We all suspected Apple was doing it until the company finally admitted it. It’s now going to cost them the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.
We all suspected Apple was doing it until the company finally admitted it. It’s now going to cost them the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.

Apple fined for dodgy battery trick

Apple has been fined the equivalent of $20 for a sneaky software trick we all suspected the company was doing right up until the moment it finally admitted to doing it.

For years consumers greeted the introduction of the latest iPhone and its accompanying iOS software with wry derision that the iPhones they already owned would soon become unusable.

Many speculated Apple was throttling the performance of older iPhones so those customers would be forced to buy new ones.

In December 2017, Apple actually admitted that it was doing that but denied boosting sales was the reason.

Instead, the company said it slowed older devices to preserve their battery life, which deteriorates as they age.

Samsung was also found to be doing this.

Both were fined €5 million ($A8.2 million) in Italy at the end of 2018. (Apple was fined a further €5 million for not providing adequate information about how customers could prolong or replace their battery.)

In response to the Italian fine, Apple made it cheaper to replace your battery once your phone was out of warranty (as it's likely to be before your battery needs replacing).

The price was temporarily dropped from $119 to $39 but will now cost you $79 for anything older than an iPhone 8. Any of the full-screen iPhones (X, XS, XR and 11 models) will cost you $109.

An iPhone X that has gone flat plugged in to recharge. Picture: Kārlis Dambrāns / Creative Commons 2.0
An iPhone X that has gone flat plugged in to recharge. Picture: Kārlis Dambrāns / Creative Commons 2.0

Apple lowered the cost of battery replacements and provided more information on how to protect your battery life on its website.

It also included select features in new iPhones that use artificial intelligence to figure out your routine so it can charge your battery the right way and preserve its life.

This is done by charging your phone to 80 per cent and keeping it there when you plug it in at night, then charging the rest of the way as your morning alarm approaches.

Apple still throttles performance on older devices to protect battery life but will now tell you about it.

That hasn't stopped Apple being fined again in a different country in the European Union.

France's Directorate General of Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) found the lack of transparency displayed by Apple in the past breached its guidelines.

"The DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone owners had not been informed that the updates of the iOS operating system they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device," it said in a statement.

Apple also "committed the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission".

The company was fined €25 million ($A41 million).

APPLE SHOULD BE JUST FINE

The consumer electronics giant is worth almost two trillion dollars, so the $41 million fine is unlikely to be felt too heavily.

The fine is around 0.002 per cent of the company's worth.

Apple fines you more for losing your charging cable.

If you were given a similar fine it would only cost you about $20.

That's if you have the average Australian household wealth of 1.02 million dollars, which most of us don't.

Almost one-third of Australians rent, meaning we can't boost our household wealth with the value of our actual house.

The wealthiest 20 per cent of households also have 60 per cent of the wealth, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

 

Do you think Apple should have been fined more? Let us know in the comments below.


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