IPhone throttling lawsuit settled for $113M

Alonzo Simpson
November 19, 2020

Apple said it had slowed down older iPhones to conserve battery life and prevent unexpected shutdowns.

This Wednesday the company agreed to pay $113 million to settle consumer fraud lawsuits in over 30 states.

Editor's Note: Release dates within this article are based in the USA, but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.

Instead, the states said Apple benefited from customers - exhausted of slower, aging phones - purchasing new model iPhones.

The investigation involved 34 states and the District of Columbia, and it concerned the 2017 controversy that Apple was embroiled in after quietly adding a power management feature to iPhones in iOS 10.2.1.

In 2016 Apple updated software on models of the iPhone 6, 7 and SE - which throttled chip speeds on aging phones. It first came to light after iPhone users complained on Reddit and technology blogs.

The states argued that Apple had acted deceptively and should have replaced batteries or disclosed the issue.

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Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but assuming a fairness hearing scheduled for early December finds that the settlement was handled properly, this embarrassing episode should soon be over for the company. As part of Wednesday's settlement, Apple agreed to "maintain easily accessible and prominent" webpages with information on the company's battery and other issues, including shutdowns and device performance.

"Rather than being candid or forthright with its customers, Apple chose to misrepresent both the nature of the [shut down] problem, and the throttling solution, to its customers". "I appreciate Apple acknowledging, with today's settlement, the importance of retaining that trust when it comes to helping consumers manage these same devices".

Nonetheless, the legal challenges continued.

The payout is the latest Apple has made in regard to the matter - the company paid $US500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in May. This increased iPhone sales "potentially by millions of devices per year".

The Apple settlement includes $24.6 million to its home state of California and $7.6 million to Texas - the two states with the most affected iPhone user bases. The funds will cover attorneys' fees and will be used to fund future consumer protection investigators.

Provide information to consumers about the battery in the iPhone user interface (e.g., Settings Battery Battery Health) - for instance: the battery's maximum capacity, its peak performance capability and how the battery can be serviced "once its performance has become significantly degraded". Arizona said Apple's present disclosures and options are sufficient.

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