U.S. Government Official Questions Apple Over iPhone Battery Slowdowns

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Just two days after it emerged a French consumer fraud group is investigating Apple over its handling of battery-related performance issues on iPhones, Apple is now facing questions from government officials in its own country over the controversy.

    The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking a series of questions about how the company decided to throttle processing performance in iPhones with older batteries.

    In the letter, Thune went on to note that Apple's decision to offer battery replacements at a reduced price had prompted further criticism from customers who believe that Apple should have offered the replacements for free.

    In addition to the senator's letter, Wednesday's WSJ report included official confirmation from the Paris prosecutor's office that it is overseeing an investigation into Apple's "alleged deception" that is being conducted by French consumer fraud group DGCCRF, which is part of the country's economy ministry.

    The investigation - which could lead to preliminary charges or be dropped - follows Apple's admission that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Apple introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 after complaints of unexpected shutdowns in the iPhone 6s, but the company didn't make it clear to consumers that it was due to battery deterioration, nor did Apple inform customers that it could cause occasional performance slowdowns.

    Despite Apple's apology and its efforts to correct the issue, in addition to the French inquiry, the company is now facing more than two dozen lawsuits accusing it of intentionally slowing down older iPhones and failing to disclose the changes that it introduced in iOS 10.2.1. One of those lawsuits also stems from France, filed by French consumer group "HOP", which translates to "Stop Planned Obsolescence".

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: U.S. Government Official Questions Apple Over iPhone Battery Slowdowns
  2. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the sliver scream
    Very interesting. Wonder where this will go next.
  3. coolfactor macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    The consumer group "HOP" can go hop off a bridge.

    Apple has already stated, in plain language, that this has nothing to do with planned obsolescence. In fact, it's the exact opposite — an effort to make devices last longer.

    There may in fact be a real concern here, though, because I personally don't consider the iPhone 6 to be "old". I've had Apple devices with batteries that have lasted 4-6 years without any talk about this type of issue. So did Apple actually change _something_ with their battery strategy that led to iPhone 6 and later to have battery problems? Are the batteries too small or thin for the device's longevity? Is processing power becoming more than today's thin batteries can handle?

    I really hope that, by this time next year, Apple has turned this issue around 180° and has the best batteries on the planet!
  4. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    Hopefully better batteries, more options in iOS to control battery/performance balance and cheaper battery replacements permanently.

    Although I won't hold my breath.
  5. Morgenland, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    Morgenland macrumors regular


    May 28, 2009
    A setting for "Optimized battery management" ("slow down option" in the battery settings) might solve that "issue". It may be indicated that the iPhone can suddenly fail if you deactivate it.

    Making the world simple again...
  6. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Just let those phones shut down by itself and deny service since they're out of warranty, just like every other one does, and Apple won't be sued again.
  7. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    Yeah, but who’d turn that setting ON? I.e., who’d want their phone to crash at random?
  8. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    No one, but that's not the point. The phones shouldn't crash at random, and if they do then it's a hardware fault.

    Also, this never used to happen on older iPhones, so why is it happening now? I believe they skimped on battery quality.
  9. mac1984user macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Gonna try my hand at battery replacement in my iPhone 6 this weekend. Wonder how much I’ll have to battle with the ‘Geniuses’ over the fact that they should replace it for £29 rather than £79. It’s funny how Apple Store employees never seem to read the same news all the rest of us do, even when it’s in mainstream sources outside MacRumors...
  10. KmanOz macrumors regular


    Oct 27, 2007
    Sounds like reasonable use of a Govt officials time. Nothing yet on the unemployment rate I take it?
  11. Hal~9000, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    Hal~9000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 13, 2014
    Glad to see Apple being held accountable:
    • Silently slipping in a throttling virus which made people's phones worse
    • Only admitting to anything once being caught red-handed by users
    • Giving some worthless corporate apology with no name behind it thinking it makes up for their shady behavior
    • Charging people $29 for battery replacements when they should be free as a complete recall
    • Not giving users an option in the settings to turn off the throttling if they want to risk it
    Even through this whole fiasco... Apple STILL hasn't explained anything in specific technical terms how the throttling actually works! When does it begin to throttle the device and how much? At 90% battery capacity? 85%? 80%? Nobody knows!

    Apple was intentionally vague in their apology response on how the throttling ("feature" LoL) works because they know they f***ed up and don't want to give the lawsuits greater ammunition.

