Apple has agreed to pay state attorneys general and Bay Area district attorneys’ offices $113 million to resolve claims that it secretly slowed the performance of certain iPhones.
The deal follows a tentative settlement in March in which the Cupertino technology giant agreed to hand over up to $500 million to U.S. consumers over what lawsuit plaintiffs called “one of the largest consumer frauds in history.”
Under the settlement announced Wednesday, district attorney’s offices in Santa Clara, Alameda and Santa Cruz counties are to receive $4.1 million each out of the $113 million. The DA’s offices will use the money for “consumer protection efforts,” the Alameda DA’s office said.
The deal arose from allegations in a lawsuit by the State of California and Alameda and Los Angeles counties that Apple in 2017 “throttled iPhone processing in order to compensate for insufficient battery performance.” Apple engaged in “an unlawful business practice by failing to timely and adequately disclose that its software updates slowed down the performance of older iPhones with aging batteries,” the civil lawsuit claimed.
Apple, in settling the claims, did not admit to wrongdoing or law-breaking.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Wednesday that “Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update.” An action such as Apple’s “hurts the pockets of consumers and limits their ability to make informed purchases,” Becerra said.
Apple was accused of equipping iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 phones with batteries susceptible to performance loss, leading to power-offs, and of misrepresenting the effects of software updates “by claiming they would improve power management rather than admitting that the updates would actually reduce performance,” Becerra’s office said in the statement.
Apple declined to comment on the settlement or Becerra’s allegations.
The slowdowns affected the iPhone 6; 6 Plus; 6S; 6S Plus; first-generation SE and the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, that were running Apple mobile operating system versions iOS 10.2.1 to 11.2.6, according to the settlement released Wednesday.
Apple also agreed to keep a prominent page on its website that “provides clear and easily visible information to consumers about how the company manages battery performance issues, such as by throttling iPhone processing performance,” Becerra’s office said. The company will also provide “a clear and easily visible notice to all affected consumers when an (operating system) update materially affects iPhone processing performance” and will put information in iPhone settings menus about battery performance and capacity, as well as provide a notice when a degraded battery needs service, Becerra’s office said.
Thirty-two other states and the Los Angeles and San Diego DA’s offices will also share in the settlement, with the two Southern California DA’s offices receiving $4.1 million each, his office said. Becerra’s office is to receive $4.1 million.