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Apple just revealed why old iPhones get slower every year -- and it's not why many thought

Apple said that older iPhone models get slower over time — not to convince people to buy new phones — but to keep the phone functional as the battery wears down. \n (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ever get the feeling your old iPhone seems to stop working as well, right around the time Apple is releasing the new model?

You’re not crazy.

Apple confirmed on Wednesday that older iPhone models get slower over time, but it’s not to convince people to buy new phones. The company said it's to keep the phone functional as the battery wears down.

Here’s how they explained it:

“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time,” an Apple statement read. “Which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

"Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future."

So, Apple makes the phones so that they’ll slow down as the battery gets more worn down, rather than fully shutting down or abruptly restarting, as older models have been known to do.

Despite years of speculation, it appears Apple is not ruining old iPhones through software updates to push new models. That would be a potentially disastrous strategy, as The Verge details:

"It would be beyond stupid and incredibly short-sighted for Apple to do this and, if it was actually true, would likely lead to tangles of a governmental and legal nature that no company like Apple would ever want to happen," Matthew Panzarino wrote.

That leaves users with a few options. They can either ride the slow decline of their iPhones for as long as it’s tolerable, get the battery replaced, or upgrade their phone.

Unfortunately, Apple device battery replacements have never been simple, as they are designed not to be replaced by users. Apple will do it for you for about $80, however.

Users wondering about the status of their phone's battery can check with apps such as Battery Life by RBT Digital, or by visiting an Apple Store.

(H/T USA Today)

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