France’s competition and fraud watchdog (DGCCRF) has fined Apple €25M (roughly $27M) after two years of investigation. Apple has been deliberately slowing down older models of iPhone, without notifying its users.
After DGCCRF fined Apple, they released a statement saying they had resolved this issue. However, it is still unfair for all the customers who had much faith in the company. And in case you’re wondering if they still do this and your iPhone is slow, blame the iOS updates. In other words, yes, they are still doing it.
Why does Apple slow down older models?
This news emerged back in 2017, too, as the company had declared publicly that they intentionally slowed down older models through iOS updates. However, they also mentioned it was to “prolong the battery life.”
Even then, many people were suspicious that they did this to encourage users to buy newer and more expensive models. As we know, iPhone prices have been hiked over 500% since the first release and hit an all-time high sales back in 2015. Ever since 2007, they have had higher revenue, but their iPhone sales have crashed down.
However, Apple denies doing so only to make its users buy new phones. The Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time and may not be able to keep up the peak supply demands as they age. This could lead to iPhones shutting down completely — endangering the delicate circuits inside.
So, for this scenario, Apple decided it was best to release updates to “smooth out” the smartphone’s performance. The tech giant wanted to make its iPhones as long as possible. The updates smooth out the peak power demands by lowering the performance.
Later, a Reddit user shared his experience in a thread, confirming this practice. He owned iPhone 6S and had noticed his phone had slowed down after some years. However, he broke the screen and went to get it fixed. Later, he found out the battery was damaged as well. So he replaced the battery, and viola, his old phone was super speedy again.
Why they fined Apple?
The French watchdog said that it wasn’t fair to users as they weren’t aware that installing updates (iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2) will dramatically slow down their phones. Up to the point that it would get too annoying to use, even for a task as mundane as typing on the phone.
The regulators demanded that Apple now has to display such messages in its French-language website for a month when the updates roll out. Apple resolved the matter quickly and agreed to pay a fine of 25 million euros (£21m, $27m).
The watchdog noted, “Apple has committed the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission.”
Does Apple still do this?
Undoubtedly! Apple confirmed that they’ve “smoothed out” the performance of various iPhone models. However, the settings are only enabled after the battery begins to degrade. They did so without users’ consent, in order to combat the problems with the aging battery.
- iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (running iOS 12.1 or higher)
- iPhone X (running iOS 12.1 or higher)
- iPhone XS, XS Max and XR (running iOS 13.1 or higher)
“The effects of performance management on these newer models may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design,” Apple said.
All in all, we hope Apple means good for all its users. They now provide more precise information to their users when the “performance management” begins on their phone. However, it was sneaky and a dumb move for this tech giant to think they could deceive their users and get away with it.