If you thought that Apple has put its throttling scandal behind it, especially after the million euro fine it was slapped with in Italy for that. And yet here it is again, pushing that same “performance management feature” not to older iPhones but to last year’s models. This change, again unannounced and unknown to users, was silently included in the recent 12.1 update to iOS 12, putting the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus on the same footing as older iPhones.
There’s little argument that Apple’s feature has technical merits. Over time, batteries do degrade and could negatively impact the user experience by suddenly shutting down even when seemingly on a full charge. What Apple did was to make iOS smart enough to detect such signs and throttle the processor’s performance to avoid pushing older batteries to their limit.
The point of contention was how Apple decided to go about informing users of such a major change. Which is to say they didn’t at all. Users simply noticed a drop in the performance of their iPhones after the latest iOS update. And to rub it in further, Apple didn’t exactly give them a choice to opt out of the performance management.
Apple may have gotten out of that controversy with a slight slap on its wrist and a negligible fine, but it’s definitely testing the waters again by doing the same for the 2017 iPhones. Again, it’s not the feature itself that’s held in question but Apple’s silent addition. If The Verge and eagle-eyed users didn’t catch the change in Apple’s support page, few might have noticed.
Of course, thanks to the whole brouhaha, users now have an option to turn that performance management off. Apple advises against it, though, as end users are poor judges of a phone’s actual capability, much less its battery’s remaining capacity. That new option, however, was not enough to save it from litigation and a fine in Europe.