Consumer Rights Group in Spain Demands Apple Compensate Customers for iPhone Slowdowns Caused by iOS 14.5 and 14.6
Spain's Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) last week sent a letter (via iPhoneros) demanding that Apple compensate customers for "reported obsolescence practices" related to recent iPhone models including the iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone 8, and iPhone XS.
According to the OCU, Apple's iOS 14.5, iOS 14.5.1, and iOS 14.6 updates have "significantly damaged consumer devices" by "causing their processor speed to drop dramatically" and lowering battery life. As evidence, the OCU cites "numerous media outlets."
The OCU asked Apple to justify the "lack of performance" of the aforementioned iPhone models following the recent iOS updates, and said that the letter is intended to "initiate a dialog with Apple" in order to find the "best way to compensate consumers."
Apple's "excessively rapid wear and tear" on iPhones following updates is unfair to consumers and harms the environment, says the OCU.
If Apple does not provide an adequate response, the OCU plans to consider other actions such as a lawsuit enforcing consumer rights.
Apple has been accused of planned obsolescence in the past, primarily relating to the 2017 release of iOS 10.2.1, which included a feature that throttled the performance of older iPhones with degrading batteries in order to prevent device shutdowns.
Apple failed to make it clear that mitigating shutdowns would require compromising device performance, which led to consumer upset and a series of lawsuits that Apple is continuing to deal with today. Most recently, Apple shelled out $3.4 million to settle a lawsuit in Chile, and it has also faced lawsuits in the United States, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
As for iOS 14.5, 14.5.1, and 14.6, there have indeed been reports of excessive battery drain, and iOS 14.5 in particular fixed an iPhone 11 battery drain issue with a new recalibration process. There were also some scattered reports of throttling with the iOS 14.5.1 update, but reports from affected users suggest the issue was addressed in iOS 14.6.
Apple has maintained that it would never intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to push customers to upgrade.