Apple Fined for Intentionally Slowing Down iPhones

Do you feel like your iPhone is significantly slower after every update Apple sends out? Does your iPhone barely last half the day when it used to easily go 2 days without charging? Well you’re not crazy.

A French regulator’s investigation found out that Apple is intentionally slowing down functionality capabilities of older iPhones and has fined them 25 million euros ($27 million). The regulators responsible for investigating Apple since the original complaint in 2017 was France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF). Apple is not contesting the fine, essentially an admittance of guilt, and also must display a press release on their website for a minimum of a month. The iPhone models that are affected are the iPhone 6, iPhone 7, and the iPhone SE. 

France’s competition regulator DGCCRF said in a press release, “Seized on January 5, 2018 by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the complaint of an association against Apple, the DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone owners had not been informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.” 

The software updates dished out by Apple in 2017 did not inform customers of any sort of issue their device’s battery may encounter and the DGCCRF said this was purposeful misleading by Apple of their consumers. Apple has agreed to pay the fine of $27 million and why not? They make $27 million in three hours according to their latest quarterly reports. Considering Apple recently became one of very few companies to ever be valued at above a trillion dollars, this fine is chump change to Apple. Apple’s intentional lack of communication with their consumers about potential battery issues with their devices led those consumers to spend more money on either a new battery for their phone or an entirely new device. The older models were performance capped because the older models could not handle the energy surges present with the updates presented in 2017. This is not the first time Apple has been caught doing this though.

In 2018, an Italian regulator caught both Apple and Samsung intentionally slowing down older models or versions of phones. Both companies were fined around $5 million only though. This is not the first time Apple or similar companies have been caught trying to increase the consumer demand for their newer products, and it probably will not be the last. $27 million seems like a significant number for a fine, but considering Apple is now valued at over a $1 trillion, it doesn’t even make a splash in their pool.