Tech giant Apple will pay $113 million in a settlement with 33 states that charged the company with hiding battery problems and purposely slowing phone performance to address the issue.
In 2016 and 2017, Apple customers began noticing a slowdown in their devices, leading to extensive user discussion and testing that proved their phones were being throttled by the company. As the story made international news, Apple released a statement admitting to the practice and explaining that it was an attempt to prolong battery life on devices running newer – and more power-hungry – operating system updates.
The legal issues arose not from the practice itself, but with Apple's lack of transparency with consumers. The U.S Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission quickly launched an investigation into the company, saying it violated security laws.
"Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products," said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich after this week's settlement.
As part of the deal, Apple is also required to provide accurate information about battery health, performance, and power management on its website. Apple had already sought to rectify the problem in a 2018 update that gave customers the option to turn off the battery performance feature themselves.
The $113 million settlement will not be used to pay affected customers, but will be used by government departments to recoup the cost of litigation and additional consumer protection cases. Apple settled a separate class-action lawsuit with users earlier this year.
🔦 Apple also faces additional investigations by the European Union, the Justice Department, and the Federal Trade Commission on antitrust grounds, as well complaints from advertisers and publishers over Apple's plans to protect user privacy by giving customers the ability to opt-out of tracking, calling them "anticompetitive."