Apple’s legal problems over battery slowdowns aren’t going away any time soon

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iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits

Apple has to face at least 61 lawsuits that were filed against the iPhone maker soon after the company acknowledged that it slowed iPhones down via software to prevent unexpected shutdowns caused by old batteries.

A report a few days ago said that all class actions may be merged into a single lawsuit in the near future. In the meantime, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that all iPhone slowdown lawsuits should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

Here’s an excerpt from the ruling:

These actions share factual questions arising from allegations that Apple included code in updates to its mobile operating system (iOS) that significantly reduced the performance of older-model iPhones. Plaintiffs also allege that Apple misrepresented the nature of the iOS updates and failed to adequately disclose to iPhone owners the impact the iOS updates would have on the performance of their iPhones.

Discovery regarding the engineering of the iPhone and the iOS updates likely will be technical and complex. Plaintiffs assert similar causes of action for false advertising, alleged unfair business practices, trespass to chattels, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners. Centralization thus will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary

More than half of the lawsuits were already filed in the Northern District of California, MacRumors explains.

Apple first confirmed the intentional slow down of iPhones back in December, soon after a Redditor discovered that his iPhone’s speed returned to default after a battery replacement.

The company then introduced a cheaper battery replacement program as well as a new battery management setting that would let users disable throttling. All the while, Apple maintained the idea that it’s not slowing down devices to convince customers to replace older iPhones that may feel slower than before.

Apple – BGR

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Apple adds new alert when your iPhone battery is failing

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iOS 11.3 has a new warning that users of older iPhones should dread. It’s a notification that the device shut down because the battery couldn’t provide peak power. Here’s what to do if this happens to you. What went wrong As batteries age, they get less powerful. And sometimes when an iPhone’s processor demands extra […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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How to Check Apple Watch Battery Levels on iPhone

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If you’re an Apple Watch user you can check your battery level right on your Watch, but did you know you can also check the battery on your Apple Watch from the iPhone it’s paired to? This tip will come in especially handy during colder months when it might be easier to pull out your iPhone than to pull up the long sleeve covering your watch. If you’ve been wondering how to check the battery on an Apple Watch from your iPhone, read on to find out. 

Related: How to View Your Weekly Activity Summary on Apple Watch

How to Check Battery on Apple Watch on iPhone

This tip only works if your iPhone is paired to the Apple Watch in question.

  • Swipe right on your Home or Lock screen to bring up the Today View of your notifications.
  • Scroll down the notifications until you see the heading Batteries—your Apple Watch battery life will be displayed there.

how to check battery on apple watchcheck apple watch battery

If you can’t find the Batteries notification on your Today View screen, that means you need to add the Battery widget. To do this:

  • Scroll down to the bottom of your notifications and tap Edit.
  • This will take you to Add Widgets; from there, find Batteries and tap the green plus sign to the left.

how to check apple watch batterybattery widget iphone

Now you’ll be able to open the Today View on your iPhone and find out the charge of your Apple Watchw any time you need to!

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Battery Backup vs. Battery Case: Which is best for your Nintendo Switch?

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Adding power to your console has never been so easy, but there are a lot of options to consider.

The early days of owning a Nintendo Switch wasn’t easy for those of us who wanted to power the console with something other than a wall outlet. Most battery backups didn’t provide enough power fast enough, and what few options were available came at a substantial cost. Fast forward a year and manufacturers have stepped up in a big way with batteries of all shapes and sizes. This, of course, presents a unique new challenge for those who want the best battery for their needs.

Before you figure out things like capacity and price, you need to take a look at which kind of battery is best for your needs. Would you rather have a battery backup you connect to your Switch with a cable, or a Nintendo Switch case with a battery backup baked right in? Here’s our look at both options to help you decide.

Battery Case

In much the same way some companies make battery cases for phones, the Nintendo Switch now has a variety of cases you attach to the outside of the console to both protect the body and offer additional power while playing. These battery cases connect to the power port on the bottom of the Switch as you seal the case around it, allowing you to turn the battery on when you want to charge the battery in the console. When the battery is depleted, you still have a protective case around the console in case of drops or bumps.

Because the battery is attached to the console I can charge the Switch when it is in its travel case, so every time I pick up the console I know it has a full battery.

Adding a battery case to your Switch adds weight and complexity to your set up. If you like playing your Switch in handheld mode with the Joy-Cons attached to the sides, you will feel the added weight of the battery immediately. This design also makes it so you have to remove the case every time you want to put the console into its TV dock, which can be a little tedious. What you gain in convenience is worth it, in my opinion. Being able to drop the Switch into this case and know you have a full day of battery no matter what you do feels great. Because the battery is attached to the console I can charge the Switch when it is in its travel case, so every time I pick up the console I know it has a full battery.

I’m also a big fan of how many manufacturers have taken the added bulk of the battery case and used it to provide additional kickstand features. These kickstands are a great deal more sturdy than the one included on the Switch, and several designs allow for multiple tilt angles of the console so you can play comfortably in different seating positions. My personal favorite is the Antank Battery Case for Nintendo Switch, which offers quite a bit for the $ 42 price tag. If you’d rather your battery be attached to the console and don’t mind the added weight, this is what I would recommend.

