Apple is currently embroiled in a messy PR disaster. While the situation isn't as dire as what Samsung experienced with exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, the effects to its business and reputation could be just as significant.
It all began when several users discovered that replacing the batteries on their old iPhone models made the phone run much faster and smoother. Several other users pitched in with their own stories and confirmed that some older models did indeed get better performance with freshly minted batteries.
Apple iPhone Slowdown Controversy
Many became enraged about the discovery, accusing Apple of planned obsolescence — a phenomenon, illegal in many countries, where manufacturers deliberately design products to be greatly reduced in function once a certain period is reached.
Apple was silent for a little while but later confirmed that it was indeed throttling a few older iPhone models to avoid them randomly shutting down, as lithium-ion batteries degrade overtime. The problem was it didn't inform consumers clearly about this throttling phenomenon, meaning many users had no way of knowing that replacing the battery would solve the problem. Also, there was no way to opt out of this process. Consumers who owned the affected iPhone models were simply forced to have a slowed-down phone after a certain usage period.
Turn Off Throttling
A few days ago, Apple announced the iOS 11.3 and released the first developer and public beta versions. They contain various improvements, most notably an iPhone battery health indicator and an actual toggle that would let users slow down their iPhone if they want to save battery.
Apple has now confirmed that these updates will be released sometime in spring, according to a report by The Washington Post about the Justice Department's investigation into Apple's forced throttling practices.
iOS 11.3 Release Date
Apple has been trying to clean up its mess by starting a discounted battery replacement program in December 2017, and its CEO also recently promised that a future software update will allow users to turn off throttling altogether. Apple reiterated that promise in a statement sent in Jan. 31 that also confirmed that the U.S. government agencies are questioning Apple.
"We also announced that we began developing a new iOS feature to show battery health and which would recommend when the user should consider replacing their battery," the statement reads. "In addition, users will be able to see if the power management feature is being used to prevent unexpected shutdowns, and turn it off if they so choose. These features will be included in a developer release next month and a user release this Spring."
So, to be clear: a beta version of iOS 11.3, with new battery and throttling features in tow, is coming this February. That means beta testers will be the first users to try out the battery health indicator and the throttling toggle.
Thrilled for the update? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!