Does Apple Make Your Phone Slower?



It’s a popular myth, but here’s why it would be stupid for Apple to actually do that.


Wondering does Apple make your phone slower? Eeesh….this is a question a lot of people have and there’s no shortage of people on the internet claiming that Apple does indeed purposely make your iPhone slower the older it gets.

So let’s dive into this and look at what the theory actually says, why people believe it, why iPhones “slow down” as they age, and why Apple would never do this on purpose.

Does Apple Make Your Phone Slower?
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The Theory: Apple Makes Your iPhone Slower As It Ages

OK, so this is the theory plenty of people band about on the internet: Apple slows down the iPhone the older it gets. So that means your iPhone runs blazingly fast on the day you buy it, but a year later Apple slows down the processing power of the phone just a bit. Another year later Apple slows it down even more.

How Apple is said to slow down older iPhones usually amounts to “the software is built into the OS that slows down the processes on the phone the older it gets.” Another version of the explanation relies on the old “planned obsolescence” myth – Apple designs hardware to become defunct in X number of years – purposely designing it to shorten its natural shelf life.

As for WHY Apple does this, the theories allege, is that if they slow down your iPhone it means you’ll need to go out and buy a new one, thus putting more money in Apple’s pocket.

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The Reality: No, Apple Does Not Slow Down Your iPhone As It Ages

OK, now let’s bust this myth: Apple does NOT slow down your iPhone as it ages. How do you know this? Apple sells hundreds of millions of devices a year. Plenty of experts go to great length to literally take apart those devices to see what makes them tick – on both the hardware and software front. There are literally companies dedicated to doing this.

Not once has any company or individual researcher found any hint that Apple has any kind of planned obsolescence built into its iPhone that makes it run slower over time. And for Apple to do so would be self-defeating anyway.

Why would iPhone planned obsolescence be self-defeating? Because the iPhone does not exist in a vacuum. That is, the iPhone isn’t the only smartphone on the market. It’s not even the smartphone that has the most sales (Android phones combined sell more than iPhones). If Apple would purposely slow down its iPhones it would slow down their sales, too. That’s because people get frustrated with devices that don’t work as they used to.

And if your smartphone keeps getting radically slower as it ages, there’s not a high chance you are going to go out and buy that smartphone again. You’re naturally going to try another brand.

Planned obsolescence is a great tactic for companies who have a monopoly over a product to use, but in a crowded market like the smartphone market, if any manufacturer engaged in planned obsolescence their customers would eventually jump to their competitors’ products.

But iPhones (And All Android Phones) Get Slower As They Age

While Apple doesn’t engage in planned obsolescence, it is true the iPhone slows down with age – but ALL smartphones do. So why is this?

Apple keeps updating its iPhones for years after they come out. If you buy an iPhone you can expect it to get major software updates for at least 5-6 years (versus 2-3 years for Android devices).

But these major software updates always sport new features that require more processing power. That means if your iPhone is from three years ago, the new features won’t run as fast as on the speedy “this year” chip it was designed for. In other words, the new features are designed for this year’s chip, but will also run on older chips. Yet the older chips have less power, which means they’ll run the new features more slowly.

And that’s why iPhones (and all Android smartphones) get slower as they age – NOT because of planned obsolescence. 


Check out our dedicated iPhone 13 resource hub for more information on Apple’s 2021 iPhone lineup… Also, check out Does The iPhone 13 Have MagSafe? And check out Which iPhone 13 Should I Get?

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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