Now when the world is debating how the phones become slow gradually, it’s also the time to talk about the Android phones.
Apple is in the line of fire right now. It is not only facing outrage from the iPhone users who caught it deliberately slowing down older models of the iPhones like the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6S, but is also staring at nasty court battles. The issue on which Apple is taking the heat is the aging of a battery in a phone and how that leads to the company to slow down older iPhones. But now when the world is debating how the phones become slow gradually, it’s also the time to talk about the Android phones.
It is true that we all hold Apple to higher standards. It is a company that demands premium for its phones. And consumers pay that premium. These consumers also expect premium, top class experience. But even as Apple struggled when the whole old-batteries-slow-iPhones debate started, I feel in the last week or so the company has done a lot to address the concerns of its users.
Apple first acknowledged there is a problem. Surely, this it did after a Reddit users and the GeekBench team already found the issue and came to a conclusion that older iPhones with older batteries — even if they were just one year old — ran slow after they had been updated to the latest version of the iOS 11. And the response from Apple after acknowledging that it was slowing down the phones like the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 was clumsy.
But on Friday, Apple realised that it had made a mistake. It is probably right in saying that it was slowing down the older iPhones because those phones had depleted batteries, which could no longer handle the peak performance requirements from the processor. But the problem with Apple’s statement was that it was doing so without informing users, and without communicating properly about the battery status to consumers. So on Friday, Apple did 3 things:
1- It apologised. It said that it could have communicated with iPhone users in a better way.
2- It promised that it will create software update for iPhones in early 2018 that will inform consumers better about the battery status in their phones.
3- It slashed the cost of battery replacement. In the US that cost became $29. In India, the battery replacement cost now starts at Rs 2000 (taxes extra) unlike Rs 6000 or so earlier. This is for the replacement of the iPhone 6 battery. The cost for newer or bigger iPhones could be higher.
Apple also offered a few explanations about why it slows down the older iPhones. In a nutshell it said:
1- That all rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes.
2- Apple slows down older iPhones because, «a chemically aged battery becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.»
I think it is still not a great deal that only an-year-old iPhone runs slow due to battery aging. Consumers should not have to go through this. And I also feel that Apple should have been more forthcoming on this issue since very beginning. But at the same time, Apple seems to have done fairly enough to address the concern.
This brings me to the Android phones. In fact, even as Apple is facing the heat nowadays and companies like Motorola and HTC are taking pot-shots saying they don’t slow down their old phones, the real scam here is how old Android phones work.
Nine out of 10 Android users will tell you that their phones start to slow down 3 to 4 months after purchase. The exceptions are Google phone users — those who used Pixel or the Nexus — phones. OnePlus phones too fare somewhat better. But from almost everyone else who uses an Android phone, I have heard it again and again that their old Android phones run slow.
As the Android phones age, they suffer from many performance issues. In many cases, this is because of the slow read and write storage speed. On a new phone, you may not feel it but once a phone has a couple of GBs of photos, you realise how it huffs and puffs.
Then there is the battery issue. It is not that Apple iPhones are special in their battery problems due to aging. The chemical composition in almost all smartphone batteries is the same. If an iPhone battery loses its vitality with age, so does an Android battery. But no Android company addresses the issue, or if it does it doesn’t tell consumers. But I am assuming that Android companies don’t address the issues, and they hardly listen to all the complaints from consumers who find their phones slow.
To sum it, I believe Apple could have done better on this battery issue. But by any yardstick, it has done more than an Android phone maker does. The batteries are all pure physics and chemistry and the laws that govern them are same in both iPhone and Android. At least, Apple is acknowledging the issue. Android companies just ignore it all when people using older Android phone complain about performance issues.
Also Read: Apple deliberately slows down older iPhones but it could have done it differently