Apple settles multistate 'Batterygate' investigation for $113 million

Apple agrees to pay Florida Attorney General’s Office $5 million over iPhone throttling by Jordan Kirkland | Nov 18 2020

Apple has agreed to pay $113 million to resolve a probe by state attorneys general into allegations that the company slowed down older iPhones in order to prevent their batteries from draining too quickly.

Instead, the states said Apple benefited from customers - exhausted of slower, aging phones - purchasing new model iPhones. The company maintained that it wasn't necessary for iPhone users to replace their phones. A month before that in December (2017), Apple had issued an apology on its website after severe backlash from consumers over throttling iPhone speeds via software updates. It first came to light after iPhone users complained on Reddit and technology blogs. The latest "batterygate" settlement will divide the settlement among California and 33 other states, according to a statement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

"This isn't the only financial penalty levied against Apple for the matter, but numerous payments amount to a drop in the bucket when compared to Apple's sales â€" last month, the company reported $US26.4 billion in revenue from iPhones alone in its fiscal fourth quarter earnings.

According to the settlement, Apple didn't admit any wrongdoing. "We rely on companies like Apple to provide the service it promised and that consumers have paid for". There are reports that Apple has begun sending its foldable iPhones to its assembly partner Foxconn for testing purposes.

Nonetheless, the legal challenges continued.

So there's little doubt that Apple is taking a similar approach to creating a folding iPhone by testing and evaluating various designs to make sure that it serves an actual objective in terms of both aesthetics and user functionality, rather than releasing a folding design simply for the sake of doing something different.

The settlement with the states adds to Apple's bill, which it can easily afford to pay.

As part of Wednesday's settlement, $113 million will be distributed among the states, including California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. The funds will cover attorneys' fees and will be used to fund future consumer protection investigators.

Apple briefly reduced the price on out-of-warranty replacement batteries for affected iPhones and also released a new iOS update in March 2018.

The new update "allowed consumers, for the first time, to disable the throttling mechanism, and to have more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery", Grewal said.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that Apple will pay the District almost $2.7 million as part of a $113 million multistate settlement for intentionally slowing down or "throttling" the performance of iPhone devices to cover up battery problems.

"Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products", Brnovich said.