Attorney General Rosenblum, along with a coalition of over 30 other attorneys general, announced a $113 million settlement with Apple, Inc. regarding Apple’s 2016 decision to intentionally slow down the performance of older phones to encourage customers to buy newer models or fresh batteries, a practice known as “throttling”.
The lawsuit alleges Apple discovered battery issues were leading to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. Instead of disclosing these issues or replacing batteries, Apple concealed the issues from consumers. In an effort to keep the phones from unexpectedly shutting down, Apple released a software update in December 2016 that reduced iPhone performance.
The attorneys general allege 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 Apple had slowed.
“An iPhone, like any other smartphone, will slow as it ages, but that does not allow a business to commit deceptive acts like throttling. My office will hold tech giants, like Apple, accountable if they purposely deceive or harm their users,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Under the settlement, Apple will pay Oregon $1.756 million. In addition to the monetary payment, Apple also must 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 recently also 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. If you owned any of the various iPhone 6, 7, or SE models before December 21, 2017, you could be eligible for a $25 credit. To find out if you qualify, visit https://www.smartphoneperformancesettlement.com/.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and serves as the state’s law firm.