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Futuremark Analysis Shows Apple Doesn’t Slow Down Older iPhones on Purpose

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Recently, benchmarking company Futuremark set out to debunk long-running speculation that Apple intentionally slows down older iPhones when it releases new software updates as a way to encourage its customers to buy new devices.

In order to answer these allegations, Futuremark compiled data from its free 3DMark benchmarking tool, gathering results submitted by users. The company found that iOS updates largely kept iPhones running at a similar level of performance.

Data came from 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme Graphics and Extreme Physics tests, used to measure the GPU and CPU performance respectively. Specifically, Futuremark turned to the average score for each device over the course of a month.

Looking at the iPhone 5s, the oldest device examined, graphs show CPU and GPU performance reveals the average score has remained relatively stable between April 2016 and September 2017, with expected minor variations from month to month.

The iPhone 7’s GPU performance did change slightly over time, with a fair boost visible for the last bar of the chart, representing the launch of iOS 11, but no major deterioration. CPU performance decreases towards the end of the chart, but again this shows only a marginal change over time.

The firm does note that there are some factors that may make users perceive a loss of performance after updating the operating system. These include updates introducing new resource-intensive features, new apps developed for newer hardware not running as smoothly, and older apps failing to take advantage of optimizations in newer versions of iOS.

There is also the human factor, Futuremark suggests. “There is always the psychological effect of knowing that there is a new and improved model available, which can make your own device seem outdated.”

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  • Riddlemethis

    one version up from the original usually isn’t much of a performance hit…but I do notice it.

    maybe I’ll update next year to ios 11 if my most used apps require the latest OS. otherwise I’m keeping my iPhone 7+ running on iOS 10.3.3

  • Stefan

    How can we trust the research data above when on the last set of graphs the X axis on the chart is missing…?

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Apple optimizes iOS for its latest phones. Not many people would argue with that. But if you are optimizing for the iPhone 5s when it is new and then NOT optimizing for the iPhone 5s when the iPhone 8 is out, then by definition Apple is slowing down its old phones with the new iOS. The article is not proving what it says it’s proving.

  • awkpain

    Now I’m not saying that Apple does slow their phones down… but these results simply show that they don’t slow down the CPU/GPU. If they’re adding delays in different places… even 100ms randomly here and there in the system UI when switching applications it would still give the user the impression that they’re phone is slower.

  • bbbwww

    Whether they do or don’t intentionally is irrelevant to me because I already bought the new pixel xl 2 and can’t wait for it to arrive so I can finally be done with apple crap

  • raslucas

    Do you mean the ones missing for the iPhone 7? The phone wasn’t out yet…

  • raslucas

    This is not proof. You would have to look at the actual resources used by the apps. If there was an activity manager of sorts, it’s there where you would see real information (there isn’t such a thing).

    I don’t think it is intentional, but I do believe Apple used to do more in regards to restricting what features older phones get for performance reasons, while now they tend to deploy new features for all phones.

    They are kind of in no-win circumstances from that perspective. How mad people get when their phones don’t get new features in updates.

    Having said all that, I really think they need to do more towards making sure every phone works great with every update. I’m not saying it’s an easy task. I’m not saying anybody else has been able to do a better job of it, I’m just saying Apple charges a premium for their phones that requires them to be measured at a premium standard.

  • raslucas

    I feel like this website should reign in their Headline wording a little… I’d go with “Futuremark Analysis Tries to Show Apple Doesn’t Slow Down Older iPhones on Purpose”. They didn’t really provide anything conclusive.

  • Stefan

    No. The X axis of the chart itself is missing. Charts need at a minimum 2 axis, and the last set of charts only has the Y axis that shows the iOS version and we have no idea what was measured for the X axis.

  • raslucas

    Ohhhh you’re right. The actually labels are missing. Ya. That’s definitely needed to take this stuff serious.

  • Dom

    I also have a 7+, updated to 11.02 from 10.3.3 and see a noticeable increase in performance. Apps open quicker, and my larger games load much quicker. The article is totally bogus and proves nothing.

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