iOS will get an off switch for iPhone anti-blackout measures

ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook yesterday. The majority of the interview was focused on the company's planned $38 billion tax payment to the US government and its plans to invest $350 billion and create 20,000 new jobs in its home country. Jarvis also asked questions about the company's response to recent revelations of deliberate performance reductions to iPhones with aging batteries. Cook responded that future iOS releases will include an option to maintain full performance at the cost of an increased risk of sudden shutdowns. That announcement comes on the tail of the upcoming software tools the company promised to users for gauging the health status of their iPhone batteries.

Cook said the company shipped code about a year ago that would reduce the performance of iPhones with aged batteries. He claimed that "when we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don't think a lot of people were paying attention." The changes were part of the iOS 10.2.1 and were hinted at with the somewhat cryptic comment that "[iOS 10.2.1] improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone" in the release notes. Cook did admit that the company could have been more clear about the exact consequences of the power management changes.

The Apple CEO further noted that future iOS versions will "tell someone we're reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart." He also said that "if you don't want [that safeguard], you can turn it off." He also said that the company does not recommend disabling the power management feature, as it may increase the likelihood of unexpected phone reboots at critical moments like capturing photos, among others.

Cook reiterated Apple's previous claims that the performance reductions were intended to reduce the probability of spontaneous reboots during activities that place elevated strain on a weakened battery. He denied claims that the company reduced performance in order to provoke users to purchase new phones. Apple has already reduced the price of a first-party battery replacement service from $79 to $29 for iPhone 6, 7, and SE models for the duration of 2018.

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