Senator Grills Apple Inc. For Slowing Down Older iPhones

Updated on

Apple may have apologized for slowing down older iPhones and extended an olive branch to consumers for it, but the criticism isn’t over yet. Now a senator is even calling out the company for its behavior and demanding more transparency on the issue. Further, he said that consumers are still upset that Apple throttles older iPhones and aren’t happy with its attempt to make it up to them with cheaper battery replacements.

Apple hasn’t made it up to consumers yet

Late last month, the company admitted that it throttles older iPhones and offered a $29 battery replacement (rather than the full $79 price) to those whose handsets were affected. Apple claimed that it throttles older iPhones as a fix for unexpected shutdowns in certain models. The company also apologized in late December—but only after being caught doing it by Geekbench developers—and claimed that it would never do anything to deliberately shorten the life of its iPhones.

It also said it would roll out an update for iOS that would make it easier for iPhone users to see whether their batteries are still good, but Republican Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, says Apple hasn’t done enough.

Thune demands answers after Apple throttles older iPhones

Thune sent a letter to CEO Tim Cook after hearing that Apple throttles older iPhones on Jan. 9. He noted that there had been a “large volume of consumer criticism” aimed at the iPhone maker after it admitted to deliberately slowing down older iPhone models. He feels all that criticism “suggests that there should have been better transparency.”

Only the iPhone 6 and later models with out-of-warranty batteries are eligible for the $50 price cut on replacements. Thune wanted to know if the company had thought about offering free replacements of batteries or rebates to iPhone owners who had paid the full $79 to replace their batteries. He also asked why Apple settled on a $29 price tag for the battery replacements. He noted that consumers have even criticized the “proposed solutions” after learning that Apple throttles older iPhones, especially the fact that they have to pay anything at all for a new battery.

Did Apple slow earlier iPhone models and will it do so again?

Additionally, Thune asked about transparency for cases in which Apple throttles older iPhones. He wanted to find out whether the company had informed consumers that the throttling “feature,” as Thune describes it, even exists in iOS updates. Apple throttles older iPhones by including such a “feature” in iOS updates to slow down affected models with aged batteries that are running out of power, causing the to shut down automatically in some instances.

The senator also asked whether consumers have the option of declining an iOS update that could slow their device. Further, he wants to know whether Apple plans to follow the same practice in future iOS updates.

He’s demanding answers to all of the questions in his letter to Cook by Jan. 23.

Leave a Comment