Apple is preparing to release an upgraded version of its iOS operating system that will give iPhone owners information about the health of the batteries on their handsets.
Reversing the company’s longstanding refusal to make such information available directly on iPhones and iPads, the US tech giant said on Wednesday that the iOS update will show the phone’s battery health and recommend whether the battery needs to be replaced, Reuters reports.
It will also let users turn off a controversial piece of software that slows the phone’s performance in some situations when the battery is flagging.
Apple acknowledged in December that its software sometimes deliberately slows phones with weak batteries. The company apologized and lowered the price of battery replacements in its stores for affected phones.
Critics say Apple has obfuscated the fact that a worn-out battery not only fails to hold a charge, it also degrades the phone’s performance. The company’s lack of transparency on the issue has pushed people to buy a new phone rather than a new battery, these people say.
Apple has always banned battery-health apps from the App Store for security reasons.
While a few developers had found ways around the restrictions, their apps stopped showing a key piece of information – the “charge cycle count,” or how many times the battery has been drained and recharged – after a 2016 software update, Reuters noted.
All lithium ion batteries degrade over time. Until the software update announced Wednesday becomes available, the only way to check an iPhone battery is to take the device to an Apple Store or hook the phone up to a Mac computer running special third-party software.
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