How To Check iPhone Battery Health & Disable CPU Performance Degradation

The “planned obsolescence” narrative has been a key part of controversies directed at Apple since it established a release cadence for the iPhone. Users have, and continue to, suggest that the Cupertino company purposely slows down older iPhones to force its customers to upgrade, though for a outfit as large as Apple, accusations are just that until they are validated my mainstream media.

Well, recently, that is exactly what happened. If you follow the news, it was hard to miss, really. On the tail of several class action lawsuits that mirrored the aforementioned allegations came a furore that ended in a rare public apology by the company. Apple admitted to deliberately throttling iPhone CPUs, but not to increase sales of newer iPhones. It was revealed that in iOS 10.2.1, Apple added a feature that automatically reduces processor speed as degradation in battery health (generally caused by gradual wear through daily use) is detected. This is done, according to Apple, to prolong battery life, and in doing so, protect the other components within the device. This, however, was never communicated directly to the user-base; hence the apology, and a generous price cut on battery replacements.

Apple does plan to add a prompt alerting users of degradation in battery health and consequent performance dips in a future version of iOS, though that update may not make it to all devices. Fortunately, there is an easy way the impatient among us, or those on older devices, can check whether they are in need of a battery replacement.

Update: iOS 11.3 with built-in Battery Health feature has been released.

How To Use Battery Health Feature, Disable Performance Management In iOS 11.3 Or Later

With the release of iOS 11.3, supported iOS devices – iPhone 6 and above – received a new feature labeled Battery Health, which, in addition to letting users check the current condition of their battery, also lets them disable Apple’s battery health management system, effectively preventing their device from throttling CPU speeds to cater for degrading battery health.

As Apple cautions, CPU speeds are reduced to protect the battery from further degradation and the device from unexpected shutdowns. If you’re willing to take that risk, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Launch Settings on your supported device, and navigate to Battery > Battery Health. Here, you will be presented with a percentage that represents the capacity at which your battery is operating relative to its capacity when it was new.
  2. If the Maximum Capacity reads 100%, then you needn’t worry about CPU throttling. If the value has dropped considerably, and you’re experiencing degraded performance or an unexpected shutdown, you can turn off CPU throttling or “performance management,” as Apple calls it, by tapping the Disable button at the bottom of the “Peak Performance Capability” section.

How to Check iPhone Battery Health

If you’re an astute iPhone user, you might already be aware of Battery Life. Available to download for free on the iOS App Store, this app will, among other battery-related tidbits, show you the estimated health of your battery via a percentage measure. While the app has rightly earned a good repute, it can only check for degradation in battery health. Significant as the level of wear on the battery may be, it can’t hurt to confirm if it is causing the CPU to be slowed down.

Download Battery Life for iPhone [App Store]

How To Check If the Battery Needs To Be Replaced

Checking for degradation in your iPhone’s performance, or rather, CPU throttling, caused by an unhealthy battery too requires nothing more than a free download from the App Store. The app in question, called Lirum Device Info Lite, will allow you to view the current clock speed of your iPhone’s processor and compare it to its rated/original speed. A dip in the former would suggest battery degradation, the only solution being replacement.

To view both clock speeds, tap the menu/more icon in the top-left corner of the app, select This Device and then CPU. In the information displayed, you will find your iPhone’s current clock speed under CPU Actual Clock while its original speed is the value labeled CPU Maximum Clock.

Download Lirum Device Info Lite for iPhone [App Store]

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Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.