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We’re sure you’re probably all familiar by now with Apple’s recent slowdown controversy: the admission that iOS throttles performance on certain iPhones when the battery wears down beyond a certain point. It’s a power management feature designed to avoid random shutdowns – not inherently a bad idea – but Apple did a bad job of communicating the feature and have been rightly criticised for its handling.
In an interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave his take on proceedings. Apple has already issued a public apology/explainer, but this is the first time Cook has spoken personally about the issue.
First and foremost, Cook apologized for the situation and agreed that Apple could have been clearer with its communication. He confirmed that the power management feature was announced when it was launched in early 2017, but claimed that not many people were paying attention at the time. Interesting take.
He remains confident that slowing devices in tandem with battery wear is a smart decision, but admitted that more transparency is needed in iOS to give more control and understanding to users.
Apple has already started offering $29 battery replacements to affected devices, which will immediately return flagging iPhones to full performance. However, the company has stated before that it would be adding some new settings to iOS in a future update, and Cook gave us a little more information on that.
He said an update is coming “next month” that will not only give users more detailed information regarding the health of their battery, but also give them the option to disable the controversial power management feature entirely. Meaning that customers who feel strongly this is a bad decision can reverse it themselves. In the case of worn-out batteries this could result in random shutdowns, but in return the iPhone will run at full performance and at least users will be aware of what’s going on.
We’ll bring you more on the battery health update when it comes, but this is a good sign that Apple is finally willing to give some choice to the user on technical decisions like this, things that have historically been hidden beneath the surface.
You can watch the full interview, in which Cook also talks about investing in the US economy and creating thousands of new jobs, at ABC News.