See at Amazon

Battery Backup

People all over the world use battery backups for all kinds of things. Many come with multiple USB ports so you can charge multiple things at the same time, and if your battery is capable of charging a Switch quickly it is also capable of fast charging your phone or tablet and in some cases even your laptop all from the same battery. These are versatile, capable batteries with a ton of juice and usually a couple of unique, handy features.

The best Switch battery backups can charge the console more than once without needing to be recharged itself, as well as charge just as fast as the wall outlet.

But like everything else, you have to remember to bring your battery backup with you. The right cord needs to be with you as well, and it needs to be charged separately from the Nintendo Switch. These batteries are also usually a touch on the heavy side, and usually too big to slip into a pocket or alongside the Switch in a small travel case. You also can’t use your Switch in the Kickstand mode when charging from a battery backup, because the Switch power port is on the bottom of the console. You have to use a special stand or use the console in Handheld mode when doing anything. When all of this works, it’s a great option to have. When it does not work, these batteries can be seen as an expensive hassle.

The biggest benefit here is sheer power. The best Switch battery backups can charge the console more than once without needing to be recharged itself, as well as charge just as fast as the wall outlet. I’m personally a fan of the Mophie PowerStation USB-C XXL battery. For $ 150 you get the ability to charge your Switch at least three times before the backup needs to be recharged, and you can charge tons of other things at the same time. It’s also compact enough to slide into a back pocket if you are in a rush, but given the weight of the box I would recommend stashing it in a travel case instead.

See at Amazon

Which is best?

There are some serious pros and cons to each. The battery backup is more likely to keep your Switch going for multiple days if you’re travelling, but the battery case can be used more conveniently in more places. Most of the battery cases won’t charge the Switch as fast as the battery backups either, but you are paying for that privilege with the noticeably increased price tag.

Ultimately I think it comes down to how you use your Switch. If you know you’re coming home to charge it every day and just want something to guarantee you can make through the whole day with no power anxiety, the battery case is the more functional, practical solution. If you keep your Switch away from its dock for multiple days at a time and want to be able to play no matter what, get a great battery backup. But for most people, a good battery case is probably more than enough.

See at Amazon

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iPhone X/8 Plus Crush Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ in Battery Life Tests

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Despite being equipped with much larger Li-ion battery packs, new tests have revealed that the battery life performance of Samsung’s latest Galaxy S9 and S9+ devices pale in comparison to Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus. Independent battery performance tests conducted by PhoneArena revealed that even despite their voluminous superiority, Samsung’s S9 and S9+ are […]
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iPhone X Lasts Longer Than Galaxy S9, Note 8 But Charges Slower, Reveals New Battery Test

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Here’s iPhone X Vs Galaxy S9 battery life test comparison. This report explores a battery test that reveals the iPhone X lasts longer than Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ whereas the latter charge faster than Apple’s offering.

[ Continue reading this over at ]

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The ultimate guide to assessing your iPhone battery health and managing CPU throttling

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iPhone users can take advantage of the useful features in iOS 11.3 and later designed to help them assess their battery’s health, see if it needs replacing and turn off the controversial CPU throttling feature that disables unexpected shutdowns on iPhones with worn-out batteries…. Read the rest of this post here

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iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 Offer Better Battery Life over Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

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On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ come with batteries that are bigger than the iPhone X’s 2716mAh battery. The Galaxy S9 comes with a battery that is just a wee bit bigger at 3000mAh, while the S9+ comes with a substantially bigger 3500mAh battery. Continue reading
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Samsung Galaxy S9 battery life problems and what it means for Apple

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When done wrong, higher performance hurts power efficiency. When done right, power efficiency enables higher performance.

Lithium-ion batteries are getting a lot of attention these days. Everything from the Galaxy Note 7 recall to, yes, Apple’s discounted battery replacement program for older iPhones, means that it’s top of mind for many customers. So, it’s not surprising the Exynos version of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is making headlines for its battery performance this week, and not in a good way.

From Yonhap News Agency:

The battery performance of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S9 smartphone trailed behind rival products, industry watchers said Monday, causing consumers to express discontent.

From the same report:

Phone Arena, another industry tracker, also said in its report that the battery of the Galaxy S9 lasted 7 hours and 23 minutes in its test, which is an hour below the Galaxy S8’s 8 hours and 22 minutes. Apple Inc.’s iPhone X and LG’s V30 held comparable figures of 8 hours and 41 minutes and 9 hours and 34 minutes, respectively.

AnandTech tests were even more brutal:

The Exynos 9810 Galaxy S9 absolutely fell flat on its face in this test and posted the worst results among our tracking of the latest generation devices, lasting 3 hours less than the Exynos 8895 Galaxy S8. This was such a terrible run that I redid the test and still resulted in the same runtime.

Yonhap theorizes that Samsung Electronics has become more conservative about battery capacity, given the catastrophic failures consumers experienced with the Galaxy Note 7. But capacity alone is seldom, if ever, an issue, as Yonhap itself explains:

 “Although the battery’s capacity is also important, the phone’s optimization algorithm is very crucial,” an industry insider said. “The Galaxy S9 came with various new features, which possibly led to more stand-by power consumption. (Samsung) may have failed to develop power-saving algorithms properly.”

