Apple Agrees to Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Secretly Throttling’ Older iPhones

Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a long-running class action lawsuit in the United States that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models, as reported by Reuters.

Each affected iPhone user in the class would receive $25, according to the preliminary settlement, reviewed by MacRumors. The amount could increase or decrease slightly depending on legal fees and the aggregate value of approved claims, with Apple's total payout to fall between $310 million and $500 million.


The class includes all former or current U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE running iOS 10.2.1 or later (for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE) or iOS 11.2 or later (for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), and who ran these iOS versions before December 21, 2017.

Apple has maintained no legal wrongdoing despite agreeing to the settlement. U.S. federal judge Edward J. Davila is expected to preliminarily approve the proposed settlement on April 3, 2020.

Preliminary Settlement by MacRumors on Scribd


The class action lawsuit was filed in December 2017, after Apple revealed that it throttles the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries when necessary in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down. The complaint called it "one of the largest consumer frauds in history."

Apple introduced a performance management system in iOS 10.2.1, but it did not initially mention the change in the update's release notes. Likewise, in a statement issued a month later, Apple still only mentioned vague "improvements" resulting in a significant reduction in unexpected ‌iPhone‌ shutdowns.

Apple only revealed exactly what the so-called "improvements" were after Primate Labs founder John Poole visualized that some ‌iPhone‌ 6s and ‌iPhone‌ 7 devices suddenly had lower benchmark scores starting with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 respectively, despite operating at maximum performance on previous versions.

Apple apologized for its lack of communication in December 2017, and reduced the price of battery replacements to $29 for ‌iPhone‌ 6 and newer through the end of 2018. Apple then released iOS 11.3 with a new feature that enables users to track their ‌iPhone‌ battery's health and performance status.

The performance management system has also been disabled by default since iOS 11.3, and it is only enabled if an ‌iPhone‌ suffers an unexpected shutdown. The performance management can be manually disabled by users as well.


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Apple Fined 25 Million Euros in France for Slowing Down Older iPhones With iOS Update

Apple has been fined 25 million euros by a French consumer fraud group for intentionally slowing down some iPhone models with a software update.


The Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF), which is part of the country's economy ministry, concluded that Apple had failed to inform users that iOS updates to older iPhones could slow down their devices.

The DGCCRF revealed its findings in a Friday press release:
"Following an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF) and after the agreement of the Public Prosecutor of Paris, the Apple group agreed to pay a fine of 25 M € in the context of a criminal transaction.

"Seized on January 5, 2018 by the Paris Prosecutor's Office to investigate the complaint of an association against Apple, the DGCCRF has shown that ‌iPhone‌ owners were not informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.

"These updates, released during 2017, included a dynamic power management device which, under certain conditions and especially when the batteries were old, could slow down the functioning of the ‌iPhone‌ 6, SE models. and 7."
The investigation followed Apple's admission in 2017 that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

When the ‌iPhone‌ slowdown controversy was at its height, Apple apologized for its lack of communication and offered affected customers cut-price iPhone battery replacements. The company has always maintained that the features are designed to preserve the life of the ‌iPhone‌ for as long as possible, and were not implemented to force upgrades.

That being said, Apple has accepted an agreement with France's public prosecutor to pay the fine of 25 million euros and to publish a press release on its website for one month.



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Apple Faces Yet Another Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Secretly Throttling’ Older iPhones

A group of 18 individuals have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple this week in a Northern California federal court, accusing the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhones starting in January 2017.


The complaint, seen by MacRumors, refers to the iPhone slowdown saga as "one of the largest consumer frauds in history, affecting hundreds of millions of mobile devices across the globe," adding that Apple intentionally degraded devices as part of a planned obsolescence scheme to maximize profits:
While Plaintiffs and the class need not attribute any motive behind Apple's intentional degradation of the Devices, it is evident that Apple continued to do so for the simple reason most frauds are committed: money.
Apple previously denied any kind of planned obsolescence by flat out stating that it never has and never would do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience, to drive customer upgrades:
We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
Apple faces over 60 class action lawsuits worldwide over this matter. The first was filed in December 2017, after Apple revealed that it throttles the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries when necessary in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down.

This latest lawsuit will likely be consolidated with the others in Northern California district court for streamlined proceedings.

Apple introduced the performance management system in iOS 10.2.1, but it did not initially mention the change in the update's release notes. Likewise, in a statement issued a month later, Apple still only mentioned vague "improvements" resulting in a significant reduction in unexpected iPhone shutdowns.

