Photo of iPhone 3GS from Apple

In a media release yesterday (Dec 21), Apple confirmed that every iOS software update slow older versions of iPhone down over time. The Apple spokesperson justified the move calling it “prolonging battery life” of older iPhones:

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices.Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.”

In recent months, many iPhone users have been discussing on forums how they notice a significant performance drop each time they update their older iPhone versions. Moreover, some iOS updates do not add new features except to say “bug fixes” and iPhone users ended up having a more cranky iPhone. The move is widely believed a deliberate self-sabotage move by Apple to cajole Apple users into upgrading to the latest handset model, which is released annually.

Batteries of Apple iPhones are not replaceable and once it is dead, the only solution is to buy a new model.

It is unknown whether if other phone makers adopt similar self-destruction strategy for their older phone models.