Tech giant Apple has been fined €25 million ($27 million) by the French consumer watchdog for its lack of transparency in deliberately slowing down older iPhones.
The Age reports that the French consumer watchdog has fined tech giant Apple €25 million euro ($27 million) for its lack of transparency surrounding the firm’s decision to purposefully slow down older iPhone devices. Apple has admitted to doing so and apologized for failing to inform its customers about this practice.
It was first reported in 2017 that the firm was using software updates for older iPhones to limit the performance of the devices, adding to a conspiracy theory that the company was intentionally slowing older devices to encourage consumers to upgrade. Apple claims that the devices were slowed down primarily to protect them as the phones batteries age. Agin cell phone batteries have a higher risk of battery drain and unwanted device restarts under high levels of performance, according to Apple.
France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), however, found that Apple’s lack of transparency breached its guidelines saying in a statement:
“The DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone owners had not been 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.” The watchdog added that Apple had “committed the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission.”
After the initial controversy about the devices launched, Apple attempted to win customers over by offering battery replacement services for out-of-warranty iPhones for just $39 instead of the usual $119. Apple has continued to throttle the performance of older iPhones including the 2018 iPhone XS, SX Max, and XR being affected by the updates. As of iOS 11.3, Apple has allowed users to disable the performance throttling in the battery settings sections of the device.
Correction — This article originally had an incorrect currency conversion from euros to dollars.