“Big Tech must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Bernovich said in a statement. “I am committed to holding these Goliath technology companies accountable if they hide the truth from their consumers.”
Investigators from 34 states and the District of Columbia, including Democrats and Republican Advocates General, have joined the settlement. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, although in 201
In the years before Silicon Valley found itself in the government’s cross – and Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, would be regularly summoned to Congress to testify – the Batterygate crisis emerged as a challenge for the iPhone giant to sign. The saga garnered national titles in 2017 as iPhone users began to find that some of their older devices had slowed down after they upgraded to a newer version of iOS, Apple’s mobile operating software.
In December, Apple acknowledged the practice, explaining that it had changed its technology starting a year earlier so that some older models, including the iPhone 6S, did not shut down unexpectedly or had other malfunctions due to excessive requirements for their dated batteries. The widespread setback has also prompted Apple to publicly apologize – a rarity for the technology giant that takes care of the image – and to start offering discounts on battery replacement for consumers.
The company’s Mea culpa hardly satisfied critics, including in Congress, which at the time sharply criticized Apple for regulating the devices. Others have filed lawsuits and initiated numerous regulatory proceedings against the iPhone manufacturer, which are only now reaching their conclusion. This March, Apple filed a multi-year lawsuit, agreeing to pay $ 500 million, much of which it set aside for select iPhone users to receive a $ 25 refund. (However, the company did not have to plead guilty, even when the lawsuit ended.) A month earlier, French regulators fined Apple about $ 25 million, arguing that the company should have been more forthcoming for its practices.
In the United States, nearly three dozen states share disappointment with Apple’s lack of transparency and are undertaking their own scrutiny. A complaint filed in Arizona on Wednesday revealed their concerns that Apple had provided “misleading information” about its iOS updates, especially through difficult-to-understand technical notes on battery management.
Apple’s approach has ultimately left many consumers feeling as if “the only way to improve performance is to buy a newer iPhone model from Apple,” the Arizona complaint said. As a result, the company relies on “unfair and deceptive actions and practices” to increase its sales “potentially with millions of devices a year,” according to the Arizona prosecutor.
Along with the financial sanction, states also require Apple to clarify – online and on the iPhone itself – its practices regarding battery health and power management. The company has already addressed some of the regulators’ concerns: The 2018 iOS update allows users to check their batteries and disable performance regulation. It is hidden in the user’s device settings.