Have you ever side-eyed Apple when you’ve noticed your iPhone running a bit more slowly after installing the latest iOS update?
It’s not just you. On December 20, Apple issued a statement admitting that they have intentionally slowed down iPhones with older batteries. The tech giant attempted to explain their actions, saying, “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 says it has released software updates designed to curb these sudden shutdowns but that these updates meant to extend the life of your battery could affect it in other ways, such as its operating speed.
This has long been a sore spot for Apple, with customers claiming that Apple was purposefully slowing down their phones in order to force them to upgrade to the newest model. While it’s commendable for Apple to address this controversy, some customers believe it’s too little, too late.
Yesterday, after their initial admission, Apple posted “a message to our customers about iPhone batteries and performance” on their website. The post begins with Apple saying, “First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
From there, Apple goes on to reiterate “how batteries age” and what they’ve endeavored to do in the past to prevent the issues that come with aging batteries. The letter ends with an olive branch: Apple will knock $50 off the regular price of a battery for users with an iPhone 6 or any newer model who are in need of a replacement – as long as you claim the offer by December 2018. In addition, a new software update slated for early 2018 will supposedly “give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery.”
The biggest issue here is not that Apple was intentionally limiting phone performance but that it took so long for the company to come out and confirm these suspicions. This lack of transparency between user and creator may very well have negative long-term effects on customer trust levels, but only time will tell exactly what those effects will look like.
Apple acknowledges the importance of their relationship with their patrons in the final paragraph of their letter: “At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.”
Only time will tell the full extent this confession will have on their customers’ trust and brand loyalty. As for now, class-action lawsuits have already been filed against the company by users in New York, Illinois, and California.