    I hope Apple gets taken to the cleaners as a lesson, for themselves and others, not to be some shady corporation that thinks it can get away with anti-consumer behavior like this simply for higher profits.

    I am beyond disappointed in Apple as they used to be a company people can trust. Glad most people can see Apple screwed up royally and I hope it influences them to take a more transparent / consumer friendly approach in the future.
  12. Gorms macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2012
    If Apple are truth telling (and I tend to believe they are) and this is more about mitigating shutdowns when the system thinks there is no battery but actually it has battery just not enough for peak CPU... then I can't see any of this kerfuffle working out well for the consumer in the long run.
  13. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    It's actually £25, not £29.
  14. Gorms macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2012
    This is a problem going back to at least the 4s bro. Believe me. Why is it happening now? Probably because todays processors use way more power at peak so a degraded battery will have less power available to hit those peaks.
  15. tridley68 macrumors 6502


    Aug 28, 2014
  16. Quu macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2007
    A lot of people online are defending Apple saying they did this change so peoples phones wouldn't shut off under high loads.

    And that's fine, the problem is they didn't tell anyone this was how they were mitigating the sudden shutdown issue which lead consumers to believe their phones were getting slower not due to ageing batteries but due to newer software needing higher specifications which lead consumers to upgrade to newer devices at significant cost when they could have purchased a much cheaper replacement battery.

    That's the problem, Apples lack of communication. Now the question which the lawsuits will be seeking an answer to is whether Apple deliberately did not explain this because they knew it would help sales of newer iPhones.

    Personally I hope that Apple gets really beaten up over this because we as consumers deserve to know what their software patches are really doing at a deeper level than vague "General improvements and bug fixes" etc
  17. jjy macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    Registered an account just to diss this POS. These ****ing business/lawyer types not understanding technology can't just avoid crazy uncle type-talks can they? Why don't you ask your technology advisors?
  18. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Has anyone from Apple explained why the battery in the iPhone is only rated for half the charging cycles of the Apple Watch, iPad and MacBooks?
  19. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    Why should Apple offer free battery replacements in old phones? Batteries degrade over time, that's life. People sure have a sense of entitlement in 2018.
  20. Radon87000 macrumors 604

    Nov 29, 2013
    They deserve it for trying to pull planned obsolescence.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 10, 2018 ---
    Because they intentionally slowed older iPhones without informing the user.
  21. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    Here we are, finally a positive news. Battery replacements at this point should be free and a trial is necessary to understand what's really going on. planned obsolescence should be a crime, if proven
  22. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    And how exactly does that relate to the battery? It would be the same old battery if they hadn't throttled the OS. Maybe they should refund people for the OS instead, but as that's free the payment would be zero.
  23. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    ''In the letter, Thune went on to note that Apple's decision to offer battery replacements at a reduced price had prompted further criticism from customers who believe that Apple should have offered the replacements for free.'???

    Free batteries for the life of the iPhone? Gimme a break - you can't get something for nothing. Batteries degrade over time and with use, and anybody who can read understands this. What Apple should do is make sure batteries are produced as replacements for as long as an iPhone is expected to function. I have a 4S on its second battery (having nursed the first one for a long time with a battery case), but I doubt the battery will be available for the 4S for much longer in spite of the fact it probably has many years left of usable life.

    I'd like to see iPhone models with better batteries (I don't give a **** about thinness), and even better, easily swappable batteries. i think Apple should be more transparent as well, but I do not see the planned obsolescence conspiracy that other people seem to believe in.
  24. PaddyTB, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    PaddyTB macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    I popped into the Apple Store in Cambridge yesterday to do just this and was pleasantly surprised - the battery on my iPhone 6 Plus passed the diagnostic test but the guy assessing it was happy to book me in for a £25 replacement, even though he insisted it won't fix the performance issues I've had since iOS 11 was installed.

    IMO this was great and is exactly how Apple should always be treating their customers - I have had some pretty awful interactions with the Apple Store staff in the past, to the extent that I mildly dread having to go in. Good on them for once. The slight downer is that the battery won't be done for a month or so due (I guess) to demand...

    Regarding those who think that an iPhone 6 shouldn't be supported because it is out of warranty, here in the UK retailers are obliged to repair, replace or refund faulty goods where it is reasonable to expect the goods still to be functional - and I think it reasonable to expect a top quality, £650 phone (other than its battery) to be working perfectly after 3 years.
  25. thekeyring macrumors 68040

    Jan 5, 2012
    I thought Trump & co wanted less regulation? Why are they getting involved with this - just let the market work itself out.

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