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

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18 months ago
How about in USA too. And everywhere.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months 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.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months 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.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months 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.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months 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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months 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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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