Apple only revealed exactly what the so-called "improvements" were after Primate Labs founder John Poole visualized that some iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 devices suddenly had lower benchmark scores starting with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 respectively, despite operating at maximum performance on previous versions.

Apple apologized for its lack of communication in December 2017, and reduced the price of battery replacements to $29 for iPhone 6 and newer through the end of 2018. Apple then released iOS 11.3 with a new feature that enables users to track their iPhone battery's health and performance status.

The performance management system has also been disabled by default since iOS 11.3, and it is only enabled if an iPhone suffers an unexpected shutdown. The performance management can be manually disabled by users as well.

MacRumors put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers about Apple's performance management system, which can be avoided entirely by replacing your iPhone's battery if necessary. Read our guide on how to get an iPhone's battery replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The full complaint is embedded ahead… Continue reading "Apple Faces Yet Another Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Secretly Throttling’ Older iPhones"

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.


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Apple Forced to Add Notice About iPhone Slowdown Saga on Italian Homepage

Last year, the Italian Competition Authority hit Apple with a 10 million euro fine over "dishonest commercial practices" related to an iPhone performance management system it introduced in iOS 10.2.1 without informing customers. The antitrust watchdog said the update was a form of planned obsolescence.


As a result of the investigation, Apple has been forced to add a consumer protection notice about these "incorrect" practices on its Italian homepage. The notice, loosely translated below, was spotted by setteBIT on Twitter.
Apple, Apple Distribution International, Apple Italia, and Apple Retail Italia have led consumers in possession of an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, or iPhone 6s Plus to install iOS 10 and subsequent updates without providing adequate information about the impact of that choice on the performance of the smartphones and without offering (in a timely manner) any means of restoring the original functionality of the devices in the event of a proven decrease in performance following the update (such as downgrading or a battery replacement at reasonable costs).

This practice was assessed incorrect, pursuant to Articles 20, 21, 22, and 24 of Legislative Decree No. 206 of the Italian Consumer Code by the Italian Competition Authority.
For those who need a refresher about the iPhone slowdown saga, read our lengthy FAQ. Here's a key excerpt:
Why is Apple slowing down some older iPhone models?

iPhones, like many other consumer electronics, are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited lifespan. As the battery in your iPhone ages, its ability to hold a charge slowly diminishes.

A chemically aging battery can also have increased impedance, reducing its ability to provide a sudden burst of power when demanded by other components in an iPhone, such as the CPU and GPU. A battery's impedance will also temporarily increase when it has a low charge and/or in cold temperatures.

A battery with a high enough impedance may be unable to provide power quickly enough to the iPhone when needed, and Apple safeguards components against the drop in voltage by shutting down the device.

Apple recognized that iPhones unexpectedly shutting down on users is not a good experience, and starting with iOS 10.2.1, it quietly implemented a power management feature to prevent these shutdowns.
Last year, Apple denied any kind of planned obsolescence by flat out stating that it never has and never would do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience, to drive customer upgrades.
We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
Apple eventually eased concerns by introducing a Battery Health feature in iOS 11.3, with an option to disable the performance management system, and discounting the price of iPhone battery replacements throughout 2018.


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Apple Replaced 11 Million iPhone Batteries in 2018, Up From 1 to 2 Million

Apple replaced a total of 11 million iPhone batteries under the $29 battery replacement program that was introduced at the end of 2017 and ran through 2018 before ending on December 31, 2018.

The tidbit was shared by Tim Cook at a recent all-hands meeting with Apple employees and relayed by Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who heard the information from an unnamed source.


Apple replaced approximately 9 to 10 million more batteries than it would have during a normal year, said Cook. Apple normally replaces 1 to 2 million batteries each year.

Cook cited the battery replacement program as one of the reasons why Apple's Q1 2019 guidance was cut earlier this month after poorer than expected iPhone sales. Apple now expects revenue of $84 billion, down from a November estimate of $89 to $93 billion.

It's not entirely clear why Apple didn't know the affects of the battery replacement program earlier in the year given that it ran throughout 2018, but Gruber speculates that while Apple knew battery replacements were higher than normal, the true effect of the replacement program did not become known until the new iPhone XS and XR models were released and fewer people upgraded.

Apple initiated the $29 battery replacement program after outcry over an iOS 10 update introduced a power management feature that slowed the performance of some older iPhones with degrading batteries. The power management features were designed to prevent unexpected shutdowns and prolong the iPhone's life, but some customers saw it as proof of planned obsolescence.

