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psychological effect of knowing that there is a new and improved model available, which can make your own device seem outdated.”