APPLE'S SPECTRE PATCH for iDevices could affect iPhone performance by as much as 40 per cent.
So says Dutch security researcher Melvin Mughal, who carried out benchmarking tests before and after the security patch had been applied. The test results indicate that Apple's iOS fix has a significant impact Apple's A8 processor, with single core results experiencing a 41 per cent decrease from 924 to 1,561.
Multi-core scores are almost as bad, dropping from 1,616 to 2,665, down by 39 per cent. Memory was impacted the least, with performance declining in Mughal's benchmarks by 14 and eight per cent for single and multicore, respectively.
Last week, Apple rolled out its iOS 11.2.2 firmware update to mitigate against the risks posed by the Spectre security flaw. But following warnings of a performance hit from patches introduced on other platforms, Mughal was keen to see how it might affect the iPhone.
Although Mughal performed the benchmarks on an iPhone 6, he said the update would likely have a similar impact on other Apple devices.
"The performance benchmarks were performed on an iPhone 6 and are done pretty straightforward. The benchmarks were performed before/after updating iOS in the exact same scenario: no apps running (including background)," he said.
Mughal said his handset "took a serious hit in performance at every possible level", with the benchmark results showing "a significant decrease in performance" up to 50 per cent in most areas.
"Although this is not the best news, this security update is a ‘necessary evil'. It demonstrates a message the security community have reminded us time and time again: security can't be compromised over performance," he said.
Some of the worst affected applications on the iPhone will be web surfing, with HTML5 Parse and DOM whacked by 46 per cent and 56 per cent respectively on single core, according to Mughal's benchmark, and by 46 per cent and 36 per cent respectively on multicore.
In the wake of the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerability, Apple joined companies, including Microsoft and Canonical, in releasing firmware updates for affected hardware. However, complaints of big performance hits following implementation of the patches have been widespread. µ
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