New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Pledges to Be 'Clearer and More Upfront' With iPhone Users About Battery Health and Performance in UK

The UK's competition watchdog today announced that Apple has formally agreed to be "clearer and more upfront with iPhone users" about battery health and performance to ensure compliance with consumer law, as the BBC reports.


In a pledge submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority or CMA, Apple committed to several actions it has already taken, including providing consumers with "clear and comprehensible information" about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns, and performance management in iOS and on its website.

Apple added that if a future iOS update materially changes the impact of performance management when installed on an iPhone, it will notify consumers "in a clear manner" of those changes in the release notes for the update.

The CMA raised concerns with Apple last year after the iPhone slowdown controversy of late 2017, when it was discovered that Apple introduced a performance management system in iOS 10.2.1 that could slow down iPhones with aging batteries, while only mentioning bug fixes and improvements in the release notes.

Apple eventually apologized over its lack of communication and took several steps to address the situation, including introducing an option to disable the performance management, temporarily lowering the price of iPhone replacement batteries, and adding a new Battery Health menu in iOS 11.3.

The CMA acknowledges that, since it raised its concerns, Apple has "already started to be more up front with iPhone users," but notes that today's announcement "locks the firm into formal commitments." In the event Apple were to breach any of the commitments made, the CMA may take action through the courts.



Top Rated Comments

(View all)

9 weeks ago
How about in USA too. And everywhere.
Rating: 26 Votes
9 weeks ago

Apple eventually apologized over its lack of communication

That's an interesting way to characterize hiding a design defect from users in order to save money on a wide recall.


What design defect? Batteries deteriorate as they age and the found a way to extend the life of old devices by detecting and Preventing spikes caused by those old batteries that would end the device life altogether. You just have to love how the are forced to apologize for allowing customers to keep their devices longer. Instead of letting the die naturally. People are getting weird these days. It’s like the reason Mcdonalds doesn’t allow managers to feed the homeless with food they are throwing away at the end of the night. They would be legally responsible if the choked on a French Fry the gave them.
Rating: 21 Votes
9 weeks ago

What design defect? Batteries deteriorate as they age and the found a way to extend the life of old devices by detecting and Preventing spikes caused by those old batteries that would end the device life altogether. You just have to love how the are forced to apologize for allowing customers to keep their devices longer. Instead of letting the die naturally. People are getting weird these days. It’s like the reason Mcdonalds doesn’t allow managers to feed the homeless with food they are throwing away at the end of the night. They would be legally responsible if the choked on a French Fry the gave them.


Apple knew the batteries they had sourced were barely capable of supplying adequate power to the phone under load. As the batteries aged they rapidly got to the point the phones would just shut down unexpectedly even when the battery was showing 50% available charge. This was occurring during a period when the phones were covered by warranty or AppleCare. Rather than replacing the batteries under warranty/contract Apple took the step of throttling performance without giving customers adequate notification. The release notes only had a vague statement to the effect performance management was improved under certain circumstances.

Most customers realize batteries are going to lose capacity as they age, but they expect reduced runtime, not random shutdowns. What Apple did was find a way to avoid having to pay to fix the problem caused by their inadequate battery specifications.
Rating: 15 Votes
9 weeks ago
This continues to be one of the dumbest controversies of all-time in the tech world. Other phone manufacturers simply ignored the fact that an auto-shutdown related to low voltage supply from the battery could inconvenience users...and that turned out to be the legally preferred customer approach! Such a joke.
Rating: 15 Votes
9 weeks ago

What design defect? Batteries deteriorate as they age and the found a way to extend the life of old devices by detecting and Preventing spikes caused by those old batteries that would end the device life altogether. You just have to love how the are forced to apologize for allowing customers to keep their devices longer. Instead of letting the die naturally. People are getting weird these days. It’s like the reason Mcdonalds doesn’t allow managers to feed the homeless with food they are throwing away at the end of the night. They would be legally responsible if the choked on a French Fry the gave them.


This continues to be one of the dumbest controversies of all-time in the tech world. Other phone manufacturers simply ignored the fact that an auto-shutdown related to low voltage supply from the battery could inconvenience users...and that turned out to be the legally preferred customer approach! Such a joke.


Were you two sleeping or chasing Pokemon?

People don't have an issue with batteries aging and degrading. What people objected to is that Apple didn't acknowledge that the battery was the both the cause and solution (Frankly, the power management module is equally to blame). Instead, Apple covertly inserted a software bandaid to prevent shutdowns and the attention it was receiving. The software throttled people's phones. When asked if Apple's OS upgrades throttled older phones, Apple vehemently denied it. It was a lie.

People who had unexpected shutdowns or noticed a lag in performance were told that their phones were operating at their potential. People assumed the current OS upgrade was beyond their phones capabilities. They bought new phones unnecessarily when a battery replacement would have sufficed.

Even after a tech blogger revealed Apple's throttling measure, and demonstrated that a replacement battery was a solution, Apple told affected customers that their batteries passed Apple's diagnostics test. Apple continued to deny customers service if those customers wanted to buy a battery replacement. Eventually, public skepticism and numerous class action lawsuits forced Apple into offering unconditional discounted battery replacements as damage control.

