Due to the unexpected threat imposed by the discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre exploits, several manufacturers scrambled to update their devices.
Microsoft and other software vendors immediately rushed to patch the problem, while manufacturers likewise released firmware updates to boost the protection of their products. Some experts speculated that given the nature of how the aforementioned vulnerabilities worked, fixes could possibly result in a slower overall CPU performance.
Tests were conducted on the iPhone 8, iPhone 7, and iPhone 6 to determine if their speculation was accurate.
How To Possibly Stop The Exploits
A team of researchers from Google's Project Zero made the discovery of the CPU weaknesses called Spectre and Meltdown. Hackers with the right malware code can take advantage of the chipset's function intended to boost its processing speed.
Unfortunately, the only current solution available for manufacturers is to simply patch out the feature, which could possibly slow down the device.
iPhone 8 And iPhone 7
In order to determine if the new firmware intended to protect against Meltdown and Spectre would not affect processing speed, researchers measured the performance benchmark of an iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 both on iOS 11.1.2. Subsequently, once the results were collected, both units were updated to iOS version 11.2.2. It should be noted that RAM speed did not appear to be affected by these tests.
Once comparisons were made with the figures generated before and after the updates, it could be concluded that the impact on performance was apparently quite minimal. Therefore, users will not experience any obvious slowdown with their smartphones.
The iPhone 6
The group took it even further and performed the comparison test on an iPhone 6. The results came back with staggering results, which does not look good for users who are still using the model. While performance on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 remained almost the same as detailed above, the 6 reportedly received disappointing results post 11.2.2 update.
According to the information gathered from the trial, the smartphone reportedly lost 40 percent of its CPU performance.
Apple's Battery-Related Performance Drop
On a different note, the team wanted to eliminate the possibility that battery integrity might have contributed to the slowdown, which, in a recent announcement from Apple, confirmed that their system intentionally throttles CPU performance to offset battery life.
Therefore, until more tests are done on iPhone 6 units with newer batteries, the unfavorable test results mentioned above can be considered inaccurate in the meantime.
The Meltdown and Spectre Threat continues to shake the technology industry until authorities declare the threat contained. With the iPhone 8, iPhone 7, and iPhone 6 recently tested with their respective results, the newer iPhone X's performance is presumably safe for now.