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South Carolina, other states reach settlement with Apple over alleged iPhone throttling

South Carolina, other states reach settlement with Apple over alleged iPhone throttling

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina is among the over 30 states to have reached a settlement with Apple regarding a 2016 decision by the company to throttle consumers’ iPhone speeds in order to address unexpected shutdowns in some iPhones.

South Carolina Attorney Alan Wilson and attorneys general from over 30 other states announced the $113 million settlement Wednesday afternoon. 

The attorneys general were led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. 

“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,” 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 $1.82 million. 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. 

 Based on the multistate investigation, the attorneys general alleged that Apple discovered that battery problems were leading to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. Rather than disclosing these problems or replacing batteries, however, Apple concealed the problems 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 further alleged that Apple’s concealment of the battery problems 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.

 Approximately 1.38 million iPhones in South Carolina were affected.

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Government and Politics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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