With the release of iOS 11.3, the new Apple battery health tool will allow users to turn off throttling on their devices. Here’s a guide on how to enable the feature in the iOS 11.3 beta.
For the last couple of generations of phones, many users have reported having slower devices with poor performance as the life of the device went on and a new generation released. Many suspected that it was a form of planned obsolescence put into effect by the company in order to drive more attention towards their latest release. While many people no doubt upgraded their phone to the latest device in order to address the issue, the reasoning behind the slowdown may have been due to much less nefarious reasoning: a failing battery.
Apple recently came forward about their practice of slowing down older iPhones and apologized for the lack of transparency regarding the issue, but insisted that the slowdowns were necessary in order to protect the phone from random crashing. The last few generations of iPhone have featured a lithium-ion battery which, while superior to alternatives in many ways, gradually loses its capacity after hundreds of charges.
“A normal battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles when operating under normal conditions.”
In order to protect aging phones and prolong their life, Apple throttled the performance, which has had many users up in arms.
Apple sought to rectify the situation by massively discounting battery replacements down to $29 from the original cost of $79, and taking advantage of that deal should fix the issue, but for users who don’t want to purchase a new battery, a new Apple battery health tool is coming with iOS 11.3 that should remove the throttling – provided users are willing to take the risk that their older phones may start to crash.
The Apple battery health tool is only available on iPhone 6 and later, due to the fact that these more recent phones are the only ones that have included this new battery, and as such the only ones that were throttled.
The tool has yet to receive a full release, but right now you’ll find it under Settings > Battery > Battery Health.
When you’ll navigate to this page, you’ll see an Apple statement to the effect of that mentioned above, stating that the battery technology naturally erodes over time. You’ll also see a notice of your current Peak Performance Capability, with one of the five possible states included below:
- Performance is normal: Your phone is operating at peak performance
- Performance management applied: The capability of your battery was unable to support the full performance of your device at least once, so the Apple battery health tool has been applied to help protect your phone from crashing.
- Performance management turned off: “This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. You have manually disabled performance protections.”
- Battery health unknown: You may need to purchase a new battery.
- Battery health degraded: You definitely should purchase a new battery.
If you’d like to fully disable performance management using the Apple battery health tool, simply navigate to the location mentioned above and hit disable. You’ll receive a warning that if you disable the setting, you won’t be able to enable it again. However, if your phone does crash because the battery can’t supply the right amount of power, it will be automatically re-enabled. You can then turn it off again as you please.
It’s important to weigh the risks that your phone may crash with the benefit of a device operating at peak performance, but we anticipate that most people using older phones will take advantage of the Apple battery health feature. Whether the risks of a crash are truly as great as Apple seems to believe remains to be seen.