Apple apologized for the misinformation and introduced the discounted battery replacement program to appease customers. In a device with a degraded battery that is experiencing slowdown issues because of performance management software, replacing the battery restores full functionality, which undoubtedly led some customers to stick with an older iPhone rather than upgrade.

In February 2018, Cook said that Apple had not considered how the battery replacement program would impact iPhone upgrade rates, but it's clear it ultimately had an impact on Apple's bottom line.

"We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do for our customers," said Cook at the time. "I don't know what effect it will have for our investors. It was not in our thought process of deciding to do what we've done."


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Make Sure to Get Your $29 iPhone Battery Replacements Soon as Apple’s Discount Program is Set to End on December 31

If you have an iPhone that needs a battery replacement, it's a good idea to get it fixed soon as Apple's $29 battery replacement program is set to end on December 31, 2018.

Apple is still offering $29 battery replacements for the iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X. All of these devices are eligible for a discounted $29 battery following the processor slowdown scandal that Apple faced earlier this year.

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Battery Replacement Cost After Program Ends


After December 31, 2018, replacement iPhone batteries will return to regular price. For most iPhones, replacement batteries will be priced at $49, with the exception of the iPhone X. Apple will charge $69 for an iPhone X battery replacement.

The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are not eligible for $29 replacement batteries as these devices were released well after the battery issue first came to light and are still under warranty.

How to Initiate a Battery Replacement


To initiate a battery replacement, use Apple's battery support site. You can take your iPhone to an Apple retail store, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or send it in for replacement at an Apple Repair Center.

With both replacement methods, Apple warns that it could take up to five business days, but in-store battery replacements are often completed more quickly. Some mail-in repairs can take as long as nine days.

Any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, will need to be repaired first before the battery can be swapped out for a new one.

Checking the Health of Your iPhone Battery


You can check on the health of your battery by opening up the Settings app, choosing the Battery section, and selecting "Battery Health."

The Battery Health option will let you know the exact maximum capacity of the battery in your iOS device and whether your iPhone is able to operate at Peak Performance Capability.


If the battery is not operating at Peak Performance Capability, you will see a recommendation for a battery replacement in order to restore the full functionality of the device.

Performance Management and Minimizing Shutdowns


iPhones that are not operating at peak performance can see random shutdowns due to a degrading battery's inability to keep up with processor demands at times of peak usage.

To prevent processor shutdowns, Apple introduced a performance management feature that throttles the processor of the iPhone when the battery cannot provide the power the processor needs.

Performance management does result in slower performance, and while the feature can be disabled by following these steps in an iPhone with a degraded battery, the only permanent fix is a new battery.


Apple initially implemented performance management quietly in the iOS 10.2.1 update in January 2017 and did not let customers know what was going on. The feature was discovered in late 2017, leading to customers who were outraged that Apple did not tell them their devices were being throttled.

There was a huge public upset, leading Apple to issue an apology and to provide the $29 battery replacement program. Apple has been offering no-questions-asked $29 battery replacements since December of 2017.

The Future of Performance Management


All iPhones will eventually face battery degradation issues due to the nature of lithium ion batteries. While performance management software was initially limited to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE, Apple in iOS 12.1 added it to the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X to prevent future shutdowns should these devices suffer from failing batteries.

In the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, performance management features introduced due to degraded batteries "may be less noticeable" because of their "more advanced hardware and software design."

Future iPhones, such as the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, will also eventually receive performance management software until battery technology improves.


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Italy Fining Apple 10M Euros for ‘Dishonest Commercial Practices’ Related to iPhone Throttling

Nearly one year after reports began circling about Apple's throttling of older iPhones with degraded batteries, Italy's antitrust authority is now fining Apple 10 million euros (about $11.5 million USD) for "planned obsolescence" of its smartphones (via The Korea Herald). The fine on Apple follows Italy's investigation into iPhone battery slowdowns that began back in January, and the Italian authority is also fining Samsung $5.7 million for similar reasons.

In a statement, the Italian authority said that "Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices" with their respective smartphones, thanks to operating system updates that "caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution."


This is the definition of planned obsolescence, which Apple has refuted numerous times in the past. Most recently, Apple's VP of marketing Greg Joswiak called the idea of planned obsolescence "the craziest thinking in the world."

According to Reuters, Apple was fined more than Samsung because it failed to give customers clear information about how to maintain or eventually replace smartphone batteries.
The anti-trust body said in a statement that some Apple and Samsung firmware updates “had caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them”.

