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

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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.


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

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32 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)
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32 months ago
This whole debacle has been way overblown.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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32 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)
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32 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)
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32 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)
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32 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)

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