It’s possible there’s something going wrong at the system level that’s just burning power, even when it shouldn’t. That’s the best case scenario for everyone.

Otherwise, it’s a bigger problem, but one that’s probaly simpler than conservatism. At least partially. Samsung recently chose to care about single core performance. It’s something Apple has cared about and architected for for years. Samsung has obviously seen the advantage and is now making it a priority as well. But, drastically increasing single core performance has cost. Absent a dye shrink or previous generations being so inefficient that there was significant room for improvement, that cost is power consumption.

AnandTech put it this way:

This is such a terrible battery performance of the Exynos 9810 variant that it again puts even more clout into the new SoC. My theory as to why this happens is that not only do the higher frequency state require more energy per work done than competing SoCs – because this is a big CPU complex there’s also lots of leakage at play. The DVFS system being so slow might actually be bad for energy here as we might be seeing the opposite of race-to-sleep, walk-to-waste. The fact that Apple’s SoCs don’t have any issues with battery life in this test showcases that it’s not an inherent problem of having a high-power micro-architecture, but rather something specific to the Exynos 9810.

Also, this:

Unfortunately it feels like S.LSI keeps being one generation behind when it comes to efficiency – the A72 beating the M1, the A73 beating the M2 and now the A75 beating the M3. If you were to shift the microarchitectures one year ahead in Samsung’s favour then suddenly we would have had a much better competitive situation. What needs to happen with the M4 is a much larger efficiency boost to remain competitive with ARM’s upcoming designs and actually warrant the use of an internal CPU design team. Currently a 17-22% performance lead does not seem worth a 35-58% efficiency disadvantage along with the 2x higher silicon area cost.

The same feels like it applies to Samsung and Apple. Samsung perpetually feels a generation behind when it comes to efficiency.

Android Central‘s take:

That sort of battery performance is abysmal for a flagship phone like the Galaxy S9.

The truth is, hardware is tough. And silicon is especially tough.

Given infinite time, any good silicon team could design a system-on-a-chip that would achieve maximum performance at maximum efficiency up to the limits of known physics in our universe. Release schedules are the opposite of infinite time, though. You get a few years to plan, but you have to ship every year.

What Apple’s done to meet that demand is to establish a solid foundation and to build and iterate on it each and every year.

Apple A7 was the first 64-bit ARM chip in a phone. Apple A10 Fusion introduced paired efficiency and performance cores, so that reaching higher wouldn’t leave a gap beneath. Apple A11 Bionic increased the performance of the efficiency cores, while also introducing a neural engine and everything required to support Face ID. And all with at least the same, sometimes better battery life.

It’s not just a multi-year plan, it’s a multi-year investment.

To complicate matters, unlike Apple, Samsung has chosen to use two different chipsets for its phones: Exynos, which is made by Samsung’s silicon company, and Snapdragon, which is made by Qualcomm. It’s the Exynos version specifically that’s experiencing these problems.

With Apple and its consistent processor architecture per year per device, everything is a known quantity. This season’s iPhone X and iPhone 8, for example, all run on the same Apple A11 Bionic system-on-a-chip (SoC), on every carrier, in every region.

That means every component, from the rest of the hardware to all of the software, is a known quantity, and can work as part of an integrated whole to eek out as much performance while maintaining as much efficiency as possible.

Having two silicon targets just means, as opposed to infinite time, you have half the time to optimize for each.

Meanwhile, customers have come to expect phones that are faster and more battery efficient than ever. Oh, and lighter too.

(Internet experts love to talk about increasing battery size, but lightness is an incredibly important part of usability — never mind thermal insulation and RF interference, no one wants to buy the heaviest phone on the carrier shelf.)

Meeting and exceeding those expectations is a huge challenge. Pack a battery wrong and it burns. Boost performance wrong and it burns out.

But architect it right and the performance doesn’t come at the expense of the efficiency. The efficiency enables the performance.

Not everyone thinks about these things when buying a phone, or when arguing about specs on Twitter.

But it’s clear Apple is thinking about it deeply. And it shows in iPhone X, where the custom silicon drives everything from the machine learning-based biometrics to the display technology to the industry leading performance and, yes, the power efficiency that allows for extended battery life as well.

And it’s absolutely something consumers should think about not just when buying a phone but when investing in platform.

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How to check battery health and disable iPhone battery performance throttling in iOS 11.3

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As promised, Apple has included a new section in Battery Settings to include information about Battery Health. Battery Health (Beta) is available in iOS 11.3 and later and displayed on all iPhone models since the iPhone 6. You can see the estimated battery capacity and the screen explains whether the battery can offer peak performance. iOS will now tell you in this screen if your device is being throttled due to a degraded battery.

When you update to iOS 11.3, the device will have performance management. The device will be throttled automatically when the system first experiences an unexpected shutdown. You can disable the slowdowns in the Battery Health screen if you want. Read everything about Battery Health after the jump …



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