Apple Explains Why Power Management Features Were Introduced in January 2017 But Not Disclosed Until February 2017

by

iOS 10.2.1, introduced on January 23, 2017, has become one of Apple's most infamous iOS updates as it marked the introduction of power management features that slow down older iPhones with degraded batteries.

Apple introduced the update, and designed the power management features, to fix unexpected shutdowns that were impacting iPhone 6 and 6s devices.

iphone6s 6sp select 2015
When iOS 10.2.1 was first released in January of 2017, Apple made no mention that it addressed unexpected shutdowns, and the company did not bring up the issue again until a month later, in February of 2017. On February 23, Apple explained that the iOS 10.2.1 introduced "improvements to reduce occurrences of unexpected shutdowns."

In a recent inquiry, Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, asked Apple why there was a discrepancy between the time that the update was introduced and the time when Apple explained what was in the update, a question Apple answered today.

Apple says that iOS users were not immediately informed about the power management features in iOS 10.2.1 because it first needed to confirm that the update successfully solved the problem causing unexpected shutdowns. From Reuters' Stephen Nellis:

After gathering and analyzing data, we issued the iOS 10.2.1 software update in January 2017, for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.

Then we looked at the diagnostic data made available by the update, and it indicated that the rate of unexpected shutdowns was greatly reduced for iPhone 6 and 6s owners. In February 2017, we updated our iOS 10.2.1 Read Me notes to let customers know the update "improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns." We also provided a statement to several press outlets and said that we were seeing positive results from the software update.

Even after Apple provided details on iOS 10.2.1, customers did not know the full extent of how the power management features worked until December of 2017, which is why Apple has landed in hot water with customers and government officials around the world.

In addition to the inquiry from Senator Thule, Apple is also being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether Apple violated security laws "concerning its disclosures" when it launched the iOS 10.2.1 update.

Apple is facing dozens of lawsuits over the issue, and the company is also dealing with inquiries in countries that include China, Italy, South Korea, France, and Brazil.

Top Rated Comments

Keness Avatar
37 months ago

I don't own an iPhone currently. Is the way this was handled a big issue for current owners, or is it a blip of a problem that's being overblown?

IMO overblown. Batteries age, that's not an Apple thing. Apple's solution IMPROVED the lifespan of the affected devices, by preventing unexpected shutdowns.

Could they have said more about it at the time? Sure. But there was no nefarious intent, and by and large they have a "keep it simple" philosophy for all their updates and "technical" stuff, and this was no different.

People like to cry wolf. I don't want to be anywhere near those same people when a real wolf shows up.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jav6454 Avatar
37 months ago
This whole debacle has been way overblown.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrX8503 Avatar
37 months ago

I don't own an iPhone currently. Is the way this was handled a big issue for current owners, or is it a blip of a problem that's being overblown?

Somewhat overblown. Every phone has the issue of unexpected shutdowns so this isn't unique to iPhones. How the issue was handled is what people are/should be complaining about, which is Apple not being transparent enough.

I wholeheartedly believe people would rather have a slow phone than a phone that shuts down unexpectedly, but people need to know why this is happening. They also need to know that replacing the battery will bring performance back to normal levels.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iObama Avatar
37 months ago

...

EXACTLY. This is NOT overblown. Everyone on this forum damn well knows how much Apple loves to tout its chip speeds in its advertising. The fact that Apple deliberately slowed down those same chips UNBEKNOWNST TO THE USER to ALLEGEDLY make up for bad battery life is a really, really big deal. Especially since the decision was more likely to increase iPhone sales via planned obsolescence.

It's not "overblown" just because you don't think it's that big of a deal.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
37 months ago

This whole debacle has been way overblown.

Agreed. And yet, there were those who believe and think that Apple should be brought down and their reputation should be entirely ruined because of a battery related feature.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
37 months ago

Every phone will experience this. You've likely not had a phone old enough to experience the issue. Modern batteries deteriorate with time and eventually, they can't handle the current requirements for times of heavy draw, which results in a phone shutting down.

Every phone will not experience this. You are literally making up excuses. The Apple issue is not about modern batteries deteriorating properly over time. But you know this already. Apple's issue is about batteries that defectively shut down prematurely. Those are not the same issues. This issue could have easily been solved months ago... with replacement batteries. The exact solution Apple has on offer now. Compounding the problem was Apple store employees not allowing battery replacements if the degradation test was failed. So according to your theory above, the batteries weren't degraded enough and shouldn't have been shutting down. But they were.

This happens to every single Android phone also once the battery gets old enough. As I said, you likely just haven't had a phone with a battery more than 1 year or 1000 charging cycles old, at which point you start to see the degradation.

This is false. Not even sure why you bothered posting this. It's nothing but deflection. Anecdotally, I have an old SII and an S5 that I retired back in December. Neither have ever experienced premature shutdown. My anecdote is just as irrelevant as your Android info since, as I stated earlier, this isn't about regular battery degradation. As I also stated, you already know that. So please stop.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
max tech xcode benchmark m1 macbook

Video Demos Performance Differences Between 8GB and 16GB Apple M1 MacBook Pro

Monday November 23, 2020 2:54 pm PST by
All of the M1 Mac models use the same M1 chip, so the upgrade options are limited to SSD storage space and RAM. We haven't seen many comparisons that demonstrate the difference between a machine with 8GB RAM and the upgraded 16GB RAM option, but Max Tech today shared a video highlighting the performance between an 8GB MacBook Pro and a 16GB MacBook Pro. The video includes a series of...
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Although we're still a few days away from the official launch of Black Friday, we've known for a few weeks that many retailers would be kicking off discounts ahead of November 27. Because of this trend, today we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the 10.2-inch iPad and 2020 iPad Pro. More sales are likely to appear as the week progresses, and when they do we'll update ...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
ipad pro 2020 display

Black Friday Week Kicks Off With Up to $150 Savings on 2020 iPad Pro

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:37 pm PST by
As we head into Black Friday week, we're seeing some of the best deals of the season so far, with Amazon and Best Buy today discounting the latest iPad Pro models by up to $150 at the lowest prices we've ever tracked on these models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep ...