My iPhone is slow, therefore I need a new phone?
This is one of the questions I hear on a regular basis from friends and clients alike. You see, I first have to explain that I am technologically inclined, and I also carry the experience as a former network administrator. This doesn’t mean that I am always right, far from it. That is why the industry of IT stands for Information Technology and not iT for ‘I am technology’ (my own made up abbreviation). IT people don’t have the answers for everything, but what I am good at is obtaining the information I need to complete the task at hand. So please, the next time you approach an IT staff and ask an “IT” question, and the “Tech guy” doesn’t have an answer for you right away, it is because the “tech guy” may not have that particular answer to your question at the moment or maybe he or she cannot recall the specific solution. As IT, we are responsible for knowing a wide array of information for different Operating Systems and hardware, such as Linux (android), iOS, Mac OS, Windows 10 and all their previous versions, CISCO networking, VMWARE (server and desktop virtual environments), and so on. In addition, as IT people, people tend to believe that we are software developers that know the ins and outs of any operating system. Unfortunately, most IT, or “tech” people are not the same people that have worked in creating the software for your device. Now that I have clarified this bit of information for you, lets proceed to the rest of this blog.
If I were to tell you right now that your device is running slower is in part of two reasons, Apple slowing down your device for a logical purpose, and also because you, yes you, the end user may responsible for depleting your battery lifespan.
There is no logical reason why Apple purposely slowed down my device, its rubbish! What apple did was preposterous! I am considering switching to Android! Not quite true. I will admit that perhaps the company Apple could have given its users the ability to choose to slow down your device through battery options in settings. However, I have a hard time believing that Apple had the intent of forcing its clients to upgrade their device. Allow me to explain it in another way. Let suppose that you own a sports car, any sports car that your mind formulates. If you want to go fast, what do you need to do? Well, you simply need to apply more gas, in other words, put your foot down on the pedal. Your imagined sports car will respond to your request at your desired speed. Now, the following year, a newer sports car comes out that is faster than the sports car that you have imagined. It is a similar model, but with a faster and bigger engine than the sports car that you created in your mind. On top of this, this newer model sports car has a newer operating system that controls how quickly it can relay the information to give it top speed. Now I would like you to imagine that this software is available for your sports car for an upgrade, from version 10 to 11. So what do you do? Well, you accept the upgrade. One day you find yourself next to another individual with the new sports car. You decide to race this sports car, because your imagined sports car has a new software upgrade. You switch your vehicle to ‘sports mode’ and drag race the newer sports car. Suddenly, you see the other sports car double your speed and you feel that your imagined sports car is somehow slower. The truth is, yes, your imagined sports car is slower in comparison to the newer sports car. Similarly, this is how it is for older iPhones that have upgraded from version 10 to version 11 when Apple released its new iOS in fall of 2017. The hardware on your existing iPhone is not the same as the newer iPhone. Similarly, the battery on your iPhone or iPad is also 1 year older. Generally speaking, a battery life expectancy is 5 years, with the exception of Tesla, in which their batteries last for 10 years, at the price tag of 40,000 - 120,000 dollars for their entry or top of the line sports model. Each year, companies such as Android and Apple work hard to develop new operating systems that can do more multi-tasking, more number crunching, pushing technology from is current capabilities. Unfortunately, in order for any device to do all these great functionalities, it comes at the expense of battery. More processing, more multi-tasking, require more energy, like in the analogy of the sports car.
So far, you have ranted only about sports cars and spent time explaining why Apple is logical in slowing down my device, but it still doesn’t explain how this issue is related to me.
The simple answer to this particular question is the following: Everything that you do on your iPhone affects the battery performance and lifespan. In other words, it is also our faults (including me).
So what are some of the things that affect the lifespan of a battery?
Well, for starters, the temperature in which you live in geographically can affect a battery’s internal temperature on your iPhone. Apple recommends that apple iOS devices should be between 32 to 95 Fahrenheit (0 to 35 Celsius). For MacBooks, the “Comfort Zone” as Apple calls it is between 50 to 90 Fahrenheit (10 to 35 Celsius). Another possible reason, which I am guilty of is playing games on your device for an extended period of time while allowing the battery to overheat. You can easily reach temperatures of 90 Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) especially when playing a game that requires a lot of Video card power (For those “tech” people: GPU) and Processing Power (CPU for “tech” people). In addition, the screen-brightness in which you use your iOS device also eats away your battery, which is be especially true when watching movies in iTunes, Netflix, any other preferred play-back media app. Background applications such as emails, music, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp, wifi, bluetooth and so on can also affect not only the performance of a battery, but it can potentially depreciate a battery’s lifespan over time. How? Well every time your background app refresh your content, it does so at the expense of your battery usuage. This means that you will likely charge your device several times in a day. Each time you charge your device, your battery depreciates in a small percentage. Don’t forget what I mentioned above, that the typical lifespan of a battery is generally 5 years.
So, now that we have a better understanding of why I believe that the company Apple had a logical reason for slowing your device is because over time, the way you use your iPhone and time itself can drastically affect your battery’s life expectancy. Companies such as Apple and Android work tirelessly with software, hardware engineers, and along with physicists to determine how a device battery will depreciate over time, and how to ensure that your device stays functional when you use your device on a daily basis over time.
If you want to know more information, I highly recommend that you read Apple’s fantastic site that give its clients (end users) tips on how to preserve and “Maximize” the lifespan of your device battery (click on the link for more Apple’s article on “Maximizing Battery Life and Lifespan” https://www.apple.com/ca/batteries/maximizing-performance/ ).
For the purposes of time, I will briefly give you step-by-step instruction of the battery options available on your iPhone and iPad ‘Settings’
iPhone: Version iOS 11.2.6
Note: the example and images shown below are from version indicated and may not look the same if its another version.
How to check version on iPhone:
- Tap on ‘Settings’
- Tap on ‘General’
- Tap on ‘Software Update’
Note: is there is an update available, install the update first. If there is no update, your device will display the version number along with the following text: “Your software is up to date”
How to Optimize your battery
Note: This procedure will be separated in 3 different sections. ONLY follow section 1 if you phone is low on battery and you want to conserve battery as much as possible until you are able to fully charge your device.
Section 1: Battery Options
- Tap on ‘Settings’
- Scroll down and tap on ‘Battery’
- Switch ‘ON’ ‘Low Power Mode
Note: the next time you fully charge your device, low power mode will turn off automatically
Section 2: Analyze which apps are using your battery the most
Steps: Follow steps in section 1 to see the section for ‘Battery Usage’ (that is if you are not already on this screen or have skipped to Section 2)
- Take a look at at which app is using your battery the most, based on your behaviours.
Note: once you have determined which app is using too much battery even when you are not using that particular app, then you have the option to turn off ‘Background App refresh’. Background App Refresh is when an App updates while connected on cellular connection. If you don’t think that you need this app to consistently update while you are not connected on wifi, then follow Step 2 of Section 2. If you are satisfied with the apps battery usage, proceed to Section 3)
- Tap back to ‘Settings’
- Scroll back up and tap on ‘Cellular’
- Under the section ‘CELLULAR DATA’, scroll down to the app that is using too much battery and switch the app off
Section 3: Auto Brightness
- Tap on ‘Settings’ from your apps
- Tap on ‘Display & Brightness’
- Switch on ‘True Tone’
If you are able to connect on wi-fi more than your cellular connection it will save battery.