Apple is expected to pay $113 million to settle a multi-state investigation in at least 34 states and the District of Columbia for slowing the performance of the old iPhones in order to preserve its battery. Dubbed as the iPhone’s “batterygate” scandal, the event involved negative press for the tech giant that allegedly “betrayed its customers”. According to the lawsuits, iOS was limiting the processing power of the phones that throttled its operation and battery health.
Led by the states of Arizona, Arkansas, and Indiana, the probe accused Apple of declining the performance of iOS 10 and iOS 11, according to a release. Apple justified its actions, saying, that the lithium-ion batteries "become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time.” Further, it said that the phones’ processor automatically shut down when more battery power was requested than could be supplied by the aging processor. While Apple issued a formal apology on December 28, 2017, offering a detailed explanation, and cut down the prices of the iPhone battery-replacement services from $79 to $29, a probe went underway.
$113M SETTLEMENT filed with Apple today over iPhone throttling. Arizona co-led a 30+ state settlement. Our investigation alleges that Apple discovered battery issues were leading to unexpected shutdowns in certain iPhones. (1/)— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) November 18, 2020
Rather than divulging the info or replacing batteries, Apple concealed the problem from consumers & throttled performance of iPhones (via Dec. 2016 software update). This led to Apple profiting from selling additional iPhones to consumers whose phone performance had slowed. (2/)— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) November 18, 2020
Copy of consent judgement: https://t.co/zWZ9MhmnR4 (3/3)— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) November 18, 2020
On November 18, nearly 3 quarter of the states sought financial penalty and legal commitment from Apple for more transparency towards its customers moving forward. Calling the company’s practices as “unfair and deceptive”, the Arizona complaint accused Apple of its approach that left the customers confused and stranded. It stated that the iPhone users were compelled to purchase the newer-model of phones from Apple as the only probable solution to the issue. This, in turn, boosted Apple’s sales by millions per year.
According to the outcome of the probe, Apple not only has to pay a penalty but will also have to clarify the health and power management processes on its devices to the customers. Big Tech must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products, Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement, questioning Apple’s “we know what's best for our customers" mindset.