Apple found to deliberately slowing down certain iPhones
Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced Nov. 18 that Apple, Inc. will pay $1.16 million to the State of Vermont as part of a $113 million settlement with a coalition of over 30 attorneys general. The settlement announced stems from Apple’s 2016 decision to throttle consumers’ iPhone speeds—artificially slowing them down—to address unexpected shutdowns in iPhones 6 and 7. The coalition alleges that Apple’s concealment of the battery issues and decision to throttle the performance of consumers’ iPhones led to Apple profiting from selling additional iPhones to consumers whose phone performance had been slowed.
“Apple’s decision to hide problems with their phones from consumers is unfair, deceptive, and unacceptable,” said Attorney General Donovan. “I will continue to hold responsible any company that deceives the public about their products.”
Based on a multistate investigation, the attorneys general allege that Apple discovered that battery issues were leading to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. Rather than disclosing these issues or replacing batteries, however, Apple concealed the issues from consumers. Apple’s concealment ultimately led to a software update in December 2016 that reduced iPhone performance in an effort to keep the phones from unexpectedly shutting down.
In addition to the monetary payment, the settlement requires Apple to provide truthful information to consumers about iPhone battery health, performance, and power management. Apple must provide this important information in various forms on its website, in update installation notes, and in the iPhone user interface itself.
Apple also recently entered into a proposed settlement of class action litigation related to the same conduct, and under that proposed settlement Apple will pay out up to $500 million in consumer restitution. Consumers eligible to make a claim under the proposed class action settlement should have received notices of their eligibility earlier this year from the settlement’s claims administrator. The deadline to file a claim for compensation through this settlement has passed.
The state’s complaint is available here, and the consent judgment is available here. Consumers can learn more about the proposed class action settlement at smartphoneperformancesettlement.com.