France fines Apple €25 million over iPhone throttling

According to French officials, Apple installed software that slowed down older models of the iPhone. So, the country fined Apple more than $27 million for iPhone throttling.

Tony Owusu for TheStreet.:

France fines Apple over iPhone throttling - pictured: iPhone 6 Plus
Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus

Apple is in trouble with the French government: The General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control fined the tech giant €25 million ($27.3 million) for a software update that the agency said slowed down older models of the iPhone.

The Cupertino, Calif., company agreed to the fine, which concludes an investigation that began in 2018.

The updates included a “dynamic power management device” that would slow down the functions of the iPhone models if the batteries in those models were older.

Since the update is permanent and users could not revert back to the previous operating system, Apple customers were forced to buy either new batteries or new phones, according to the agency.

Another aspect of the penalty: Apple must publish a news release related to its decision and fine for one month on its website.

MacDailyNews Take: And, in the time it took you to read this article, Apple made three times the fine.

But, seriously, as we wrote about this issue back in 2018, “Hopefully, the end result of this whole event will result in much improved clarity of communication between Apple and their customers.”

Interns, TTK! Prost, everyone!


    1. Let’s be clear: Apple was NOT fined because it slowed down iPhones. Apple was fined because it did not disclose to customers what it was doing, nor did it give users the choice to undo Apple’s unwanted power management change on their personal devices.

      The fine was completely justified under the law. France, as opposed to the USA for example, has very comprehensive consumer protections which includes requirements that corporations disclose what they are doing. That’s a good thing. The USA, whose federal and state legislatures are packed with lapdogs of multinational corporations that have zero regard for country or the citizens, could learn a lot from wise laws implemented elsewhere.

      As MDN noted, Apple didn’t even feel the pinch. Apple lost more money by voluntarily choosing to close its Chinese retail outlets than it has to spend to do the right thing in France.

      1. Gee Mike, this is the second time in a week that I agree with your take on something. We’ll have to stop meeting like this (/s). And thanks for making your comment brief and to the point. I enjoyed reading it.

      2. “Apple was NOT fined because it slowed down iPhones.”

        Yet another half-truth from Mike. No, Apple slowed down phones without disclosing their supposedly noble methods caring about older iPhone batteries and got caught. There, I fixed it for you.

        As MDN pointed out the fine is pocket change. $25 BILLION is more like it to stop Apple’s deceptive updates purposely designed to make more money by selling more phones and batteries to UNSUSPECTING customers under the RUSE of helping older phones. Never thought I’d see the day.

        The shameless beancounter CEO won’t lose a second of sleep over it, the true tragedy beyond the fine and deceptive practices.

        Shame on you, Apple!… 👎🏻🍎

  1. All Apple had to do was tell everyone this would happen up front. They didn’t though so it appears as though it was done to sell more phones. I doubt they meant to deceive the public. Always choose stupid over conspiracy. They’re lucky. 25 million Euros is cheap. Especially with France these days.

  2. Well I can tell you that I had been in several situations with the old iPhones where the battery would die quickly. Often when traveling when you need connectivity most.
    When Apple set up their battery management system I experienced fewer issues like that especially as the phone got older. Sure Apple did not explain that their method involved reducing the speed of the phone but for me extending the time that the unit last between changes far outweighs the lack of openness about it. We all know batteries decrease useful capacity with age and that can be exacerbated by situations that cause greater power drain. Apples power management system effectively increased the useful life of a phone by intelligently controlling usage.

    1. My iPhone 6s got a new battery from Apple just before the end of the cheap replacements program. Despite this, the battery drain was inexplicably high. Starting at 100% when I woke up, and after just browsing the web and Facebook app, update a couple apps, maybe a couple videos and GPS calls to check when the bus would arrive… and battery would be down to 50% by the time I got off the bus at work. Super-frustrating.

      My battery in my new iPhone 11 pro is amazing, though. Most days I use it much more heavily, plus games, video, GPS, etc and it’ll still be almost 50% at the end of the day.

      1. Mossman, I have a 6s. Exact same story.

        DogGoneTwo, Agree that I would rather have a slow phone in an emergency, rather than no phone at all

        Apple should have communicated what they were doing more clearly. I understood, but I doubt most consumers did. Still, let’s not turn this into some sort of anti-capitalist conspiracy theory. We get enough Big Tech bashing from folks like Bernie without fake conservatives hopping on the bandwagon.

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