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Apple coughs up €25 million for slowing down iPhones

Apple has been fined €25 million by the French government for slowing down iPhones via software updates without warning customers in advance.

Apple has agreed to pay €25 million after being found to have misled customers over the potential slowing effects of its software updates. The result follows an investigation, led by a French government agency, which established that iPhone users had not been sufficiently informed about the effect of an operating system slowing down phones. This particular case concerns the iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 updates which were rolled out in 2017, with the affected models being the iPhone 6, the iPhone SE, and the iPhone 7.

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The French finance ministry reports that the investigation found that a new file management system introduced via the software could in fact slow down the phones’ performance, particularly for those with older batteries. According to the findings, this update was responsible for customers having to replace the batteries or even buy new handsets due to the downgraded performance. The enquiry therefore found that Apple had misled its customers by omission by failing to tell them of this risk, and so Apple has agreed to pay a financial settlement and announce the findings on its website for one month.

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Consumers are likely to feel vindicated by this result, as many had reporting feeling a distinct performance downgrade after having installed software packages, with some going so far as to describe it as a conspiracy of planned obsolescence (a theory which is not at all supported by the aforementioned enquiry). Apple’s most recent software update was iOS 13, and fortunately there have been no such major performance-related issues such as this reported so far.

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