Two and a half year old iPhone XR beats iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 in benchmark tests

iOS 14.5.1 appears to be throttling performance -- is this a bug or a feature?

The iPhone XR, a 'budget' iPhone released in September 2018, has been shown to outperform both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 (released September 2019 and October 2020, respectively) in benchmark tests.

The range of tests, carried out by Nick Ackerman, included boot time tests, app load times, video saving speeds and more.

The aging iPhone XR was seen to hold its own against the newer hardware.

But the synthetic benchmark tests are where the throttling shows up the most. For example, the iPhone XR had a better multi-core Geekbench score than both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. This is not what we'd expect, with the average scores from Geekbench suggesting that iOS 14.5.1 is throttling performance on the newer devices.

The same was seen in 3DMark, with the iPhone XR getting a better score than the iPhone 12, and getting a much better score than the iPhone 11, which seems to be the worst hit by this throttling.

So, what's behind the throttling?

It could be one of several things.

First, it's a performance bug in iOS 14.5.1. This seems likely since it affects multiple apps.

Secondly, it could be some deliberate throttling for power management, although that level of performance hit looks pretty drastic.

Finally, it could be an app optimization issue, which seems unlikely given the severity of this issue.

I'm betting on this being a bug, and that means that an iOS 14.5.2 could be out soon.

Anyone else feeling their newer iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 feels slower under iOS 14.5.1? Let me know in the comments below.