Apple to pay $113 million over deliberately slowing down iPhones
Apple has agreed to pay millions of dollars to 34 states over its controversial previous practice of deliberately slowing down older iPhones to extend their battery life.
The company will pay $113 million to settle an investigation by states including California and Arizona over how Apple wasn't transparent about its iPhone battery problems that led to unexpected device shutdowns. Instead of disclosing the issue to consumers or replacing the batteries, it pushed a software update in December 2016 that impacted the performance of older iPhone models.
News of the practice upset Apple (AAPL) consumers, igniting what some called "batterygate." Many believed it was an effort to encourage users to buy new iPhones.
"Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products," said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who helped lead the investigation, in a press release on Thursday. "I'm committed to holding these goliath technology companies accountable when they conceal important information from users."
At the time, the company issued a rare apology, temporarily dropped the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29, and added a feature to allow iPhone users to monitor battery health.
"We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize," the company said in a 2017 statement. "First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades."
Despite the mea culpa, it faced legal ramifications. In March, Apple agreed to pay up to half a billion dollars to settle a class action lawsuit accusing it of slowing down iPhones to compel users to buy new ones.
In addition to paying states millions of dollars, Apple agreed to provide updates about iPhone battery health, performance and power management on its website or installation notes.