You probably know – or at least suspect – that the makers of tablets, phones, PCs and so on want you to replace them as often as possible.
They can’t make you, of course. But they use all sorts of hoopla each time they bring out a new model. Suddenly, this is the model you need. And older versions just aren’t up to the job.
It’s like the old washing powder adverts – each one washing brilliantly white – until they bring out a new version and then the old ones leave all your clothes grubby and you need the new one.
But every so often there are rumours of more nefarious tricks. That companies deliberately try to make old models stop working as well, so you’re frustrated and want to upgrade to a new one. Rumours aren’t always true, of course, so I couldn’t possibly comment.
Or at least, I couldn’t comment until recently. But last month, Apple admitted that they have deliberately slowed down some older iPhones – and a lot of people have become very cross about it. (No word yet on whether this affects iPads as well – or tablets and phones made by other companies.)
As ever, there’s a little more to it – and I have some sympathy for Apple.
It turns out they haven’t slowed down all older iPhones – what they’ve done is slowed down ones where the battery isn’t working very well any more. They can tell because the iPhone itself tracks how good the condition of the battery is.
And if the battery gets too bad and you don’t slow the phone down in certain circumstances (when it’s trying to do a lot of things at once), it can just turn itself off in the middle of whatever you’re doing – which isn’t good.
Of course, Apple didn’t have to do this – but if they hadn’t people with some older iPhones would find it suddenly turning itself off while they’re trying to do things, which isn’t good either.
There is a way around the problem, though. If it’s affecting your iPhone, replacing the battery with a new one sorts the problem and will reverse the slowdown. And after the fuss in the media, Apple are reducing the price of having an iPhone battery replaced. In the past you wouldn’t have been able to tell whether your battery needed replacing, but they’re also going to update the system on the iPhone 6 and newer so you can check.
Incidentally, those of you who’ve been reading my newsletter for a while might know I also run (along with Mike) something called my Inner Circle which gives more help with PCs, laptops, the internet, tablets and smartphones. Unlike the newsletter, this isn’t just open to everyone and in fact the doors were closed to new members for the whole of 2017. I’m planning to open them shortly and let new members in, but only for a couple of weeks or so, then they’ll slam shut again.
Keep your eyes peeled for more info about what it involves, why you might (or might not) want to join and how long the doors will be open for.
(And for members who are reading this: we’ll shortly be welcoming in some new members!)