There has been full sound surrounding the Apple battery situation in the past, where it continues to artificially throttle iPhones with sub-par batteries in order to prevent them from automatically restarting themselves at random intervals. Those restarts actually caused by the batteries simply being unable to provide enough power when an iPhone’s CPU spins up to meet high usage, but users don’t so much care why it happens as just want to not happen at all.
With iOS 11.3, Apple has added a new feature that not only showed whether an iPhone’s battery is susceptible to throttling but also allows to control whether that throttling even happens. However, it’s not available for all iPhones.
This feature is available only for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. Apple says iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models include hardware updates that allow a more advanced performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown, so the power management feature doesn’t affect iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X.
When you go into Settings > Battery, you’ll find a brand new Battery Health (Beta) option.
Here, you will have two things – Maximum Capacity and Peak Performance Capacity. The first one is basically the battery health for your iPhone. For a brand new phone, it’s at 100% and as time goes by you’ll see the maximum capacity reduce.
About iOS 11.3’s Battery Health feature, Apple says that “a normal battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles when operating under normal conditions.” So as long as your iPhone’s Maximum Capacity is over 80%, it’s all good. Not exactly. Because you also have to consider Peak Performance Capacity, too.
As batteries degrade, so does its ability to deliver peak performance. Previously, some iPhones were unexpectedly shutting down. The CPUs wanted more power, the battery couldn’t deliver enough, and the iPhone would quit on you. Now, in iOS 11.3, Apple will start balancing battery health with peak performance needs.
Instead, you’ll find a detailed paragraph telling you about the current performance level. If your iPhone is new, the Peak Performance Capacity will be normal.
But say your iPhone is at 90% battery health and isn’t able to match peak performance (iPhone will unexpectedly reboot), so you’ll see the following message:
This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again. Disable…
The same situation goes if your battery levels are below 80%, or they are unreadable. If your battery is degraded, you’ll see this message:
Your battery’s health is significantly degraded. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity. More about service options…
You will also see a little blue ‘Disable..’ at the end of the paragraph, what that means? That’s the only way to disable the power management feature (CPU throttling). Once you disable the power management feature you’ll see the following:
This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. You have manually disabled performance management protections.
Unfortunately, if power management feature is disabled, you can’t manually enable it again. But that’s not permanent. The next time your iPhone experiences an unexpected shutdown due to heavy load, power management feature will automatically turn back on again. Of course, the option to disable the feature will reappear again.
Owners of iPhone 5s don’t found the battery health feature on their iOS 11.3 running handset, then you could be forgiven for thinking that your device would be ripe for throttling due to its age. You will notice that even with iOS 11.3 installed, you do not have access to the same battery health information as other devices, something that will come as a surprise.
However, the reason why is simple – Apple does not throttle iPhone 5s handsets no matter the state of their batteries, at least not officially.
Nevertheless, Apple confirms that the behavior is to be expected in iPhone 6 handsets and newer, and that’s all.
Not to say that replacing an iPhone 5s battery will not yield improvements. Otherwise not in performance, you can certainly expect your aging iPhone 5s battery to not last as long as a full charge as it did on the day you originally bought it first hand, so replacing the battery is perhaps not a bad idea regardless.
You can learn more about it on Apple’s full support page on this feature of iOS 11.3 here.
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