Apple officially apologized for reducing older iPhones’ performance to compensate for dying batteries, calling the whole thing a “misunderstanding.”
In a letter to its customers, the company wrote:
First and foremost, we have never—and would never—do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
From there, the letter walks through the technicalities of how batteries age, and what you can do about it. Most important for those looking for a fix: from January 2018 until the end of the year, anyone who owns an iPhone 6 or newer model can get a phone-battery replacement for just $29, which is $50 less than the normal price for the service. Apple also said it will issue an iOS-software update early in 2018 so that users can see information about the health of their iPhone battery. (The company didn’t share details about what sort of information would be accessible)
Along with the letter, Apple published a support page with details on how battery life affects iPhone performance. The page says that, among other things, iPhones with weak batteries might automatically dim their screens, disarm flash, or reduce maximum speaker volume. But main features, like cellular data, GPS, and camera quality wouldn’t be affected.
Last week (Dec. 20), Apple admitted to The Verge that old iPhones with aging batteries were dropping in performance. The admission led to multiple lawsuits and bad press, and has thrown fuel on the fire of the long-held belief that Apple slows old phones to lift sales for new ones.
Apple still maintains that it has never intentionally slowed its phones. Instead, the company argues its phones simply automatically monitor their performance to best extend its batteries. Still, since it was a developer, and not Apple itself, who publicized the battery-related performance issue, many customers are now wary of trusting the company.