Listen, it’s hardly a secret that an old phone gets tetchy. Most of the time, it’s because you’ve convinced yourself that your packed-full storage can squeeze in just ooooone more gif (lol we all know “storage nearly full” is a lie). But sometimes — or so the legend goes — it’s because Apple is rumored to be intentionally slowing down old phones to make you buy a new one. Well, that’s not actually the case, but on Dec. 28, Apple did announce some new changes that will hopefully make your phone run faster. So you’ll never again be waiting for that text to load and wailing, “why is my iPhone so slow?”
Starting in late January, Apple is reducing the cost of replacing an out-of-warranty iPhone battery by a solid $50, from $79 to $29. The move and discount is intended to offset the problem of phones being slowed down by their old, worn-down batteries, and to lengthen the use time and ultimate life of an older model of iPhone. Another change that could help speed up your old iPhone 4, or whatever? An upcoming iOS software update will include expanded visibility into the state of your battery, so that you can figure out if you should blame your wifi or your battery for how freaking slow your Instagram is loading.
So yeah, you'll need to do a little work and maybe dole out a little dough to get your phone back to its prime. But while $30 bucks just to bring your iPhone back up to out-of-the-box speed is a little annoying, it sure beats the hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone.
The change comes after a burst of outrage over the long-standing rumors that the company intentionally makes older models of iPhones run slower in order to force users to buy new models. While the company is pretty clear that no, there's no grand conspiracy to slow down your iPhone, there is a reason that older iPhones get slower. Namely, that the batteries in older models just don't hold up as well as the newer ones.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple explained:
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.
Which is why your old-ass phone might go ahead and just turn itself off randomly — you're asking too much of this old battery that can't keep up, so it just gives up. Newer phones, on the other hand, have a feature that can literally smooth out the problems.
In the statement announcing the new battery replacement discount and upcoming software update, Apple issued an apology for the confusion and expressed dismay that it may have lost the trust of its users. The statement said in part,
We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.
The (extremely thorough) statement laid out how the batteries work, what people were upset about, and how Apple was addressing it — namely, the cheaper replacements and the updated software.
Whether that'll ultimately be enough to appease everyone who wanted to throw their phone across the room every time YouTube froze? That remains to be seen. But hey, I'll try out that new battery. Anything to make my 5C hold together a little longer. You hear me, baby? Hold together.