Apple Apologizes for iPhone Slowdowns, Offers $29 Replacement Batteries to Consumers

Kārlis Dambrāns, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Kārlis Dambrāns, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The year isn’t exactly ending on a peaceful note for Apple. A few weeks back, consumers on Reddit and tech journalists began to note that older iPhone models were experiencing a steep slowdown in performance after updates to their operating systems were installed. Though the company has admitted that this slowdown measure was intentional, it was apparently a necessary step to prolong the life of the older phones’ batteries.

The fact that Apple was intentionally slowing down older phones didn’t sit well with consumers, with some going so far as to file lawsuits against the company, claiming “deceptive, immoral, and unethical” practices. The tech giant is still in damage control mode over the issue, and now the company has detailed a plan on its website designed to help consumers deal with the battery issue in a far more transparent, and less expensive, way. On its site, Apple wrote:

• Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.

• Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

• As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

Apple isn’t backing down from its stance that the slowdown feature was vital for the lifespan of older phone models and will help prevent the unexpected shutdowns that could plague the likes of the iPhone 6. Calling shutdowns “unacceptable,” the company used this statement to further educate consumers on the science behind aging batteries and why these slowdowns were implemented.

For any conspiracy theorists out there, Apple also again stressed that “First and foremost, we have never—and would never—do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades." Whether that's enough to regain the trust of consumers, and ward off more lawsuits, remains to be seen.

Once you receive your new battery from Apple, your iPhone performance should return to normal “when operated in standard conditions.” More information on the specifics behind these replacement batteries will be provided soon, according to the company.

[h/t The Verge]

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

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