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Apple hit with $27 million fine for slowing down French iPhones

February 7, 2020, 4:08 PM UTC

France is taking Apple to task for slowing down older iPhones with software updates. The country has fined the tech giant €25 million ($27.4 million) for “deceptive commercial practice[s] by omission”.

Consumer watchdogs in the country say owners of older iPhones should have been notified that upgrading their operating system in 2017 would have resulted in worse performance. (Apple admitted to throttling the phones three years ago, prompting lawsuits and eventually forcing the company to offer discounted battery replacements as compensation.)

The fine will let Apple avoid a public and potentially embarrassing trial around the matter.

“This is a historic victory against scandalous ready-to-rubbish practices, for consumers as well as the environment,” Laetitia Vasseur and Samuel Sauvage, co-founders of Halt Planned Obsolescence, which pushed French prosecutors to open the inquiry, told AFP.

The pair have not ruled out filing claims for additional damages for iPhone users.

Apple, starting in 2016, would issue operating system updates for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 that included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge. That resulted in decreased performance that cold have prompted owners of those phones to buy a new device, rather than getting a new battery (which could have fixed the problem).

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