Apple has just announced that its next update to iOS 11, version 11.3, will include a toggle for disabling processor throttling and slowed performance in iPhones that contain older, chemically-aged batteries. CEO Tim Cook tipped that this feature was on the way in an interview with ABC News last week.
The company says iOS 11.3 will launch this spring. An initial beta is available today, but the battery features haven’t yet been implemented. Once they’re added, Apple says users will be able to “see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off.” The update also shows more detailed information on battery health for the iPhone 6 and later.
The move is Apple’s latest attempt to quell a major controversy that erupted late last year when it was discovered that the company handcuffs the performance of older iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns when the battery can no longer reliably support maximum phone performance.
iOS tells the iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7 to curtail peak performance as the devices get older and their batteries age. Apple’s lackluster messaging and clarity regarding this software-based battery management — first introduced in 2016 — reignited accusations that the company pushes consumers towards premature upgrades through planned obsolescence.
In response to the blowback, Apple issued a public apology and reduced its fee for battery replacement to $29. (Once an iPhone’s battery has been replaced with a new unit, performance returns to normal and the throttling stops.)
iOS 11.3 also features expanded ARKit capabilities, four new Animoji characters, and brings music videos to Apple Music. Apple has also outlined some smaller new additions like Business Chat, which lets you communicate with a business directly from Messages (without sharing your contact details) and a Health Records section in the Health app. The full preview of what’s coming is available at Apple’s website.