Now you have a glaring example that Apple is a typical corporation and is not the White Hat player it pretends to be.
Rating: 14 Votes
9 weeks ago
Apple eventually apologized over its lack of communication

That's an interesting way to characterize hiding a design defect from users in order to save money on a wide recall.
Rating: 14 Votes
9 weeks ago
I still cannot fathom why some in here defend Apple against consumerism laws (and "Right to Repair" laws).

The classic retort "only few customers are ..." , time and time again, is always used as a template by Apple anytime a defect calls for fundamental service actions. (Replacing the top half of a MBP is as close to fundamental as there is.)

It took the respected WSJ, via Joanna Stern, to publish a parody of the keyboard fiasco for Apple to, eventually, unveil the new keyboard "materials" and the new umbrella keyboard service program that covers all first, second, and third generation butterfly keyboards [including the new one just unveiled, Third-Generation++ ?].

[WSJ, Joanna Stern]
https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/apples-faulty-macbook-butterfly-keyboard-explained-with-real-butterflies/FCDC05B7-3D53-4D75-9444-FA0BFB5F94B5
Rating: 13 Votes
9 weeks ago

What design defect? Batteries deteriorate as they age and the found a way to extend the life of old devices by detecting and Preventing spikes caused by those old batteries that would end the device life altogether. You just have to love how the are forced to apologize for allowing customers to keep their devices longer. Instead of letting the die naturally. People are getting weird these days. It’s like the reason Mcdonalds doesn’t allow managers to feed the homeless with food they are throwing away at the end of the night. They would be legally responsible if the choked on a French Fry the gave them.


This is nonsense.

And it also sounds like you don't actually know what caused the issue which led to throttling.

The batteries themselves didn't cause "spikes". what happened is that when the CPU would spike it's performance requirements, it would draw more current from the battery than the battery was capable of. Leading to random shut downs of the device.

When a manufacturer specs a battery, they must take into account these maximum performance spikes that can draw out high sudden "jolts" of current from the battery. Apple attempted to provide insufficient overhead to the current available in their batteries, so that within 6 months to a single year, device batteries would have deteriorated to the point where there was not enough current. While battery wear does occur, for many, 1-2 years of owning a device before this happening is generally considered unacceptable.

Apples response was to institute a cap on the CPU performance based on maximum available current, so that as the battery continued to age, the phone would continue to slow down.

While I think it's agreeable that a slow phone is better than a phone that completely shuts down, Apple was not forthcoming initially on telling people this. They outright lied when asked initially if they throttle old devices. Then when irrefutable proof came out showing the throttled devices, They claimed "but we told everyone in patch notes!". The patch notes never mentioned throttling of the CPU, only "battery management"

it's considered a flaw because any phone designer who is trying to make a device that lasts overspeccs the batteries so that the need to throttle due to current overdraw doesn't occur till much later in the phones life.

it became even a bigger kerfuffle when not only did Apple initially lie, But they also didn't inform genius's or the stores what was going on. The battery tests they provided the stores did not test for maximum battery draw, only how much "gas" was in the tank. This lead to many people having batteries that passed the Apple tests, but were being throttled due to the untested component. These users were often told that they needed to replace their phone. Battery replacements were also routinely rejected by apple (even if customer was willing to pay) because it 'passed' those tests.

I can honestly accept the design flaw. it happens. it's not like they were exploding or catching fire :p. But it's how Apple tried to bury, lie and refused to accept responsibility while behaving unethically that pissed off a lot of people. It's that position that is incredibly disingenuous to defend. And defending Apple's behaviour in this is extremely anti-consumer.
Rating: 12 Votes
9 weeks ago

Apple shipped defective batteries, phones were restaring not because normal battery deteriortation, but because defective batter detarioration. What would you say in that case?

Apple did not ship defective batteries. Previous repair programs had nothing to do with this issue.
Rating: 11 Votes
9 weeks ago

I suspect some are AAPL shareholders masquerading as 'fans' of Apple rather than fans of every penny Apple can make them.


I wouldn't go that far, though we do know a few users on these forums who have outright said that they only care about APPL shares. Some of which have outright lied in their posts if they believe it helps get a sale. but we can't call them out directly as it's against forum rules

And sure enough though, the same 5-10 users, over and over again, defend everything Apple does. Apple could literally hand these same users a steaming paper bag full of excrement and they will tell you that we should be happy Apple gave us anything. It's the same users who will also claim things like "I didn't have the keyboard problem so everyone is making it up", or "I didn't get throttled, so it's not a lot of people" and other disingenuous and downright unintelligent arguments. (we do have the ignore option just for these very people)

Either way. Trying not to be overly negative. The battery design flaw (even if these same people refuse to accept it) is in the past and like any design flaw, it's how they respond and move forwards that should be important. And since we haven't heard yet of throttling 7s, 8s, or X devices, I believe Apple might have learned a lesson from all this. Any lesson will be more consumer friendly.
Rating: 11 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]