Earlier in the month, a story went viral on the internet which said that Apple was deliberately slowing down the older iPhones with an intention to push people to consider buying the latest iPhone models. Now, perception is something that can impact the technology industry today. One wonders if this conspiracy theory has some truth in it. Would Apple take on to such leaps to make you buy their new phones?
The claim can’t be dismissed as random because the data which shows on Google searches for “iPhone slow” was dramatically spiking with the release of each new model by Apple. While most reputable websites dismissed the logic of the claim, barely anyone was looking at the actual performance data which told the real story.
In this article, we will look at some real-world data to get some answers. Here, we will use data collected since 2016 setting hundreds of benchmark results for seven different iPhone models across various versions of iOS.
The benchmark results offer a unique insight into the regular performance of each iPhone model over time. But then we went ahead and installed iOS 11 on an older iPhone 6 model, and it didn’t seem to slow down in any manner, in fact, it performed faster.
We ran numerous apps on the iPhone including the Gmail app, Outlook, the Chrome browser and other apps. We also went ahead and tried a few games, and in almost all the tests the iPhone seemed to run in about the same speed.
Then there was also Futuremark, the creators of the benchmarking software that confirmed the results. They ran performance tests on the older models, and the company confirmed that the speed is likely a result of the user’s perception and that the phones run approximately at the same speed. However, a small note did say that the testing suggested that few of the latest features, the ones that depend mostly on the processor such as gaming or multitasking run a little slower.
The reason behind the misinformation about older iPhones slowing down
Here’s our theory:
The iOS 11 is available for free download and is easy for everyone to install on their iPhones. So, the users are most likely are comparing the new iOS on their phones with how it runs on a newer iPhone model which is bound to be faster. But it’s not fair to do so. The same app will run much faster on an iPhone 8 with iOS 11 than they do on an iPhone 6. Once you install iOS 11 in an older iPhone model, you will notice a sudden sluggish behaviour as compared to its performance in the latest iPhone.
It is the same with all other technological devices. The piece of tech that is best suited for the invention would work fine until you choose to run with something that it’s not compatible with. For instance, if you use higher octane fuel in an older Mazda Miata and then complain about it being slow compared to a new Miata it wouldn’t be fair. The speed is dictated by the fact that the older Miata model has a 128 horsepower engine while the new model has a 155 horsepower engine and is much more compatible with the high octane fuel. The earlier model wouldn’t seem sportier with the change in fuel, but it might look like the car has slowed down.
To break down the analogy, an older iPhone actually will perform a little faster for some of the standard Apple apps. We tested the Photos app, and it allows you to swipe through photos a bit faster once you have iOS 11 on your iPhone. Also with the upgraded WiFi and Bluetooth you may or may not be able to connect the older iPhone connect faster.
However, if your phone still feels sluggish, there are a few things that you can try. You can always free up the memory by clearing cache, closing background apps and deleting unnecessary files. Just like every other operating system, iOS also performs better with more room to breathe. You should even reboot your iPhone often. It may seem like a trivial thing to do, but it can work wonders and give visible results.