Apple Paying $113 Million to Settle U.S. iPhone Throttling Investigation

Earlier this year, several states launched an investigation into Apple's iPhone "throttling" practices, aiming to determine whether Apple's slowing of older iPhones through power management "violated deceptive trade practice laws."

iphone 6s throttle 113 million feature
The investigation has now concluded, and Apple has opted to pay $113 million to settle the matter, reports The Washington Post. Apple has also agreed to be more transparent about similar changes to iOS devices in the future, providing more detail about battery health and power management.

In a statement, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said that he's committed to preventing tech companies from manipulating consumers.

"Big Tech must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products. I'm committed to holding these goliath technology companies to account if they conceal the truth from their users."

The investigation involved 34 states and the District of Columbia, and it concerned the 2017 controversy that Apple was embroiled in after quietly adding a power management feature to iPhones in iOS 10.2.1.

Apple's feature was meant to eliminate unexpected shutdowns that older iPhones were experiencing due to exhausted batteries, but it did so through throttling the maximum performance of devices with chemically aged batteries.

Apple did not disclose the throttling when releasing the updates, and customers were outraged when it was discovered that ‌iPhone‌ performance was being downgraded. While Apple said that it implemented the feature to make sure iPhones lasted as long as possible even as the battery began to fail, customers and regulators saw it as evidence of planned obsolescence.

After the throttling was discovered, Apple apologized and launched a battery replacement program that saw the company offering batteries for older devices for $29. Replacing a failing battery successfully fixes the problem that leads to shutdowns.

Apple offered lower-cost batteries for a year, and also added new battery management features to iOS that encourage customers to replace their battery when needed and allow throttling to be shut off. Apple has also already shelled out $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit over the issue.

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Top Rated Comments

unsynaps Avatar
47 months ago
My two cents...

...this entire lawsuit is dumb and should not have even happeend.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
G5isAlive Avatar
47 months ago

Slap on the wrist.

$113 million fine when Apple had $57.4 billion in net income for fiscal year 2020. ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/10/29/apple-4q-2020-results/')

That's 0.197% of what they made last fiscal year.
Slap on the wrist? its the complainers that should be slapped. Apple did the right thing, perhaps they messaged it poorly, but in the end they were working to help older phones retain their ability to make emergency phone calls when power was low. And people who do not understand the technical facts just spread more falsehoods. Just goes to show, no good deed goes unpunished. Yep, I know, my position is unpopular. Oh well.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BuffaloTF Avatar
47 months ago
Frivolous. If they only messaged it better out of the gate, this would have been viewed as a good thing.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
williamyx Avatar
47 months ago
The posturing from the Arizona state AG about going against the goliath of big tech is a tad disgusting.

Save your stones for the real issues.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
47 months ago

"Big Tech must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products. I'm committed to holding these goliath technology companies to account if they conceal the truth from their users."
This is a really bad precedent. There is no way to tell customers everything that is changing, I'd be shocked if anyone in Apple could dictate a list of everything that's changing, so something will always be left off that list and someone will always feel aggrieved.

This wasn't manipulation of customers, this is customers not understanding technology and nurturing their paranoid delusions about how the world is out to get them.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
47 months ago
The article forgot to mention that Apple went one step further and is optimizing battery charging in iOS so that it doesn't stay at 100% for too long. It learns when you usually begin using your iPhone for the day and charges the last 5-10% or so right before you need it. This should help maximize battery lifespan as well.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)