The other day someone mentioned that their iPhone had become so slow and so sluggish as to almost be unusable.
"The battery life is also terrible," she added glumly.
She offered me the iPhone 8 Plus so I could "do your thing and take it apart" and was going to scrape together the cash to buy a replacement as soon as possible.
She left with an iPhone that was, in her words, "working like new."
There are numerous reasons why an iPhone can be slow, and a worn battery causing processor throttling is a common issue, so it's a good place to start.
So, I took a look at the iPhone 8 Plus. It wasn't that old, bought new in the last three years, and it was in good condition. According to iOS, the battery was in good condition, and checking it out with the excellent CoconutBattery app showed that the battery was a little more than halfway through its 500 recharge cycles.
I ruled out the battery being the problem.
Then I noticed the problem.
The iPhone had very little free space. Well under a gigabyte.
And the iPhone was trying to shuffle apps and data around to make enough free space for updates.
See, iOS is clever. If you are running low on space, it will automatically free up storage space so you can install an app, and update iOS, and even try to make space when you download new music, take photos or record more videos. iOS only moves stuff that you don't need or stuff that can be downloaded again, but the process is system intensive, and takes more battery power.
And that's what was going on here. With under 600MB of free storage space -- Apple considers 1GB of free space to be a low storage -- the iPhone was having to do a lot of juggling and shuffling of data and free space.
The fix was easy. Delete some (actually many) games and some unwanted videos/photos, and I then connected the iPhone to a high-speed network so it could do all the updating it was trying to do, and then after a quick reboot the iPhone was back to working great again.
Another gadget saved from the recycling heap.
Using iOS 14 to diagnose battery drain
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