Apple’s iPhone Throttling Demonstrates How Consumers Lose Out With Non-Replacable Batteries In Mobile Devices

Ever since BBC covered the news of Apple admitting to slowing down older iPhones, it has highlighted the downside of non-replaceable batteries in mobile devices like phones and tablets.

The story still hasn’t hit all the news channels yet, but will over the next day. Apple simply had to admit to slowing down some older iPhones through OTA updates because Apple see it as an alternative to these phones suddenly shutting down when they are using a lot of power in certain tasks with batteries that can no longer keep up. A problem that started after journalists picked up the thread after Geekbench founder John Poole had ran tests that demonstrated the deterioration of older iPhones.

The problem is that it slows iPhones down in general after these updates, and Apple had never been open about it or explained this tweak. So obviously this can also be interpreted as a deliberate strategy from Apple to force iOS users to always buy a newer version of the iPhone.

The actual issue of iPhones shutting down has been a well known issue, and Apple released updates in iOS 10+ that addressed this problem, but it wasn’t until now that it was explained how. And unfortunately it wasn’t Apple that was open about it but rather journalists that found some bad apples.

Apple should just be open about this from now on, and introduce the throttled-but-stable tweak as an optional feature in their next update. The majority of people would keep this feature on anyway, since the phones would shot down at seemingly random without it on, and even on new phones.

Screen cap from https://www.apple.com/batteries/why-lithium-ion/

That would however demonstrate that iPhone’s aren’t working as they should when they are still under warranty, and that would be a bad option for a $900 billion company. So Apple decided to hand the problem over to iPhone owners over instead.

It also highlights the problem for consumers in general that the majority of mobile devices no longer have replaceable batteries, even though replaceable batteries were common up until about 15 years ago.

The upside to it is improved fire safety and avoidance of unoriginal and possibly dangerous batteries. But obviously owners would have loved to have the option of swapping batteries, or even take a fully charged spare one with them so that they would no longer have to lower the screen brightness to save battery.

With some of the bestselling tablets it is sometimes possible to buy entire battery replacement kits at around $50 that will bring their tablets back to their former glory, but that includes opening up the tablets physically, and not everyone is comfortable with that.

It’s possible to get a iPhone battery replacement from Apple to for an iPhone which costs $80 and takes around a week.

Apple claims on iPhone batteries that:
“Your battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles. The one-year warranty includes service coverage for a defective battery. If it is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery service for $79, plus $6.95 shipping, subject to local tax.”

So you can replace the battery in an iPhone too, but now people will begin to question what even the point of that will be after these news this week.

– Tom Bowen

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