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An upcoming iPhone update will let users decide if they want to throttle their performance — but Tim Cook doesn't recommend they do

Antonio Villas-Boas
Tim Cook

Getty/Chip Somodevilla


  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with ABC that an iOS developer update in February would give iPhone users more control over their iPhone's performance based on battery health.
  • However, Cook doesn't recommend you take advantage of the new feature.
  • In December, Apple acknowledged it was slowing the performance of iPhones with batteries that had degraded to a certain point to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
  • The practice makes sense to maintain the iPhone's reliability, but it's controversial because people didn't know about it and were likely to buy a new iPhone instead of replacing their older iPhone's battery for much less.


Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an ABC interview on Wednesday that the company would offer iPhone users more control over their devices' performance based on battery health in an iOS developer update coming in February.

Those with the update will have an option to choose whether they want their iPhone's performance to be throttled when its battery degrades to a certain point.

When an iPhone battery reaches that point, it may not be able to sufficiently power the phone's processor at full speed, which can lead to unexpected restarts. (For the record, all batteries, not just those in iPhones, degrade with time and regular use.)

Cook was speaking about the recent finding that Apple slows down the performance of iPhones whose batteries have degraded to that level.

The company says it does that to keep older iPhones in a reliable working state to prevent unexpected restarts, but it's controversial because Apple hadn't made clear that it was affecting iPhone performance this way.

The solution for many iPhone users who didn't know about Apple's practice was to buy a new iPhone — rather than replace their battery for much less. A new iPhone costs at least $650, while a battery replacement used to cost $79 (Apple has since discounted battery replacements for most models to $29).

iPhone Battery

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Cook says the default option in the iOS update will be for your iPhone to automatically reduce its performance when its battery reaches the threshold. Users will be notified when their performance is affected by poor battery health, and they will have to manually choose to keep their iPhone performance running at full speed.

"We will tell somebody we're slightly reducing or we're reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart," Cook said. "And if you don't want it, you can turn it off."

However, Cook says Apple doesn't recommend you take advantage of the new feature. He suggested that users may prefer reliability over performance, especially when they need their iPhone the most.

"You never can tell when something is so urgent," Cook said.

The update could also include a new menu that shows users information about their iPhone's battery health.

"We're going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery," Cook said. "So it's very, very transparent."

Watch ABC's interview with Cook:

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