Benchmarking Firm Says Apple Isn’t Slowing Down Your Old iPhone

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. iPhone 5S

When you get a new phone, it seems blazing fast and fun to use. A year or two later, probably not so much. Is that actually because the phone is slower, or have your standards just increased? Apple in particular has been accused of callously damaging performance of older iPhones with new software updates to gently “encourage” upgrades. But benchmarking firm Futuremark says it’s all in our heads.

Futuremark assembled this data in response to a recent blog post that cited research by Harvard University economics student Laura Trucco, who analyzed Google searches for “slow iPhone” or some variation on the phrase. This study was conducted in 2014 to evaluate the possibility of “planned obsolescence” in Apple’s phones, but the results were never intended to be undeniable proof of malfeasance on Apple’s part. Still, the blog post gained traction, and many people treated it as true because it matched their perceptions. The data says something else, though.

According to Futuremark, raw iPhone performance metrics are remarkably consistent across multiple years and iOS versions. Futuremark has collected more than 100,000 benchmark results via the 3DMark app since 2016. The data covers seven different iPhone models and three separate major updates to iOS. If Apple is indeed throttling performance for older iPhone models, it should be evident in the benchmark data from Futuremark.

Based on what Futuremark has provided, there’s no evidence of intentional performance degradation on iPhones, even older units like the iPhone 5s. Some devices do show slight declines of a few percent in CPU or GPU, but that’s probably not detectable by the user.

So, what could be causing the spike in slow iPhone searches as new models come out? One plausible explanation is simply that seeing the latest and greatest device demoed leads some people to feel like their phone is slower, even if nothing has changed. Maybe they’re also trying to justify an upgrade to themselves. It’s also likely there is some performance degradation when it comes to new games and apps that are designed for the new, more powerful iPhone model. Apple can hardly be blamed for that, though.

Apple isn’t entirely blameless, though. It’s not throttling old iPhones, but it does make it tough to use the phone for more than a few years. Newer features often don’t work very well, or they’re held back from old devices entirely. The iPhone’s battery will also degrade over a few years, forcing users to have the device disassembled to replace it…or just buy a new phone.

About Technology Updates

Remain updated with latest Technology related blog posts. We bring the latest tech posts right in-front of you here…

View all posts by Technology Updates →