What just happened? Apple has been slapped with another multimillion-dollar fine over its throttling of iPhone processors with aging batteries. The multi-state US investigation will be closed with a fine and a transparency mandate.
The Washington Post reports that Apple has agreed to settle a probe initiated by 34 state attorneys general and Washington DC for $113 million. Additionally, Apple must be more transparent about battery health both on the device and with information online.
The case was not so much about how Apple handled degraded batteries as it was about not disclosing its methods to its customers. The company began throttling performance without notifying the consumer in any way until after the fact.
“Big Tech must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” said Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “I’m committed to holding these Goliath technology companies to account if they conceal the truth from their users.”
The scandal arose when users began noticing poor performance on their older iPhones in 2017. By the end of the year, and after many complaints, Apple admitted it had implemented a throttling mechanism in iOS to prevent them from unexpectedly powering down. The company apologized for its lack of transparency, but users had already begun pursuing legal avenues.
Today’s settlement is the third in less than a year over the same issue. Back in March, Apple agreed to pay $500 million to affected users in a class-action lawsuit. Only a month prior, French regulators slapped the company with a $27 million fine. Today’s settlement brings the total to $640 million that Cupertino has had to pay over the throttling fiasco.
But is that enough for the $2 trillion tech juggernaut? Today’s $125 million payoff is less than a slap on the wrist by Apple’s standards. Until Big Tech starts facing penalties that actually hurt, they are not likely to change their practices.
Image credit: Charging iPhone by Tada Images, Recycled Batteries by Parilov