Apple recently released the iOS 11.2.2 update, which is a dedicated security fix designed to address the Spectre and Meltdown CPU flaws. This has a small impact on performance on PCs, but will it slow down your iPhone, too? We benchmarked several models of iPhones to find out. The short answer? Your iPhone probably won’t slow down as much as you fear.
How We Performed Our Benchmarks
After the update dropped this week, tech developer Melvin Mughal tested his iPhone 6 before and after updating to iOS 11.2.2 and wrote up the results. After Mughal’s tests, he wrote that:
All numbers point to the same conclusion: it took a serious hit in performance at every possible level. A lot of benchmark levels show a significant decrease in performance on the iPhone 6 up to 50% on some benchmark levels.
Forbes then reported on Mughal’s results, citing a few tweets from users claiming that they also noticed slowdowns.
We ran benchmarks on our own phones, however, and could not replicate Mughal’s results. It’s likely that iPhones are simply not as affected as Mughal originally claimed. Even one of the users cited by Forbes noted that after running the benchmark again, his numbers showed no performance decrease. Another showed much, much smaller performance decreases, more in line with what we’d expect based on what we’ve seen on PCs.
We used Geekbench 4 to run our benchmarks. It performs a number of CPU-related tests to measure both single-core and multi-core performance levels. To run our tests, we made sure no apps were running (even in the background). We ran the same test right before and right after updating to 11.2.2.
We ran these same tests on an iPhone 6s, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, and we looked up some of Geekbench’s public iPhone 6 benchmarks as well. Here’s what we found.
What We Found
In short, we found that none of our phones slowed down nearly as much as Mughal’s iPhone 6. We also did not find evidence of similar slowdowns in the other iPhone 6 results we researched.
We unfortunately did not have an iPhone 6 to test, but since Geekbench lets users publicly post their scores, we did do a bit of digging. We know an iPhone 6 with a new battery should receive a single core score of round 1600, and we found a number of iPhone 6 scores from iOS 11.2.2 users that are just about in line with what we’d expect (here’s one at 1555, one at 1525, and one at 1475). Those all show around a 10% decrease or less in performance.
There are, of course, other scores that are lower, but it’s hard to determine how many of those decreases are due to the update, and how many are due to low battery health (since Apple throttles phones with old batteries). The only way we can truly know how much this update affects a given phone is with before-and-after benchmarks. But since we know what a pre-update new-battery…
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