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France fines Apple $27m for slowing down old iPhones

Apple, US’ multinational tech brand, has been fined 25 million euros (£21m, $27m) for slowing down older iPhone models, its brand of smartphones, without informing its users.

The fine was imposed by directorate-general for competition, consumption and the suppression of fraud (DGCCRF), France’s watchdog, which said consumers were not told about the development.

The French watchdog also accused Apple of committing the crime “of deceptive commercial practice by omission.”

DGCCRF said iPhone owners “were not informed that installing iOS updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) could slow down their devices.

According to the agency, Apple must display a notification on its French-language website for at least a month, as part of the agreement. It added that smartphone giant has agreed to pay the sum.

“Following an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF) and after the agreement of the Public Prosecutor of Paris, the Apple group agreed to pay a 25 M fine € in the context of a criminal transaction,” the statement read in English.

“Following an investigation opened on January 5, 2018 by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the complaint of an association against Apple, the DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone holders had not been informed that the iOS operating system updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.

“These updates, released during 2017, included a dynamic power management device which, under certain conditions and especially when the batteries were old, could slow down the operation of the iPhone 6, SE models. and 7.

“Unable to revert to the previous version of the operating system, many consumers would have been forced to change their batteries or even buy a new phone.

“The National Service of Investigations of the DGCCRF therefore communicated to the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2019 the conclusions of its investigations, finding that this lack of consumer information constituted a misleading commercial practice by omission.

“With the agreement of the public prosecutor, Apple was offered a resolution comprising the payment of the sum of €25 million and the publication, for one month, of a press release on its website.”

Although Apple is yet to respond officially to the issue, reports have it that the iPhone maker may have resolved the issue with the French agency.

Apple had in 2017 said that some versions were indeed slowed down but “to prolong battery life.”

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