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.

Top Rated Comments

unsynaps Avatar
1 week ago
My two cents...

...this entire lawsuit is dumb and should not have even happeend.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
G5isAlive Avatar
1 week 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: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BuffaloTF Avatar
1 week 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
1 week 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
1 week 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: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
1 week ago


Get out of here. You telling me an avg person can't understand, hey we are slowly down your phone on purpose to save the battery. You don't have to upgrade to a new phone because it's slow now.

Sorry, I’m not going anywhere.

No, I don't think the average person understands. For example, I'm not sure if you're above or below average but you don't seem to understand that it's not about saving the battery but about preventing periods of high current through the higher internal resistance of an aging battery from depressing the voltage at the terminals and causing the system to reset. It doesn't save the battery at all, it prevents your device from resetting when the reported coulomb count remains high.

I know from my own experience that average people thought their iPhone 5s were failing because they kept resetting. I suggested they just get the battery replaced and they'd argue "but it says it's at 60% when it resets, it's not the battery".

I also know average people don't read release notes, so average people wouldn't have gotten that message to begin with.

What the average person did hear is a media storm claiming Apple is intentionally slowing their device in the latest update versus Apple saying they're doing it to improve your user experience. Average people who don't understand why decisions are made feel weak in this world and thus tend to assume they're being victimized and nothing sells YouTube ads like some good old fashioned FUD.

The long and the short of the entire argument here is that Apple should be punished for not writing something nobody would read. If Apple did disclose every change they made, they'd then be criticized for burying it in the fine print among a large number of inconsequential changes. There's always a suit to be had if you're looking for a victim.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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