Geekbench confirms Apple slows down older iPhones


Poole plotted the kernel density of Geekbench 4 single-core scores for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 running different versions of iOS.

Chiming in on the mater, a new report from RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani relays that demand for Apple's flagship iPhone X in China remains incredibly strong. Now Geekbench founder John Poole himself has chose to weigh in on the issue with his own research.

Poole is referring to the update Apple rolled out in iOS version 10.2 created to address an iPhone 6s battery issue that was causing the handsets to shut down for no apparent reason. There are a couple reasons and angles to approach this argument, but they both end with the same result. For those who remember, Apple had announced a battery replacement program for some of the iPhone 6s series devices because the battery in these phones was not up to standard and likely to degrade faster, though the company had said it did not cause any safety issues. The user was getting lower-than-expected scores on Geekbench, which improved after they replaced the battery in their iPhone 6S.

But from the introduction of iOS 10.2.1 in January 2017, the data showed five peaks - the first matching the maximum performance as with iOS 10.2, but the following four at relatively set intervals showing steps downwards in performance. By the time iOS 11.2.0 rolled around, Apple's apparent CPU throttling algorithms really started ramping up, as we're seeing a multimodal distribution of scores.

Some consider this a deliberate move by Apple to slow down older phones via iOS updates.

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Poole wrote: "The difference between 10.2.0 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition".

As Poole points out, the sluggishness might prompt some to upgrade to a new iPhone instead of simply replacing the battery.

The RBC survey showed that 62% of respondents in China are interested in buying Apple's flagship iPhone X, compared with 28% of respondents in its US survey. He argues that Apple has "introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point".

The charts indicate that most iPhone 6s' running iOS 10.2 were performing at similar highs.

[.] it appears the problem is widespread, and will only get worse as phones (and their batteries) continue to age. This is particularly notable in the iPhone 6 which Apple did have to replace a number of faulty batteries.