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
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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

whatsapp privacy banner

WhatsApp Reveals What Happens to Users Who Don't Agree to Upcoming Privacy Policy Changes

Sunday February 21, 2021 1:11 am PST by
WhatsApp has revealed how it will gradually limit the features available to accounts held by users who do not accept the platform's impending privacy policy changes, due to come into effect on May 15. WhatsApp's new banner explaining the privacy policy changes According to an email seen by TechCrunch to one of its merchant partners, WhatsApp said it will "slowly ask" users who have not yet...
new airpods leaked image 52audios

Alleged Leaked Image Claims to Show Third-Generation AirPods and Case

Sunday February 21, 2021 2:49 am PST by
A new image claims to offer our first real world look at Apple's next-generation AirPods. The image, shared by 52audio, showcases both AirPods and the charging case for what the site claims to be the third iteration of the wireless earbuds. 52audio has in the past shared images claiming to showcase different parts of the third-generation AirPods. Most notably, the site in November shared...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
mac security privacy

Apple Takes Step to Prevent Further Spread of 'Silver Sparrow' Malware on Macs

Monday February 22, 2021 6:13 am PST by
Over the weekend, we reported on the second known piece of malware compiled to run natively on M1 Macs. Given the name "Silver Sparrow," the malicious package is said to leverage the macOS Installer JavaScript API to execute suspicious commands. After observing the malware for over a week, however, security firm Red Canary did not observe any final payload, so the exact threat to users remains a...
iphone 12 pro display video

BOE Rumored to Supply iPhone 13 Display Panels After iPhone 12 Failures

Monday February 22, 2021 9:54 am PST by
Display manufacturer BOE will be one of the main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. BOE is said to be working with touch panel manufacturer General Interface Solution (GIS), part of the Hon Hai Group to develop OLED panels. Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices,...
pink squares macos

Apple Investigating Issue With 'Pink Squares' Appearing on Displays Connected to M1 Mac Mini

Sunday February 21, 2021 11:08 am PST by
In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple informed service providers that it is aware of and investigating an issue that may result in "pink squares or pixels" appearing on displays connected to an M1 Mac mini. Image via Twitter user @FatihVidyograf This issue has been reported by users across the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, and Reddit since the M1 Mac mini...
Top Stories 47 Feature

Top Stories: More iOS 14.5 Beta Changes, iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Watch Charging Issue Fixed

Saturday February 20, 2021 6:00 am PST by
Apple is continuing to tweak things during the iOS 14.5 beta testing period, and it looks like there will be some nice changes coming in the update when it's released to the public in a month or so. This week also saw the release of a watchOS bug fix update for Series 5 and Series SE owners, addressing a serious issue where their watches may not charge after entering Power Reserve mode,...
google chrome macos big sur

Chrome Used 10X More RAM Than Safari on macOS Big Sur in Recent Test [Updated]

Saturday February 20, 2021 12:52 pm PST by
Under normal and lightweight web browsing, Google Chrome uses 10x more RAM than Safari on macOS Big Sur, according to a test conducted by Flotato creator Morten Just (via iMore). In a blog post, Just outlines that he put both browsers to the test in two scenarios on the latest version of macOS. The first test was conducted on a virtual machine, and the second on a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
maxresdefault

Revisiting Apple's MagSafe Leather Wallet After 3 Months of Usage

Saturday February 20, 2021 8:04 am PST by
Back in November when Apple's MagSafe-compatible Leather Wallet first launched, MacRumors videographer Dan took a look at the accessory and ended up disliking it because of the weak magnetic connection. Dan kept using the Leather Wallet despite its flaws, and after three months with the accessory, his opinion has changed and he wanted to share some new thoughts on it. Subscribe to the ...