The next major update of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 11.3, will give users of older iPhones an option to turn off a controversial power management feature that resulted in slowing down older iPhones under certain circumstances. With that step, Apple responds to a backlash over the feature as well as its failure to disclose it to its users.
“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,” the company said in a post highlighting many of iOS 11.3’s new features.
Apple found itself on the defensive after users discovered in December that the company had been slowing down older iPhones with used batteries, significantly reducing peak performance speeds with a software update issued a year ago. The company explained that the measure was designed to prevent sudden shut-downs when used batteries weren’t able to deliver enough power during performance peaks, and ultimately apologized for a lack of transparency.
Apple also promised affected customers a cheap fix, reducing the price of its iPhone battery replacements from $79 to $29. Phones regain their full power after being outfitted with a new battery — at least until the battery is once again depleted enough to trigger the system’s throttling safeguards.
With this new iOS update, Apple is now making this kind performance throttling entirely optional. Apple said Wednesday that it will make these new controls part of a beta version of iOS 11.3, which is scheduled to be released in the coming weeks. A final version of iOS 11.3 is coming this spring, according to Apple.
However, the system update likely isn’t the latest word on the controversial feature. Apple is facing two class action lawsuits, with plaintiffs alleging that the company defrauded customers by not telling them about the throttling.
iOS 11.3 will also come with advanced augmented reality (AR) support, new animoji, the ability to chat with businesses, the ability to collect health records in Apple’s Health app and the addition of music videos to Apple Music, among other things.