Apple to pay $113m for intentionally slowing down iPhones

Apple is set to pay $113m (£85m) to a coalition of 33 US states over its decision to intentionally slow the processor speeds of ageing iPhones.

 In 2017 it emerged that, following a software update, older iPhone models were having their performance gimped, with Apple claiming this was to enable the processor to continue to operate when the battery was not capable of outputting the levels of power that it could when brand new.

Despite Apple’s technical explanations, many consumers felt like the policy was designed to force them to upgrade to newer models, especially when considering that the same practices are not applied on Android devices and Apple was not forthcoming about its practices.

It has now struck a $113m deal with a coalition of US states, led by Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana. The settlement includes $5m to Arizona, $24.6m to Apple’s home state of California, and $7.6m to Texas.

“My colleagues and I are trying to get the attention of these big tech companies, and you would hope a multimillion-dollar judgment with more than 30 states will get their attention,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in an interview.

“Companies cannot be disingenuous and conceal things.”

After Apple’s practices were uncovered in 2017, the company issued a rare apology, temporarily dropped the price of replacement batteries, and added a feature to allow iPhone users to monitor battery health.

The latest deal struck with states is separate from a proposed settlement Apple reached in March to pay affected iPhone owners up to $500m to stem a class action.

Apple also agreed for the next three years to provide “truthful information” about iPhone power-management across its website, software update notes and iPhone settings. Arizona said Apple’s present disclosures and options are sufficient. The settlement with states is subject to court approval.

Earlier this week, the firm lowered the cut it takes from sales on its App Store for smaller developers who make less than $1m annually.