U.S. Government Official Questions Apple Over iPhone Battery Slowdowns

Just two days after it emerged a French consumer fraud group is investigating Apple over its handling of battery-related performance issues on iPhones, Apple is now facing questions from government officials in its own country over the controversy.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Senator John Thune (R–S.D.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking a series of questions about how the company decided to throttle processing performance in iPhones with older batteries.

iphone 6s colors

In a letter to Chief Executive Tim Cook, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Thune asked how Apple has tracked customer complaints of processing performance, and if Apple has explored offering rebates to customers who paid full price for a battery replacement before the company offered discounted rates last month.

In the letter, Thune went on to note that Apple's decision to offer battery replacements at a reduced price had prompted further criticism from customers who believe that Apple should have offered the replacements for free.

In addition to the senator's letter, Wednesday's WSJ report included official confirmation from the Paris prosecutor's office that it is overseeing an investigation into Apple's "alleged deception" that is being conducted by French consumer fraud group DGCCRF, which is part of the country's economy ministry.

The investigation – which could lead to preliminary charges or be dropped – follows Apple's admission that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Apple introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 after complaints of unexpected shutdowns in the iPhone 6s, but the company didn't make it clear to consumers that it was due to battery deterioration, nor did Apple inform customers that it could cause occasional performance slowdowns.

Despite Apple's apology and its efforts to correct the issue, in addition to the French inquiry, the company is now facing more than two dozen lawsuits accusing it of intentionally slowing down older iPhones and failing to disclose the changes that it introduced in iOS 10.2.1. One of those lawsuits also stems from France, filed by French consumer group "HOP", which translates to "Stop Planned Obsolescence".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

Hal~9000 Avatar
43 months ago
Glad to see Apple being held accountable:

* Silently slipping in a throttling virus which made people's phones worse
* Only admitting to anything once being caught red-handed by users
* Giving some worthless corporate apology with no name behind it thinking it makes up for their shady behavior
* Charging people $29 for battery replacements when they should be free as a complete recall
* Not giving users an option in the settings to turn off the throttling if they want to risk it

Even through this whole fiasco... Apple STILL hasn't explained anything in specific technical terms how the throttling actually works! When does it begin to throttle the device and how much? At 90% battery capacity? 85%? 80%? Nobody knows!

Apple was intentionally vague in their apology response on how the throttling ("feature" LoL) works because they know they f***ed up and don't want to give the lawsuits greater ammunition.

I hope Apple gets taken to the cleaners as a lesson, for themselves and others, not to be some shady corporation that thinks it can get away with anti-consumer behavior like this simply for higher profits.

I am beyond disappointed in Apple as they used to be a company people can trust. Glad most people can see Apple screwed up royally and I hope it influences them to take a more transparent / consumer friendly approach in the future.
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jsameds Avatar
43 months ago
Yeah, but who’d turn that setting ON? I.e., who’d want their phone to crash at random?
No one, but that's not the point. The phones shouldn't crash at random, and if they do then it's a hardware fault.

Also, this never used to happen on older iPhones, so why is it happening now? I believe they skimped on battery quality.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
43 months ago
A lot of people online are defending Apple saying they did this change so peoples phones wouldn't shut off under high loads.

And that's fine, the problem is they didn't tell anyone this was how they were mitigating the sudden shutdown issue which lead consumers to believe their phones were getting slower not due to ageing batteries but due to newer software needing higher specifications which lead consumers to upgrade to newer devices at significant cost when they could have purchased a much cheaper replacement battery.

That's the problem, Apples lack of communication. Now the question which the lawsuits will be seeking an answer to is whether Apple deliberately did not explain this because they knew it would help sales of newer iPhones.

Personally I hope that Apple gets really beaten up over this because we as consumers deserve to know what their software patches are really doing at a deeper level than vague "General improvements and bug fixes" etc
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OllyW Avatar
43 months ago
Has anyone from Apple explained why the battery in the iPhone is only rated for half the charging cycles of the Apple Watch, iPad and MacBooks?
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jsameds Avatar
43 months ago
Very interesting. Wonder where this will go next.
Hopefully better batteries, more options in iOS to control battery/performance balance and cheaper battery replacements permanently.

Although I won't hold my breath.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radon87000 Avatar
43 months ago
They deserve it for trying to pull planned obsolescence.
[doublepost=1515586418][/doublepost]
Why should Apple offer free battery replacements in old phones? Batteries degrade over time, that's life. People sure have a sense of entitlement in 2018.
Because they intentionally slowed older iPhones without informing the user.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iPad Pro July Shipping

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Now Delivers as Late as Mid-July

Wednesday May 5, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
While the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to launch in the second half of May, orders placed today are estimated for delivery as late as mid-July on Apple's online store in the United States — some two months later. The new 11-inch iPad Pro is faring better so far, with some configurations available for delivery in the last week of May. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR ...