Apple will pay $113 million to settle allegations from a coalition of nearly three dozen states that the company concealed battery issues with its iPhone products to prompt users to buy new devices, state officials announced Wednesday.
The states, led by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Arizona and Indiana, alleged the tech company discovered battery issues that led to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. But, rather than disclosing the issue or replacing batteries, Apple concealed the issue from consumers.
“Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) said in a statement. “I’m committed to holding these goliath technology companies accountable when they conceal important information from users.”
Issues surrounding Apple's throttling efforts drew headlines in 2017 as users discovered some older devices slowed down after they updated to a newer version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system.
A complaint filed in Arizona states that Apple’s “unfair and deceptive acts and practices … artificially increased Apple’s iPhone sales, potentially by millions of devices per year.”
“Although consumers eventually learned the truth about Apple’s secret throttling, Apple reaped the benefits of that throttling for about a year,” the complaint states.
“As a result, many consumers decided that the only way to get improved performance was to purchase a newer-model iPhone from Apple,” the complaint continues.
Apple did not admit to wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment.
The settlement with the states is separate from the $500 million proposed settlement Apple reached in March to pay consumers for a lawsuit accusing the company of intentionally slowing down older phones. Apple continued to deny wrongdoing as part of the proposed settlement.
In December 2017, Apple said that it slows its phones down as they age to preserve deteriorating battery life. The company issued a public apology and soon after lowered the price for replacement batteries from $79 to $29.