Is Apple really slowing down old iPhones to make you buy a new one?

how to take a screenshot on an iPhone
It’s one of the oldest conspiracy theories in tech: Every time Apple releases a new version of iOS, there are complaints from users that their older model iPhones are slowing down. And they speculate that Apple intentionally slows down older models to incentivize users to upgrade to newer, more expensive models. The concept of planned obsolesce is nothing new, and has been around since long before smartphones. While there is a grain of truth to the theory in general, a new study proves it false in the case of Apple.

TechCrunch reports that Futuremark, the maker of numerous pieces of benchmarking software, has concluded a years-long test involving more than a hundred thousand iPhones, and the data refutes the old rumors that Apple is deliberately slowing things down.

Futuremark tests involved the Phone 5s, 6, 6s, and 7 and found that there was no evidence of deliberate slowdowns. In the case of the iPhone 5s, which was released in 2013, GPU and CPU performance remained consistent from iOS 9 to the recently released iOS 11. There were some minor variations, but those all fell within normal ranges.

In the case of the other models, GPU performance remained consistent over time, but there was a slight drop in CPU performance. Futuremark noted that these could have been influenced by iOS updates, but stressed that normal users would be unlikely to notice them in regular use.

is apple slowing down old iphones iphone

As far as the origins of these rumors, Futuremark offered a few theories. For starters, apps may be one of the biggest contributing factors to actual slowdowns. Older apps might not optimized for the newer version of iOS, resulting in less optimization. On the other hand, apps designed for new devices might not run as well on older smartphones though that is on the app developers rather than Apple.

Futuremark did concede that one area in which iOS updates may be responsible for slowdowns is the addition of new features. New versions of iOS may add new features that take up more processing power, causing older phones to slow down.

Overall, however, Futuremark concluded that rather than slowing down their old devices, Apple was actually doing a good job of supporting them by providing updates which maintain a consistent level of quality across multiple versions of the OS.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?
Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.
Wearables

The best Apple Watch bands and straps to stylize your timepiece

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here, we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far. There's something for everyone.
Mobile

The Cat S48c is the phone designed for construction workers (or the clumsy)

The Cat S48c is a rugged smartphone that's available from Sprint. It mixes midrange specs with a huge battery wrapped in an extremely tough and protective body. If you need a phone that can survive the construction site, then this is it.
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Mobile

Apple resurrects the iPhone SE with brand-new units starting at $249

Apple quietly started selling the iPhone SE again, at even lower prices than when it was discontinued four months ago. Brand new units of the 32GB version are on sale for $249, while the 128GB version is going for $299.
Android

Popular Android navigation apps are just Google Maps with ads, researcher says

A malware researcher found that 19 free Android navigation apps on the Google Play Store were nothing more than Google Maps, but with ads. One of the apps asked for a payment to remove the ads, while some of them presented security risks.
Mobile

Google Maps will now help drivers stay within speed limits, avoid speed traps

Google Maps will now start showing speed limits and speed camera locations, so that drivers will not be flagged for speeding tickets. The new features arrive to the app years after they were introduced in Waze.
Mobile

Text up a storm with the best messaging apps for iOS and Android

These days, most people tend to favor digital messages over phone calls. We have the best messaging apps that allow you to share photos and documents, send text messages, and more with end-to-end encryption.
Mobile

If you want Samsung's advanced folding phone, be prepared to pay a lot for it

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Do these case images confirm a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the S10 E?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.