The update is called iOS 11.3, which users can download by navigating to “Settings” on their mobile devices, selecting “General,” and then selecting “software update.” To take advantage of the new battery-saving feature, after installing the latest iOS update, navigate to “Settings,” select “Battery,” and then tap “Battery Health.”
The feature, as you’ll notice when you follow these steps, is still in beta. Users will see a measurement of their batteries’ capacity compared to when it was new, displayed as a percentage. In addition, users have the option to turn off Apple’s “performance management” battery feature – otherwise known as the mechanism through which Apple can throttle the battery power on your phone.
“Users can now see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off,” Apple said in a statement.
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Apple has noted in the past that this feature would only kick in if a phone with a weakened battery were to unexpectedly crash. USA Today reports that users whose phone batteries are in a reduced state of operation (battery power can only operate at a lower capacity compared to when the phone was purchased), will receive a message to inform them that the device’s performance is being managed to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
While the new update offers users the option to disable performance management, Apple recommends that iPhone owners leave the feature on.
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These features are available for phones which were impacted by throttling in the first place; iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Apple faced a whirlwind of user backlash and three class action lawsuits after admitting that it did indeed slow down the batteries in older handsets, supposedly to “smooth out” peak power demands, to avoid unexpected shutdowns and to extend the lifespan of the batteries.
Rechargeable batteries, the company lamented in a statement, “become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes.” Experts largely supported these statements, claiming that where Apple had truly gone wrong was a lack of transparency.
“Batteries are super problematic. After a year, we all know from our own experience that they get worse. At a certain point, the processor is drawing so much current that it can’t support the voltage. This can absolutely cause the system to shut down,” Jonathan Rose, a professor in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Toronto, previously told Global News.
In response to the backlash, Apple committed to including an option for users to opt out of performance management features in its next iOS update.
“We will tell somebody we are reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart, and if you don’t want it, you can turn it off. We don’t recommend it because we think that people’s iPhones are really important to them and you can never tell when something is so urgent. Our actions were all in service of the user,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with ABC News.
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In addition to battery health, Apple’s most recent iOS update also includes new augmented reality features, new animal emojis and the ability to access health records (only available in U.S) through your device, among other new features.