The wheels of the court system turn slowly but surely towards justice, and the verdict that Apple has to pay $113 million
in the so-called "batterygate" iPhone throttling 30-state lawsuit, is one example of justice being delivered better late than never.
Back in 2016, Apple fixed the issue of random iPhone 6 restarts with the iOS 10.2.1 update, smoothing out the peak battery demands from an aging power pack by dispersing them over several quick cycles. Unfortunately, that also meant throttling the processor's power, and, even though the update resulted in 80% fewer iPhone 6 shutdowns, as per Apple's reports at the time, it also meant the iPhones performed slow as molasses.
The other issue was that Apple kept this power management system in the next iOS updates, too, without so much as a warning, and once the battery in the iPhone 7 aged enough, it would become a bit slower and less responsive, too, unless you cracked it open and changed the power bank with a brand new one. Tim Cook apologized, a throttling explanation and warning was issued, a class action lawsuit that resulted in $25 per claimant
was filed, and the rest is history.
Yesterday, the combined lawsuits of more than 30 states bore fruit, and, pending the final court approval, Apple agreed to the following settlement without agreeing to the charges that it misled customers:
- To pay $113 million to all states involved in the lawsuit, including California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
- To create a dedicated section on its website for battery-affecting updates that are to be made "clear and conspicuous" to its device buyers.
Arizona, for instance, will use its share of the Apple settlement money for the legal expenses and creating a consumer protection fund. According to the Arizona Attorney General Brnovich who issued a statement after the settlement verdict was posted on Wednesday:
Many consumers decided that the only way to get improved performance was to purchase a newer-model iPhone from Apple. Apple, of course, fully understood such effects on sales...
Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products. I'm committed to holding these Goliath technology companies to account if they conceal the truth from their users.