iOS 11.3 Beta to Get Throttling Kill Switch in February as Apple Trials 'Reserve a Battery' System in Canada [Updated]

Following a report that the United States government is investigating Apple's power management function that slows down some older iPhone models, Apple issued a statement on late Tuesday confirming that it has "received questions from some government agencies" and is "responding to them."


In the statement, Apple also confirmed the timing of its promised power management toggle, allowing customers with an iPhone 6 through iPhone 7 Plus to disable the function: it will be rolling out in a future iOS 11.3 beta version in February. The software update will be publicly released later this spring.

Apple's full statement was shared by Axios earlier today:

About a year ago, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on certain iPhones with older batteries. We know that iPhones have become an important part of the daily lives of our customers and our intention was to improve the customer experience.

We sought to further improve the customer experience in December by announcing a significant discount on replacement batteries for certain iPhones. We also announced that we began developing a new iOS feature to show battery health and which would recommend when the user should consider replacing their battery. These actions were taken to further assist our customers and help extend the life of their iPhones. In addition, users will be able to see if the power management feature is being used to prevent unexpected shutdowns, and turn if off if they so choose. These features will be included in a developer release next month and a user release this Spring.

As we told our customers in December, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love. Making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

We have received questions from some government agencies and we are responding to them.

Apple's power management function can also be sidestepped by replacing an iPhone's battery if necessary. We've previously outlined steps on how to initiate this process at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

In related news, Apple recently added a "Reserve a Battery" option to its support website in Canada. This system, not available elsewhere yet, allows customers with an iPhone 6 or newer to reserve a battery online and have Apple contact them when a battery is available at their preferred Apple Store.


This system can be found by signing into your Apple ID on Apple's Get Support page and selecting Battery, Power, and Charging → Battery Replacement → Reserve a Battery. These steps can also be completed in the Apple Store app on the iPhone itself without needing to enter a serial number.

A tipster named K.C. told us that Canada is a trial country, suggesting Apple may choose to expand this reservation system to other regions.

Apple promises to contact customers within three to five days to let them know when their battery replacement can be completed. Its support website currently quotes an estimated two to four week wait in Canada.

MacRumors previously obtained an internal Apple memo that stated iPhone 6 Plus replacement batteries were in short supply and unavailable until late March or early April around the world. Apple's internal document quoted a shorter wait of "approximately two weeks" for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s Plus batteries.

Apple said batteries for all other eligible iPhones were expected to be available "without extended delays" in most countries.

In addition to probes from the United States government, over 50 class action complaints have been filed against Apple since it fully disclosed the power management changes it made in iOS 10.2.1, nearly a year after the update was released. Apple apologized for its lack of communication in a letter to customers.

Update: While Apple has yet to add a dedicated "Reserve a Battery" button to its U.S. support site, the company is asking customers in the United States who need a battery replacement to contact Apple support via a phone call or online chat session to reserve a battery before visiting an Apple Store. Calling ahead of time should prevent customers from going to an Apple Store only to find that the necessary battery is out of stock.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
35 months ago
"I'd like my phone to turn off unexpectedly instead of running slowly."

Choices are good, I guess.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
I am going to try this AND get free battery. They is no reason I should have 10 second delay on typing text messages and very slow email (all since ios11). They lied when they said it slows things down SOME. its a heck of a lot.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

"I'd like my phone to turn off unexpectedly instead of running slowly."

Choices are good, I guess.

I’d prefer “0% battery really means 0% battery” and “don’t throttle my phone” switch. I accept a device shutting down at 0%, but not at 30%.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

What will all the Apple haters who post on macrumors have to complain about now?

Blaming the consumer for product issues created by a corporation?

I'm an annual upgrader so I never experienced the speed throttling issue. But over the holidays I saw a lot of family and experienced their perspective of the throttling first hand. Its bad. Like, "This phone is unusable. I guess I should buy a new phone bad." And whether it was Apples intention or not, there are a lot of iPhones being sold to people who wouldn't have spent $800 for an upgrade if they knew that the solution to their awful phone experience was a battery pack or a $79 battery replacement.

Its a shame that this battery situation has come to this but the complaints are legitimate.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

"I'd like my phone to turn off unexpectedly instead of running slowly."

Choices are good, I guess.

This is what Apple said would happen ... not what real world users have said. So this claim remains to be seen. I have a feeling a lot of phones won't be randomly shutting down with this off. The incessant need to defend a claim from Apple without verifiable proof is a bit disconcerting.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
I am an absolute Apple-lover, not hater.
But this switch was the obvious thing to do in the first place. Give the user the choice.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Releases watchOS 7 With New Watch Faces, Family Setup, Sleep Tracking, Handwashing Help and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple today released watchOS 7, the newest version of the watchOS operating system designed to run on modern Apple Watch models. The watchOS 7 update comes after several months of beta testing. ‌watchOS 7‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at...