Is Apple slowing down iPads with older batteries too?


We have a number of iPads in the family and given everything we now know about iPhone batteries and performance it was reasonable to ask if Apple is doing the same to its tablets.

The short answer is don’t worry, Apple isn’t throttling your iPads performance based on the age of its battery. And now for the longer response.

Power Management is a complex balancing act which is further compounded by an aging battery that is less able to provide power quickly enough to the system that needs it. This was the cause of unexpected iPhone shutdowns that Apple addressed a year ago in the its iOS 10.2.1 update.

Specifically, Apple introduced a feature to dynamically manage the instantaneous performance peaks, only when needed, to prevent an iPhone from unexpectedly shutting down. Furthermore, this feature would only apply to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.

Recently in its iOS 11.2 update Apple specifically extended the feature to include the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus as the batteries in these phones ‘aged’. So expect the recently launched iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X to be included at some point downstream and so on.

The fallout of this approach is well publicized at this juncture but as the Apple press release ‘A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance’ referenced only iPhone – was it safe to assume iPad was OK by its exclusion?

In a recent support document ‘iPhone Battery and Performance ‘ Apple specifically addresses this by stating;

This power management feature is specific to iPhone and does not apply to any other Apple products.

So why didn’t Apple include iPads?

As we’re talking about ageing batteries let’s pick a year. 2014 was a good vintage that gave us the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. These two phones had battery capacities of 1,810 mAh (6.9 Wh) and 2,915 mAh (11.1 Wh) respectively, a month later we got the iPad Air 2 with its battery of 7,340 mAh (27.62 Wh).

While not completely immune, with its bigger battery (up to 4 times larger in the above example) an iPad is more capable at handling the performance peaks that would otherwise shut down an iPhone. Additionally due to the way that we use our iPads they are charged less frequently which affects how a battery ages.

Which means that for now, no iPad models have been added into Apples new Power Management feature.

In the future we’ll be able to see for ourselves how battery age will affect performance as Apple will provide greater visibility in a forthcoming iOS update. This information will likely be exposed in Settings>Battery alongside other battery related options and battery life suggestions.

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