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Apple to Pay $113 Million in Settlement With States Over iPhone Battery Slowdowns

Apple iPhone settlement
Christoph Dernbach/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Apple will shell out $113 million as part of a settlement negotiated with 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia resolving allegations that the company made misrepresentations about the batteries in certain older iPhone models and software updates that throttled the devices’ performance.

That’s in addition to the class-action settlement Apple agreed to earlier this year over the same issue, under which it will pay up to $500 million to former and current U.S. owners of Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and the first-generation iPhone SE. Apple will pay customers about $25 per eligible device, depending on the number of total claims.

Per the settlement with the state attorneys general, Apple denied any wrongdoing. Under the settlement terms, Apple has agreed to maintain easily accessible and prominent webpages that provide “clear and conspicuous” information to consumers about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns and performance management.

The legal issues stemmed from Apple iOS software updates first issued in 2016 that were designed to prevent iPhones from unexpectedly powering off. The updates slowed down the peak performance of some iPhones to prevent the sudden shutdowns, which occurred when aging batteries weren’t able to fulfill peak performance power demands, according to Apple.

The states (and the plaintiffs in the class-action suit) alleged Apple knew about the defect and failed to disclose it properly — and that the performance throttling caused customers to purchase new iPhones.

“Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Bronovich said in a statement.

In December 2017, Apple apologized to customers and provided an explanation about why it slowed down the iPhones. As part of the company’s statement, it said that the iOS 10.2.1 update, which it had issued nearly a year earlier, contained power-management features for certain iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns. The company at the time said it would temporarily reduce the cost of battery replacements for affected phones to $29, compared with the regular $79 charge.

Between December 2017 and June 2018, 66 separate class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple over the iPhone slowdown problem and subsequently consolidated into one case.

The settlement Apple agreed to with the states, which is pending court approval, will resolve investigations initiated by Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

Pictured above: Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, released in 2016