It added the two firms had not provided clients adequate information about the impact of the new software “or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products”.
When the reports began circulating in December 2017, claims were made that Apple was deliberately slowing down older iPhones that weren't operating at peak battery performance. In a response, Apple said it was aiming to smooth out the high power draw peaks that can result in shutdowns and other problems in older devices so that its customers had "the best experience."

Eventually, it was discovered that Apple quietly implemented a power management feature into iOS 10.2.1 that prevents older iPhones from shutting down during times of peak power draw, which rolled out in January 2017. Because the feature was not widely publicized until the accusations against Apple took place, many customers felt deceived by the company. In response, Apple apologized for not better explaining its actions and now offers $29 battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later until the end of the year. On January 1, 2019, battery replacements will cost $49.

Furthermore, iOS 11.3 launched in the spring with detailed information about battery health so that customers can know if the state of their battery is impacting processor performance. With the update, the power management feature can also be turned off.

Over the course of the year, an increasing amount of countries and customers have investigated or sued Apple over "secretly throttling" older iPhones. In the spring, Apple faced more than 60 class action lawsuits over the incident, and these eventually became consolidated in one courtroom in the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

In an earnings call over the summer, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that Apple has never done an internal analysis on how many people have bought a battery replacement instead of purchasing a new iPhone, because that statistic wasn't a factor in their decision to offer the discounted batteries. "It was never about that for us," said Cook. "It was about doing something great for the user. Treat users and customers well and you have a good business over time. That's how we look at that."


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Apple Shares New Pricing for Battery Replacements Starting January 1, 2019

Since the end of 2017, Apple has been offering battery replacements for a discounted price of $29 to appease customers who were upset at device throttling resulting from degraded battery performance.

When announcing the new inexpensive battery replacement pricing, Apple promised to offer the discounted price for the entirety of 2018.


Now that we're nearing the end of the year, Apple has provided us with an updated support document on what battery replacements will be priced at after the price drop expires.

Starting on January 1, 2019, battery replacements for the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus will be priced at $49, up from $29.

iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR battery replacements will cost $69, as will iPhone X battery replacements, and batteries for all older iPhones will cost $79.

At $49 and $69 for most devices, Apple is dropping the price of its battery repairs overall. Before the entire throttling snafu that resulted in the price drop, battery replacements cost $79.

Devices that are under an AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ Theft and Loss plan will not incur a fee if a battery replacement is required.

Customers with older iPhones that want to take advantage of the $29 battery replacement pricing should schedule a replacement before the end of 2018 before prices go up.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘The Smartphone Market is Very Healthy’

During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned about the health of the smartphone market and the impact the company's choice to offer low-cost battery replacements might have on replacement cycles.

In response, Cook said that he believes the smartphone market is "very healthy. "It's the best market to be in for someone in the business that we're in," said Cook. "Whether it grows one percent or two percent or five percent or six percent or 10 percent or shrinks one or two percent, it's a great market because it's just huge."


iPhone revenue, Cook pointed out, was up 20 percent during the quarter compared to the third quarter of 2017, and Apple has seen mid-single digit growth averages on a weekly sales basis and double-digit growth on an ASP basis. Apple sold a total of 41.3 million iPhones during the quarter, bringing in revenue of nearly $30 billion. The iPhone X continued to be the most popular iPhone during the quarter.

Cook said that he does believe replacement cycles are lengthening, and he says the "major catalyst" for that has been the fact that subsidized plans have become a much smaller percentage of total sales around the world. Apple's goal is to make great products to encourage customers to purchase new devices.
I think for us, the thing we always have to do is come out with a really great, innovative product. I think iPhone X shows that when you deliver that, there's enough people out there that will like that, and it can be a really great business.
In a separate response given to a question about Apple's focus on the home, Cook shared additional comments about the importance of smartphones. "The smartphone has become the repository that goes across the whole of your life, not something meant for a portion of it," he said. He went on to explain that Apple is focused on a number of areas with its product lineup -- home, work, the time between, health, and more. "We're focused on all of those things."

In terms of the battery replacement program that has seen Apple offering $29 iPhone battery replacements since the beginning of the year, Cook reiterated a statement he made back in February during an earlier earnings call. Apple, he said, has never done an internal analysis on how many people bought a battery compared to purchasing a new phone because it wasn't a factor in the decision.

"It was never about that for us," said Cook. "It was about doing something great for the user. Treat users and customers well and you have a good business over time. That's how we look at that."

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Caution)

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