Apple is paying $ 113 million to settle an investigation by 34 states and the District of Columbia into the company’s practice of slowing the performance of older iPhones when their batteries deteriorate. The practice was not announced by Apple but rather. This has led regulators and customers to criticize the company for its lack of availability, especially when asked about it in the past.
“Big Tech must stop manipulating consumers and telling them the whole truth about their practices and their products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who helped lead the investigation, said in a statement. “I pledge to hold these goliath tech companies to account if they hide the truth from their users. Apple will pay Arizona in particular $ 5 million, with the remainder being distributed among other states. The Washington Post reported the news earlier.
In a court record, Apple said it accepted the settlement to resolve the investigation, but added that “nothing of the content herein can be taken or construed as an admission or concession of a violation of the law, rule or regulation, or any other question of fact or law, or any liability or wrongdoing, all of which Apple expressly denies. ”
“No part of this judgment, including its representations and undertakings, will constitute proof of any liability, fault or wrongdoing by Apple,” the company said in the documents.
The news is the latest example of how big tech is increasingly being watched by regulators and lawmakers. Although the “batteryygate” saga, as it is called, took place before larger tech scandals likeData privacy and political election scandal, the event marked a turning point for the iPhone maker.
For years, Apple, but the conspiracy theory persisted, claiming the tech giant made handsets less usable in pushing people to upgrade – a practice called planned obsolescence. When Apple admitted it had slowed down iPhones – albeit for a different reason, he said – the news caught the world’s attention.
“Our goal is to provide the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and extended life of their devices,” Apple said in an initial release on December 20, 2017,. He explained that when older batteries can’t deliver enough power when phones attempt more complex tasks, like playing a video game, it slows down the phone’s chips to a level at which the battery can operate.
Critics screamed scandal, and just over a week later Apple officially apologized while insisting it was acting in the best interests of customers. It also offered a $ 29 battery replacement for a limited time to anyone who asked for it, rather than charging the typical $ 79. And it added features to its iOS software that better explained how iPhone batteries work and gave people the choice of.
“We have never done – and never would – do anything to intentionally shorten the lifespan of an Apple product or degrade the user experience to encourage customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products our customers love and to make iPhones last. as long as possible is an important part of this, “Apple. “We know some of you think Apple let you down. We apologize. ”
Yet prosecutions and investigations followed. In March of this year, Appleto settle a class action lawsuit, in which the company agreed to pay customers $ 25 per iPhone, with a minimum payment of $ 310 million. It covered current and former iPhone owners in the US who had an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, or SE running iOS 12.2.1 or later. It also covered iPhone 7 and 7 Plus running iOS 11.2 or later prior to December 21, 2017.
At the time, Joseph Cotchett, co-lead plaintiffs’ co-counsel, said in a statement that “the settlement brings substantial relief to Apple consumers and, in the future, will help ensure that customers are fully informed when asked to update their products ”. Apple has denied any wrongdoing.