The days of Apple slowing down iPhones to prevent battery shutdowns are coming to an end.
Apple has released the newest operating system version for its iPhones and iPads, which includes expanded battery settings that allow users to check their phones’ battery health and turn off Apple’s default slowdown setting.
The new settings are offered for phones between iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. IPhones 8 and X will not have the settings, Apple said.
Apple was roundly criticized in December after admitting that it slowed down aging batteries to prevent iPhones from unexpectedly shutting down. Apple apologized repeatedly for setting the slowdown as the default. It said it notified users in advance and that the slowdown of older iPhones was not a ploy to pressure users into upgrading to a newer model, known as planned obsolescence.
“When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don’t think a lot of people were paying attention,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January. “Maybe we should have been clearer as well, and so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some kind of other motivation.”
In addition, Apple has been offering $29 out-of-warranty battery replacements for iPhones as old as iPhone 6 from January until the end of the year. Normally selling for $79, the battery replacements are creating long wait times at Apple stores, and some analysts believed that may be affecting iPhone sales.
Since its admission of the battery slowdown, Apple has received scrutiny from governments around the world, including the United States, and from litigious iPhone users. More than 40 lawsuits, many of them seeking class action status, were filed against Apple because of the slowdown.
Consumer watchdog agencies in France, Italy and South Korea opened investigations in January to determine if Apple was committing acts of planned obsolescence. In France, planned obsolescence is illegal and comes with a heavy fine and prison time for executives should a company be found guilty.
In the United States, the Senate commerce committee asked Apple about its battery slowdown practices and received a response in February. In the letter, Apple’s vice president of public policy Cynthia Hogan hinted that there may be rebates for those who replaced their old batteries by paying the full $79 price.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department announced in January that they also would investigate.
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