Why they did it
So why did Apple gum up your phone? The company says that as the batteries in iPhones age, they can cause the devices to suddenly go dark when the charge is low or in colder temperatures. So, software updates have been used to keep the phones from working harder than their batteries will allow.
Here are the details, in a statement from Apple:
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.
The company insists the slower performance is not a ploy to get you to buy a newer phone, as some frustrated iPhone owners have speculated. Some users aren't satisfied with Apple's explanation and have threatened to switch to a smartphone made by competitor Samsung.
But you don't have to do that, and you don't have to buy a new iPhone either if you want to have a peppier phone again.
What you can do
Replacing your older iPhone with a brand new one can cost up to $1,149 for a top-of-the-line iPhone X.
A cheaper remedy is to just replace that old battery in your existing phone. CNET says it's best to let Apple do it because it's a difficult operation and if you try to DIY, you can ruin your phone.
But if you send your phone to Apple, expect to be without it for a few days. And note getting a new battery installed won't be free, because your phone probably is out of warranty. However, an apologetic Apple has cut the cost of battery replacement in an iPhone 6 or newer from $79 to $29.
IPhone users who have had fresh batteries installed have written on Reddit that that was all it took to bring back their phones' performance and speed.
Apple promises that its next software update will help you track the health of your iPhone battery.
For now, if you're willing to spend a little bit of money for a new battery — as opposed to a lot of money for a new phone — you can stop watching those cobwebs form.