Tim Cook says future iOS update will remedy battery performance issues

18 Jan 2018

iPhone with low battery. Image: karanik yimpat/Shutterstock.

Apple CEO addresses battery throttling controversy in television interview.

At the very tail end of 2017, Apple admitted that it slows down the performance of older iPhone handsets to protect them from shutting down at random due to the degradation of their lithium-ion batteries.

The company said it added the feature in 2016 when it received numerous reports of certain iPhones suddenly shutting down.

Many consumers had previously believed that Apple throttles batteries to force people to buy new handsets, but this is something  the company strenuously denies. Despite the denial, there are some legal proceedings forthcoming against it, citing planned obsolescence.

CEO Tim Cook spoke to ABC News and noted that more transparency about battery health will be included in an update next month, to be released first to developers and then customers.

He said Apple is “going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery so it’s very, very transparent. This hasn’t been done before.”

More options and control for users

As well as a clearer picture of a battery’s status, the update will also provide users with the option to completely disable performance throttling if they would prefer to risk random device shutdowns to maintain full CPU and GPU power and performance standards.

“If you don’t want it, you can turn it off,” Cook explained, although this is not a course of action endorsed by him or the company.

The public release of the next iOS update is pegged to be at some point in March.

Cook also said Apple should have been more clear when the original updates to slow down older devices were released, and said he was sorry users thought the company had “some other kind of motivation” for the slowing of handsets.

When asked about the chances for a cheaper iPhone, Cook said that prices were “consistent with the value” of current handsets.

Plans to create thousands of US jobs

In the same interview, Cook announced plans to expand a data centre in Nevada and also added that Apple would be making a tax payment of $38bn to the US under new tax law changes.

Apple is also set to invest billions of dollars into the US economy in the next five years, with Cook projecting the creation of 20,000 jobs in this timeframe.

iPhone with low battery. Image: karanik yimpat/Shutterstock.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects