Apple hit with € 25 million for iPhone slowdown issue in France.
A French regulator has hit Apple with a €25 million fine over its controversial software update that slowed down older iPhones. The General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control’s announcement, as seen by AppleInsider, it is understood that Apple has agreed to pay the fine and will be publishing a one-month press release on its website.
The controversy first erupted in late 2017 when users found that the latest version of iOS was throttling older iPhones performance. Upon finding out, Apple confirmed that the “feature” was first introduced with iOS 10.2.1, and was designed to prevent accidental shutdowns when old batteries aged over time. The issue was that it never explained this to its consumers who hadn’t known that by removing their battery they could undo the throttling and didn’t have to buy a completely new unit. There was also no way to roll back their phones or uninstall the feature to a previous version of iOS.
The DGCCRF (via Google Translate) took issue with the fact that “iPhone owners were not informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) that they installed were likely to lead to a slower operation of their device.” As a result, the French authorities concluded that Apple was guilty of “misleading commercial practice by omission.”
This is just the latest financial penalty Apple had to suffer in the aftermath of the controversy. Most notable was its battery replacement program which reduced the battery replacement price by $50 per year. The change is estimated to have resulted in as many as 10 times more people purchasing new batteries and extending their existing phones ‘ lifetime. Apple was also fined € 5 million by the Italian authorities, and faced multiple lawsuits and the Department of Justice’s inquiry into the issue.
Following allegations that the feature was intended to drive the sales of its new devices, Apple insists that it is programmed to “prevent unintended shutdown of the system so that the iPhone can still be used.” It added the option to turn off the controversial throttling feature in iOS 11.3.