Apple will pay $113m (£85m) to settle allegations that it slowed down older iPhones to encourage people to purchase new models, the second settlement in a long-running dispute that has been dubbed "batterygate".
Thirty-three US states and the district of Columbia lodged claims that Apple deliberately slowed millions of iPhone 6 and 7 and SE models in 2016.
Consumers have said their iPhones’ were only affected after they installed Apple software updates and that the sudden slowdown made them believe their handsets needed to be replaced or new batteries.
The company has said in the past that changes to chip speeds were made to protect the phone’s processor from power spikes caused by ageing batteries, which could cause the device to shut down.
Rather than divulging the info or replacing batteries, Apple concealed the problem from consumers & throttled performance of iPhones (via Dec. 2016 software update). This led to Apple profiting from selling additional iPhones to consumers whose phone performance had slowed. (2/)
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) November 18, 2020
But the coalition of states, led by Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana, argued that Apple’s update was deceptive and the company should have either replaced batteries or disclosed the issue publicly.
“My colleagues and I are trying to get the attention of these big tech companies, and you would hope a multimillion-dollar judgment with more than 30 states will get their attention,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told Reuters.
“Companies cannot be disingenuous and conceal things”.
Apple did not immediately reply to request for comment.
The payment comes after another separate settlement agreed in March, in which Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million to users who had been affected.
In 2019, Apple entered a binding agreement with the UK’s consumer watchdog, agreeing to warn users if the company planned to reduce the speed of older iPhones