Apple Fined For Intentionally Slowing Down Phones So You Will Upgrade

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
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iPhone manufacturer Apple is expected to pay around $500M to settle claims over intentionally slowing down older phones to prompt users to buy new models. Photo by Qim Manifester on Unsplash

Apple agreed to pay about $500 million to settle claims over intentionally slowing down older phone models without making it clear to customers.

It is estimated that affected iPhone users could each receive $25 from the tech giant to settle the long-running class-action case in the U.S.

The settlement covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system, according to The Guardian.

In 2017, Apple admitted that it did slow down some iPhones, but said it only did so to “prolong the life” of the devices but denied any wrongdoing.

It said it was just trying to slow down the central processing unit in iPhones with aging batteries to prevent worse problems — like the phones shutting down completely. This typically forces Apple to offer a cut-price battery replacement to try and fix the problem.

iPhone users have long complained their devices seem to slow down when new models are released.

Critics say this could be proof of “planned obsolescence” by phone manufacturers who deliberately impair older products to prompt users to buy a new model.

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Apple has yet to share information on where or how consumers can file their claims, and according to one class action attorney who is not affiliated with the case, it could be weeks before Apple is compelled to pay.

“These are tough cases, particularly when you have a product that doesn’t just fail to work altogether,” Jonathan Selbin, a lawyer for Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and the chair of the firm’s Economic Injury Product Defect Practice Group, told Wired.