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US government reportedly investigating Apple over iPhone slowdowns

The US government is said to be investigating Apple following the revelation that it had deliberately throttled older iPhones through an update.

Published onJanuary 31, 2018

  • The US government is reportedly investigating whether Apple broke security laws by deliberately slowing down its iPhones.
  • Apple has admitted to throttling some iPhone models via update, but said it did so to prevent unwanted device shutdowns.
  • Investigators are said to be “concerned” that Apple misled investors regarding device performance.

The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are said to be investigating Apple over the slowdown of its older iPhone models. Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, says the investigation is in its early stages, but the government is exploring whether Apple broke security laws by failing to notify users of the throttling.

Italy's antitrust body is investigating Apple and Samsung over planned obsolescence

This story follows the discovery on Reddit that an update issued by Apple had impacted the performance of the iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7. Apple owned-up to reducing the performance of its handsets, but said this was done to prevent unwanted device shutdowns due to ageing batteries. At the time, Apple didn’t communicate the slowdown in the update’s patch notes.

Though Apple’s actions have directly impacted iPhone users, Bloomberg indicates that investigators are also “concerned that [Apple] may have misled investors” regarding the performance of its older phones. Apple told Bloomberg on Tuesday it had been contacted by US government agencies, while it is also under similar investigations in France and Italy.

Apple denies intentionally shortening the lifespan of its products and has reduced the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements “to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted [its] intentions.” These are dropping from $79 to $29 throughout 2018—more details on that, and Apple’s response to the original claims, can be found here.