Apple agrees to warn users if iOS updates will slow down iPhones

iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max

An update to any operating system, be it mobile or desktop, is a mix-bag of positives and negatives. Exciting new features have deprecation as a counterpoint, and while there is always the hope that updates will improve things, there is always the danger that things will actually get worse.

If you're concerned that updating your iPhone to the latest version of iOS will result in a reduction in performance, there's some good news. Apple has agreed to warn people if an update is "expected to materially change the impact of performance management on their phones".

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Apple has entered into a formal agreement with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, saying it will let users know if a software upgrade will impact upon performance. The CMA had voiced concerns back in 2017 after an iOS update resulted in some iPhones being throttled.

While Apple's agreement is with a UK organization, the arrangement will have a global impact. The iPhone maker has agreed to be bound by the terms set by the CMA , meaning that the company could be subject to court action if it fails to honor its commitments.

Announcing the agreement, the CMA says:

Since the CMA raised its concerns, Apple had already started to be more up front with iPhone users, but today's announcement locks the firm into formal commitments always to notify people when issuing a planned software update if it is expected to materially change the impact of performance management on their phones.

Apple will also provide easily accessible information about battery health and unexpected shutdowns, along with guidance on how iPhone users can maximise the health of their phone's battery. This could help people improve the performance of their own handset after a planned software update by, for example, changing settings, adopting the low power mode or replacing the battery -- rather than resorting to having their phone repaired or replaced. The firm has agreed to do this both for current and future iPhones.

The CMA has also published a summary of undertaking which explains what Apple is committing to do:

Transparency about battery health, unexpected shutdowns and Performance Management

  1. Apple will maintain prominent information about the existence of, and links to, easily accessible webpage(s) that provide clear and comprehensible information to Consumers about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns and Performance Management. The webpage(s) will provide guidance to Consumers on steps they can take to maximise battery health. The webpage(s) will also describe the operation of Performance Management and its impact on iPhone battery and performance.
  2. If a future iOS update materially changes the impact of Performance Management when downloaded and installed on an iPhone, Apple will notify Consumers in a clear manner of those changes in the installation notes for the update.
  3. Apple will provide information to Consumers in the iPhone user interface (e.g., Settings > Battery > Battery Health) about the battery, such as the battery's maximum capacity and peak performance capability.

Apple's Consumer-facing staff and Third-Party Partners

  1. Apple will use its best endeavours to ensure its Consumer-facing staff and its Third-Party Partners: (a) are sufficiently familiar with the information in the webpage(s) described in paragraph 1 of this undertaking, and the iPhone user interface described in paragraph 3; (b) communicate such information to Consumers wherever relevant; and (c) refer Consumers to such webpages or interface, where appropriate.


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