AG Alan Wilson Announces $113 Million Settlement with Apple Over iPhone Throttling

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – Nov. 18, 2020 – Attorney General Alan Wilson, along with a coalition of over 30 other attorneys general led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, announced a $113 million settlement with Apple, Inc. regarding Apple’s 2016 decision to throttle consumers’ iPhone speeds in order to address unexpected shutdowns in some iPhones.

Based on the multistate investigation, the attorneys general allege that Apple discovered that battery issues were leading to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. Rather than disclosing these issues or replacing batteries, however, Apple concealed the issues from consumers. Apple’s concealment ultimately led to a software update in December 2016 that reduced iPhone performance in an effort to keep the phones from unexpectedly shutting down.

The attorneys general allege that Apple’s concealment of the battery issues and decision to throttle the performance of consumers’ iPhones led to Apple profiting from selling additional iPhones to consumers whose phone performance Apple had slowed.

“This scheme hit iPhone customers with phones that worked slowly or shut down unexpectedly and caused a lot of people to shell out money for new phones when they should not have needed to,” Attorney General Wilson said. “Having your phone shut down in the middle of a call is like having no phone at all. Apple is a huge and respected company but its conduct in this case was unacceptable.”

Under the settlement, Apple will pay South Carolina $1,815,511.36. In addition to the monetary payment, Apple also must provide truthful information to consumers about iPhone battery health, performance, and power management. Apple must provide this important information in various forms on its website, in update installation notes, and in the iPhone user interface itself. Apple recently also entered into a proposed settlement of a consumer class action litigation related to the same conduct. If the settlement is approved by the court, consumers who are affected will be contacted about how to get compensation under that separate class action lawsuit. Approximately 1,378,000 iPhones in South Carolina were affected.

Copy of the Filed Summons and Complaint here.

Copy of the South Carolina Executed Final Consent Order here.

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