CUPERTINO (CBS SF) — Apple settled a lawsuit this week for $113 million that attorney generals from 34 states filed against the tech company over failing to inform customers that software updates would slow down older iPhones.
The settlement “resolves allegations that the company misled consumers about certain iPhone updates that resulted in slower processing performance, sometimes called ‘throttling,'” according to a press release issued by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.READ MORE: Bicyclist Killed In Fall At Oakland's Shepherd Canyon Park
The suit focused on the company’s 2016 software upgrade that hindered the performance of iPhones with aging batteries. In December of the following year, Apple apologized “for failing to adequately communicate with customers about the effects of the update.” The company admitted that update had contained “features intended to prevent unexpected shutdowns but caused some users to suffer longer launch times and other reductions in performance,” according to a press release from the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office.
“Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update,” said California Attorney General Becerra. “This type of behavior hurts the pockets of consumers and limits their ability to make informed purchases. Today’s settlement ensures consumers will have access to the information they need to make a well-informed decision when purchasing and using Apple products.”
“Just like a patient needs to know the side effects before swallowing a pill, a consumer needs to know what they’re getting before clicking on a software update, especially when it could throttle their phone,” Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said.READ MORE: Sabrina Spellman Makes An Appearance On The CW's Riverdale; Kiernan Shipka Reveals 'Fans Will Get Some Clarity'
The company, based in Cupertino, settled with several parties, including the Alameda County and Santa Clara County District Attorney’s offices, as well as several other county offices and the California Attorney General’s Office. California will receive $24.6 million of the total settlement.
“My Office works very hard on behalf of consumers throughout the county and the state,” said Alameda County District Attorney O’Malley. “We are proud to act in conjunction with the California Attorney General, district attorneys throughout California, and attorneys general around the country to ensure that Apple is held accountable for not telling customers that their iPhones might be slowed down as a result of the upgrade. When a company, large or small, acts in a manner that may mislead consumers, we will take action.”
Apple has agreed to injunctive terms in addition to the settlement. Those terms include:
- Maintaining an easily accessible webpage on their website that provides clear information for consumers about how the company manages battery performance issues, such as by throttling iPhone processing performance
- Providing a clear and easily visible notice to all affected consumers when an iOS update materially affects iPhone processing performance
- Providing information in the iPhone settings menu about the consumer’s battery performance and maximum capacity as well as a notice of when a battery has experienced performance degradation of a significance that the consumer should service the battery
- Training the company’s consumer-facing staff regarding compliance with this injunction and the information that this injunction requires Apple to provide to consumers.
According to a press release, the California portion of the settlement will be divided evenly among the Attorney General and district attorney’s offices which brought the case. The funds will go towards supporting consumer protection efforts.MORE NEWS: Christmas Tree At Oakland's Jack London Square Catches Fire; Arson Investigation Underway
Another suit, a private class action case in federal court in San Jose, also reached a tentative settlement that pays restitution up to $500 million to consumers who were affected. That judgment remains subject to court approval.