Apple paying $113 million to settle iPhone 'batterygate' investigation
Nov 20 2020
A multi-state investigation led to a complaint accusing the electronics giant of hiding unexpected power-offs (UPOs), battery health and performance issues, as well as software upgrades that slowed down or "throttled" performance, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
Instead, the states said Apple benefited from customers - exhausted of slower, aging phones - purchasing new model iPhones.
Thirty-three USA states claimed that Apple had done this to drive users into buying new devices. Apple at the time did admit that the updates indeed slowed down the phones to prevent their ageing batteries from causing the devices to randomly shut down.
After being called out on this practice in 2017, Apple claimed that its goal was to smooth out the performance of older batteries when using newer software, as these batteries struggled to support the peak current demands in certain conditions.
Apple, which has denied wrongdoing, declined to comment on the settlement. It follows a previous settlement requiring Apple to pay up to $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought in California.
In 2017, Apple admitted that updates to iOS were throttling older iPhone models but framed it as a misunderstanding.
Now, alongside the $113 million settlement, Apple will also be required to clarify its practices around battery management to iPhone users.
According to a report in The Washington Post, Apple has now agreed to a second settlement - this time with 34 USA states - for an additional $113 million.
However, Apple also apologised for not communicating to users properly and offered affected customers cut-price iPhone battery replacements. Brnovich said the penalty in his state would help fund more investigations into tech and other companies.
Under terms of the agreement, Apple will provide information about how it manages power performance on a "prominent and accessible" website, notify all affected consumers when an update will affect their phone and inform users on the device about whether they should update the battery.
"Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products", Arizona Attorney General Mark Bronovich said in a statement. "I'm committed to holding these goliath technology companies to account if they hide the truth from their users", added Brnovich. Next month, the court will hold a hearing to review whether the settlement is fair.