Apple has settled a class-action lawsuit related to an iOS update that throttled iPhones. The issue dates back to late 2017 when the company pushed out an iOS update that throttled the performance of older iPhones with worn batteries in an attempt to prevent crashes.
The problem was made worse by the fact that Apple didn’t tell users that it was going to do this, and when the issue did come to light, Apple’s response fell short.
Bottom line, Apple stuck by its guns that it was doing the right thing.
Apple did eventually push out an iOS update that allowed affected iPhone owners to disable the throttling, a practice that it continues to do to this day.
The problem here was less to do with throttling — Apple introduced processor throttling as a way to prevent iPhones with worn batteries from randomly crashing when the power consumption overtook what the battery could deliver — but more to do with the fact that Apple didn’t communicate to iPhone owners what it was going on, and the issue was only uncovered by trawling through benchmark data.
Apple CEO Tim Cook did later say that “maybe we [Apple] should have been clearer,” and went on to apologize — not for the throttling, but for leading people to believe that Apple was throttling older iPhones in order to drum up sales.
It was all a bit of a mess, and it’s hard to figure out how Apple made a blunder that eventually cost it $500 million.
Affected iPhone owners in the US are now entitled to claim the princely sum of $25.
Enough to buy a new Lightning cable from Apple, with a few bucks left over for a coffee or soda.
Has Apple learned a lesson here? Can we expect Apple to better document features that have a negative effect on performance in future?
A lot has changed since 2017. iPhone sales are not what they once were, and overall Apple seems more cautious these days given everything it has to contend with — everything from the looming fear of a coronavirus pandemic, to a president that thinks nothing of taking to Twitter to try to cripple companies that displease him.
With all eyes on the company, it might be less inclined to make such a bold move. Especially as this one cost if half a billion dollars. Sure, chump change for Apple, but half a billion dollars is still half a billion dollars.
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