It finally happened. Apple Tim Cook addressed the whole iPhone-slowdown-gate scandal in a new interview, revealing some major changes coming to iOS soon, to permanently “fix” iPhone throttling.
Apple will still continue to slow your iPhone down in case the operating system deems it necessary, so as to prevent any reboots or iPhone shutdowns. That’s why I say Apple is “fixing” it. But there’s a big difference on how Apple will do it, as it’ll involve the user in the whole process, via an iOS update. And the best thing about it isn’t even that you’re going to be able to prevent slowdowns if you want to, it’s something much cooler than that.
In a broad interview with ABC News covering Apple’s cash repatriation plan, upcoming investments, but also the iPhone slowdown controversy, Cook apologized again to iPhone buyers:
About a year ago, we released some code that essentially what it does… is all batteries age over time and they become unhealthy at a point in time and an unhealthy battery has a probability that it will create an unexpected restart.
And so you can imagine if you’re making an emergency call or you’re making an important call that’s important to you or a message that you’re waiting for, or you want to capture that moment that’s fleeting with your camera… we always focus on the user experience. So at the heart of any decision that we make is the user. We felt it would be better to take something off of the performance to prevent that from happening.
When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don’t think a lot of people were paying attention and maybe we should have been clearer as well. And so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation. Our motivation is always the user. The user is at the center of everything that we do.
He also acknowledged that Apple should have been clearer about these slowdowns, as seen in the transcript above, via MacRumors.
He then promised that Apple will give users control over how an iPhone with an older battery behaves. That probably means Apple will add a toggle in the battery section of the Settings app that would let the user decide whether the phone should be slowed down or not:
[We] will tell someone we’re reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart. And if you don’t want it, you can turn it off. Now we don’t recommend it because we think people’s iPhones are really important to them, and you never can tell when something is so urgent. Our actions were all in service of the user. I can’t stress that enough.
But the best thing about Cook’s remarks concerns another thing Apple will add to battery settings. That’s a health monitor that will let you see the health of your battery:
We’re also going to… first in a developer release that happens next month, we’re going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery. So it’s very, very transparent. This hasn’t been done before, but we’ve thought through this whole thing and learned everything we can learn from it.
That’s a lot better than a throttle toggle, in my opinion. Batteries age, and there’s nothing we can do with that for the time being. But it’d be great to be able to check the battery health of the iPhone, so that I can have it replaced if needed. A few weeks ago, I did say that I don’t want the iPhone to be the fastest phone if Apple’s just going to throttle it in a year, and that I’d like to be in control of the actual slowdowns and be informed that the battery needs changing. It sure looks like Apple will deliver these features, and it’ll happen a lot sooner than we thought.