused users to assume their phone was faulty and either upgrade to a later model or pay for examination and repairs. The CMA said that may have meant users spent money unnecessarily.

Battery Health Made Clearer

Apple has now formally agreed with the CMA and will make three changes. It will notify customers when a software update will "materially" affect performance.

It will give clearer details about battery health, including how and why a phone may shut down without warning to prevent permanent damage. It will also give more information about how users can maximize battery life and how to replace batteries if needed.

Under the agreement, Apple will not only make sure its own staff provide any relevant information on this subject to customers, but will "use its best endeavors" to make sure third-party partners such as phone sellers do the same.

Apple had already taken steps in this direction voluntarily. However, the new agreement is legally binding, meaning Apple will face court action if it doesn't live up to the promises. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do phone manufacturers give enough information about how software updates can affect phone performance? Should it be a consumer law issue?

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LouisianaJoe's picture

As Microsoft releases Windows updates, more and more memory is required to run the bloated OS. After a while the PC slows to a crawl, causing users to buy a new PC.

matt_2058's picture

Agreed. I have a Toshiba tablet that I use as an ebook reader. It runs Win8.1 and had run out of space, making it useless because it would start, get sluggish, then soon lock up. Restoring it freed up 20gb of the base 32gb and it runs fine. Ridiculous.